Fonds MSS 331 - Walter Rudnicki fonds

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Walter Rudnicki fonds

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  • Multiple media

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90.25 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Walter Rudnicki was born on September 25, 1925 in Rosser, Manitoba. He received his B.A. from the University of Manitoba (1950) and M.A. in Social Work and Community Organization from the University of British Columbia (1952). Most of his life he worked relentlessly as a public servant and private consultant to improve the lives of Canadian Aboriginal peoples.
During 1944-1946, Rudnicki was stationed overseas with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and he drew many sketches of military life. Later on in his professional career, as a consultant to aboriginal people, he used his sense of humor and cartoons in his presentations and workshops.

The first years after his graduation, Rudnicki worked with the Department of Social Services in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. In 1955, he became the Chief of Arctic Division of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) where he was responsible for implementing social programs for Inuit people. In 1963, as the Chief of Social Programs, Welfare Division of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, he was responsible for developing policies to fight poverty. Rudnicki also worked within government as Secretary of the Social Policy Committee, in the Privy Council Office (PCO), and as a senior policy advisor for Cabinet Minister Robert Andras (1968-1970). In 1969 he left the PCO and became the Executive Director of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and advised the Minister on housing and urban development.

In 1973, Rudnicki was fired from his position at the CMHC by the director, Bill Teron, for not following "cabinet confidentiality" in showing a confidential report about housing to the Métis community, but was later vindicated and won the first wrongful dismissal suit in Canada (1983). His dismissal is thought to have been connected to issues regarding Government Security Services and the existence of a "Black list". People on the list were public servants labeled "revolutionary" with left-wing beliefs who allegedly posed a danger to the Canadian Government.

After his dismissal in 1973 Rudnicki worked as a consultant to the Department of Health and Social Development, Province of Manitoba (1974-1977). In 1983, Clerk of the PCO Gordon Osbaldeston and Daniel Coates initiated the process of re-hiring Walter Rudnicki back into an appropriate position within the Federal Government. Rudnicki was hired by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to work on program planning and policy development. After 1977, Rudnicki was President of the Policy Development Group Limited (PDG), a private consulting firm that worked with prominent aboriginal leaders.

Rudnicki, as a public servant and a private consultant, worked with both the Government and aboriginal people and identified problems with their relationship. He passed away on March 7, 2010 in Ottawa. Walter Rudnicki (Eagle Shield) was a passionate advocate for aboriginal rights in Canada.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 2010 by Stephen and Denise Rudnicki, son and daughter of Walter Rudnicki, on behalf of the family.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of material on the aboriginal history, culture, education, health, housing, and politics. Walter Rudnicki was an active participant in many of the subjects collected by him in the course of his life. In the most cases, this material is organized into themes and contains correspondence, government documents, reports, press releases, newspaper clippings, and documents of many aboriginal organizations and their leaders.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Stephen and Denise Rudnicki, son and daughter of Walter Rudnicki, on behalf of the family.


Because of the volume of the collected material, the fonds is split into two finding aids. The first finding aid (A2010-030.1) deals with his personal material: correspondence, the dismissal case, cartoons, presentations, papers, and material from the DIAND, CMHC, PDG, and material from the organizations in which he was personally involved.
The second finding aid (A2010-038) is composed of collected material, documents, newspaper clippings, but also includes Rudnicki's contributions to the subject in the form of notes, papers, and correspondence.

Some changes to the initial finding aids have been made as outlined below.
A2010-038.1, Box 98, Folder 1: Title has been changed from "Rudnicki- Department of Social Services, Saskatchewan, Rudnicki's Notes, 1953" to "Rudnicki - Notes, Vancouver General Hospital, [195-]".

A2010-038-1, Box 314a, Folder 1: File titled "Dept. of Citizenship and Immigration: Management Consultant Reports, 1965" has been moved to this accrual from former location in A2010-038, Box 371, Folder 8.

A2010-038.1, Box 371, Folder 8: File titled, "Henik Lake - Correspondence - Eskimo Point - Rudnicki Report 1958 (Rudnicki's Report - Eskimo Point, 1958; Farley Mowat - Letters, 1958)" has been moved to this location from original place in Box 100, Folder 8 within the same accrual.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

Some folders are restricted. Additionally, upon review of the records in this collection, it appears that the records marked as being Federal records are in the public domain (e.g. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples files, staff directories, legislation etc.), or were legally obtained by Mr. Rudnicki, either through access to information requests or through other arrangements with creating offices. As a precaution, however, the records in question will not be made available online, and access will be restricted to in-person visits only. Furthermore, the Archives will apply the privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Act to any records within the collection which contain personal or personal health information.

Please consult the archives for further information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections for more information.

The family of Walter Rudnicki has transferred permission to exercise Walter Rudnicki's copyright to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. This extends to materials in the collection, as well as those created by Walter Rudnicki but not held at the University of Manitoba.

Associated materials

Digitized Material
Walter Rudnicki fonds:">

Robert Craig Cunningham's MA Thesis (for the University of Saskatchewan) on community development at the Department of Indian Affairs in the 1960s:

Walter Rudnicki fonds slideshow:

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No further accruals are expected

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University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

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Created July 28, 2011. Revised by N. Courrier (September 2019).

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  • English

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