Government Records

The BC Archives is the provincial records repository for the government of British Columbia. We have records from the provincial and colonial governments that predate British Columbia’s entry into Canada. The earliest records date from the mid1800s and the latest belong to the present day.

You can search for colonial and government records in our online archives collections search, where they are designated by using a “GR” in the reference code (for example, “GR-1372”). Please see Search our Collections to learn how to search.

Colonial government records (to 1871)

We hold records relating to the development and operation of the colonial governments in what is now the province of British Columbia. These records date before 1871, when the united Colony of British Columbia joined confederation. They include correspondence and letter books for the governments of the Colony of Vancouver Island (1849), the Colony of British Columbia (1858), the united Colony of British Columbia (1866) and colonial institutions such as the Hudson’s Bay Company.

We’ve developed a research guide for some of our frequently requested colonial records:

            GR-1372: Colonial Correspondence:

Government records (1871- –)

The BC Archives collection consists of more than 90,000 boxes of government records. The majority of these records were produced or received by the BC government, but we also have a small collection of municipal records, as well as copies of Canadian, British and American government records that relate to British Columbia.

Records of the BC Government are governed by the Information Management Act (SBC 2015, c. 27) and are transferred to the BC Archives on an ongoing basis. Though many government records can be searched online, not all government records in our custody have been described. For information about and access to unprocessed government transfers, please contact us.

Access to and use of government records may be subject to restrictions. Please visit FOI and Restrictions for more information.

For more information on the acquisition of government records, please see Acquisitions