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In 2009, some scholars and community leaders met in Toronto to brainstorm the idea of forming a Canada-wide network of experts, institutions, individuals and community organizations interested in Italian-Canadian historical information, and to explore the creation of a national organization on this subject matter.

Under the name Italian-Canadian Archives Project, it was incorporated in 2013 as a Canadian not-for-profit organization, and received charitable status in 2016. As a members-based and volunteer organization, ICAP is made up of a Board of Directors, local committees, individuals, students, institutions, and community associations. Government grants, institutional support, monetary and in-kind donations support ICAP projects and conferences.  

With the support and assistance of the Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies at York University, further connections were made with others across the country, culminated in a founding conference at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in October 2010. Experts, academics, and community members from across Canada spent two days discussing the need for a national effort to engage communities in projects to record and tell the Italian-Canadian story. Following two days of discussions, the participants unanimously agreed that a national strategy was needed and that an organization should be formed.  A pan-Canadian network would be created with interested members who would engage and assist communities or individuals to identify, document, and find appropriate ways to preserve their Italian-Canadian stories. A working committee was appointed to begin the process of formalizing and structuring the organization.

The organization was structured to engage individuals, scholars, institutions and community groups across Canada to work on projects that assisted them in saving their Italian-Canadian stories and collections, so that these stories could become part of the Canadian historical fabric.