National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station

National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station


British Columbia Government Information Act begins second reading in Legislative Assembly

Update for March 3, 02015: The second reading of Bill, the Government Information Act, began on March 2, 02015 in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. The Hansard transcript is here:

In speaking about the bill, opposition member Doug Routley gave a lengthy critique and highlighted the 33,000 boxes of records in government warehouses awaiting transfer to the BC Archives, part of the Royal BC Museum.

 Original post: British Columbia government introduces legislation to create government digital archives

The British Columbia government introduced Bill 5, the Government Information Act, on February 12, 02015. The main purpose of the act is to repeal the 1936 Document Disposal Act. The new act will also establish a "digital archives for government information" and mandate a new position, the chief records officer, who will be "responsible for managing, securing and preserving the digital archives." The digitization of government information will become mandatory under this legislation unless the information is exempt from being digitized. Information in a non-digital form "must be digitized before it is archived."

Although it is open for interpretation and clarification, section 20(2)(e) appears to lay the groundwork for the government to begin paying fees to the Royal BC Museum for archival services. Except in a few very special circumstances, the Royal BC Museum has not taken in government records for over a decade. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner highlighted this situation in its July 02014 special report A Failure to Archive: Recommendations to Modernize Government Information Management. Could this bill be a response to the OIPCBC's report?

I wonder too whether with this new legislation the door may be opening for the payment of a one-time fee and transfer of thousands of boxes to the "museum archives of government" as the bill styles the Royal BC Museum.

The first reading version of the bill is at

A news release offers some additional information: the "digital archives will be open to the public and searchable online" and "The transition to digital information management will begin in the spring of 2015 and is expected to take three years."

The Victoria newspaper Times-Colonist's article about Bill 5 is here.