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The objective of the Canadian Council of Archives is to provide the Canadian public greater access to the documentary heritage held by archives in this country. Our means of doing this is by improving the administration, proficiency, capacity, and efficiency of archives through initiating and supporting national priorities, policies, and programmes for the development and operation of a Canadian archival system.

On October 20, 2001, the Canadian Council of Archives launched the Canadian Archival Information Network, an electronic initiative designed to provide online access to holdings in over 800 archival institutions across the country. Known initially as CAIN, the network has now become Archives Canada (

The initiative was established and continues to grow with the support of the Canadian Council of Archives, Library and and the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Program. "We need more information about our history, our culture and our heritage," said Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, in launching the initiative back in 2001. "Partnerships like the Canadian Archival Information Network web site make a valuable contribution to the creation of Canadian reference resources and play an important role in fostering shared values. They are deepening our understanding of our country, its institutions and its people."

Through the national database, hundreds of individual archival institutions across the country (each with holdings such as documentary records, maps, photographs, sound recordings, videos and more) regularly produce descriptions of these holdings, and make those descriptions accessible to the portal via their provincial/territorial network. The portal also provides links to virtual exhibits and photo databases residing on the web sites of individual archives or Provincial/Territorial Councils. In turn, provides searchable access to these entries with links to participating institutions. is an ongoing project that benefits Canadians of all ages from coast to coast, by making the contents of archives increasingly accessible to everyone, thus enabling us to explore the richness of our Canadian past. has the support of governments across the country. In addition, the Canadian Historical Association, provincial/territorial councils of archives and professional associations of archivists have endorsed it as the most important single effort in the history of Canadian archives.

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