Document restrictions

All records in our collection have an access code.

How to find the access code

  • Go to the Collection Search record description.
  • Click to expand the Ordering and viewing options.
  • The code appears under Conditions of access in the far right column.

Types of restrictions

Open (code 90)

There are no restrictions on this material and it can be accessed by anyone.

Open, no copying (code 95)

The records are open and you can consult them. At the request of the donor, you can't copy or reproduce the records.

Government restrictions (code 32)

Many government records are restricted (code 32) simply because they have not yet been reviewed for potentially sensitive or injurious information. You can request access to these government records through a request under the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act.

However, as required by the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, some information may remain restricted after a review, such as:

  • national security
  • confidential information from other governments
  • law enforcement investigations
  • personal information and medical records
  • legal opinions

Library and Archives Canada must provide access to records, except in instances where the information is exempt or excluded.

Private records restrictions (code 18 and 10)

After individuals or groups donate records, LAC sets conditions for access. We make records open and available to the public as much as possible.

Private records often have sensitive content like personal information, medical or legal records. Some private records include government information about restricted topics. Topics include national security, other governments, police services, and program operations.

Private records may be closed for a specified time to protect sensitive information. Sometimes there can be certain conditions for accessing these records.

Restricted (code 18)

You can access these through an application procedure established by the donor. These restrictions affect what you can consult, as well as what you can copy.

Closed (code 10)

You can't consult these records. Sometimes a donor has specified a review date restriction for material. After a certain date, you can't consult them until someone reviews the records.

Restrictions vary (code 96)

Within a group of records, there are more than one type of access condition. For example, a fonds may contain records that are open (code 90) and some restricted records (code 32). Thus the restrictions vary (code 96).

Access code 96 applies to more than fonds-level descriptions. A series, sub-series and accessions can have code 96 applied. It does not apply to individual volumes and files.

Access code 96 usually means that there are more specific descriptions available. In some cases, you can access records by clicking View lower level description(s). This button is available in the record description, under the Record information - Details section.

To be determined / closed pending processing (code 99)

Access conditions for a group of records have yet to be determined. Usually this is because the records are being processed. For example, while the photographic material is open, the access conditions for the textual records are not yet determined.

Additional consideration

Preservation restrictions

Some material may be restricted for preservation reasons. This material is not available for viewing or copying because the material is:

  • too fragile to handle or to transport
  • getting conservation treatment
  • too large for us to move it to a research room
  • being copied or is being moved to a new location

In some cases, you can arrange to view fragile material with the help of our staff. We might also ask you to use another format to protect the original.

Copyright restrictions

LAC holds a mix of public and private material, both published and unpublished, much of which is still protected by copyright. Sometimes LAC is the copyright owner. Often, LAC is not the copyright owner. An author, a creator, or the government can also be a copyright owner.

If you want to use copies outside of personal research reasons, LAC will let you know if you need written consent from the copyright owner.