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Information Management - Information Matters

Stage 6: Disposition

When they reach Stage 6: Disposition, records are deemed to be non-active and ready for a decision on their disposition path. This is a critical decision stage that is guided by legislation affecting records of archival value, concepts of legal control, and departmental records disposal plans.

Why is Stage 6 Important?
This is the stage where records and information have reached the end of their life cycles. Determined by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, one of three pathways for each record must be undertaken by the department:

  • destruction;
  • alienation; or
  • transfer of archival records to the Library and Archives of Canada.

It is important to deal with records as soon as it is determined that they no longer have business value to the organization to avoid the costly buildup of stored backlogs of records.

Critical Notes about Stage 6: Disposition
The most important aspect of Stage 6 is avoiding the wrongful disposition of records.

Inputs to Stage 6: Disposition
To encourage continuous improvement, there are six key inputs that IM practitioners should consider when preparing to dispose of records:

  • your departmental IM plan;
  • your departmental Records Retention Plans;
  • your departmental Records Disposition Submissions and Authorities Approved by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada;
  • security of information policies;
  • your departmental Records Disposal Plan; and
  • your departmental Records Accommodation Plan.

Outputs from Stage 6: Disposition
Effective disposition of government records yields five key output choices:

  • transfer of archival records to Library and Archives Canada, with each record fully controlled and described;
  • destruction of records;
  • transfer of control from the Government of Canada (alienation);
  • return to sender (for records on loan); or
  • transfer of surplus publications to the Library and Archives of Canada.

Library and Archives Canada’s Role in Stage 6: Disposition
The Government of Canada appointed Library and Archives Canada as the lead agency responsible for preserving the archival and historical memory of government. Among its other responsibilities, Library and Archives Canada has specific roles and responsibilities related to the disposition of records, which include:

  • identifying, selecting, acquiring and preserving government records, in all media, considered to be of enduring value to Canada
  • issuing Records Disposition Authorities to enable federal government institutions to dispose of records, in all media, that no longer have operational value, by permitting their destruction (at the discretion of institutions), by requiring their transfer to the Library and Archives of Canada, or by agreeing to their alienation from the control of the Government of Canada
  • preserving the published heritage of the nation and of the Government of Canada
  • managing a system of redistribution of library information declared surplus by libraries of federal government institutions.

As part of these mandates, Library and Archives Canada works with each Government of Canada organization to appraise its records according to archival value, and guide the disposition method for records.

Library and Archives Canada also plays a broad role in guiding federal government IM practitioners about the importance of effective Records and Information Life Cycle Management. We increasingly make a range of tools, standards, guidelines and practices available to the IM community at large, and Government of Canada employees in particular. Where needed, we provide advice, consultation, training and orientation to support the effective disposition of government records. Library and Archives Canada also publishes Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDAs), which provide guidance regarding the disposal of the common administrative records of the Government of Canada.

While we support good Information Management practices at all stages of the Records and Information Life Cycle, we also play a key role in records disposition. We provide specific guidance through:

  • multi-year acquisition plans with cost of ownership models;
  • access to semi-active and archival records;
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs);
  • archival appraisals;
  • records accommodation plans; and
  • transfer and monitoring agreements with terms and conditions as well as technical specifications.

In addition, Library and Archives Canada issues Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs) to each Government of Canada organization. Without these RDAs, departments cannot proceed with the disposal of any record. The Government Records Disposition Program is a process whereby the Librarian and Archivist of Canada grants authority to government institutions subject to the Library and Archives Canada Act for the disposition of their government records. The process also negotiates agreements for the transfer of records identified as having archival and historical value to the Library and Archives of Canada.

If you have questions related to records disposition, we invite you to contact us so that we can guide your efforts.

Resources that Support Stage 6: Disposition
Click here to access available resources that support Stage 6.

If you have resources that you feel will contribute to the overall IM community’s success, we invite you to contact us so that we can add your resources to our growing pool of shared knowledge.