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- British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary
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The Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was established in 1872. Prior to that, the origins of this department was in the offices of the Colonial Secretaries for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1863-1866), the Colony of British Columbia (1864-1866) and the united colony of British Columbia (1866-1871). When British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the name Colonial Secretary remained in place until April 1872 when a Provincial Secretary was named to assume the duties and functions (SBC 1872, c. 15).
The mandate of the Provincial Secretary included all the powers, duties and functions held by provincial secretaries and registrars in other provinces of the Dominion of Canada. They included being the keeper of the Great Seal of the Province, with the authority to issue letters patent and commissions, and being the keeper of all registers and archives of the province and previous governments of the province. As with other departments, it was also the duty of the Provincial Secretary to make an annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor. The first annual report was produced in 1872.
At various times, different agencies have been under the direction of the Provincial Secretary such as treasury and audit branches, Bureau of Mines, gold commissioners, Returned Soldiers’ Commission, Provincial Library and Archives, Provincial Board of Health, Vital Statistics, Provincial Home, and others. In most instances these agencies were later transferred to the control of new ministries established to administer the specific function or functions. At various times and for varying periods, the Provincial Secretary was responsible for industrial schools, mothers’ pensions, administration of the Infants’ Act, protection of historic sites, and arbitration of labour disputes. In 1947, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary administered the Civil Service Commission, Government Printing Bureau, Superannuation Commission, mental hospitals, institution farms, homes for the aged, inspector of hospitals, and the Elections Act. In 1976, with the addition of travel and tourism functions from the Dept. of Recreation and Travel Industry, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was renamed the Ministry of the Provincial Secretary and Travel Industry (OIC 3199/76).
Scope and content
The records in this series consist of correspondence and reports inward to the Provincial Secretary from the Joint Indian Reserve Commission (Alexander Caulfield Anderson, Dominion Commissioner, Archibald McKinlay, Provincial Commissioner, and Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, Joint Commissioner) which was agreed to in principle by the governments of British Columbia and Canada in November, 1875, and officially established by federal orders-in-council 444 and 779 of 1876. The records include minutes of decision; census of Indian population, livestock and acreage of reserves; and two memoranda dated 1869 by J.W. Trutch regarding disputes about Indian lands in Cowichan district.
Copies of correspondence inward to the Lieutenant Governor from the Commissioners and certain correspondence with Dominion Officials is also included in the record. The records are as originally filed. In most cases, the original Provincial Secretary's file number may be seen on the first document in a file, eg., for file 3 the number is 664/76.
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- Finding aid: descriptive item list.
See PR-2107 for additional records from the Joint Indian Reserve Commission.
Researchers interested in the activities of the Commission should also consult the Department of Indian Affairs Central Registry Black Series (Western) available at the BC Archives on microfilm (reels B00271-B00361), in particular file 3756 (reel B00279), and GR-0495, which contains records relating to the Commission's activities for which provenance is unknown. Sproat's reports to the Minister of the Interior are also available at the BC Archives on microfiche Bf-3.
Standard number area
Subject access points
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Name access points
- Anderson, Alexander Caulfield, 1814-1884 (Subject)
- Blenkinsop, George, 1822-1904 (Subject)
- Elliott, Andrew Charles, 1829-1889 (Subject)
- Joint Reserve Commission (Subject)
- Lenihan, James (Subject)
- Mara, John Andrew, 1840-1920 (Subject)
- McGuckin, James Maria, 1835-1903 (Subject)
- McKinlay, Archibald, 1811-1891 (Subject)
- Munro, Alexander, 1824-1911 (Subject)
- Tait, John, 1831?-1911 (Subject)
- Trutch, Sir Joseph William (Subject)
- Sproat, Gilbert Malcolm, 1834-1913 (Subject)
- British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary (Subject)