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Email Management Guidelines

6. Institutions must ensure that their email records are disposed of in accordance with all relevant legislation and policies

In accordance with 12 (1) and 13 (1) of the Library and Archives Canada Act (2004), no government record may be disposed of unless authorized in writing in a disposition authority obtained from the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. It is important to dispose of transitory email messages and copies (including latent copies - deleted, but not overwritten) on a timely basis. However, it is essential that the capacity exist to prevent disposition or alteration of records that are required (or may be required) for legal, audit or ATIP proceedings.

Expected Outcome

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

  • It will consistently be possible to demonstrate a high level of adherence to institution retention and disposition plans, the Library and Archives Canada approved Records Disposition Authorities, and other legal and policy obligations to ensure the timely disposition of email information that is no longer required by the institution
  • Information designated by the institution as having historical value will be consistently transferred to Library and Archives Canada.

6.1. Obtain authorization for disposition of email information

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada, has the power to give consent for the disposition of any email message under the control of a government institution and may delegate this power to one or a number of responsible parties within a government institution. The Library and Archives Canada may provide a Records Disposition Authority (RDA) to an institution.

The Library and Archives Canada also provides a Multi-Institutional Disposition Authority (MIDA) that authorizes the disposition of commonly created records.

Responsible parties may in turn delegate power to users to make decisions as to disposition of email that they create or receive, but should do so in writing, with reference to these Email Management Guidelines.

Contravention of the LAC Act can result in a summary conviction (fine / jail term).

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

  • Users
  • Network or System Administrators
  • Information Management Specialists

6.2. Dispose of email, copies (and latent copies) on a timely basis

Email programs and systems should be able to locate email files scheduled to be disposed of, wherever they may be under the control of the organization, and allow authorized staff to delete them in such a manner as to prevent them from being reconstructed.

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

  • Network or System Administrators
  • Information Management Specialists

6.3. Prevent disposition or alteration of records required for legal, audit or ATIP proceedings

Email management programs and systems should have the capacity to protect email information and records, including messages, metadata and attachments from well-intended, ill-intended, or accidental disposition or spoliation (a legal term meaning damage or alteration).

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

  • Network or System Administrators
  • Information Management Specialists

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