Information oversight: archives and recordkeeping practices in Manitoba municipalities
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Every municipality in Manitoba has a distinct and valuable history, but many stories are already lost, and many more are at risk due to poor recordkeeping and archiving. Municipal records document local decisions, actions, finances, the relationship between governments and citizens, and much more. Most of this information is only available in municipal government records; it does not exist anywhere else. Additionally, despite municipal reliance on local records and archives in their day-to-day operations, and as a key source in constructing specific community identities, many municipal government offices have neglected, forgotten, or no longer see the value in maintaining an archive. As a result, municipal governments cannot be held fully accountable for their actions and are unable to abide by the archival requirements of the Municipal Act and the access and privacy provisions outlined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. They are also thereby failing to take advantage of the archival services offered through the Archives of Manitoba as outlined in the province’s Archives and Recordkeeping Act. This project examines how municipal employees and citizens view recordkeeping, particularly how archival records are considered. In order to learn how municipal officials deal with both their current and archival records a survey was sent to all the municipalities in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg, which was excluded because it had made considerable recent progress by establishing a city archives. Driven by a concern that municipal records outside of Winnipeg are not being adequately managed and archived, this thesis studies the way municipalities are treating both their operational and archival records. These findings are contextualized by looking at municipal archives and archival practices across Canada. Finally, the thesis provides some suggestions for improving recordkeeping practices in Manitoba’s municipalities.