Part 1 of this Application Guide corresponds to Section A of the Terms and Conditions for MIDA 2005/006. Section A of the Terms and Conditions specifies the scope of the Authority and defines certain key terms that limit its application within institutions.
Part 1 of the Application Guide also answers the question institutions will ask themselves most often: "can MIDA 2005/006 be applied to our records?" The following is a quick reply to this question, in a chart format, followed by more detailed explanations on the scope and definitions used in the Authority.
|Question -- Can MIDA 2005/006 be applied to our records if the records . . .||Answer|
|a.||are not subject to the LAC Act?||No|
|b.||do not meet all three parts of the definition of a case file record as described in Section A of the Terms and Conditions?||No|
|c.||are common administrative records?||No|
|d.||were created prior to 1946?||No|
|e.||are covered by MIDA No. 96/021 for institutional records in the Office of a Minister?||No|
|f.||are covered by MIDA No. 96/022 for records of Deputy Heads of government institutions?||No|
|g.||are covered by MIDA No. 96/023 for records related to Electronic Imaging Systems?||No|
|h.||are covered by MIDA No. 96/024 for posters from Poster-Creating Areas?||No|
|i.||are covered by MIDA No. 2001/004 for Audio-Visual records?||No|
|j.||are covered by the Authority for the Destruction of Transitory Records?||No|
|k.||are common administrative records and operational records mixed together within the same case file?||No|
|l.||are a mix of transactional and subject-based records within the files?||No1|
|m.||are covered by an active and valid Institution-Specific Disposition Authority (ISDA)?||No2|
|n.||are shared with other government institutions?||No3|
|o.||are created and maintained in regional offices?||Yes|
|p.||are strictly operational in character; are subject to the LAC Act; meet all three (3) parts of the case file record definition in Section A. of the Terms and Conditions; are not covered by any other active and valid MIDA or ISDA; were not created prior to 1946; and are not mixed into case files which contain common administrative or subject-based records?||Yes|
An explanation of the Question and Answer Chart follows, in order of the questions:
a. Records Disposition Authorities, including MIDAs, do not cover institutions (or the records under the control of those institutions) that are not subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act.
b. Records that do not meet all three parts of the case file record definition of MIDA No. 2005/006 are not to be considered case file records for the purposes of applying the MIDA. For example, they may be policy records (and therefore not transactional) or have no clear beginning or end. In either of these cases, the MIDA would not apply to the records.
c. All common administrative records, which include common administrative case files and subject files, are covered by five MIDAs for common administrative records. MIDA No. 2005/006 applies only to operational case file records of institutions. If your records include administrative case files, you must use the Common Administrative Records MIDAs to dispose of them.
d. Records created prior to 1946 are not covered by any of the MIDAs issued by LAC. In some instances, where there are series containing records which span the period before and after 1946, this MIDA may apply only to those records created after this cut off date. Consult with your LAC portfolio archivist to confirm application.
e-j. The generic MIDAs for the records of Ministers and Deputy Heads, media specific records, and Transitory Records (i.e. MIDAs 96/021, 96/022, 96/023, 96/024, 2001/004), already cover all case files and subject files pertinent to the scope statements and specific records referred to by each MIDA. Therefore, all records covered by "generic" MIDAs are excluded from the Scope of MIDA No. 2005/006, and thus avoid any conflict between this MIDA and all other MIDA decisions. (This also answers questions "e" through "j" on the chart above)
k. The mixing of common administrative and operational records within the same case file may place archival records at risk of destruction when applying any MIDA. Therefore, MIDA No. 2005/006 cannot be applied to files that mix these types of records together. Institutions must seek an Institution Specific Records Disposition Authority (ISDA) for these records. However, institutions may decide to manage their records differently in order to avoid this.
l. The mixing of transactional and subject-based operational records within the same file may place archival records at risk of destruction when applying MIDA No. 2005/006. Therefore, this MIDA cannot be applied to files that mix these types of records together. Institutions may consult their portfolio archivist at LAC to determine if the proportion of subject-based records within a case file record series requires an ISDA or whether MIDA 2005/006 may apply. However, institutions may decide to manage their records differently in order to avoid this.
m. ISDAs that cover operational case files were developed with specific institutions to ensure the transfer of archival records to LAC; these ISDAs take precedence over any MIDA. MIDA No. 2005/006 cannot be applied to the same records already covered by an active and valid ISDA. However, in the implementation of this MIDA, LAC archivists will work with institutional staff to identify and confirm which ISDAs will continue to apply and which will be superceded by the Case File MIDA.
n. Under Section B of the Terms and Conditions to MIDA No. 2005/006, i.e. Obligations Relating to Archival Records, institutions must notify their LAC archivist prior to applying this MIDA to records shared with other government institutions.
This verifies which institution has legal "control" over the final corporate version of the record, which institution manages the record keeping system from which a transfer of archival records will take place, and which institution has set the longest retention periods for these operational records. In addition, it determines whether the records are already covered by an existing ISDA or ISDAs issued to one or more of the institutions sharing the records. By notifying and consulting with the LAC portfolio archivist these issues will be addressed to ensure the appropriate disposition of records at the end of their retention periods, and the transfer of archival records to LAC.
o. MIDA 2005/006 applies to all records equally, whether they are created in regional and local offices or the headquarter offices of institutions across the Government of Canada. If there is any question about this, please consult your LAC portfolio archivist.
p. The answer to the question, "what does MIDA No. 2005/006 actually apply to?", was purposely left to the end of the chart. Institutions that follow all the Terms and Conditions of MIDA No. 2005/006, including its scope, definitions, exclusions, and archival criteria will ensure the effective disposition of their operational case file records and will not place archival records at risk of inadvertent destruction. LAC archivists and institutional staff will work together to confirm the applicability of the MIDA to their operational case file record series during the implementation phase.
The key to the understanding and proper application of this MIDA is the recognition that LAC has developed a new definition and test for case file records that places the emphasis on the level of transactions documented by the records, rather than placing the emphasis on the particular item, object, entity, person, event, or thing, for which a transaction is carried out and documented within the content of the record.
The first important concept in the new definition of case file records is that of a transaction. Transaction means the smallest measurable unit of work carried out as part of a business process in support of a higher level activity within the context of a specific business mandate.
Example 1. A number of federal institutions provide grants to individuals, non-profit organizations, small and medium-sized businesses, large corporations, universities, colleges and/or to research institutes. For example, Industry Canada is mandated to foster economic development through a variety of means including grants. While the form of the grant may vary to include direct transfers of monies, tax benefits, loans, guarantees, and/or investments with payback options, the underlying process involves a series of repetitive transactions which are based on pre-established procedures using standardized forms and documentation. This series of transactions are all within the business process of granting of the request and its subsequent management.
The business process includes the application, using a standardized form or format including supporting documentation as required, the review with additional information added as necessary, and the notification of the decision to approve or reject the request through a standardized letter. For approved requests, the process includes the contract agreed upon by the applicant and the federal institution. Once the contract or agreement is in place, the monies or benefits are given to the approved applicant. The request may be monitored for compliance periodically throughout the term of the grant, and at the end of the term as part of the evaluation phase. Once all the terms and conditions of the grant have been met, including any repayment, the business process is complete and the file is closed.
Example 2. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the national police service of Canada, and its mandate is to preserve the peace and to uphold the law. In support of this the RCMP investigate criminal occurrences. An investigation of a criminal offence is one file within the business process that supports the overall policing function of the RCMP. The police open a file for a crime or occurrence, and collect information or evidence towards solving the crime. In this case, the transaction is most typically the collection (and recording) of a piece of information or evidence. This series of transactions makes up the police investigation case file. The file is opened when an occurrence is reported. The business process of an investigation may include the reporting of the occurrence triggering the opening of the file, the completion of standardized forms to record the tombstone information of the event, as well as the necessary supporting documentation. The collection of withness statements, the process and tracking of the gathering of information or evidence makes up the investigation file. The file is reviewed and updated periodically, and status reports written. The collection of information is intended to identify the criminal and to provide evidence to convict him or her. A single business process serves these two purposes. The file is closed when the case is tried or when someone makes a determination not to try, or after a prescribed period of time after the occurrence.
A transactional record means a record that documents the smallest measurable unit of work carried out as part of a business process in support of a higher activity within the context of a specific business mandate or function. In other words, a transactional record provides proof that something happened.
Example 1. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is mandated to investigate and settle complaints of discrimination in employment and in the provision of services within the federal jurisdiction. In order to do this, the Commission hears complaints of discrimination filed against federally regulated employers, unions and service providers. This is one of its main business processes. In order to obtain a hearing, individuals must file a complaint with the Commission. This represents one of the smallest measurable units of work (or transactions) in the overall complaint process. The complaint form is a transactional record.
A transactional record need not document an activity between two individuals or between an institution and an individual in the traditional sense. A transaction, i.e. the smallest unit of work, may take place between one automated system and another, or even within one electronic system that generates diagnostic reports, updates, and other system generated or programmed activities within a business process. Thus, the MIDA definition of a transaction and transactional record has taken into account the electronic work environment and doing business with information technology (IT) at the level of the smallest measurable unit of work activity.
A case file means a file folder or file container, regardless of media, within which are gathered records that document a single type, or series, of repetitive transaction(s) within a business process. It follows, therefore, that case file records document transactions carried out as part of a business process.
In other words, a case file is determined primarily by the particular transactional characteristics of the records contained in that file, rather than because the title and contents of a file refer to a particular item, object, entity, person, event, or thing.
A series is a group of files or documents arranged systematically or maintained as a unit, either physically or intellectually, because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific type of transaction, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, maintenance, or use.
A business process is a set of related activities, deriving from the mandate of the institution, that have been systematically implemented to provide a specific service or product.
Subject based records
Subject based records can relate to any topic or subject, they are the result of deliberative activities above the level of a single transaction or series of transactions. They may document policies, procedures, or decisions. Files containing subject records may not have a clear beginning and end as they often document ongoing programs or activities. The records are unique.
The MIDA includes a three-part definition to test what constitutes a case file record based on the specific transactional characteristics of records contained in files deemed to be case files.
Cases files often, but don't always, use pre-established identification codes linking the file to the particular item, object, entity, person, event, or thing for which a transaction is carried out and documented within the content of the record. These codes are alphabetic or numeric and rarely change over time. However, for the purpose of applying and interpreting MIDA No. 2005/006, a file is deemed to be a case file only when it meets all three parts of the following case files record definition:
1) Case file records are those that document a single type, or series, of repetitive transaction(s) within a business process relating continuously to a particular item, object, entity, person, event, or thing.
Example: applying for a Canada Pension Plan Retirement benefit:
2) Case file records are those that contain replicated documentation in standardized formats and structures including (but not restricted to) forms, orders, pro forma letters and memos, contracts, invoices, vouchers, receipts, spreadsheets, announcements, bulletins, and payments.
Example: applying for a Canada Pension Plan Retirement benefit:
3) Case file records are those that document transactions that have a definite beginning and an end within the same case file regardless of the size of the file or number of records within the file.
Example: applying for a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement benefit
MIDA No. 2005/006 can only be applied to those records in an institution that meet all three parts of the case file record definition in Section A of the Terms and Conditions. This will ensure that substantive or deliberative information about ongoing government programs captured in subject-based narrative documents above the level of transactions are not inadvertently destroyed without further archival appraisal being conducted.
Example: LAC does not consider files consisting primarily of minutes of committees, or records of decisions as case file records. The contents of these files document activities above a transactional level. They demonstrate deliberative action and decision-making which is documented in narrative text that is not pro forma or repetitive in nature. For example, decisions made by LAC's Management Board are documented in the committee's minutes. These records are not case files. The records look the same and seem repetitive because the meetings occur regularly in a structured format. However, Management Board makes decisions and this is not a transactional activity and the committee minutes are not case files because they reflect deliberative thinking.
In contrast, a narrative letter from an individual applying for a passport which is attached to his/her application does not mean that the application and letter are to be considered subject-based records; the transaction here is still one prescribed by standardized procedures and replicated forms for applying for a passport. The narrative letter is considered to be supporting documentation.
When an institution is uncertain if its records meet all three parts of the definition for being case file records, they must consult with their portfolio archivist prior to applying MIDA No. 2005/006.
1 In this situation, institutions should consult the portfolio archivist at LAC on the applicability of MIDA No. 2005/006.
2 In this situation, institutions and archivists will confirm which ISDAs are still valid.
3 In this situation, institutions must notify their portfolio archivist at LAC prior to applying this MIDA No. 2005/006.