Accessing restricted documents

Procedures for accessing restricted documents vary by document type.

On this page

Members of the public

Government records

You can access closed government records through an Access to Information and Privacy Act request.

Private records

You can access restricted private records (code 18) by following a procedure set by the donor.

The Conditions of access section has more information on these procedures. Find them in the Collection Search record description under Ordering and viewing options.

Government employees and departmental researchers

How to apply to conduct departmental research

  • Get a user card or update your user card with your current work contact information.
  • Have a valid security clearance that matches the classification of the records.
  • Ask the department that created the records to send LAC written permission. You can use one of the following letters.

LAC will review your request and will contact you if any information is missing. It takes up to 20 working days to consider requests. You'll receive an email, once approved. Without approval, you can't order or copy material.

How to use information from restricted records

Restricted records provided to departmental researchers remain closed to the public. Researchers must handle information in the same way as other restricted documents in the Government of Canada.

Researchers must follow the Policy on Government Security by:

  • protecting the information according to its security classification
  • having the appropriate security controls in place

Restricted archival records are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. They govern the disclosure of government-controlled information.

For more information about the appropriate and approved use of the results of your research, reach out to your organization's:

  • information officer
  • security office
  • Access to Information and Privacy coordinator