It is oftentimes difficult to dissociate the role of an archivist, from that of a conservator and curator, and that of a librarian. Indeed, there is a thin line between these three. Perhaps Statistics Canada put it more clearly when they said that “There is mobility between library and archive managers and between museum and art gallery managers”.
This may mean that their roles are intertwined, but to those who wish to immigrate to Canada as an Archivist , it also means more job opportunities. This is because an Archivist can easily fit into the job role of a Librarian, and perhaps a conservator and Curator. Little wonder, the all-inclusive NOC code for Archivists in Canada, is 5113.
Point of correction, though – be careful not to refer to archivists as librarians because they take their profession quite seriously. It can’t be easy, to be “the custodian of society’s memory”.
With the various pathways available to the intending immigrant, Canada is within reach. For the Archivist, one of the fastest ways to immigrate to Canada is by hitting the required benchmarks laid down by Canadian Immigration which also gives us those all-important Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. Being well aware of your CRS points will prepare you to create an Express Entry profile at the IRCC website, and wait to receive an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residency.
These are big words that may seem daunting at first, but the Government of Canada has simplified the process and made it easier for you to take your destiny into your hands, by ensuring that you have as many advantages as possible, through the Comprehensive Ranking System.
Who is an Archivist?
An Archivist is someone who preserves and treats historical records. He works in any organization that wants to preserve historical artifacts and documents. He organizes these materials in such a way that they can be found and used to study history. An organization may be interested in preserving its own history, or in the history of events in the world.
It could be interested in the life and work of an artist or an artiste, even an author. It is the Archivist who unravels the mystery and ties pieces of knowledge about any given project and presents it in a manner that would be appreciated.
About 50% of archivists work for museums and historical sites. Others work in informational services. Archivists also find employment in colleges, universities, and government agencies.
Archivists preserve history so that we can learn from it.
The word “archive” is from the French word for “file”. Modern archives originated in France and the Archivist uses many French terms in his work.
NOC Code for Archivist in Canada
In Canada, NOC codes are assigned to job functions, to make it easy for both the immigrant to locate and advertise for a particular job, and for the employer to easily find the particular people in the pool who have applied for the positions he requires.
The NOC code for Archivist in Canada is 5113. However, this is the 2006 NOC code version supplied by the Government of Canada. In 2021, an updated NOC code version places Archivist with the NOC code, 51102. It is important that you know this so that during your application process, seeing either 5113 or 51102, you would understand that they are talking about archivists. This NOC code includes other job positions at which an Archivist may work. They are:
- assistant archivist
- collections archivist
- corporate archivist
- fine arts archivist
- historical archivist
- multimedia archivist
- photo archivist
- research archivist
- video archivist
- Archive assistants (5211)
- Library and public archive technicians (5211)
- Librarians (5111)
- Library, archive, museum and art gallery managers (0511)
- Medical archivist (1253)
- Records management technicians (1253)
Duties of an Archivist
- The most important and basic duty of an Archivist is to determine whether a record is worth preserving. If he finds it valuable, he goes ahead to preserve and describe the record in such a way that people will have access to it, and be able to understand it. To do this, he has to research the origins and significance of the material, to prove its authenticity.
- The Archivist is a custodian of archives. He is responsible for developing policies and procedures for managing these archives.
- He designs programs for managing, disseminating, storing and updating archives of all types (documents, photographs, maps, audio-visual materials, manuscripts, etc.)
- He maintains user-friendly and computerized search systems for the management of archives and electronic devices
- He appraises and acquires archival materials to build and develop an archival collection for research purposes
- Assists staff, researchers, and interns interested in accessing the Archives
- Appraises the materials, determines preservation and conservation issues, and determines best practices for resolving issues
- Completes organization, preservation, and description of the collection
- Teaches archival instruction sessions, create exhibits, and engage in other outreach activities
- Evaluates records for preservation and retention – sometimes checking for fragility. Some very old records require careful handling, repair, or conservation. Otherwise, they would be lost forever.
- He promotes historical records through exhibitions, presentations, talks and visits
- He is up to date on current methods of protecting and preserving collections
- He arranges the acquisition and retrieval of records.
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General requirement for immigration to Canada as an Archivist
There are some basic requirements for immigration to Canada for any employment.They are:
Age: Usually, the acceptable age for employment is 18 years.
Educational qualification: The generally accepted qualification for employment of skilled labour, is completion of secondary education. An intending employee is expected to show proof that he has completed his secondary school education.
Work experience: Previous work experience
Language: French and English are the two major languages in Canada. An Archivist intending to immigrate to Canada, should be proficient in either or both languages, especially if he plans to settle in a French-speaking province. Language proficiency is important, as communication is key to his profession.
Adaptability: If you plan to settle in Canada, you should be able to adapt to the changing climates of Canada.
Educational Requirements for an Archivist immigrating to Canada
- A bachelor’s degree with a minor in archival studies or a university degree with a certificate in archival studies is required.
- A master’s degree in archival studies, archival studies and information science, library science, or history may be required.
- Membership of the Association of Canadian Archivists will be an advantage, though not a prerequisite.
The availability and requirements for employment vary from province to province. So also, opportunities for employment vary. It is advisable to be well-armed with the acquisition of as many certifications as possible so that when you are required by Canadian Immigration, to provide documentation of certifications, you can do so.
Pathways to immigrate to Canada as an Archivist
There are different pathways or programs through which you can immigrate to Canada as an Archivist. They are:
1: Express Entry Program
The Express Entry Program is a window provided by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), for people who have created Express Entry Profile on their website, to apply for permanent residency. Under the Express Entry Program, there are 3 classes of applicants who are invited to apply for permanent residence.
Canada experience class. This is for people who already live in Canada, and have work experience of at least 1 year, and are looking to become permanent residents.
Federal skilled worker. Skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada with their dependents, can apply through this platform. This is the most suitable entry for immigrants.
Federal skilled trades program. This is for qualified tradespersons from around the world who want to immigrate to Canada. It was introduced by the government of Canada, because of the labour shortage in many skilled trade occupations in Canada. However, under the NOC code, there are special major codes you must fall into. These codes are for trade workers.
2: Provincial Nominee Program
Immigrants who desire to reside in particular provinces, can apply through the PNP pathway. Each province in Canada has its own Provincial Nominee Program and their requirements differ, one province to another.
With any PNP, you will be expected to reside and work in the province permanently or at least for 2 years. After this period, you will be free to work and live anywhere else.
3: Job offer
While you are considering immigrating to Canada as an Archivist, you could become proactive and secure employment, so that the moment you arrive at Canada, you will start working. Although this is not a must-have, it will aid your chances of immigrating to Canada as an Archivist.
Canadian Immigration will certainly be satisfied if you can prove that you will be able to work as an Archivist in Canada, by providing a job offer from a Canadian employer, or a Provincial Nomination. The potential employer must, however, get clearance from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before employing.
4: In-demand jobs
Certain jobs in Canada are on the In-demand list. The job of Archivist one of them, simply by being on the NOC code list. Therefore, you can use this pathway to immigrate to Canada as an Archivist.
5: Quebec Experience Class
If you plan to live and work in Quebec, the first prerequisite is proficiency in the French language. Other requirements may be needed.
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Steps to immigrate to Canada as an Archivist
Step 1 : Open an express entry account
Visit the IRCC website to create an Express Entry account. It’s free and necessary because this is the platform through which you will receive necessary information.
Remember that in creating an Express Entry Account, all the benchmarks earlier mentioned, come into play. It is at this stage that your skills come into consideration. It is also important to know that honesty is the keyword. There is no turning back so every entry you input, must be accurate.
Your educational credentials need to be certified by the designated body in Canada, and you need to get strong CRS points in language proficiency as well as other benchmarks.
Usually, if your CRS point is up to 600, you will be invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada as an Archivist.
Step 2: Choose a program
What is the best program for entry into Canada as an Archivist? Choose from any of the underlisted:
- Canada Experience Class
- Federal skilled trade program
- Federal skilled worker program
- Provincial Nominee programs
- Quebec Experience Class
Step 3: Find a job offer in Canada
With a valid job offer, you can immigrate to Canada as an Archivist. While this will heighten your chances of immigrating to Canada, it is not a condition for acceptance into Canada.
Getting a job offer before actually immigrating, is assurance to the Canadian government, that you will not be a burden, however, your potential employer must prove that there is no other Canadian or permanent resident that is more suited for this job.
Step 4: Receive an invitation to apply (ITA)
Once you have created your profile account and chosen a program, IRCC will send you an invitation to apply. Meanwhile, only the candidates with high CRS score will receive this invitation. Remember, you must keep all the necessary documents ready. Once you have your ITA, you can apply for Permanent Residence (PR).
Step 5: Submit your application with supporting documents
When you receive your invitation to apply, you have a window period of 60 days, within which time you must accept the Invitation to Apply, by actually applying to immigrate to Canada as an Archivist. If you do not apply within the period, the ITA will expire.
Please keep your application and supporting documents ready before that time. In addition to the supporting documents, you will also pay an application fee of CAD $150.
Step 6: Get your work permit
Usually, your work permit would be waiting for you at the port of entry into Canada. Sometimes, that does not happen but be assured that within 28 days of your entry into Canada, your work permit would be handed over to you.
Step 7: This is Canada
Finally, all the hard work of the past few months have culminated to this special moment when you touch ground in Canada. Congratulations and welcome to a new phase of your life.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is it like, to be an Archivist?
As an Archivist, you work with complete sets of originals of a document or record. You make judgment calls about what to keep, and how it is to be kept, what to discard and how it is to be discarded. It is a huge responsibility because the items you work with, are reflections of people’s lives.
Will there always be a vacancy for Archivists in Canada?
Always. There are lots of collections waiting to be discovered and properly archived. They may sit for years without being remembered but eventually, someone remembers, and that is when an Archivist gets a job. Once one job is concluded, there is always another job, and more.
What is the salary of an Archivist in Canada?
An Archivist in Canada earns enough to live comfortably. Most people that work as Archivists, work for pure love of the job, than for the pay. No amount can ever be enough compensation for the ‘Keeper of a nation’s history’.
The average pay for an Archivist is $73,077 a year and $35 an hour in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The average salary range for an Archivist is between $53,006 and $89,806.
In summary, an Archivist looking to immigrate to Canada, should learn that integrity is one trait that will stand in his stead. He cannot be seen as sacrificing quality for quick profits. If he realizes that his decision can either endorse a historical archive as something significant or wipe it off the annals of history forever, then he will find that he is well suited for Canada. Here’s to a successful application process, and to eventual immigration and employment in Canada.