The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) framed the governance structure of the Portage Network around a core set of principles and goals. CARL members approved a foundational set of organizational principles in April 2015. These nine principles express the essential values under which Portage operates.
All versions of the Portage Business Plan have three primary goals identified for the Network.
Following a two-year start-up period between 2015 and 2017, during which operational services for a network of expertise were implemented and collaborative infrastructure platforms were developed, a transitional Steering Committee of stakeholders was formed to provide guidance for Portage. In the fall of 2016, CARL members introduced a two-year budget starting in 2017 based on membership contributions. This new line of fiscal accountability also introduced changes to the governance structure. The transitional Steering Committee became a stakeholder Advisory Committee and a new CARL Directors Portage Steering Committee was instituted to oversee member investments as Portage continues to evolve into an ongoing national network managed through a sustainable governance model.
Portage operations are managed by the Portage Director, with support from the CARL office and consulting staff. The CARL Directors Portage Steering Committee (CDPSC) has oversight for Portage and reports to the CARL Board through the CARL Executive Director as a program of CARL. The CDPSC may periodically form ad hoc working groups related to specific tasks, such as the preparation of funding proposals with the Portage Director. As well, the CARL Board-approved mandate of its Advancing Research Committee has an ongoing interest in the development of Portage.