Letter to Suzanne Legault removing APLA’s complaint of potential effects of LAC Code of Conduct.

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Ms. Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada

Place de Ville, Tower B
112 Kent Street, 7th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3

March 3, 2014

Dear Ms. Legault,

On July 8, 2013, the Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) contacted your office to raise concern with the Code of Conduct of Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC).  It was the contention of APLA that the Code severely limited the freedom of expression and professional development opportunities of the staff of our National Library and undermined the ability of librarians and information professionals to continue in their important efforts to extend and promote library services to Canadians by limiting or eliminating their possibilities for teaching and public speaking.  APLA was of the belief that restrictions on professional and personal activities imposed by the Code would have the potential to impede public access to the vast store of heritage and official government documents held at LAC.  We asked that where you share the concerns of the Association, you raise those concerns with the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada upon their appointment.  

On January 23, 2014, APLA received notification from Natasa Puskar, the IOCC Investigator assigned to this complaint that a revised Code of Conduct for LAC had been posted on December 18, 2013.  Also at that time, APLA was asked if, in light of the revisions, it was possible to settle the complaint.  APLA agreed to review the revised document and advise the IOCC should we consent to settlement.

I am pleased to convey that APLA is willing to settle the complaint.  While the version of the Code which gave rise to our complaint is no longer in effect, APLA did review the revised version to assess whether our concerns had been addressed.  The revised version does carry forward many of the substantive elements of the original.  Those elements however must now be read as part of a document which is considerably more respectful in tone.  Notably, the revised version omits the alarming characterization of teaching, speaking at conferences and other personal engagements as high risk to LAC.

Thank you for your attention to this complaint.  APLA appreciates the timely and professional manner in which this matter was handled.

Sincerely,

Louise White

APLA President

cc. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister