About the program

The program helps document Canada's history, so we can share it with current and future generations.

On this page

Purpose

The purpose of this program is to provide $ 1.5 million in funding each year to local organizations in support of Canada’s documentary heritage. The term “documentary heritage” refers to records and publications (written or audio-visual) that reflect Canada’s history. Some examples include:

  • photographs
  • audio or video recordings
  • treaties
  • dictionaries and lexicons
  • portraits
  • diaries
  • maps

The program objectives are to help local organizationsFootnote 1:

  • increase access to, and awareness of their holdings
  • increase their capacity to keep and preserve Canada's documentary heritage

Each year, organizations can apply for funding through a call for proposals. The call opens in the fall for projects starting in April the next year.

We assess proposals for eligibility, feasibilityFootnote 2 and merit. For each project that receives funding, LAC and the recipient organization sign a contribution agreementFootnote 3. This specifies the terms and conditions to receive the funds. At the end of the term, every recipient must submit an interim report and a final report.

Value of the contributionFootnote 4

Program funding can cover up to 100% of a project's eligible expenses.

When appropriate and feasible, we encourage past funding recipients to:

  • submit applications in partnership with other eligible organizations
  • secure other sources of funding, for example contributions from your organization, private sector or other levels of government

Determining the value of a project

The program will award eligible projects as follows:

Summary of available funding 1 year projects 2 year projects
Type of organization Small contributions
(up to $24,999)
Large contributions
(between $25,000 and $50,000, or up to $60,000 for organizations located in remote areas)
Two-year large contributions
(Up to $50,000 per year, or up to $60,000 for organizations located in remote areas)
Non-incorporated non-profit organizations Checked Empty Empty
Incorporated non-profit organizations Checked Checked Empty
Past DHCP or LHOV funding recipients who are incorporated Checked Checked Checked

1-year projects

Small contributions: Up to $24,999
  • Duration is up to one year.
  • Both incorporated and non-incorporated non-profit organizations can apply.
  • Indigenous organizations/government institutions can apply.
Large contributions: Between $25,000 and $50,000 (or up to $60,000 for organizations located in remote areas)
  • Duration is up to one year.
  • Incorporated non-profit organizations can apply.
  • Indigenous organizations/government institutions can apply.

2-year projects

Only past DHCP and LHOV recipients that have completed their project(s) can apply. Once activities are completed and we accept the organization’s project-end report, the project is completed.
Two-year large contributions: Up to $50,000 per year (or up to $60,000 for organizations located in remote areas)
  • Duration is up to two years.
  • Incorporated non-profit organizations can apply.
  • Indigenous organizations/government institutions can apply.
  • Total project funding cannot exceed $100,000 (or $120,000 for organizations in remote areas).

Organizations in remote areas

The program provides extra funding for organizations in remote areas, as the costs of living and business are higher.

Eligible organizations can apply for:

  • large contributions for up to $60,000
  • two-year large contributions for up to $120,000

Please see Canada Revenue Agency's list of locations included in prescribed zones to check if your area qualifies as remote.

Limit of government assistance

Organizations can only apply for one project per funding cycle. You can only carry out one DHCP-funded project at a time.

Funding from LAC and other government departments operating at the federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal level, can't exceed 100% of a project's eligible costs.

How we assess applications

You must meet the eligibility criteria and submit a complete application package to be considered. We review all applications in three phases:

  1. Our advisors check project eligibility
  2. Our experts examine project feasibility
  3. Our external advisory committee compares the merits of each project as well as program priorities, available funding, and regional representation

The process focuses on strengthening local documentary heritage communities and networks across Canada. It is based on:

The program is highly competitive. Total funding requests always exceed available resources. Submitting an application doesn't guarantee you'll receive funding.

Project assessment criteria

Relevance and community engagement

The applicant demonstrates that the project:

  • aligns with program objectives
  • is relevant and has benefits (such as a collection, learning events and other activities)
  • responds to a need (internal or external)
  • has a significant impact in the documentary heritage or in the broader community (for example: It fosters collaboration or sharing outcomes such as knowledge or resources)
  • has support and interest from other funders or partners, where relevant

Project planning and management

The organization shows that:

  • it has a clear project outline including scope, activities and expected results
  • timelines are realistic
  • it has the human resources to complete the project
  • it is using sound project management methods including planned risk mitigation measures
  • the project uses:
    • relevant best practices
    • established standards
    • innovative design or delivery elements that contribute to achieving the expected results

Budget analysis

  • The applicant provides a forecast and timeline of project costs and revenues.
  • The project receives financial or other support from other sources.
  • You’re requesting the minimum amount needed to meet the stated objectives and expected results.
  • The amount requested is appropriate, given the other sources of funding you will receive.

Evaluation and expected outcomes

The evaluation strategy is appropriate to assess the success of the project.

  • The strategy is clear and links to:
    • outcomes (the changes resulting from the project, such as increased awareness, knowledge, skill or access)
    • and outputs (direct products or services produced and delivered to a group or population, such as an exhibition, the preservation or digitization of a collection, a workshop)
  • The project and its short- and long-term outcomes are clearly identified, realistic and sustainable.

Capacity to deliver

The applicant organization:

  • has a fiscally responsible operating budget (in other words, expenses and revenues are appropriate)
  • can obtain the capacity to take on the proposed project (such as: project management capacity, subject-matter expertise)
  • demonstrates readiness to put the project in place

Risks associated with the proposed project

The project proposal demonstrates:

  • knowledge of potential risks (for the applicant and partner organizations, and/or the project)
  • potential mitigation measures

Funding decisions

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada makes the final funding decision.

The decision is final and not subject to review or appeal.

We aim to announce the recipients in the spring (13 weeks following the closure of our call for proposal).

External Advisory Committee Members 2022-2023 and 2023-2024

Chair

  • Guylaine Beaudry, Trenholme Dean of Libraries, McGill University

Members

  • Alexandre Chartier, Director, la Société historique de la Saskatchewan
  • Jay Gilbert, Director of Intergovernmental Relations and Legislative Services, City of Coquitlam
  • Kayla Lar-Son, Indigenous Programs and Services Librarian, X̱wi7x̱wa Library, University of British Columbia
  • Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library
  • Linda McIntyre, Retired (former Provincial Archivist, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan)
  • Suzanne Payette, Director, Brossard Public Library
  • Colette Poitras, Manager, Indigenous Public Library Outreach, Government of Alberta
  • Moska Rokay, Archivist, Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto
  • Crystal Rose, Head of Public Services, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University Library
  • Raegan Swanson, Executive Director, The ArQuives

Other funding programs

Glossary

Documentary heritage

Documentary heritage is a collection of recorded history in any format. It includes records and publications of interest to Canada about the experience of a specific local community or group.

In-kind contribution

A donation to a project by an individual, business or organization. It consists of materials, goods, services or time that the recipient would have had to paid for. There is no expectation of compensation for an in-kind contribution. It involves non-cash asset transactions such as:

  • securities
  • land
  • buildings
  • equipment
  • use of facilities, labour and goods

To be eligible as an in-kind contribution, the donation must:

  • be key to the project’s success
  • represent an expense that would not otherwise be incurred and paid for by the recipient as part of the project
  • be mentioned in the recipient’s contribution agreement
  • be documented and recorded in the recipient’s accounting books
  • be reasonably estimated at fair value on the date it is made, using either market value or an appraisal
  • contribute to the total cost of the project but not be reimbursable, as no monies change hands
Interim report

Funding recipients must provide an interim report midway through the project. This report must provide:

  • the results of work completed so far
  • the status of outstanding work
  • updated revenue and expense reports
Local documentary heritage organization

An organization that operates primarily at a community or regional level. It has a collection that reflects and represents a local and/or regional audience.

Official language minority communities

English-speaking communities in Quebec and French-speaking communities in the rest of Canada.

Owner of collection

The proprietor, possessor or title-holder of the collection(s).

Partner/Partnership

An organization that meets the DHCP eligibility criteria. It agrees to collaborate with the applicant to achieve a common goal. The DHCP does not recognize partner organizations unless they contribute in cash or in-kind to the completion of the project.

Project

A set of tasks that a recipient proposes to undertake with financial help from a department. The project has clear start and end dates. It happens within a reasonable amount of time, and has measurable results.

Third Party

An eligible organization that receives funding from a recipient for a specific role or service in a project.

Volunteers

Unpaid individuals who give their time, energy and skills for public benefit. This differs from paid employees and unpaid interns. For more information, refer to In-kind contribution.