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AAO News

  • 30 Oct 2020 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    The Northwestern Ontario Archivists' Association is holding its first-ever Virtual Archives Crawl on November 10, 8pm EST/ 7pm CST. We'll be sharing behind-the-scenes videos and slideshows of our facilities and collections, featuring contributions from across the Northwest. 

    Anyone working in archives, museums, or heritage collections in the North of Ontario is invited to register for the event at:

    For more information, please contact

    Hope to (virtually) see you there!

  • 30 Sep 2020 4:53 PM | Anonymous

    On behalf of the MAIG Executive, I am pleased to present the 2020 Edition of the Municipal Archive Interest Group’s yearly publication, the MAIGazineThis issue features various updates from throughout the Province, including information from the AAO’s COVID-19 Survey, the upcoming Institutional Issues Symposium, and institutional updates. For quick access, please find the current issue available on the MAIG Website, or view the issue through this shortened link: 

    For more information about MAIG, to view previous issues of the MAIGazine, please visit our page on the AAO website:

    Thank you to everyone who submitted articles for the 2020 Edition!

    Take care,


  • 09 Sep 2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    Please join us on Thursday, October 22, 2020, for the AAO’s annual all-day Institutional Members’ Symposium, organized by the Institutional Development Committee (IDC).

    It is no secret that this year has been unprecedented for archives and archivists across the province. The timing of this year’s symposium should provide us with a unique opportunity for an open and wide-ranging conversation about our experiences during COVID-19. There is a lot for us to share and explore with questions ranging from “how did we do?” to “how are we doing?” and the fundamental question of what this experience means for the future of our profession.

    In addition, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others have magnified conversations related to policy brutality, abuse and discrimination against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Their deaths have also brought into focus the far-reaching nature of inequality in all facets of society, including the archival profession. This year’s symposium will also provide time for participants to unpack the AAO’s anti-racism statement and to start looking constructively at what we, as a profession, can do to activate it in our day-to-day work.

    This year’s symposium will be held exclusively online via Zoom. Although we have enjoyed the in-person meetings at the Archives of Ontario in Toronto over the last few years, we hope that the move to an online platform will open up the dialogue to participation by members from all areas of the province. 

    Save the date for now, but stay tuned for more information.

  • 31 Aug 2020 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    Do you want to get involved with the Archives Association of Ontario (AAO)? The Programme Committee for the AAO 2021 conference is looking for volunteers. The 2021 conference will be held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on May 12-14, 2021.  

    The broad theme for the 2021 conference is reconciliation and decolonization. The Programme Committee is responsible for the management of information and ideas for the intellectual direction of the conference and will be working to put together the programme for the 2021 conference. 

    If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Krista McCracken at

  • 17 Aug 2020 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Are you an AAO member who has enjoyed reading or contributing to Off the Record (OTR), the quarterly digital newsletter published by the AAO? Or are you looking for opportunities to connect with and learn from other members of the archival community in Ontario? Or perhaps you’re an archivist with great organizational and editorial skills to share with the AAO?

    If so, the AAO has a volunteer opportunity for you as the new editor of Off the Record!

    Off the Record publishes quality writing on archives by the AAO community, the AAO Board of Directors, chapters, special interest groups and AAO staff on a variety of subjects. Issues include articles sharing professional knowledge, updates on outreach activities, profiles of archival workers, features on archives-related projects and events, and news and announcements about the AAO’s activities.

    Off the Record is published four times per year in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Back issues are located on the AAO website here.

    The OTR Editor is responsible for collecting, editing, and formatting submissions, and publishing the issue. The Editor also assists with coordinating advertising and reporting annually to the AAO Board of Directors. The term for this position is typically two years with an option for renewal. This position can also be configured as a co-editorship for two people on a staggered term basis.

    Please contact Jennifer Grant or current OTR Editor, Grant Hurley, with expressions of interest or for more detailed information about this position.

  • 14 Aug 2020 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    The Municipal Archives Interest Group (MAIG) is seeking article submissions to include in our 2020 edition of the MAIGazine. This year we are looking for articles about your new projects or any updates and interesting news you would like to share. How have you been staying connected with your patrons, communities, and peers this year? What new virtual services are you now offering? What steps have been taken at your archives to diversify your community’s historical narrative? We want to hear from you!

    If you are interested in submitting an article, please send your submission as a Word Document to Megan Lockhart ( by September 4th. Please submit any photos you would like included in your article separately as a JPEG or TIFF. Feel free to contact Megan with any questions about submitting your article.

    For information about MAIG, the MAIGazine or to view past issues, visit our webpage at .

    Thank you in advance for your submissions, we look forward to reading them.


    Gillian Shaw, Megan Lockhart and Gina Dewaele

    MAIG Executive​

  • 28 Jul 2020 11:34 AM | Grant Hurley

    Dear AAO friends,

    I am pleased to announce that the Summer 2020 issue of Off the Record is now available for all readers. In recognition of the need to support knowledge-sharing and professional development during these difficult times, the AAO has generously made this issue open access.

    Readers can access the issue here.

    This issue includes four very topical, thoughtful and engaging feature articles that reflect the authors' experiences of the current moment and addressing the future of our profession:

    • Stefanie Martin, Tamara Rayan and Moska Rokay, the convenors of the recent BIPOC Forum at the 2020 ACA conference, describe their work advocating for support of BIPOC students at the University of Toronto iSchool and outline the insights, experiences and outcomes of the Forum. 
    • Rebekah Mitchell presents an honest and thought-provoking look at the subject of mental health and resilience for archivists. 
    • Two pieces reflect on the rapid changes in services from physical to virtual at the Oxford County Archives (Megan Lockhart) and the Archives of Ontario (Teresa Maljar-Hupel, Jay Young and Sean Smith).

    The issue also features AAO news and community updates, including citations for the 2020 AAO Awards, a message from AAO Archives Advisor Iona McCraith, a member spotlight featuring David Sharron, an exhibit announcement from the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives, and more!  

    The previous Summer 2019 issue is also now accessible to all here.


    OTR Editor

  • 23 Jul 2020 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    Do you want to get involved with the Archives Association of Ontario (AAO)? Are you a new professional looking to meet fellow archivists and contribute to the field? If so, you’re in luck! The AAO is looking for individuals to help support our mandate of furthering the education of Ontario’s records and information professionals and advocating for the interests of the province’s community of archives, heritage organizations, and records institutions.

    The AAO is currently looking for volunteers for the following committees:

    • Professional Development Committee (PDC)
    • Advancement Committee
    • Communications and Advocacy Committee (CAC)
    • Student and New Professionals Outreach Committee 

    The Communications and Advocacy Committee and Digital Access and Preservation Committee also have vacancies for the position of chair. 

    Detailed committee descriptions and a listing of current membership can be found on the AAO website

    If you are interested in volunteering or wish to learn more about these opportunities, please reach out to Director Without Portfolio Samantha Shields at

    Best regards,

    Jennifer Grant

    President, 2020-2021


  • 14 Jul 2020 4:22 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Membership,

    We are pleased to announce the 2020-2021 AAO Board of Directors. Together we look forward to working alongside the Ontario archival community to uphold the values of the association. 

    Thank you to exiting directors for their dedication, wisdom, and contributions, especially Juanita Rossiter who has served as Special Advisor, Michael deJong who served as the Chapter Stakeholder, and to Lauren Halsey for serving as Director Without Portfolio.


    Jennifer Grant

    Vice-President / President Elect

    Krista McCracken

    Secretary / Treasurer

    Jessica Barr

    Institutional Development Committee Chair

    Matthew Fells

    Director without Portfolio

    Tys Klumpenhouwer

    Director without Portfolio

    Samantha Shields

    Chapter Stakeholder

    Claire Sutton

    Past President

    James Roussain

    Web Administrator

    MacKenzie Gott


    The minutes from the 2020 Annual General Meeting are available on the AAO website here for review. 


    Best regards,

    Jennifer Grant

  • 26 Jun 2020 1:06 PM | Anonymous

    The AAO Awards Committee consisting of Jean Dryden, Matt Szybalski, David  Sharron, and Rodney Carter – were pleased and honoured to announce the winners  of the 2020 AAO Awards at the AAO’s AGM held on June 25th, 2020. 


    The James J. Talman Award was named after the second Archivist of Ontario, who  served from 1935 to 1939. He subsequently served as Chief Librarian for the  University of Western Ontario until 1969. The Award is given to individuals who  have demonstrated an outstanding level of imagination and innovation in  contributing to the profession, their institution, or the archival community, or who  have challenged conventional thinking about archival work. 

    This year, our first Talman Award is presented to Anna St. Onge.  Anna is the Director of Digital Scholarship Infrastructure at York University  Libraries. Prior to taking on this role, she was the Digital Projects and Outreach  Archivist at York’s Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.   As Director of Digital Scholarship Infrastructure, she is establishing the  infrastructure that supports digital scholarship, including collaboration, access, data  curation and long‐term preservation solutions, digital pedagogy, rights  management, and research dissemination. In this capacity, she is leveraging her  considerable archival experience to develop strategies, policies and processes  around the management and use of digital records, and by extension is raising  awareness of what archivists have to offer beyond the strict confines of the archives.  According to her nominators, Anna’s work has shown how integral the archives are  to the digital work that is ubiquitous in libraries and that notions of discovery,  dissemination and preservation need to be considered using an archival lens. Anna’s  influence is true to her characteristic grassroots nature, where she has tirelessly  participated in meetings to ensure that archival viewpoints are heard and integrated  into functional requirements. Her work in this capacity is described as  “transformative” and that her being “at the leading edge of organizational change  within the libraries [has been] truly innovative as [she] challenges conventional  thinking about archival work and she has made archival practice inseparable from  digital librarianship at York University Libraries.”  

    In her work at York University and beyond it, Anna is, as her nominators write,  “generous with her time and knowledge, and imaginative and collaborative in her  approach. Anna has become a visionary and a champion of what the potential of  archives can be for future generations…” Further, they write that she “has  repeatedly used her position and voice within the profession to push important  questions forward. She has provided achievable ways of weaving values rooted in  equity, inclusion, reconciliation and the upholding of human rights into the  evolution of our practice.”  

    While her nominators note that Anna would be the first to state she does not do her  work alone, her work is exemplified by courage, commitment, integrity, generosity,  and leadership. She never hesitates to step up to take on difficult work, to speak out  when required, and never fails to support and uplift those she works alongside,  without seeking recognition for doing so.  

    For her innovative work in bringing archival theories and methodologies to digital  scholarship and for her continuing efforts to put challenging ideas and beliefs into  action, we are thrilled to present Anna St. Onge with the James J. Talman Award. 


    The second Talman Award for 2020 is being awarded to Paulette Dozois.  Paulette is currently Senior Lead Archivist/Block Review Team Leader in the Public  Services Branch of Library and Archives Canada. She will be retiring this year, after  forty‐three years at LAC, during which time she has brought new ideas and  approaches to her own work and that of her institution. 

    Throughout her career, Paulette has championed researchers’ rights and sought to  make the federal public records held by LAC open and available. Exemplifying her  innovative approach to access has been Paulette’s key role in the development and  implementation of Block Review at LAC. 

    Block Review is the systematic review of blocks or series of archived government  records which incorporates a risk‐based approach that looks at both the age of the  record and the subject. It is completed by using various sampling strategies to  determine whether the records can be opened for public access under both the  Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The process involves identifying and  examining representative parts of the archival record and opening the records  based on the findings of the examination. 

    The methodology was first developed in the early 2000s but despite early promise  being shown, the programme soon faltered. In 2010, Paulette was chosen to revive  Block Review, renewing and enhancing its methodology, and she was responsible  for cultivating the political will within LAC to ensure its success. Despite being  redeveloped during a tumultuous time at LAC, under Paulette’s leadership, the  project was able to garner early important successes and she was able to  strategically exploit these successes to ensure Block Review became a permanent  feature of LAC’s accessibility regime.  

    Using sampling techniques to review large swaths of archival records, Paulette has  been successful in adapting and improving traditional archival principles in the  review of archival records to proactively open records in a fast and efficient manner,  even before researchers have a chance to ask for access. To date, Paulette and her  team have been able to open in excess of fifty million previously closed and  restricted federal government documents, opening more than 10 times the number  of records opened in a traditional manner. 

    Paulette has made presentations and given workshops on the new method across  Canada and internationally and this methodology is now being considered for  adoption by a number of provincial and even international archives.  

    Paulette’s nominators recount a CBC News interview from December 2015 where  LAC archivists were asked about their most unusual finds among the papers of ex‐ Prime Ministers and Paulette recounted how, while working with the Mackenzie  King Papers, she found one of his molars among the files. "I wore white gloves," she  said. The nominator continued, stating “Paulette Dozois has worked more than forty  years in the archives field. She has worn white gloves when appropriate, but more  often, she has had the gloves off as she fought to preserve Canada’s historical  records, to tell the world about them, and to get them into the hands of researchers.”   In recognition of her long career working to provide access to Federal records,  culminating in her innovative work in developing Block Review, the AAO is  delighted to present Paulette Dozois with the James J. Talman Award. 


    The AAO Corporate Award is given to organizations, corporations, or agencies of  any kind that have been particularly supportive of archives and/or the archival  community. Nominees may include: organizations that have provided significant  support to the promotion of education, publication, and/or other professional  activities; organizations that have provided significant support to the activities of a  particular institution; and organizations that have demonstrated imagination or  creativity in the use of archives. 

    The AAO is pleased to present the 2020 Corporate Award to PortsToronto.  PortsToronto, formerly known as the Toronto Ports Authority and, prior to that, the  Toronto Harbour Commission, is the agency that is responsible for the management  of city’s harbour and waterfront, including Terminals 51 and 52 of the Port of  Toronto, the Outer Harbour Marina, and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The  archives of PortsToronto was founded in 1975 and contains records dating back to  the creation of the Toronto’s Harbour Trust in 1850 and the archives documents the  management and evolution of the city’s waterfront from that time to the present.  With the passing of the 1999 Canada Marine Act, the Toronto Harbour Commission  became the Toronto Port Authority and the records fell under federal jurisdiction.  While the records could have been transferred to Library and Archives Canada, it  was determined they should remain in Toronto as they still had a great deal of  administrative, legal, and historical value for the Authority and for researchers in  the city. The archives are used to determine rights and responsibilities with  developers, to assist with contaminated soil remediation and for other  environmental purposes, and for promotional purposes, historical research, and use  in exhibitions. 

    In 2017, following the rebranding of the agency to become PortsToronto in 2015,  the agency’s building – and the archives’ home ‐ at 60 Harbour St was sold.  PortsToronto moved into the Queen’s Quay Terminal building but a new location  was needed for the archives. PortsToronto undertook a major renovation of storage  rooms at Terminal 52, creating a modern archival storage space, complete with  HVAC system, fire‐suppression and security systems, and additional shelving.  Archival reference is provided out of the Queen’s Quay Terminal offices.   In the words of the nominator, “Over the course of 45 years, the Toronto Harbour  Commission and PortsToronto have been keepers of a documentary legacy that  began in the mid‐19th century. It has used its archives in innovative ways that offer  corporate and public benefits. The costs of preservation and access could have been  avoided by transferring these holdings to Ottawa. Instead, PortsToronto has  ensured that these significant records remain in the region in which they were  created and are accessible to promote an understanding of the historical context  that shapes contemporary challenges facing Toronto’s waterfront.” 

    For its long track record of stewardship and its recent investment in the storage of  its archives, the AAO is pleased to present PortsToronto its Corporate Award for  2020. 

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