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Records Disposition Authorities

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Under the Library and Archives Canada Act (section 12.1), government institutions cannot destroy any record, without the consent of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. The Librarian and Archivist of Canada grants his/her consent to the destruction of records through 'records disposition authorities' (RDAs).

But how do institutions get one?

  1. A Memorandum of Understanding is negotiated between a department and LAC what part of the institution will be covered by the authority, how long will the work take, who will be involved, etc.
  2. An archivist (or a group of archivists) performs research into the functions of the department and interviews those involved in the business processes. Depending on the size of the department, this process can take many months.
  3. The archivist develops Terms and Conditions for the Transfer of Archival Records. This document identifies the records of archival value that must be transferred to LAC at the end of their retention periods, as well as the conditions for transfer e.g. the segregation of the records, transfer from electronic systems, etc.
  4. After consultation and review with the archivist, the institution signs the Terms and Conditions.
  5. The Librarian and Archivist of Canada signs the RDA. Institutions are now authorized to destroy the records covered by the authority, as well as store records within a Regional Service Centre.
  6. a) Where appropriate, the archivist develops an application guide, linking the terms and conditions to the department's records classification system.
    b) The department provides LAC with a retention and disposition schedule to allow for the planned transfer of archival records.

Hierarchy of RDA Application

ISDAs (Institution Specific Disposition Authorities)

MIDAs by Specific Office of Provenance and by Medium
96/021 Institutional Records in the Office of a Minister
96/022 Records of Deputy Heads
96/023 Electronic Imaging Systems
96/024 Poster-Creating Areas of Government Institutions
2001/004 Audio-Visual Records

MIDA 2005/006 for Operational Case File Records

MIDAs for Common Administrative Records
98/001 General Administrative Function
98/005 Human Resources Management Function
99/003 Material Management Function
99/004 Comptrollership Function
2001/002 Real Property Management Function

Photograph of documents being shredded.

For more information about the Record Disposition Authorities in place for your institution please go to:

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