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Legacy Management Solutions

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The Legacy Challenge

  1. Does your institution have records of uncertain origin and/or content?
  2. Is the "paper mountain" swallowing up valuable financial, space and human resources in your institution?
  3. Is your institution ready to meet its recordkeeping obligations under the Policy on Information Management and the Directive on Recordkeeping?

Risks to your institution

If you are not satisfied with any of the answers to the above questions, your institution may be in a vulnerable position.


Leaving records unmanaged or partially managed invites risk and leave the institution susceptible to accountability failures related to:

  • Litigation preparedness
  • Audit and Evaluation
  • Business continuity
  • Policy and program development
  • Responses to ATIP requests
  • Decision-making

What are unmanaged legacy business records and partly managed legacy records?

Unmanaged legacy records

Photograph of a shelving unit stacked with all sorts of packages and documents with no obvious organization.
  • May have little or no knowledge of the records creator or contents.
  • Have little or no supporting documentation
  • Likely not covered by a Records Disposition Authority
  • Fall outside of the classification system
  • Generally not covered by a retention plan

Partly managed legacy records

Photograph of neatly stacked boxes of records on shelves, with no obvious identification.
  • Records creator and contents are generally known
  • Have some or no supporting documentation
  • May be partially covered by a Records Disposition Authority but interpreting the archival decisions may be problematic.
  • Are likely classified in a central classification system
  • May or may not be covered by a retention plan.

Legacy Solutions

Library and Archives Canada has developed two approaches for unmanaged and partially managed legacy business records:

The Risk-Based Approach (RBA)

The RBA method is an expedited approach that is "risk-based" because of the emphasis on box-level, not file level, description. The RBA methodology is applied according to agreed up Disposition Rules. The Risk-Based Approach is essentially a method of triaging through backlogs of neglected records to salvage those of business or archival value, while disposing of those found to be of no enduring value, thus freeing up valuable storage space.

The Clearing the Path (CTP)

The CTP approach assists institutions in the identification and segregation of archival records in their partially managed legacy backlog. The CTP approach provides interpretation and advice on the application of Records Disposition Authorities (Institution-Specific Disposition Authorities and Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities). A streamlined disposal process will help to determine which records may be disposed, which records should be transferred to LAC and which records should be retained by institutions for their continuing business value. Disposition tools developed during this approach will also help institutions prevent the accumulation of legacy backlogs in the future.


The Risk-Based Approach

  • Mitigation of risk by examining each box and documenting each batch of records
  • Formerly "lost" records now known to the institution and available for use
  • Destruction of substantive amounts of unmanaged legacy records through a single-use Records Disposition Authority issued by LAC

Clearing the Path

  • Partially managed legacy records brought under control
  • Documented decisions on the application of Records Disposition Authority
  • Disposal of legacy records
  • Acquisition of the archival record by LAC

Both approaches to legacy management result in substantial cost savings to the institution and the freeing up of valuable storage space.

For Further Information

Contact the Liaison Centre:

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