The Archives is currently updating outdated and derogatory language in our database. Every effort is being made to ensure offensive terminology is replaced with accurate language that individuals and communities use to describe themselves.
Original archival records are a product of their time and will not be altered. This is so the records can be maintained as historical evidence – to document events and perspectives of the past, even if they are upsetting. Preserving this history is important to the Archives, so that we can learn from the past and do better in the future.
Original titles provided by an archival record creator may still be maintained on our website to preserve the historical context of how the records were made and used. In this case, a current and appropriate variation in title may be provided as an alternative. Additional contextual information may be included as well.
The descriptions of archival records on our website have been created by archivists over many decades. Over time, acceptable language and archival best practices have changed. Some language used in archival description may no longer be acceptable, and is in the process of being updated. Note that previously used titles created by archivists may be kept as a variation in title. This is to preserve the historical context of the record’s use and to avoid concealing the Archives’ past practices.
There are also certain offensive terms that will not be changed due to their historical value. Examples include:
- Proper nouns and names, such as the Indian Act;
- Titles of published works;
- Subject headings will be maintained until the Archives can determine a method of updating them that is consistent with archival standards and best practices.