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The Archives and Recordkeeping Act (2006, S.O. 2006, chapter 34, Schedule A.) provides the basis for all acquisitions of archival records by the Archives of Ontario. It came into force on September 1, 2007.
The purposes of this Act are,
(a) to ensure that the public records of Ontario are managed, kept and preserved in a useable form for the benefit of present and future generations;
(b) to foster government accountability and transparency by promoting and facilitating good recordkeeping by public bodies; and
(c) to encourage the public use of Ontario's archival records as a vital resource for studying and interpreting the history of the province.
The head of the Archives has been known as the Archivist of Ontario since 1923. Eleven people have held this position. The first Archivist of Ontario was Alexander Fraser (1903-1935). John Roberts is the current Archivist of Ontario and has held the position since 2015.
The Archives of Ontario forms part of the Information, Privacy and Archives Division of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
Under the authority of the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006 the Archives of Ontario provides recordkeeping advisory services to assist Ontario government ministries and designated provincial agencies meet their recordkeeping responsibilities under the Act. To foster government accountability and transparency, and to promote excellence in government recordkeeping practices, the Archives has developed and released supporting tools, guides, and related training and education materials. The Archives of Ontario supports ministries and agencies in their records scheduling activities and manages the tracking of over 14,000 Archivist-approved record retention schedules.
As the official repository for the archival records of the Province of Ontario, the Archives of Ontario strives to acquire records from the private sector which document the many facets of Ontario's diverse society, and provide a reflection of the interaction between the government and its citizens. The records in its collection are from individuals and organizations that tell the stories of Ontario’s people, document events and trends with wide-ranging social or political impact, and reflect the province’s cultural diversity. The Archives of Ontario holds the records of over 2600 private individuals, businesses, clubs and associations, and labour and political organizations that have significance in the history of the province.
More information about the Archives’ private acquisition initiatives including its current Private Acquisition Strategy can be found on its website.
The collections held by the Archives of Ontario are a rich resource for the study of the history and people of the province. The collections are assembled on a total archives concept, meaning they document both the government work of the province as well as the private lives of its citizens. Researchers have access to a unique and multi-faceted collection that includes records dating back to the late 16th century and contains everything from hand-written ledgers to electronic files, hand-drawn maps, architectural drawings, photographs, films and sound recordings.
The archival collection is divided into two categories: government and private. This collection is further enhanced by the J. J. Talman Library and the Government of Ontario Art Collection.
Please note that the records of the Government of Ontario, which form a large part of the holdings of the Archives of Ontario, are not yet reflected in Archeion. To search these, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:
The Alexander Fraser Reading Room is open at the following times: Monday - 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Tuesday - 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM - Extended Hours 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM* Wednesday - 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Thursday - 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM - Extended Hours 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM* Friday - 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Saturday - 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Sunday - Closed