Government documents

The types of government documents you will find on this site cover quite a wide spectrum of purposes. A mysterious death lies at the centre of this mystery. This means a provincial coroner should have filed a report. As the mystery also involves an unidentified body, there will likely also be documents created in the course of police and medical investigations. As the two deaths very likely occurred within the Province of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, there are also documents exploring this site.

To help us understand such a variety of documents we need to keep in mind several factors: who the documents were written by, who they were written for, and for what purposes the documents were created. Some of the documents you will read were created for ‘public consumption’ – to be distributed to publicize ideas, concerns, and programs of the government. Other documents were made for ‘internal’ use by the government – written by government employees or elected officials, and intended to address concerns or communicate information to other members of the government, or government employees. Fortunately for us, the government of Canada takes great care that documents relating to the justice system are, with one or two important exceptions, open to the public; for we live in a country where justice not only has to be done, it must be SEEN to be done by the citizens of the country. Many of the documents on this site, therefore, were generated and made public for the people of Canada to see. [[Translator: the following has already been translated, version francais follows version anglais.]] Federal government documents can be accessed at the National Archives of Canada. In addition, a provincial government archives exists in each province. The provincial archives of Ontario are located in Toronto. To help patrons locate documents, archives use something called “finding aids”, some of which are accessible on-line, which explain how the government documents are catalogued and indexed. Even with these finding aids, however, sorting through government documents can be a tedious and time-consuming process. [[FROM DONNELLY – ABOUT SOURCE: Il est possible de consulter les documents du gouvernement fédéral aux Archives nationales du Canada. De plus, chaque province tient des archives gouvernementales; celles de l’Ontario se trouvent à Toronto. Afin de faciliter l’accès des usagers aux documents, les archives utilisent des « instruments de recherche » qui expliquent comment les documents gouvernementaux sont catalogués et classés. Mais même avec ces outils de recherche, dont certains sont accessibles en ligne, il peut être long et ardu de se retrouver parmi ces documents gouvernementaux. ]] Researchers can consult many of these documents in their original “hard copy” form – although often the documents are stored in such a way that researchers are obliged to browse through large files or boxes of documents arranged around a general theme, time period, or government program to find the particular document they are seeking. Documents that might still be of use to the government, or that if made publicly accessible might violate someone’s privacy, require researchers to apply to the relevant government department to see them through a program called ‘Access to Information’. The government department locates and reads through the documents concerned, and can, if it chooses, to “redact” the document to protect certain types of confidential information. (To ‘redact’ means to ‘edit’, or to ‘block out’ information that another reader is not to see.) Some of the government documents you will find on this site were gathered through such a procedure.