Preserving the World's Documentary Heritage

The UNESCO Memory of the World Program preserves the world's documentary heritage. The UNESCO International Memory of the World Register holds some 300 documents and collections of world significance from the five continents. The number of nominations increases every two years.

In Canada

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO has an Ad Hoc Committee that reviews the submissions. The Committee is composed of a chair and a vice-chair: Marcel Caya and Christina Cameron. Usually, three or four additional experts are added to the Committee to review the submissions to the International Memory of the World Register.

The committee's mandate is to review and evaluate Canadian submissions to the International Memory of the World Register. Every two years, applications are sent to UNESCO by March 31, where UNESCO's International Advisory Committee (IAC) reviews them, eventually choosing the new inclusions.

Submissions are evaluated on:

  • World significance
  • Authenticity
  • Uniqueness
  • Time
  • Place
  • People
  • Subject and theme
  • Form and style
  • Rarity
  • Integrity
  • Threat
  • Management plan
To date

So far, Canada has four inscriptions in the International Register:

  • The Hudson’s Bay Company Archival Records (Archives of Manitoba) (2007)
  • The Quebec Seminary Collection, 1623–1800 (Musée de la civilisation du Québec) (2007)
  • The National Film Board of Canada, Norman McLaren’ short film Neighbours (2009) 
  • The Discovery of Insulin and its Worldwide Impact (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library-University of Toronto) (2013)  
To come

Canada submitted one application in March 2014: The Vancouver (Douglas) Treaties (Royal British Columbia Museum).

How to submit

To submit an application for the Memory of the World Register, there is a form to fill out and a process to follow. For more information, please contact Pauline Dugré, Program Officer, at