Series GR-0496 - Provincial Secretary executive records

Private Hospitals - Chinese Hospital, Victoria

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Provincial Secretary executive records

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  • 1929-1947 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

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Originals, 8.4 m

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Biographical history

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 issues 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 1972. 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).

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Scope and content

Correspondence, memoranda, and reports of the Provincial Secretary and Deputy Provincial Secretary. Includes policy directives, branch reports, grant applications, and a host of miscellaneous documents. Since the ministry was responsible for such a broad range of legislation and activities (e.g. civil service, provincial elections, health and welfare programmes) the records which comprise this unit deal with a great many topics. These records comprise part of the former Provincial Secretary's Central Registry. This registry consisted of general correspondence, policy directives, branch reports, inter-departmental memoranda, circulars, grant applications, and a host of miscellaneous documents. Since the Provincial Secretary's department was responsible for a broad range of legislation and activities - including the civil service, provincial elections and (until 1946) health and welfare services - the records in GR-0496 deal with a great many topics. The finding aid consists of two parts. Part I: Box/File List Part I is a Box/File list showing the original order and arrangement of the records. The records fall into six categories or subseries: A. General correspondence: correspondence inward (with replies), reports, circulars, etc. B .Appointments: correspondence, commissions, oaths of allegiance of coroners, magistrates, and other appointed officials. C .Resident Physicians: correspondence re: grants paid to physicians in isolated communities D .Grants: correspondence and reports pertaining to grants paid to various community groups and charitable organizations, service clubs, etc. E. Workmen's Compensation Board: circulars, etc. F. Contemporary card indexes: alphabetical subject index cards. Part II: Subject Index Part II of this finding aid consists of a subject index compiled by the Provincial Archives (the precursor of the B.C. Archives and Records Service). The index indicates the main topics or subject areas - e.g. Provincial Infirmary, Elections, Industrial Schools, etc. which are documented in GR-0496. The index does not claim to be comprehensive or exhaustive, but it should help researchers to locate documents which concern particular institutions or activities. Related Records The majority of the records in GR-0496 date from 1936 to 1946. Related correspondence covering this same period may be found in GR-0497 [Deputy Provincial Secretary records] and in GR-0647 [Provincial Secretary executive records]. Subsequent correspondence, for the years 1947-1954, may be found in GR-0528 - GR-0535 [Provincial and Deputy Provincial Secretary correspondence]. Regrettably, the earlier portions of the Provincial Secretary's Central Registry, consisting of correspondence inward from the 1920s and early 1930s, has not survived. However, a number of miscellaneous records from this period may be found in GR-1668 [Provincial Secretary correspondence on diverse topics]. Note: Some information has been severed from this finding aid in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Subject Index: Subject Box numbers Boys Industrial School 6, 8, 15, 24, 34, 40, 49 Civil Service 2, 6, 9, 10, 22, 23, 26, 35, 40, 43, 47, 50, 51, 57 Coroner 1, 8, 63 Elections 3, 31, 53 Essondale 1, 7-11, 13, 30, 34-38, 40, 41, 50, 53, 54, 56, 57, 59 Girls Industrial School 15, 20, 24, 35 Hospitals 2, 6, 7, 13, 18, 24, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42-46, 48-50, 52- 56, 66, 67 Legislation 7, 25, 35, 39, 48, 50, 53 Lieutenant Governor 4, 26, 31, 35, 43 Liquor Control 14, 34, 40, 41 Magistrate 14, 46, 64 Provincial Home 5, 11, 25, 28, 29, 31, 42, 47, 56 Provincial Infirmary 5, 10, 15, 20, 37, 40, 43, 47, 48 Provincial Secretary 8, 12, 13, 31, 35, 54, 55 Tranquille 2, 10, 16, 19, 23, 35, 36, 39-41, 43, 51, 53, 56 Tuberculosis 14, 23, 30, 31, 36, 39-42, 46, 47, 57, 69 Venereal Disease 31, 37, 41, 43 Voters 2, 35, 36, 39, 54, 56 Welfare 12, 17, 19, 20, 34, 36, 39, 46, 48-50, 56, 57, 65 Researchers should note that several files were empty when these records were transferred to the Provincial Archives in 1975; moreover, in a few instances the PABC did not retain files which contained very routine material (such as duplicate vouchers). However, researchers wishing to reconstruct a complete file list will be able to do so by consulting the contemporary card index [Box 70]. The disposition numbers which appear on the index cards correspond to the "old file numbers" given on pp. 1-20 of this finding aid.

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Transferred from Topaz Avenue vault, 1975.


Photographs removed from boxes 23, 49 and 58 in 1986 and reaccessioned as 198602-005. Photos returned to files in December 2017.

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These records are restricted. Please contact the BC Archives for information about access.

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Accession number(s): GR-0496

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