What’s happening at the LAC Foundation?

According to its website the Library and Archives Canada Foundation is an independent non-governmental registered charity that supports Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in its mission to collect, preserve, and make it easier to access and share the stories, memories and knowledge that foster the sense, meaning and identity of Canada as it has evolved throughout our shared history.

According to a listing in the Canada Company Directory, the Foundation’s registered address is care of Jacques Shore, 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600, Ottawa, ON K1P 1C3. He is a Foundation director/trustee, one of the three in that impressive group who have served since inception, and was registered to lobby Library and Archives Canada.

If you followed the link to the website, you may have received a warning “Phishing page blocked for your protection,” as I did from Bitdefender. If you take the risk and check out the news and events tab, you’ll find the latest item is from 29 September 2021 about the appointment of a new director. Prior to that, there’s an item, purchase of 70 contemporary Judica items on 22 June 2021. Futher back there’s notice of LAC Scholar Awards in 2020.

What has the LAC Foundation done in the past two years?

From a page on the LAC website, having missed making Scholar Awards for 2021, recipients for 2022 were Jean-Marc Carisse, Jeremy Dutcher, Stan Douglas, Naomi Fontaine, and Deepa Mehta. For 2023 recepients were Anita Rau Badami, Eric Chan, Michel Jean, Kevin Loring and Dorothy Williams.  Unlike the 2020 scholars, Margaret Atwood, Roch Carrier, Charlotte Gray, Serge Joyal and Terry O’Reilly, awards are now going to those with (presently) less of a profile.

How is recognizing these scholars, which appears to be the sole Foundation activity in the past two years, helping the collect, preserve, access and share mission of LAC? I may have missed other activity, but they didn’t surface in a web search, so they don’t appear to be raising LAC’s profile.

As a registered charitable organization the LAC Foundation has to report annually to the Canada Revenue Agency on it’s activities, with emphasis on finances. As the table of the last four years of reports shows, the Foundation has been increasing revenues, limiting expenditures  and building up assets. The bump in expeditures reported in 2022 is likely due to the Judica donation.

Report date Assets Liabilities Revenue Expenditures
2023-03-31 $298,251.00 $39,948.00 $150,095.00 $13,728.00
2022-03-31 $156,935.00 $5,000.00 $121,966.00 $66,373.00
2021-03-31 $99,095.00 $2,752.00 $56,556.00 $15,585.00
2020-03-31 $55,474.00 $69,445.00 $14,971.00

What will the Foundation do?

As the Foundation does not issue a regular report, except that to Revenue Canada, the Foundation specific intention for use of the accumulating assets is obscure.

Does it seek to support LAC by acquiring unique materials that come on the market from time to time? That’s the precedent.

Would it be wishful thinking that the Foundation might consider following up on the “make easier to access” mission by funding enhanced online access to existing LAC holdings of benefit to a broader range of LAC clients than can visit its facilities? 

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