Canada. Dept of the Interior

Identity area

Type of entity

Primary Agency

Authorized form of name

Canada. Dept of the Interior

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Dept. of the Interior

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1873-1936

History

In 1869, the Government of Canada finalized an agreement with the Hudson’s Bay Company to acquire Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an area that incorporates all of the present-day provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, part of British Columbia and all of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. To centralize the administration and promote the settlement and development of this newly-acquired territory, the Department of the Interior was established by the federal government in 1873. During its 63 years of existence, the Department established a multitude of branches and sub-agencies, with most focused on its core areas of operation related to land sales and survey, First Nations and Métis relations, natural resource development and immigration in western Canada. For periods of time, the Department also administered functions of government that involved operations in all areas of the country, such as immigration, museums, national parks, tourism and geological surveys. Several branches operated within the Department of the Interior evolved into separate agencies or departments of the federal government, including Indian Affairs, Immigration, the Geological Survey of Canada, Parks Canada, and the North-West Mounted Police.

In 1930, the federal government transferred all responsibility for crown land and natural resource administration to the provinces. In Saskatchewan, these functions were assumed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of the Interior ceased to exist on December 1, 1936. Its remaining functions were amalgamated with those of the Departments of Mines, Immigration and Indian Affairs to create the Department of Mines and Resources.

Places

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

The Department of the Interior was created in 1873. A major function of the Department was the administration of the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, including land surveying, title registration, and the administration and development of natural resources in all parts of western Canada except southern British Columbia. The Department also controlled relations with First Nations and Métis peoples including treaty negotiations, promoted immigration to the Canadian west, and established land reserves for First Nations peoples, the railway companies, the Hudson's Bay Company, towns, research stations, churches, and schools. In 1930, the Department transferred responsibility for the registration of land patents and administration of natural resources to the provinces, who then took over jurisdiction of the patented and unpatented crown lands. With the transfer of these responsibilities, the Department devolved many of its duties and was ultimately dissolved in 1936.

Mandates/sources of authority

An Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Dept. of the Interior (SC 36Vic[1873], c.4).

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Canada. Lands Patent Branch (1881-1930)

Identifier of the related entity

GA 5

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

1881-1930

Description of relationship

Canada. Lands Patent Branch is a subordinate agency to Canada. Dept of the Interior

Related entity

Canada. Dept. of the Interior. School Lands Branch (1879-1930)

Identifier of the related entity

GA 167

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

1881-1930

Description of relationship

Canada. Dept of the Interior is the controlling agency for Canada. Dept. of the Interior. School Lands Branch

Related entity

Canada. Dept. of the Interior. School Lands Branch (1879-1930)

Identifier of the related entity

GA 167

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

1879-1930

Description of relationship

Canada. Dept of the Interior is the controlling agency for Canada. Dept. of the Interior. School Lands Branch

Related entity

Saskatchewan. Dept. of Natural Resources (1930-1944)

Identifier of the related entity

GA 12

Category of the relationship

temporal

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Saskatchewan. Dept. of Natural Resources is the successor of Canada. Dept of the Interior

Related entity

Canada. Department of Mines and Resources

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

temporal

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Canada. Department of Mines and Resources is the successor of Canada. Dept of the Interior

Related entity

Canada. Department of the Secretary of State for the Provinces (1867-1873)

Identifier of the related entity

GA 2

Category of the relationship

temporal

Type of relationship

Canada. Department of the Secretary of State for the Provinces

is the predecessor of

Canada. Dept of the Interior

Dates of the relationship

1873

Description of relationship

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

GA 4

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)

Status

Final

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Authority record created on 2008-03-05. Approved 2012-01-24. Last modified on 2017-11-29.

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Records of the Department of the Interior and Research concerning Canada's Western Frontier Settlement, Irene M. Spry and Bennett McCardle, 1993.
Dept. of Natural Resources Annual Report, 1930.
CAIN Entry No. 257617, Dept. of the Interior fonds, National Archives of Canada.

Maintenance notes

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