CCCB Permanent Council Issues Guidelines to Help Dioceses Develop their Own Policies on Indigenous-Related Records

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released Guidelines to assist dioceses in developing their own  policies on Indigenous-related records which diocesan archives may contain. The Guidelines are intended for Diocesan Bishops, as well as their chancellors and archivists. They outline best practices related to the care of and access to the holdings in diocesan archives in consideration of applicable privacy legislation and canon law.

It is hoped that these Guidelines will better position Catholic dioceses to continue the work of providing documentation or records which will assist residential school survivors and researchers in their search for truth.

The Guidelines are organized into three distinct sections:

  1. A review of Church teachings and canon law
  2. An overview of civil law regarding archival holdings and personal records; and
  3. Recommendations for streamlining access to Indigenous-related records in diocesan archives and responding to requests for access to information.

Building on the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, these Guidelines outline how diocesan archives can best support researchers in their work.

As pledged at the 2022 Plenary Assembly, these Guidelines respond, with transparency and simplicity, to the sometimes cumbersome processes researchers have experienced in requesting access to information from diocesan archives.

The Bishops of Canada are committed to continuing the work of providing documentation or records that will help Indigenous Peoples, and all Canadians, better understand the history of the former Indian Residential Schools, including the broader relationship of the Catholic Church in Canada to Indigenous Peoples, thereby helping to advance truth, healing, reconciliation, and hope.

Updated 19 July 2023

Guidelines for Developing Policies on Indigenous-Related Records in Canadian Catholic Diocesan Archives

FAQ for Researchers