Ian E. Wilson

Ian E. Wilson, archivist, Librarian and Archivist of Canada from 2004 to 2009 (b at Montréal, Qué, Apr 1943).

Ian E. Wilson

Ian E. Wilson, archivist, Librarian and Archivist of Canada from 2004 to 2009 (b at Montréal, Qué, Apr 1943). Wilson, the first Librarian and Archivist of Canada, was instrumental in the amalgamation of the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA and the NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA into LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA. Wilson began training as an archivist when he attended the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, later obtaining a master's degree from QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY in 1974. He began his career at Queen's University archives in 1967. He relocated to Saskatchewan and became its provincial archivist from 1976 to 1986, serving a term as the chair of the Saskatchewan Heritage Advisory Board during that time. He later moved to Ontario and was appointed Archivist of Ontario in 1986, holding the position until his appointment as National Archivist of Canada in 1999.

Throughout his career, Wilson has been involved in several organizations and activities aimed at furthering the development of archival institutions across Canada. In the late 1970s, he chaired the Consultative Group on Canadian Archives on behalf of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The group's report, Canadian Archives, also called the "Wilson Report," was released in 1980 and is considered "a milestone in the history of archival development in Canada." Wilson was president of the Ontario Historical Society from 1975 to 1976 and president of the Champlain Society from 1995 to 2003. In 1987 he became the honorary vice-president of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, a position he continues to hold. He served on the Information Management Sub-Committee of the Treasury Board of Canada and was appointed their information management co-champion for the Government of Canada in 2002. In September 2000, he was elected vice-president of the International Council on Archives.

The year 2002 was a landmark for library and archival services in Canada as Wilson and the national librarian at the time, Roch CARRIER, began the initial stages to amalgamate the National Library and the National Archives. Both Carrier and Wilson led the process to create a new institution that could address rapid changes in the delivery of library and archival services in Canada, services that had become increasingly similar with the advancement of digital technology. The process culminated with the establishment of Library and Archives Canada in 2004, and Wilson assumed the position of the first Librarian and Archivist of Canada in July of that year. In 2008 Wilson was elected president of the International Council on Archives, an organization that promotes the preservation of the archival heritage of humanity around the world. At the same time Wilson continued his work amalgamating national library and archival services in Canada and initiating several key ventures such as widespread access to early census data, and the acquisition of the entire Peter Winkworth rare art collection in 2008.

Ian Wilson retired from his position as Librarian and Archivist of Canada in 2009 and was succeeded by Daniel CARON. Upon retirement Wilson accepted an offer by the University of Waterloo to help establish a campus in Stratford, the Stratford Institute, a national think tank dealing with the impact of digital media. He continues to hold the title of Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus and remains president of the International Council on Archives.

In recognition of his contribution to Canadian archives, Wilson was awarded honorary doctorates of letters from YORK UNIVERSITY (2002) and the UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN (2010), and an honorary doctor of laws from QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY (2009). In 2003 he was elected Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France. He became a member of the ORDER OF CANADA in 2002.


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