The Ontario Genealogical Society acts as the voice of Ontario genealogists on issues that could impact the ability of genealogists to find their families and preserve and share our common heritage. The following are some of the issues OGS feels strongly about, and the work we are doing.
Please consider getting involved and adding your voice to the chorus.
Preserve the Fegan Home
OGS has learned that the City of Toronto has a current interest in the site of the former Fegan Boys Distributing Home at 295 George St. in the City of Toronto. The structure was damaged by fire in 2012. Many of the boys passing through these walls left their mark by way of inscribing their names and the dates of their stays on the bricks. These names are still visible.
OGS, along with the broader genealogical and heritage community, requests that the City of Toronto seriously consider the historic significance of this treasure and find a way to preserve it and the information it holds.
OGS's letter to the City of Toronto contains photos of genealogical information contained on the site of Fegan Home.
OGS Secretary, Bob Crawford, on behalf of the Society, penned a letter applauding the recent settlement concerning the Huronia Regional Centre where the Ontario Government promised to maintain the cemetery attached to the Centre and create a registry of those who are buried there.
The release of the 1921 census was welcome for genealogists everywhere, but also brought concerns to light. In December 2013, OGS President, Shirley Sturdevant, wrote a letter to Statistics Canada expressing the concerns of genealogists regarding the quality of digitization of the 1921 census, and the commitment to preserving the original documents. The letter also expresses OGS’ support for the continued release of Canadian Census’ at regular intervals and addresses concerns regarding the new National Household Survey and the negative option regarding the future release of census information.
Release of 1921 Canadian Census
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) took possession of the 1921 Canada Census from Statistics Canada 92 years following its compilation on June 1, 1921 as per the The Statistics Act. As of June 18, 2013, there had been neither release of information about the planned index, nor further comment on release of the digitized census images to the public.
Shirley Sturdevant, President of The Ontario Genealogical Society sent a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on behalf of The Society, encouraging the "timely release of these fully indexed and searchable records". At the beginning of February 2014 we received a response from Statistics
Canada. Please view the letter.
Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
Cuts announced by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will affect the ability of LAC to provide a high level of service to researchers and will affect the public's ability to access records housed at LAC. The Ex Libris Association has produced a description of these changes and explanations of how researchers are impacted by them.
Additionally, LAC has announced cuts to programs that support archives throughout Canada, which will affect the ability of these organizations to continue to make Canada 's documentary history accessible. Read more.
The Future of Libraries and Archives in Canada
The future of libraries and archives in Canada is of uppermost importance in the heritage community and the public-at-large. With reduced government funding resulting in elimination of programs and reduction in staff; the use of less qualified personnel; and, an understanding of the overwhelming task lying ahead to preserve our past, current and future archival records in their various forms, it has become critical that a comprehensive review be conducted and collaborative plan developed.
The Royal Society of Canada (read their mandate) has been undertaking such a review. Please also see their blog. Their consultation session for Ontario was held in Toronto on 16 January 2014. As a result of their call for information from both collective and individual stakeholders, Society President Shirley Sturdevant invited responses from OGS members and subsequently prepared a paper which has been sent to the Royal Society for consideration.
Secondly, Ian Wilson, former Librarian and Archivist of Canada, worked with others to establish the Canadian Archives Summit: "Towards a New Blueprint for Canada’s Recorded Memory" held on 17 January 2014 in Toronto with satellite sites in a variety of other locations across the country. Results of this event will be shared with the heritage community through societies such as OGS. The OGS paper is also being copied to this distinguished group.
Inactive and Unregistered Cemeteries
Bill 126, Inactive Cemeteries Protection Act, 2010, was our last attempt at legislative change for the protection of cemeteries. That bill died on the order papers when the Ontario Legislature was prorogued for the 2010 election and it seemed like that was the end of our cemetery advocacy work.
However, in Spring 2011, a group jointly representing OGS and the Ontario Historical Society had a meeting with the then Minister of Consumer Services, John Gerretsen. The result of this meeting was a commitment by the Registrar to register all Ontario cemeteries provided we could acquire location information for these cemeteries.
Since 2011 OGS volunteers have worked in the branches and Provincial Office to gather GPS information for cemeteries across the province and send that information to the Registrar. To date we have received no word that any of the unregistered cemeteries had been registered, so OGS President, Shirley Sturdevant, wrote a letter to the current Minister of Consumer Services to inquire about the delay
Find out about Unregistered Cemeteries.
Print on Demand
Read the OGS Position Paper on Print on Demand and the Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) Program.
War of 1812 Battle Honours
The Ontario Genealogical Society supports the group Honour Our War of 1812 Heroes in their fight to secure recognition for the military units which fought to protect Canada during the War of 1812 and to allow modern Canadian units to link their histories to these War of 1812 units who fought in a war that helped shape what would later become the nation of Canada.