Chilling “Code of Conduct” at Library and Archives Canada

The Writers Union of Canada
Press Release


Chilling “Code of Conduct” at Library and Archives Canada

Canada’s Authors Stand With
Federal Library Workers


For immediate release
Toronto, March 20, 2013 – The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) joins several other organizations, including the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Library Association (CLA) in denouncing recent changes and reductions to the mandate and service at Library and Archives Canada.
“The latest news out of Library and Archives Canada is of particular concern,” noted TWUC Chair, Merilyn Simonds. “Reports that LAC employees are being directed away from expressing their own opinions in public point to unacceptable and unnecessary interference with freedom of expression.”
A new LAC “code of conduct” has been widely reported in recent days. The code lists ““teaching, speaking at conferences, and other personal engagements,” as behaviors considered high-risk for conflict of interest or conflict with the employees' duty of loyalty to the government. The LAC policy follows in the wake of similar communication directives for federally paid scientists, which have been sharply criticized by groups such as Democracy Watch.
“We strongly urge Library and Archives Canada to reconsider and rewrite their code,” said Simonds. “This kind of chill on free expression reflects very poorly on Canada, and is surely outside the mainstream of Canadian opinion. Canada has a proud history of vigorous public debate. Our national archives should celebrate that tradition, not repress it.”


The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing more than 2,000 professional authors of books. Celebrating 40 years in 2013, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.


For additional information:

See former TWUC Chair, Susan Crean, speaking about cuts to LAC service:

Visit CAUT’s excellent campaign site:

Merilyn Simonds, Chair
The Writers’ Union of Canada

John Degen, Executive Director                                      
The Writers’ Union of Canada                                              
416-703-8982, ext. 221