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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Access and accessibility to Canadian vital event records Hemmings, Michael A.


The transfer of copies of vital event records into a government archives repository is necessary not only to ensure their ongoing preservation, but also to provide access and accessibility to them for all researchers in an appropriate setting. At present all vital event records gatekeepers in Canada, except two, do not have in place a system providing for such regular transferral. The central reason for this lack of process is the assumption that vital event records are somehow different in kind, and not just in type, from other public records that contain personal information. This thesis evaluates that assumption through an analysis of the history of vital statistics legislation and a comparative study of the privacy regime of that legislation with the legislative regime of access to information and privacy. Having done these two studies, the thesis then recommends a way in which legal transfer from the gatekeepers to the repository can be achieved. That recommendation is, first, that all discussion regarding access must be accomplished before their acquisition. Secondly, their acquisition and accessibility must be based upon the expiration of time—limits.

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