The General Synod Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada under the Access and Restrictions Policy Guidelines approved by the National Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada in March 1989 defines three levels of access to Official Church Records:
1.Open Access, 2. Closed Access and 3. Restricted Access.
1. Open Access
All minutes, reports and correspondence of synods, executive committees, standing committees, commissions, task forces, etc. are open after distribution. Official correspondence of metropolitans, bishops and other officers and staff are open except where they are defined as restricted or closed.
Diocese of Mackenzie River holdings date from 1858 to1938 and consist of 1.7 metres of textual records. Records are described in the Province of Alberta finding aid system under Accession PR1970.038 where the access code delineates access to individual files.
Records may be consulted and/or reproduced for research or private study by General Synod and Province of Alberta Archives staff and members of the public known as researchers. Researchers may consult open records upon completion of the Provincial Archives of Alberta researcher registration form and completion of retrieval slips for the items they require. Access to the Diocese of Mackenzie River records will be provided in accordance with the established retrieval procedures of the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
2. Closed Access
Closed Records in the Holdings of the Diocese of McKenzie River records are closed for a period of time negotiated between the depositor or donor of the records and/or the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
These records are closed to all researchers with the exception of the Provincial Archivist or his or her representative, the General Secretary and / or the General Synod Archivist who may have access to the records during the closure period.
The General Synod Archives and the Provincial Archives of Alberta maintain a list of the closed records. The closed items are identified in the finding aid as “CLOSED UNTIL DAY/MONTH/YEAR.”
Records Containing Personal Information
Personnel records or records which contain personal information include:
- Clergy files
- yearly records of candidates for ministry
- medical information
- General pension information
- General retirement information
- General salary/re-location information
- Files concerning problems with individual ministers
- Donor or bequest information
Files that contain Personal Information will be closed for a period of 75 years.
Where personal information exists in a file, restrictions will be applied on a file by file basis from the last dated item in each file to the first day of the year following the year that the restrictions are lifted (i.e. a file which has on its latest item a date of April 20, 1957 will be open January 1, 2033 and not April 20, 2032).
Permission to examine the records and, where necessary, to photocopy them, must be in written form from the General Secretary.
In cases where an individual has obtained permission to examine records the General Synod Archivist will vet correspondence files to ensure that the personal information is protected.
Method of Closed Access
Access to records that contain sensitive personal information is customarily closed in accordance with the following archival procedures:
a) closed records are kept in closed stacks to which only the Archives staff have access (or in a locked vault or cupboard if the Archives has open stacks).
b) The files and boxes or cabinets in which they are stored are clearly identified as “CLOSED UNTIL DAY / MONTH / YEAR ” so that they are not given to unauthorized persons by mistake. The closure conditions are clearly documented on the container, the finding aids, and in the reference procedures and relevant correspondence files.
c) The Archives staff are familiar with the details of the closures and will communicate the closures to researchers.
Requests for Access to Closed Records Prior to the Opening Date
Requests for access prior to the opening date may be made in writing to the General Synod Archivist, who will then forward the request to the General Secretary for his or her consideration.
If granted, permission to view the closed records prior to the opening date must be given in writing by the General Secretary to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
The researcher will be required to complete the Provincial Archives of Alberta Researcher Registration form and retrieval slips for the items.
3. Restricted Access
Certain holdings of the Diocese of MacKenzie River are subject to access restrictions:
- Parish Registers
In accordance with the General Synod Policy on access to Parish Registers, full access to information contained in the parish registers will be granted 100 years after the event described in the records including baptism, confirmation marriage and death. Individuals who are the subject of the record or their legal representative who have written authorization may be granted access to their specific records at any time.
Researchers will complete a Public Archives of Alberta researcher registration form annually in order to have access to the registers.
Researchers may take notes based on the information in the registers
Parish registers are not to be photocopied.
Researchers wishing to receive a copy of an entry from a church register will be given a verbatim transcript of the record, according to the established procedure of the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
Research projects involving more extensive use of the church registers would be considered upon signing of a research agreement See Schedule D that protects the privacy of the individuals in the records.