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Information Management - Information Matters

Year 2000 Initiatives: Record Keeping Guidelines For the Government of Canada

December 17, 1999

Prepared by:
Year 2000 Record Keeping and Archives Working Group
The Information Management Forum

Table of Contents

  1. PURPOSE
  2. BACKGROUND
  3. NOTES
  4. RECORDS AND RECORD KEEPING
  5. LEGISLATION AND POLICY
    1. Accountability
    2. Year2000 Record Keeping Policies for Government Institutions
    3. Government Legislation and Policy

  6. DOCUMENTING YEAR2000 PROCESSES AND INITIATIVES
    1. Year2000 Processes
    2. Organization of Year2000 Records

  7. RETENTION AND DISPOSITION
    1. Setting Retention Periods
    2. Authorized Disposition of Record

  8. AWARENESS STRATEGIES

Appendix A - Sample Year2000 Record Keeping Policy for Government Institutions and Other Government Bodies and Jurisdictions

Appendix B - Legislation and Policy Affecting Year2000 Information Holdings

Appendix C - Model Subject Classification System for Year2000

Appendix D - Guidelines for Non Year 2000 Compliant Systems

Appendix E - Sample Year2000 Record Keeping Awareness Tool


1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to identify records and record keeping issues associated with Year2000 initiatives and to provide federal government institutions and other federal government bodies and jurisdictions with practical, generic guidance that will help them deal with these issues. The primary focus is on record keeping practices in relation to operational and administrative needs and legislative, policy and/ or regulatory requirements.

Note: This document contains guidelines pertinent to record keeping in the Government of Canada. As such, the guidelines do not constitute policy or standards. References to government-wide laws and policies such as the National Archives of Canada Act (1987) are provided to indicate to users of the guidelines where record keeping imperatives may exist.



2. BACKGROUND 

As the new millennium approaches, government institutions are facing a number of challenges to ensure that their systems and services are "Year2000 compliant". Similar to recent major Government of Canada (GOC) initiatives, including Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Alternative Service Delivery (ASD), there are a number of common record keeping issues which should be addressed within these Year2000 initiatives. The record keeping concerns are first, related to the operational and administrative needs and legislative, policy and/ or regulatory obligations of federal government institutions. Secondly, there are concerns and issues related to specific initiatives. For Year2000 initiatives such issues as accountability and liability are more prominent.

The Information Management Forum (IMF) is a committee chaired by the Office of Government Records at the National Archives of Canada. The IMF has representation (Director level or designated alternate) from over 40 departments and agencies. The mandate of the IMF is to identify and resolve record keeping issues and problems common to government institutions.

There are a number of "drivers" which caused significant discussion at the IMF, among them, accountability, liability, due diligence and the cost of Year2000 initiatives. The IMF determined that it would be beneficial to provide government institutions with generic guidance on records and record keeping issues within the Year2000 environment. The Year2000 Working Group was formed and initial meetings were held in November 1998. Discussions were also held with representatives of the Year2000 Project Office at the Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure that the activities of the working group are consistent with government-wide initiatives.

The purpose of the Year2000 Record Keeping and Archival Working Group is to provide advice to the Year2000 Project Office and to develop generic record keeping guidance (including appropriate best practices) to assist government institutions and the TBS Year2000 Project Office in the development and implementation of Year2000 initiatives.



3. NOTES 

This document is based on questions raised in government institutions, other government bodies and jurisdictions and the observations, comments and experience of members of the Information Management Forum Working Group charged with preparing it. It is anticipated that it will continue to evolve over time as departments, central agencies and the National Archives continue to be involved in Year2000 initiatives.

The issues are grouped by broad subject category. They reflect the current and ongoing experience of the NA and the Information Management Forum with respect to Year2000 initiatives. This document provides a broad framework within which more detailed, institutional specific solutions can be developed. Each section of the document contains a brief summary of an issue along with general guidance. Where specific, detailed models or tools have been developed they appear in a corresponding appendix.
Further information concerning this document can be obtained from:

Government Information Management Office
Library and Archives Canada
Telephone: 819-934-7519
Fax: 819-934-7534
Email: centre.liaison.centre@bac-lac.gc.ca

4. RECORDS AND RECORD KEEPING 

Records are the lifeblood of any government institution. They provide evidence of an activity, support decision making, support the delivery of programs and services and ultimately, are used to demonstrate the accountability of an institution. Within the Year2000 environment the creation, collection and/ or receipt of records and the application of good record keeping practices are essential. Not only does this need extend to records created collected or received specifically within a Year2000 initiative, but to all records of a government institution. The following definitions are offered to help institutions better understand the nature of records and the need for good record keeping practices.

For the purposes of this document the definitions used are those provided by the Office of Government Records in providing advice to government institutions. They are drawn from or derived from a variety of authoritative sources and are included here to assist record keeping practitioners and program staff with a basis for the guidelines. Additional information is included to provide context for the definitions and the sources are accredited where appropriate.

Record

"Record" means recorded information, regardless of physical form, created, collected or received in the initiation, conduct or completion of an activity, including any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine readable record, and any other documentary material, and any copy thereof.

The definition is a combination of that which is found in the National Archives of Canada Act (1987), the Access to Information Act and an interpretation developed to reflect the context in which records are used. The "including" portion of the definition of "record" is meant to be all inclusive in that it reflects the nature and intent of the definition in the NA and ATIP Acts. The bottom line is that "record" has a very expansive definition and most definitely includes machine readable records.

The definition places the concept of "record" in the context of an activity which itself is based on a purpose or intent. While something may be, by definition, a record, it is equally important to view that record from the perspective of the activity or process in which the record is used and the intent or purpose of that activity. Why was the record created, collected or received? How will it be used? Does the record support the delivery of programs and services? Is it used for decision making or to support accountability requirements? How long will it be needed? Finally, what are the laws and other statutory obligations which govern the record.

Equally important are the characteristics and qualities of the record. Is it authentic and reliable? Does it have sufficient content, context and structure to render it available, understandable and usable for as long as it is required by the institution or by the National Archives should the record be identified by the National Archives as having historic or archival importance? This definition should be applied in the context of the records of the Government of Canada.

Records of the Government of Canada

"Records of the Government of Canada" means the records of government institutions, other government corporate bodies, the legislature and the judiciary, as well as ministerial records.


Government Institutions

"Government institution" means a government institution listed in Schedule 1 to the Access to Information Act or the schedule to the Privacy Act or any institution designated by regulations of the Governor in Council as a government institution for the purposes of this Act.

This definition is taken directly from the NA Act and reflects the relationship between the NA Act and the ATIP Acts.

Under the Control of

A record is considered to be "under the control of" a government institution when that institution is authorized to grant or deny access to it, to govern its use and, subject to the approval of the National Archivist, to dispose of it. Records which are in the possession or custody of an institution, whether at headquarters, regional, satellite or other office, either within or outside Canada, are presumed to be under its control unless there is strong evidence to the contrary.


This definition is a derivative of the definition found in the Privacy volume (Chapter 2-900, Guidelines -General, Appendix A Definitions) of the Treasury Board Guidelines on Privacy and Data Matching (July 1996). The term "personal information" has been replaced by "a record" and the phrase "direct its use" has been replaced by "govern its use".

The term "under the control of" has specific and direct usage in the National Archives of Canada Act, particularly in the provisions dealing with the destruction or disposition of records. While no definition is found in the NA Act, the definition found in the Privacy Guidelines provides something akin to a legislative and policy base for adopting the above definition.

It is extremely important to note that government institutions must be aware of their record keeping obligations, particularly with respect to those records created, collected or received by consultants, contractors and service providers on behalf of a government institution. Generally, all contracts and service agreements should clearly indicate the record keeping responsibilities of both parties.

Record Keeping "Record keeping" means the act of documenting an activity by creating, collecting or receiving records and ensuring that they are available, understandable and usable for as long as they are needed.

This definition was created by the Office of Government Records at the National Archives of Canada and reflects a broader, global view of records and record keeping. There are many organizations and individuals who play vital roles in record keeping activities within a government institution. One example is the function of Records Management.

Records Management

"Records management" means the managerial processes relating to the systematic control of all records during their life cycle, including the planning, organizing, directing and controlling, and encompasses the policies, practices, procedures, systems, operations, space, equipment and people involved.



5. LEGISLATION AND POLICY

There is a broad legislative and policy framework which governs record keeping in the Government of Canada. Government institutions, organizations and individuals must be aware of their responsibilities for record keeping in their work environment. This section deals with three issues which are inherently linked to roles and responsibilities; accountability; establishing Year2000 record keeping policy(ies) for government institutions; and, legislation and policies impacting on the record keeping practices of government institutions.

  1. Accountability

    "Accountability" means; liability to give account of, and answer for responsibilities and conduct.


    Given the unique nature of the Year2000 challenge, accountability and liability are very significant issues. The Government of Canada must be prepared to address governance and legal issues if programs and services cannot be delivered or internal operations maintained as a result of not meeting this challenge. Similarly, government institutions must be prepared to demonstrate what steps were taken and what decisions were made within any Year2000 initiative. Failure to provide evidence of activities, including those performed by vendors, contractors and other service providers on their behalf, can result in serious implications for government institutions. This evidence is provided by those records deemed to be "under the control of" a government institution.

    The issue of "under the control of" is directly related to authority and accountability. It should be noted "control" and custody are not synonymous. There are other situations where records can be considered to be under the control of a government institution. For example, an institution may have a contract or some form of agreement in place with a service provider, agent or other organization which contains provisions for the collection/ creation, storage and/ or maintenance of records on behalf of the government institution. These records would also be deemed to be under the control of the institution regardless of their physical location.

    A key issue within those of accountability is that of liability. Where the Crown owes a duty to deliver services and programs to the public, the Crown could be liable if its information technology systems fail causing it to be unable to deliver such services and programs. In order to reduce the risks of the Crown being found liable in a court of law, the Crown will need to demonstrate that it took all reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure that its systems were able to function during and after the millennium rollover, or that effective contingency or work-around plans were implemented.

    The following responsibility statements have been set out to guide institutions in establishing or clarifying roles and responsibilities:
    • The Government of Canada is accountable for ensuring that the information technology systems used to deliver programs and services to the public and to maintain internal operations are able to operate on and after January 1, 2000. This will better position the Government to deliver programs and services to the public.
    • The Treasury Board is responsible for ensuring that departments and agencies have Year2000 compliant government-wide mission critical systems and provide leadership (through the Year2000 Project Office) in coordinating federal initiatives relating to Year2000.
    • Industry Canada is responsible for promoting private sector awareness and activity related to making electronic systems and equipment Year2000 compliant.
    • Justice Canada is responsible for providing advice to central agencies, government institutions and other government bodies on all legal aspects of record keeping in the Government of Canada. Included is advice on limitation periods (including provincial and territorial) under which a lawsuit can be launched or defended.
    • The Department of National Defence is responsible for preparing national contingency plans to deal with Year2000 problems and for ensuring continuity of government.
    • The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is responsible for dealing with the international aspects of the Year2000 issue.
    • Individual government institutions (departments and agencies) have responsibilities to Cabinet and Parliament for ensuring that the institution, including Crown Corporations and Agencies within their portfolio, have exercised due diligence in their respective areas to ensure their readiness for the Year2000. Each Department is accountable to Parliament, Stakeholders and the Canadian Public for its Year2000 state of readiness. Examples of their responsibilities are:
       
      • development of Year2000 strategies and plans,
      • detailed monthly reporting to the Treasury Board,
      • establishing risk assessment and contingency plans; and,
      • undertaking initiatives to ensure compliance of mission critical systems (including testing in a "live" environment).
    • Program managers/ Application owners are responsible for leading their respective business areas including the management of their Year2000 initiatives related to their business functions and ensuring Year2000 readiness for their respective areas. Some examples are:
      • compliance with government Year2000 direction including processes and standards,
      • providing the required resources,
      • documenting Year2000 initiatives and activities in accordance with established Information Management policies, practices and standards,
      • participating in system testing and verification activities, and
      • preparing and maintaining Year2000 plans, risk assessments and detailed contingency plans.
    • Information Management and Records Management specialists are responsible for:
      • ensuring that all records pertaining to Year2000 initiatives that are captured, maintained and effectively managed in corporate record keeping systems, regardless of media;
      • ensuring that record keeping practices are in compliance with the current federal government and departmental information management and record keeping policies, practices and guidelines as well as all government legislation and regulations; and
      • providing functional guidance on all life cycle aspects of managing information holdings and developing departmental retention and disposal schedules. This will be particularly important in ensuring that all organizations and individuals exercise due diligence in the management of all information Year2000 holdings. These records will be essential in order to deal with accountability and liability issues related to Year2000.
    • Contractors/ consultants/ service providers are responsible for maintaining good record keeping practices to ensure ample evidence of their activities on behalf of government institutions. Where appropriate, record keeping obligations should be included in any contractual agreement between the parties. Some examples include:
    • The contractor is responsible for ensuring that all information produced is in accordance with departmental Information Management policies and procedures;
    • The contractor is responsible for ensuring all technical documentation and prototypes produced in the performance of their work under contract remains the property of the government institution; and,
    • The contractor cannot divulge or use such information other than in the performance of the work under contract. The ownership of intellectual and other property rights, including copyright, shall remain the property of the Government of Canada.

      Notes: Records created, collected or received in the initiation, conduct or completion of a government activity are considered to be "under the control of" the Government of Canada regardless of where or how the records were created. Many government staff members work in remote or regional sites. Others participate in a telework program where the employee performs his or her duties at home. Employees should be aware of their record keeping responsibilities and government departments and agencies should ensure that Year2000 records created, collected or received at remote sites are captured and maintained in a corporate record keeping system.

      Whether teleworking or within the office environment, particular attention should be paid to electronic mail communications and electronic documents. Most organizations are implementing or evaluating electronic document management systems. Staff often use personal databases and directories to store important electronic documents including email. Until such electronic document management systems are in widespread use, organizations should have in place a system or process which ensures that electronic documents are effectively captured in a corporate record keeping system.
       
  2. Year2000 Record Keeping Policies for Government Institutions

    While existing laws and policies govern record keeping practices in the Government of Canada (see Section 5.3), the uniqueness of the Year2000 challenge suggests that government institutions should have in place a policy or set of policies specific to record keeping (including all aspects of the records life-cycle) and Year2000. All records created within Year2000 initiatives, in any media, clearly meet the established definitions for records of the Government of Canada. Legal advisors note that all corporate information, electronic mail messages, electronic documents, meeting notes and minutes and even personal agendas containing annotations related to Year2000 activities may be of particular importance.

    While most institutions have policy development processes in place, it is highly recommended that a vigourous consultation and communication (see Section 8) plan be established to ensure that all organizations and staff are aware of the importance of Year2000 initiatives and their roles and responsibilities within these initiatives.

    As in all policies, those specific to Year2000 initiatives should:
    • respect existing laws, regulations and directives, policies and standards,
    • be consistent with the government-wide direction,
    • reflect the direction, goals and wishes of senior management,
    • be consistent with the operational needs of the institution,
    • reflect the views of the widest range of people including functional specialists such as Security, ATIP and Records, and
    • be easy to implement.

The following list is provided to guide institutions in the identification of individuals and organizations who should be part of the consultation process:

  • Minister's Office
  • Executive and other management committees
  • regional management and staff
  • program managers/ application owners
  • Internal Audit
  • departmental and TBS Year2000 Project Offices
  • Security
  • Access to Information and Privacy
  • Communications
  • Records, Information Management and Information Technology specialists
  • Legal Services
  • Office of Government Records, National Archives of Canada

    Note: Attached as Appendix A is an example of a departmental policy for managing information related to Year2000 initiatives.
  1. Government Legislation and Policy

    Managing the collection, creation, organization, and retrieval of institutional information holdings has traditionally been viewed as vital to supporting effective decision-making and efficient delivery of programs and services. In recognition of the importance of information issues to modern society, statutory and policy requirements governing the administration of government records have steadily increased in recent years. (Strategic Direction for Government -Information Management, TBS, 1994).

    As mentioned previously there is an existing legislative and policy framework which governs record keeping in the Government of Canada. Appendix B of this document provides an overview of some of the key laws and policies. Also included is a summary of other policies, standards, strategies etc. which may be of use to government institutions within the Year2000 environment.



  • Year2000 Processes

    Documentation in all media associated with the Year 2000 process must be captured and stored for present and future use by the Government to demonstrate that the Government took all reasonable steps in the circumstances. Documentation includes records in all media.

    The documentation provides evidence of such things as how priorities were established, what alternatives were considered, why various choices were made, what remedial action was taken, and what tests were carried out. Copies of all vendor letters and follow-up actions; test procedures and final test results; changes to software or devices; contingency plans and Year 2000 general correspondence must be retained and fully documented. At the corporate management level, planning and organization documents must also be included, along with all project status reports. Government departments are responsible for reporting to Treasury Board in adherence to Year2000 compliance issues. Most departments have created a Year 2000 Project Office to develop and carry out plans to resolve the Year2000 issues.
  • Note: It is important to maintain a complete set of all Year2000 documentation. It is preferable to implement and maintain one subject structure for all media. Cross-referencing may be made to related subject matter. Cross-reference links between media to related information documenting the same sequence of business activity or business system from which the document was captured should also be maintained. The capturing of Email and electronic documents should follow departmental policies and practices. These records are also subject to retention and disposition requirements of the National Archives of Canada including the Authority for the Destruction of Transitory Records (1990).

    To facilitate retrieval of documentation in all media, a subject classification system (see Appendix C) or structure should be designed specific to Year 2000. The following provides an overview (not all-inclusive) of some key activities within the Year2000 process.

    Activities:

    • planning, obtaining dedicated finance and human resources, developing a communications plan which includes posting information on a Year2000 web site and the distribution of communiques.
    • developing policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure compliance with related legislation, testing methodologies, and department business lines.
    • completing a comprehensive inventory of all hardware and software: system applications, commercial off the shelf (COTS), facilities, infrastructure and related components, including execution platform, embedded systems, source code, job control, databases, data, and program language, printers/ scanners, telecommunications and interfaces etc.
    • identifying mission critical and non-critical systems, those deemed government wide and departmental mission critical being done first, leaving non-critical systems running into the Year 2000.
    • system testing involving impact analysis, source code analysis and conversion, editing/ compiling/ linking utilities, testing and debugging, regression testing, and life cycle management.
    • developing risk assessments on: legal, business, technical, contingency and business resumption planning.
    • developing contingency and business resumption plans (Essential Records Programs should be in place to ensure that records that are vital/ essential to the delivery of programs and services are adequately maintained and protected).
    • identifying applications for disposition and addressing legacy issues.
    • documenting reporting procedures according to Treasury Board and departmental policies and procedures.
    • documenting the crucial compliancy and verification steps.

    The fact that the Crown could be liable for failure to deliver programs and services to the public if its information technology systems fail and appropriate contingency or work-around plans are not implemented highlights the need for accurate record keeping. Complete and accurate records will better position the Crown to demonstrate that the Government took all reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure that it would be able to continue to deliver programs and services.

    1. Organization of Year2000 Records

      A key instrument in the effective organization, storage and retrieval of records is a subject classification system. While it may not meet the needs of all government institutions, IMF working group members have developed a model subject classification system which can be applied to Year2000 records. This classification system can be found in Appendix C.


    7. RETENTION AND DISPOSITION

    Capturing authentic and reliable records and maintaining them for as long as they are required is fundamental to good record keeping in the Government of Canada. It allows government institutions to deliver effective programs and services, make sound decisions, meet their accountability obligations and protect against liability. In establishing retention periods, institutions and other government bodies and jurisdictions are determining what records need to be kept and for how long. The orderly disposition of records of no enduring value brings about savings in terms of cost and space. Finally, the preservation of records of archival or historic significance enhances the corporate memory of the Government of Canada and of the collective memory of Canada itself. The following sections provide guidance on setting retention periods for records related to Year2000 initiatives and the legislative imperatives governing their disposition.  

    1. Setting Retention Periods

      Establishing retention periods for records associated with Year2000 initiatives is governed by a number of criteria. A number of them are generic to setting retention periods while the issues of liability and due diligence bring an increased sense of importance to this activity.

      There are a number of laws and policies which impact on records retention. First and foremost are the enabling legislation, statutes or regulation which provide the authority for the institution, government body or other jurisdiction to carry out its programs and services. Second, there is the suite of government-wide legislation and policy (see Appendix B). Finally, there may be provincial or territorial laws and policies which must be respected depending on the business function and area of activity.

      The administrative and operational requirements of the organization are also extremely important in establishing retention periods for records related to Year2000 initiatives. Retention of Year2000 records must be linked to the programs and services and automated systems which support them whether they are operational or administrative in nature.

      The issue of liability is a critical factor in determining which records must be kept and for how long. There is no precedent, at this time, which allows for the selection or creation of records retention standards for records related to Year2000 initiatives.

      In addition to the above criteria, Year2000 records may have enduring archival value and historical significance. This value is determined by staff at The National Archives of Canada (NA) under provisions of the National Archives of Canada Act (1987) which govern the disposition of the records of government institutions. NA staff are currently working to provide authoritative advice and guidance to government institutions (see Section 7.2) in this area.

      Given that there are no existing standards that may be appropriate for all institutions or other government bodies and jurisdictions, it is necessary that Year2000 Project Teams (or the appropriate specialists) establish retention periods for their Year2000 records . This is best achieved by ensuring that all legal, fiscal, evidentiary, administrative and operational imperatives have been established. Consultations should include all impacted jurisdictions such as program and application managers, records and information specialists such as those involved in Essential Records, Business Resumption Planning, ATIP, Security, Records and Information Management (including Disposition), etc. as well as legal counsel.
    2. Authorized Disposition of Records

      Section 5(1) of the National Archives of Canada Act states that "[ n] o record under the control of a government institution and no ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be destroyed or disposed of without the consent of the Archivist. Section 6(1) states that "[t]he records of government institutions and ministerial records that, in the opinion of the Archivist, are of historic or archival importance shall be transferred to the care and control of the Archivist in accordance with such schedules or other agreements for the transfer of records as may be agreed on between the Archivist and the government institution or person responsible for the records."

      Government institution means a government institution listed in Schedule I to the Access to Information Act or the schedule to the Privacy Act. Each institution falling under the NA Act must obtain a Records Disposition Authority from the National Archivist in order to dispose of any records.

      In relation to the Year 2000 problem, disposition falls into two areas:
       
      • electronic records residing in systems that institutions have decided will not be converted to Y2K readiness, whose software and hardware environment may fail due to the Y2K problem;

        and
      • records in electronic or paper format that have been created to document institutional efforts to make electronic systems Y2K-compliant.

    These two situations are discussed below.

    Disposition of Electronic Records in Non-Y2K Compliant Systems

    As government institutions work to make their mission critical systems Year 2000 compliant, they are identifying other systems of lesser importance which will not be converted. Nonetheless, these non-compliant systems could contain records in electronic form that have long-term operational and archival value. In these cases, de facto unauthorized disposal of electronic records can occur if systems are not maintained as active and if system documentation for such inactive systems is misplaced or destroyed.

    The National Archives has launched an initiative to identify electronic records in systems that will not be converted to Y2K compliance which (1) are covered by a Records Disposition Authority and have been identified as being of archival value or (2) may be of archival value but are not yet covered by a Records Disposition Authority. Electronic records covered by Records Disposition Authorities but not identified as being of archival and historical value can be disposed of without further authorization by the National Archives providing that all other legislative and policy imperatives (such as the Access to Information and Privacy legislation and policies) have been satisfied.

    Since the summer of 1998, National Archives Information Systems Analysts have worked with federal government institutions to determine which non-Y2K compliant systems are covered by Records Disposition Authorities, and which systems contain electronic records that must be appraised by the National Archives. Work that needs to be undertaken by institutions and the National Archives will be negotiated with each institution on a case by case basis and incorporated into existing or new Multi-Year Disposition Plans. More information on the disposition of electronic records in non-Y2K compliant systems is available in a "frequently asked questions" document available through the National Archives of Canada web site www.collectionscanada.gc.ca. A set of guidelines to ensure that the electronic records in databases and their contextual information and systems documentation are safeguarded until disposition can take place has been prepared. These guidelines are provided as Appendix D of this document and are also available at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca.

    Disposition of Records Concerning Y2K Projects in Institutions

    The disposition of records that document institutions' efforts to make systems Year 2000 compliant will take place within the regular National Archives disposition process, according to existing Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities covering common administrative records (including the General Records Disposal Schedules) or Institution-Specific Records Disposition Authorities.

    Further Information

    The National Archives Information Systems Analyst assigned to each institution is available to discuss disposition requirements and to assist institutions in the identification of non-compliant systems. For more information, please contact the Government Archives and Records Disposition Division at 947-1480.



    8. AWARENESS STRATEGIES

    The Year2000 issue may have an impact on the ability to protect and preserve information holdings. Given the legal and operational consequences, it is important that organizations and individuals understand the record keeping issues and their roles and responsibilities in implementing effective record keeping practices at the desk top and within large scale computer applications.

    The purpose of this section is to provide advice and guidance on how Year2000 Project Teams and Records and Information Management specialists can build awareness of Year2000 record keeping issues within government institutions and other government bodies and jurisdictions.

    Awareness of the Year2000 record keeping issues is created by disseminating timely information and has as its main components an analysis and understanding of the current situation, an identification of problems and/ or weaknesses, the identification of potential solutions, and a recommended course of action. Answering the following questions will help do this:

    • What are my responsibilities?
    • What do we do now?
    • What policy, standards, practices and procedures exist to support what we do?
    • What should we be doing?
    • How do we do it?
    • Why do we do it?

    The objectives of an effective awareness strategy are:

    • promote a better understanding of the Year2000 issue and of its possible effect( s) on the information holdings,
    • sensitize senior management and obtain their support for record keeping initiatives,
    • promote employee participation at all levels,
    • create an interest in records and information management,

    Awareness strategies could include:

    • building partnerships internally and externally,
    • identifying champions within an organization,
    • developing communication tools such as templates for pamphlets, fact sheets and newsletter articles,
    • developing simple but original promotional material that is both effective and economical, and
    • undertaking activities to increase awareness and support.

    Activities could include:

    • making presentations to senior management committees and other management and staff committees,
    • meeting with management and staff in the workplace,
    • establishing "door-to-door" awareness campaigns,
    • setting up strategically located information kiosks,
    • organizing contests and promotional days.

    Communication Tools could include:

    • memorandum to senior management,
    • newsletters,
    • posters,
    • information kits containing pamphlet, fact sheets and frequently asked questions and answers,
    • Intranet sites to provide information and contact numbers,
    • dedicated telephone line with recorded voice mail message,
    • Year2000 letterheads, post-it notes, etc. with Year2000 logo.

    There are a number of Evaluation Indicators which could be employed to measure the effectiveness of the awareness strategies:

    • the number of hits on a net site,
    • the number of copies of information pamphlets, tc. distributed,
    • the number of requests for additional information,
    • participation in various activities,
    • feedback from management and staff.

    NOTE: http://www.imforumgi.gc.ca/consult/y2k/y2kappe_e.html
    Appendix E contains a sample awareness brochure highlighting the Year 2000 record keeping issues.

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