BILL NO. 43
1st Session, 57th General Assembly
47 Elizabeth II, 1998
Public Archives ActCHAPTER 24 OF THE ACTS OF 1998
The Honourable Robert S. Harrison
Minister of Education and Culture
First Reading: October 26, 1998
Second Reading: November 12, 1998
Third Reading: November 26, 1998 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS)
Royal Assent: December 3, 1998
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Public Archives Act.
2 In this Act,
(a) "Board" means the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives;
(b) "Public Archives" means the Public Archives of Nova Scotia;
(c) "Provincial Archivist" means the Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia;
(d) "Minister" means the Minister of Education and Culture;
(e) "public body" means a public body within the meaning of the Government Records Act;
(f) "records" means information or data that is recorded or stored by graphic, photographic, electronic, mechanical or other means and includes public archives vested in Her Majesty in right of the Province.
3 The Minister has the general supervision and management of this Act.
4 (1) There is hereby established a central agency of Government to be known as the Public Archives of Nova Scotia.
(2) The Public Archives are under the general direction and control of the Minister.
5 The objects and functions of the Public Archives are to
(a) acquire and preserve Government and private-sector records of Provincial significance and facilitate access to them;
(b) develop policies, standards, procedures and services for effective records management in Government;
(c) be the permanent repository of records of public bodies; and
(d) encourage and assist archival activities and the archival community.
6 (1) There shall be a Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia appointed by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the Board in consultation with the Minister.
(2) The Provincial Archivist is the chief executive and operating officer of the Public Archives.
7 All employees of the Public Archives shall be appointed in accordance with, and are subject to, the Civil Service Act.
8 For the purpose of the Public Service Superannuation Act, every full-time employee of the Public Archives, whether appointed before or after the coming into force of this Act, is and is deemed to have been a person employed in the public service of the Province, and full-time employment, before or after the coming into force of this Act, in the service of the Public Archives is be deemed to be and to have been employment in the public service of the Province.
9 There shall be a Board of Trustees of the Public Archives whose main responsibilities are to
(a) advise the Provincial Archivist on the general direction of the Public Archives and fulfil an oversight role;
(b) review and comment on the development of major program plans, policies and priorities of the Public Archives that would qualify as a significant initiative or a substantial departure from the existing mandate of the Public Archives or would require an additional infusion of financial and human resources;
(c) make recommendations to the Minister and public bodies as appropriate regarding clauses (a) and (b);
(d) support the development and improvement of the Public Archives; and
(e) establish policies and procedures for the Provincial Archivist to administer and manage on behalf of the Board all amounts received by the Public Archives by way of gift, bequest, trust fund, revenue generation, external funding source or otherwise.
10 (1) The Board consists of
(a) the Lieutenant Governor of the Province;
(b) the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia;
(c) the Deputy Minister of the Department of Education and Culture or a person designated by the Deputy Minister;
(d) a deputy minister of a Government department or a person designated by that deputy minister;
(e) the Legislative Librarian;
(f) the Provincial Librarian;
(g) four representatives from archival, records management, historical and genealogical organizations in the Province; and
(h) up to four representatives from the academic and general research communities in the Province interested in furthering the aims and objectives of the Public Archives.
(2) The persons referred to in clauses 1(d) and (h) shall be appointed by the Governor in Council and the persons referred to in clause (1)(g) shall be appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of archival, records management, historical and genealogical organizations.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the persons referred to in clauses (1)(g) and (h) hold office for a term of three years and may be re-appointed.
(4) A person referred to in clause (1)(g) or (h) appointed by reason of the holding of an office is a member of the Board for as long as that person holds that office.
(5) No person referred to in clause (1)(g) or (h) may be re-appointed for more than one consecutive term.
11 The Lieutenant Governor of the Province is the Patron of the Public Archives.
12 (1) The Chief Justice of Nova Scotia is the Chair of the Board.
(2) The Board shall appoint one of their members as the Vice-chair of the Board.
(3) The Provincial Archivist is the Secretary to the Board.
13 (1) No member of the Board shall receive any remuneration for service as a member, the Chair or the Vice-chair of the Board.
(2) The members of the Board shall be reimbursed for such reasonable expenses as are necessarily incurred by them in carrying out their duties.
14 Five members of the Board constitute a quorum.
15 (1) The Provincial Archivist may carry out such activities as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objectives and functions of the Public Archives and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, may
(a) acquire records or obtain the care, custody or control of records in accordance with the mandate of the Public Archives;
(b) take such measures as are necessary to appraise, re-appraise, arrange, describe and preserve records;
(c) provide access to records, subject to any lawful restriction that applies;
(d) provide information, consultation, reference and other services related to archives;
(e) make known information concerning archives by means such as publications, exhibitions and the copying of records;
(f) advise and assist public bodies in meeting the requirements of the Government Records Act and related legislation;
(g) provide reproduction, records storage, and other archival and records management services to public bodies to ensure the effective implementation of this Act, the Government Records Act and related legislation;
(h) provide training in archival practices and records management in support of program objectives;
(i) provide professional and technical support in aid of the archival and records management communities;
(j) co-operate with and undertake activities in concert with organizations interested in archival and records management matters by means such as exchanges and joint projects;
(k) carry out such other functions as the Governor in Council may specify.
(2) Subject to the terms and conditions under which records have been acquired or obtained, the Provincial Archivist may destroy or dispose of any record under the control of the Provincial Archivist where the retention of the record is no longer deemed necessary.
16 No record under the control of a public body, whether or not it is surplus property of a public body, shall be destroyed or disposed of except in accordance with the Government Records Act.
17 (1) Subject to subsection (4) but notwithstanding anything in any other Act of the Legislature, the Provincial Archivist or designate shall have access to any record in respect of which a proposed or approved records schedule under the Government Records Act applies.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in any other Act of the Legislature, any officer or employee of a public body may grant to the Provincial Archivist or designate access to any record in respect of which a proposed or approved records schedule under the Government Records Act applies.
(3) The Provincial Archivist and every designated person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Provincial Archivist shall, with respect to access to the records referred to in subsection (1), satisfy any confidentiality requirements applicable to, and take any oath of confidentiality required to be taken by, persons who normally have access to those records.
(4) For the purpose of this Section, the Provincial Archivist or a person designated by the Provincial Archivist shall have access to a record restricted by an Act of the Legislature, including the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, only with the consent of the head of that public body.
18 The records of public bodies that, in the opinion of the Provincial Archivist, are of archival importance shall be transferred to the care and control of the Provincial Archivist in accordance with such records schedules and other means developed under the authority of the Government Records Act.
19 Except as otherwise directed by the Governor in Council, the Provincial Archivist shall have the care and control of all records of any public body the functions of which have ceased.
20 Sections 17 to 19 do not apply to records that are library or museum materials kept by a public body for reference or exhibition purposes.
21 A copy of a record of a public body in the custody of the Public Archives, certified by the Provincial Archivist to be a true copy, shall be admitted in evidence as prima facie proof of the authenticity and correctness of the record and of the contents of the record without proof of the signature or appointment of the Provincial Archivist.
22 There shall be an account in the accounts of the Province called the Public Archives Account to which shall be credited all amounts received for the Public Archives by way or gift, bequest, trust fund, revenue generation, external funding source or otherwise.
23 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations respecting any matter or thing that in the opinion of the Governor in Council is necessary to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
24 (1) The person who was the Provincial Archivist immediately before the coming into force of this Act continues in office until ceasing to hold that office.
(2) Every person who was, immediately prior the coming into force of this Act, an employee of the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, becomes, as such, a staff member of the Public Archives as established by this Act.
25 Chapter 370 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Archives Act, is repealed.
26 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council order and declares by proclamation.
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