ADVOCACY

Advocacy has been a major part of OGS and its beliefs since its inception. Members strive together to protect, preserve and make accessible various record groups and other items of importance to genealogists and family historians. The following are but a few examples.

  • Cemeteries. OGS members continue to transcribe, photograph and preserve cemetery information and work towards the location, identification, registration and preservation of cemeteries with the Ontario Historical Society, with the goal of seeing them registered with the local land registry offices and protected by The Ontario Registrar of Cemeteries. OGS continues to have an ongoing, productive dialogue with The Registrar. Read more about our ongoing cemetery projects and our work with unregistered cemeteries.
  • Census. OGS has a strong history of advocating for the preservation and release of census records. We continue to be in communication with both Statistics Canada and Library and Archives Canada and have been told that census records in any form, since they seem to be changing, will be preserved and released but the time may be extended to 100+ years since people are living longer.  The Long-Form Census was reinstated by Statistics Canada in 2016, and we are seeking confirmation of the removal/reversal of the “opt-out” question which was included on the 2011 and 2016 Census.
  • Fegan Boys Distribution Home. The former Fegan Boys Distribution Home (Home Children), 295 George Street, Toronto was discovered to have inscriptions of the boys’ names and the dates they had been at the home in some of the exterior bricks. OGS was afraid this building would be demolished in preparation for re-development. The City of Toronto has purchased the property and has indicated they hope to save the building along with others in the area. OGS has offered to assist in preservation or filming of the inscriptions. OGS monitors this situation and has been receiving updates from Councillor Wong-Tam’s office.
  • Infant Home Records. In response to a member request, OGS contacted both the Ministry of Children’s Services and the Association of Children’s Aid Societies (ACAS) to see what is possible with regard to the release of these records to interested parties if they are still in existence and accessible.
  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Under the direction of Librarian and Archivist of Canada Dr. Guy Berthiaume, LAC has reached out to the heritage community.  In 2017 OGS opened an active dialogue with LAC about potential joint projects, as well as exploring opportunities for digitization that might benefit both organizations.  We have ongoing dialogue about preservation of and access to documents.
  • Libraries and Archives (general). OGS and its Branches enjoy strong, healthy relationships with local Libraries, Museum and Archives.  We ensure that the voice of genealogists is heard when communities are planning changes to their local heritage environments, and we work closely with the Archives of Ontario to ensure that genealogical needs are understood, and that our members, and indeed all Ontarians, can continue their access to the rich archival resources of our Province.