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Email Management Guidelines

1. Institutions must develop a plan to manage email

The management of email is one of the most challenging information management challenges of the last decade. Comprehensive and detailed planning by institutions is aimed at gaining control over the explosive growth of this electronic medium and its growing range of uses, features and functionalities.

Planning must cover several aspects of email management

  • Development of explicit email management policies and procedures, pertinent to the institution's line of business.
  • Management of the problems and opportunities presented by email in an integrated way, treating email messages, attachments and metadata with equal importance and providing for use of common infrastructures and the interoperability of email and IM systems.
  • Incorporation, at an early stage, of email management requirements in the development of new or modified policies, programs, services and technology-based systems.
  • Establishment of governance and accountability structures for the management of information in general, and email in particular.
  • Provision for awareness and training programs in a variety of media.

Expected Outcome

In any given federal government institution, the following benchmarks will have been achieved:

  • A comprehensive email management plan will be supported and appropriately funded by senior management
  • The email management plan will indicate how the Email Management Guidelines of the Government of Canada will be attained or maintained.
  • Each of the recommended actions for email management will be thoroughly addressed.
    • Where a recommendation is adopted, it will be so indicated.
    • Where a recommendation requires interpretation in the light of the institution's mandate or line of business, interpretation will be provided.
    • Where a recommendation requires adaptation to the institution's mandate or line of business, the nature of the adaptation will be described.
    • Where a recommendation does not apply, the rationale for the finding and / or a substitute recommendation will be provided.

1.1. Manage email programs and systems in an integrated way

All email programs and related systems employed by institutions, should be appropriately funded by Executives and designed and configured in such a manner as to allow them to effectively capture, store and manage incoming and outgoing email messages along with related metadata and attachments.

Email messages that contain government records and information, should be separated from transitory messages and preserved and retained for an appropriate period of time, in accordance with the Information Management Life Cycle prescribed by the Policy on Information Management.

Party or Parties Responsible for Implementing and/or Applying the Recommendation:

  • Operational Managers
  • Executives

1.2. Provide email management awareness and training programs

Email management awareness and training programs should be designed to ensure that employees develop the knowledge and skill to use email in an effective and appropriate manner.

Party or Parties Responsible for Implementing and/or Applying the Recommendation:

  • Executives

1.3. Use a variety of media in email awareness and training programs

A variety of media should be used to ensure that the Email Management Guidelines, policies and procedures are understood and applied within an institution.

Party or Parties Responsible for Implementing and/or Applying the Recommendation:

  • Executives

1.4. Verify that the Email Management Guidelines, policies and procedures have been distributed, read and understood

Each institution should distribute the Email Management Guidelines, policies and procedures in such a manner as to ensure that employees, contractors and any other users under their authority have been made aware of the relevant provisions and understand them.

Employees, contractors and any other users should also be made aware of the fact that they are expected to comply with the relevant Email Management Guidelines and any related recommendations adopted by the institution and that intentional misuse of the email system may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or contract.

Party or Parties Responsible for Implementing and/or Applying the Recommendation:

  • Executives

1.5. Keep records of learning activities and attendance

An institution should keep a record of email management learning activities as well as a record of attendance at any email management training class, workshop or presentation. These records should be kept on a long-term basis for use, if required, in legal or audit proceedings.

Party or Parties Responsible for Implementing and/or Applying the Recommendation:

  • Executives

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