December 4, 2020

Good News: Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Withdraws Controversial Code of Conduct

From a Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Statement:

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  In a victory for staff, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has withdrawn its controversial Code of Conduct put into effect in early 2013.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.

Background

Federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled’ under new code of conduct that stresses ‘duty of loyalty’ to the government (National Post; March 15, 2013)

March 22, 2013 Statement from the Canadian Library Association

March 18, 2013 Statement from Assoc. of Canadian Archivists

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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