Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

January 22, 2007 08:00 ET

Media Advisory/PIPSC: National Archivists and Historians Rally for Wage Parity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 22, 2007) - National Archivists and Historians at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and other federal departments are holding an information picket to draw attention to their longstanding underpayment and the undervaluing of the nation's history.



When: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 12:00 Noon

Where: In front of the Library and Archives Canada building
395 Wellington Street at Bay Street, Ottawa

Speakers: Michele Demers, PIPSC President
Special archival appearance by Sir John A. Macdonald,
Canada's first prime minister and creator of the Public
Archives of Canada in 1872.


Archivists and historians remain one of the lowest paid professional groups in the federal government despite acknowledgement of the problem by Treasury Board. Archivists at Library and Archives Canada are underpaid by an average of $16,000 in comparison to professional colleagues across the country.

The undervaluing of archivists is a longstanding problem within the Government of Canada, and poses a continuing and increasing obstacle for the retention of archivists within Library and Archives Canada. In a 6-month period in 2006, LAC lost an alarming 8% of its archival staff.

The role they play as protectors of the official records is invaluable; they preserve the history of our families, our communities and our nation and help Canadians assert their legal and constitutional rights. But with the high turnover in this group, the knowledge of these very records is dwindling. LAC is now in danger of being unable to fulfill its legislative mandate with regard to government record-keeping. The pay problem has been widely recognized by all sides, but the government continues to deny the need to pay fair wages to the National Archivists and Historians. The failure to address the problem is a statement of how the Government of Canada continues to undervalue the nation's heritage.

The Archivists and Historians are members of the Research Group at the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a national union representing 50,000 members across Canada.

FACT SHEET - National Archivists and Historians

Retention of Archivists at Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) preserves the collective memory of the nation and the Government of Canada by acquiring and conserving records of national significance and advising the federal government on records and information management. Over 75% of the Research Group Historical Researchers (HR) is employed by LAC as Archivists. The working level is HR-2 with a maximum salary of $56,632.

Retention is of significant concern. Departure rates are high. Between May and October 2006, 9 archivists left the group (8% of the group). Of a total of 115 positions, 90 are filled by employees currently working as archivists, while 25 are left vacant by employees who are on secondment, leave without pay or extended leave. As a result, in October 2006, LAC was functioning with only 78% of its complement.

Salary Comparisons

Provincial and University Archivists across Canada - provincial and university archives, who have similar responsibilities and a strong research component to their mandate, are traditional rivals with LAC for the best staff. A comparison of working-level archivists in provincial and university archives with equivalent working-level archivists (HR-2) with 6 to 12 years experience at the LAC establishes an average salary gap of $16,600, a difference of 29.3%.

Federal Museums - archivists' salaries at LAC, as of 2006, were, on average, more than $16,595 below those of federal museum curators, a 29.3% shortfall.

Other Federal Positions - colleagues in similar occupations performing comparable work across federal institutions, such as records managers and strategic analyst, earn on average, salaries that are $18,410 higher than those of LAC archivists, a difference of 32.1%.

University Professors - the salary of an HR-3 compared to that of an associate professor in selected Canadian universities shows a difference of approximately $47,519 (72.7%). A researcher who achieves a promotion to HR-5 can be compared to a full professor, where the salary difference is $55,362 (63.9%).

Conclusion

Higher salaries must be paid to National Archivists and Historians at all levels to stem the tide of departures and rebuild the core expertise required in the complex archival environment of the 21st century:



- To retain employees
-·To reduce on-site training and staffing costs
- To rebuild the falling store of knowledge and expertise
- To prepare for the oncoming wave of retirements
- To ensure the long-term care and accessibility of Canadians to
their documentary heritage
- To address the challenge of accountability in government of Canada
- To make LAC an employer of choice and centre of excellence

Contact Information

  • PIPSC
    Francine Pressault
    Media Relations
    613 228-6310, ext. 2228 or 613 794-9369
    www.pipsc.ca