Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's Going on at the LAC

If I had a dream job, it would be working at the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC). However, this national institution has been through allot changes over the last decade. It has been the target of countless budget cuts which have affected everything from staffing numbers to conservation projects. For more on cuts to the LAC, I found this insightful read, The Wrecking of Canada's Library and Archives by Myron Groover. So it came as no surprise that, based on a 2011 Public Service Employee survey, the LAC ranked at the bottom of the list of "Best Departments to Work in the Federal Public Service". That means below departments such as Corrections Services of Canada and even in economics and finance departments!! Shouldn't Canada's heritage be exciting!?

To make matters worse, along comes a new Code of Conduct to help "muzzle" staff of the LAC. On March 24, I received this statement from The Canadian Association of University Teachers in response to this latest action: "Political pressure sometimes works.  In a victory for staff, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has withdrawn its controversial Code of Conduct put into effect in early 2013. The code contained severe restrictions on staff behavior, both in their public and personal lives. The restrictions on LAC employees garnered media and public scrutiny and, in the wake of intense public pressure, LAC administrators placed the code under review. In December 2013, a revised Code was introduced. This new code represents a significant improvement. Employees are still encouraged to report on their colleagues for any failure to comply with the code, a shameful policy that contributes to an unhealthy workplace. However, restrictions on employees’ professional development activities have been substantially reduced and references to discipline for personal opinions expressed in limited access forums have been removed. At a time when Canadian culture institutions are being decimated, it is easy to become overwhelmed and forget to celebrate our victories, however small. The changes to the LAC code of conduct were only made because we spoke out collectively, an example of how we can make a difference. Our current government may be attempting to rewrite the past, but together we are in control of the future." More details on this subject can be found at National Post Article - March 15, 2013 (Margaret Munro)

What is going at the LAC is very unfortunate. The LAC are the keepers of our countries history, our heritage. It is not just a place that stores old documents and photos but also our National Library. So maybe I should adjust my dream job (at least until there is a change of government in Ottawa)... perhaps the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick is hiring?

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