Letter to Suzanne Legault regarding potential effects of LAC Code of Conduct on access to information

Ms. Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada
Place de Ville, Tower B
112 Kent Street, 7th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3

July 11, 2013

Subject:  Potential effects of Library and Archives Canada Code of Conduct on access to information

Dear Ms. Legault,

In May of this year, members of the Atlantic Provinces Library Association joined the Canadian Library Association and other provincial and territorial library associations in objecting to the newly created Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Code of Conduct.   I am writing to you today, on behalf of the APLA membership, to request your intervention in this matter.

 It is the contention of APLA that the LAC Code is overreaching, and that it severely limits the freedom of expression of national library staff.  Further, by attempting to be prescriptive in what staff are permitted to say in the conduct of their professional activities, the Code stifles intellectual inquiry and undermines the ability of librarians and information professionals to carry out their responsibilities towards Canadians.  More specifically, the restrictions on professional and personal activities imposed by the LAC Code of Conduct have the potential to impede public awareness of, and ultimately public access to, the vast store of Canadian heritage materials and official government documents held at LAC. 

APLA requests that you review the Code.  We further request that, where you share the concerns of the Association, you raise those concerns with the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada upon appointment.  Guidance is needed at this time on appropriate revisions to the Code, an acceptable version of which will respect the professional ethics of all LAC staff, ethics which encourage rather than discourage intellectual exchange and the advance of knowledge, to the benefit of all Canadians.

Thank you for considering this matter.

Sincerely,

Louise White

APLA President

cc. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister