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Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada

How to Section

Version 1 - Task Style

How do I determine the retention period for a specific record?

Step 1 - Determine whether the record is covered under these guidelines.

If you answer yes to ANY of the following questions, then these guidelines do NOT apply to the record in question.

  • Does your department have an Institution-Specific Disposition Authority (ISDA)?

  • Are the records collected, created or received by an institution that directly supports the operational functions of federal institutions?

  • Do the records belong to an Office of Primary Interest (OPI) that is responsible for the administration of the Government of Canada, or an Office of Collateral Interest (OCI) that is implicated in or associated with the performance, management or delivery of a function, program or service for the Government of Canada?

  • Is the record an operational record?

  • Is the record of a mixed operational and administrative character?

  • Is the record otherwise excluded from the application of the MIDAs by virtue of the definitions and scope statement contained in the Appendix I for each of the functions contained in the MIDAs?

  • Is the record dated earlier than 1946?

If you answer no to the following question, then these guidelines do NOT apply to the record in question. Have all administrative actions been completed for the record?

If these guidelines do apply to the record, go to Step 2.

Step 2 - Determine the area that the record falls under.

Determine which of the following five areas the record falls under.

Real Property Management Function

The Real Property Management Function covers administrative records of sub-functions and activities related to: Assessing and Planning; Acquiring; Operating and Using; Maintaining; Replacing, Transferring and Disposing of real property assets.

www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/products-services/007002-3130.1-e.html

General Administration Function

The General Administration Function covers common administrative records of sub-functions and activities relating to the management of government information, management of technology, security and administrative support.

www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/products-services/007002-3120.1-e.html

Materiel Management Function

The Materiel Management Function covers common administrative records of sub-functions and activities related to the management of movable assets used or acquired by government institutions to facilitate the delivery of programmes and services. This includes the sub-functions and activities associated with: assessing and planning requirements; acquiring material assets and related services; operating, using and maintaining material; and replacing, transferring and disposing of materiel assets.

www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/products-services/007002-3140.1-e.html

Comptrollership Function

The Comptrollership Function encompasses the common administrative records of sub-functions and activities related to the management of financial resources conducted in and across all federal government institutions to facilitate the application of operational policies and the delivery of programmes and services. This includes the sub-functions and activities associated with: External Audit, Financial Management, and Program Management.

www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/products-services/007002-3150.1-e.html

Human Resources Management Function

The Human Resources Management Function encompasses common administrative records of sub-functions, processes, activities and transactions related to the management of human resources commonly conducted in and across all federal government institutions to facilitate the application of operational policies and the delivery of programmes and services. This includes the sub-functions and activities associated with: staffing, training and development, performance assessment, occupational safety and health, staff relations, compensation and benefits, human resources planning and utilization, classification, official languages, employment equity and special programmes.

www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/products-services/007002-3160.1-e.html

Once you have determined what function the record in question falls under go to Step 3.

Step 3 - Determine whether you are in a subject or function based system.

A function-based records classification system focuses on the activities and processes that result in the creation of records. These kinds of systems answer the questions, why do we have these records and how are they used?

A subject-based records classification system focuses on the information content of the records contained in the system. These kinds of systems answer the question, what are these records about?

If you are unable to determine this, go to Step 5, otherwise go to Step 4.

Step 4 - Determine the specific retention period.

If you are in a function based system, go to Step 4A.

If you are in a subject based system, go to Step 4B.

A - In Section 3 of the appropriate guide, determine the sub-function that the record falls under. Once you have identified the sub-function the retention period will be detailed in the Retention Guidance column.

If there is no retention period in the Retention Guidance column, use the retention period detailed in the Section 2 - General Retention Guideline section of the document.

B - In the appropriate guide, determine the subject group that the record falls under. Once you have identified the subject group the retention period will be detailed in the Retention Guidance column.

If there is no retention period in the Retention Guidance column, use the retention period detailed in the General Retention Guideline section of the document.

You have now determined the retention period for the record.

Step 5 - Find the record in the index.

1.  Determine the keyword(s) related to the record.

2.  Find the appropriate entry in the index.

3.  Go to the appropriate section of the documentation as defined in the index.

The retention period will be detailed in the Retention Guidance column.

You have now determined the retention period for the record.

FAQ

Do I have to use these guidelines?

These guidelines should not be seen as constituting an authority or requirement to dispose of records. The formal consent, by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, to dispose of common administrative records of the government of Canada is contained in Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities issued to all federal institution subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act.
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/disposition/007007-1008-e.html
These guidelines can be "used as is" by government institutions. When the guidelines do not meet institutional records retention requirements, they can be adjusted to accommodate specific institutional needs with the exception of those records that covered by legislative requirements identified in the endnotes of the documents.

I'm still unsure about how to apply these guidelines

Where there is some doubt regarding retention, consultation should take place between representatives of the corporate records office, the information management office and/or the institution's ATIP coordinator. Where records clearly do not have a disposition authority or where there is some doubt regarding disposition, consultation should take place between representatives of the institution's ATIP coordinator, corporate records office and/or the information management office.

What do I do if personal information is contained in the record?

Consult the Privacy Act
(www.priv.gc.ca/legislation/02_07_01_e.cfm) for more information on this scenario.

Are there any other sources of information that I can reference?

The MIDA FAQs can be found at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/government/002/007002-2010-e.html

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