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Taking care of CBC/Radio-Canada archival assets
By  CMG  •  Posted on  July 8, 2019

The below  letter was mailed to Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada President and CEO and to the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors

June 26, 2019

Subject: Taking care of  CBC/Radio-Canada archival assets

Dear Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada President, Members of the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors:

The CMG has worked in partnership with CBC management to examine how our archival materials are being kept.  We agree with their priority of digitizing all of our assets, and are glad to see that efforts are being made to include our vast amounts of regional material as well as the national (network) materials housed in the bigger centres.  Decades of our work are stored on various outdated formats of audio and video, which are known to have a limited shelf life before possible disintegration can occur. In many cases, the equipment needed to utilize the original physical carriers is no longer maintained or reliable.  It’s why digitization is an imperative.

However, we had some concerns when reports surfaced about original archival carriers being destroyed, and that there were outside charitable foundations interested in storing these materials as an alternative to destruction. The CMG began meeting with CBC management in the spring of 2018; management shared details of their current digitization plans, and told us that original carriers would be kept for five years after digitization.  The CBC has informed us they are working with Libraries and Archives Canada to ensure all proper archival standards are being met.

Our archival assets are priceless – they represent the history of our country recorded daily for more than 80 years.  We are satisfied that successful digitization is the best way to preserve these assets into the future.  The CMG also supports donating original CBC archival materials after successful digitization to external Canadian organizations or individuals who request it, if there is neither space nor funds to continue to house those outdated physical assets internally.

Our CMG members, who work tirelessly from coast to coast to coast on ensuring that we have the best quality records kept of CBC materials, take great pride in the work that they do – and we thank them for it.  They understand the intrinsic value of our archives – as perhaps the best articulated historical documents that exist of Canada’s history since the 1930s. And they work hard to make our daily output accessible and comprehensive.


Jonathan Spence
President, CBC/Radio-Canada Branch, Canadian Media
On behalf of the Branch Executive Committee

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