Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please choose a category:

History and Archives

  1. Can I look at War Diaries, Ship's Logs, or RCAF Operations Record Books?
  2. Does DHH have maps I can use?
  3. Does DHH have photographs I can see and copy?
  4. How can I do research at the Directorate of History and Heritage?
  5. How is the Canadian flag folded during a funeral ceremony?
  6. Is there a 20-year rule, or 30-year rule in effect for the declassification of documents?
  7. What Canadian unit was in (town or village in the UK) between (dates) during the Second World War?
  8. Where can I find out about my father's, grandfather's, uncle's, sister's, mother's etc. war service?
  9. Where can I find out about my mother's (my father's etc.) medals?
  10. Why does DHH ask for written/faxed inquiries?

Question

Is there a 20-year rule, or 30-year rule in effect for the declassification of documents?

Answer

In Canada, access to government records is determined by the Access to Information Act and other legislation which has replaced the "sunset" rules formerly in place. By and large, documents which are not classified are open to researchers from the moment of their creation. Documents which are classified must be reviewed before they may be declassified. Documents of foreign origin cannot be released for research purposes by Canadian institutions unless they are part of a collection covered by a blanket declassification programme like a US Presidential Executive Order.