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Guidelines for transfer of records to the Regional Service Centres

Reference and Consultation

As owner of the records, the client institution chooses who will have access to the records they have stored at the Regional Service Centre, under what conditions reference and research can occur, and how the resulting information is to be used. Access restrictions are strictly adhered to; therefore, records and information are released only to those whose name appears as Records Custodian on the Client Accession Report and those who have authorization and the details of access from the Records Custodian. When records are mailed or delivered to a Client Institution, they are addressed to the Records Custodian of the records unless instructed to do otherwise by the Records Custodian. This helps to ensure better security for your records. For this reason, it is important that your local Regional Service Centre is informed immediately when a change in Records Custodian occurs.

Procedures for Requesting Records

Clients may request records by telephone, fax, mail, email (where available) or courier. Telephone requests should be restricted to requests that are of an urgent nature.

Records are requested by submitting a Regional Service Centre - Control and Request provided by the Regional Service Centre or any acceptable request form on your letterhead.

The following information must be provided for all record requests:

  1. File number or name;
  2. Volume number, if applicable, or any specific information which is pertinent for retrieval of the file (example BPC number, year, secret or classified, etc.);
  3. Accession number, location number (bay #), and box number. If location number is unknown, provide date of shipment and total boxes shipped;
  4. Name of the contact person requesting the file and the name of the Records Custodian;
  5. Name of the institution and branch and complete delivery or mailing address;
  6. Telephone numbers of both the contact person and the Records Custodian;
  7. Fax number;
  8. Client number provided by the Regional Office (optional - consult local Regional Service Centre);
  9. Date the file is requested; and
  10. Signature of the requestor (when sending request by fax, mail or courier).

Archival or Historical Records

To view archival or historical records held in the National Capital Region (NCR), departmental researchers should submit their letters of authorization to the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division.

Outside the NCR (exception Vancouver and Winnipeg), to view archival or historical records held at the Regional Services Centre, departmental researchers should submit their letters of authorization to the Manager of the Regional Service Centre. For Vancouver and Winnipeg the letters should be sent to the archivist(s) in each centre.

If the User/Researcher is not an employee of the Client Institution, the request to view the record must be made through the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) ATIP Division or Reference Services. If the Archival or Historical accession number is known then please record it as a cross-reference to the original accession number.

Each Regional Service Centre has research facilities available to authorized researchers and clients. Archival and historical groups of records can be viewed and/or copied but are not to be removed from LAC premises, either in the NCR or in the Regional Service Centre.

If the User/Researcher is an employee of the Client Institution, an authorized letter from the Director level or above from the department involved must be submitted to the Regional Service Centre along with proper ID before access to the record is granted.

Note: A director may only authorize access to records for his/her own department. If there is a need to view files from another department, authorization must be sought from the other department.

To obtain photocopies of archival or historical records held at Regional Service Centre, departmental researchers have the responsibility to arrange and obtain authorization for some with the necessary security clearance to make the copies on LAC premises.

Electronic Records

Electronic records may be requested by telephone, fax, mail, email or courier. Telephone requests should be restricted to requests that are of an urgent nature. A completed Electronic Record Service Form must be submitted providing the following information:

  • Medium number or name;
  • Client number (if applicable);
  • Name of contact person requesting the tape and name of the records custodian;
  • Name of the Institution and Branch and complete delivery or mailing address; and
  • Telephone numbers of both Contact Person and Records Custodian.

Interfiles and Refiles

An interfile is a record or group of records, not previously held at the Regional Service Centre that is sent for insertion into an existing accession. It is necessary to write the accession number, location number and box number on the front of the file folder to ensure that the record is placed in its proper accession. If there is no file folder, write the location information directly on the documents.

A refile is a record previously requested, that is being returned to the Regional Service Centre for continued storage. Refiles are always returned to the original accession unless the retention period has changed. If the retention period has changed, the file should be sent in a new accession and the client should also notify the Regional Service Centre of the location of the charge-out card in order to have it removed from the box.

Note: If a file folder needs to be replaced for any reason, the file number, accession number, location and box numbers must be written on the front of the new folder.

For large numbers of refiles and interfiles, clients are instructed to sort the records in order by location and box number. The accession number should be indicated on the first file of each group for cross-reference purposes.

Disposition of Records

The word disposition is used to describe any of the following:

  1. The physical destruction of non-archival records;
  2. The transfer of archival and historical records to the Archival Operations Division of LAC;
  3. A transfer of ownership, outside of the Government of Canada, (e.g. to a provincial government); and
  4. The return of records to the originating institution.

Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act (Section 12 (1)), "no government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist or of a person to whom the Librarian and Archivist has, in writing, delegated the power to give such consents." This approval is normally granted through the Institution's Records Disposition Authorities (RDA).

All records which are accessioned in a Regional Service Centre are supplied a disposition or bring-forward date (B.F.) by the transferring institution. The Regional Service Centre will initiate a disposal action for records in its care, by faxing, mailing or emailing the Concurrence Letter and Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records to the Records Custodian or individual who is authorized to sign off on the records. This usually occurs approximately 90 days before the official disposal date of the group of records.

It is the responsibility of the client institution to review all records eligible for disposal. This involves verifying the applicable RDA and identifying any files that have been requested through the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act for audit purposes. Under the terms of the Acts, personal information that has been used by a government institution for an administrative purpose shall be retained by that government institution for at least two years following the last use of the information. Please list these, and/or any other records which your institution would like to have transferred back, on the Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records.

Once your records have been verified, we ask that you sign and fax or mail your concurrence with disposition through the Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records to the respective Regional Service Centre, in a timely manner (usually within 30 days of receipt of documentation). The Regional Service Centre will proceed with the disposal action in accordance with established procedures and not before actual disposition date.

Note: If a client fails to respond to the concurrence letter and the retention period has expired, Regional Service Centre will return non-archival records at the expense of the client. Any definite or potential archival and historical records will be transferred to the LAC for preservation.

Disposal of Classified and Designated Documents (Non-Accessioned Disposal)

Please consult the Regional Service Centre in your region for safe, secure and efficient methods of disposing your classified record(s) and records designated as protected. (Request for Non-Accessioned Disposal [PDF 48 KB])

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