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Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada

Section 1, Part 5

Human Resources Management Function
(Function-based arrangement)

Section 1 - Introduction

1.1 General

The following guideline provides guidance to institutions regarding the establishment of minimum retention periods for those common administrative records which support the Human Resources Management Function of the Government of Canada.

This guideline should be used in accordance with instructions contained in the 'General Introduction' to the Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada, and in conjunction with Multi-Institutional Disposition Authority (MIDA) 98/005, Human Resources Management Function.

1.2 Disposition

Nothing in this guideline should be seen as constituting an authority or requirement to dispose of records. For direction regarding the disposition of common administrative records related to the Human Resources Management Function, institutions should consult the Library and Archives Canada's Multi-Institutional Disposition Authority (MIDA) 98/005, Human Resources Management Function.

1.3 Scope

This guideline applies to all common administrative records (i.e. administrative records which are common to or shared by all federal government institutions) which are collected, created or received by institutions in support of the administration of the Human Resources Management Function of the Government of Canada, regardless of how the records are organized or controlled within each institution.

The Human Resources Management Function encompasses the functions, sub-functions, processes, activities, and transactions of administrative business concerning 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. The main legislation underpinning the Human Resources Management Function includes the Financial Administration Act, the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Modernization Act 3, and the Public Service Labour Relations Act 4. The Human Resources Management Function includes the following eleven (11) sub-functions: staffing; training and development; performance assessment; occupational safety and health; staff relation; compensation and benefits; human resources planning and utilization; classification; official languages; employment equity; and special programmes.

In applying this retention guideline, institutions should take care to ensure that:

  • the records are not operational in nature;

  • the records are not of a mixed operational and administrative character;

  • the records do not support an administrative function uniquely or specifically assigned to an Office of Primary Interest (OPI) or Office of Collateral Interest (OCI) (See definition of OPI and OCI below);

  • the records are not otherwise excluded from the application of MIDA 98/005 by virtue of the definitions and scope statement contained in the Appendix I of MIDA 98/005

  • the records are not dated earlier than 1946

  • all administrative actions have been completed for a record before applying the applicable retention guidance

1.4 Offices of Primary Interest and Offices of Collateral Interest

This retention guideline does not apply to those records of Offices of Primary Interest (OPI), Offices of Collateral Interest (OCI) and central agencies that are collected, created or received in the pursuance of their mandated role in administering a Human Resources Management Function on behalf of the Government of Canada. Examples of such government bodies include the Treasury Board Secretariat, and the Public Service Commission, and any other institution mandated to perform, in full or in part, a Human Resources Management function on behalf of the Government of Canada. (See Appendix I, MIDA 98/005, Section B "Scope of Authority."

This retention guideline, however, does apply to such organizations when those records are collected, created or received in support of human resources management functions and activities that are common to or shared by all federal government institutions.

1.5 Personal Information

The retention of personal information contained in records that has been used by a federal institution in the course of its business is governed by Section 6 of the Privacy Act, and Section 4 and 7 of the Privacy Act Regulations.

Section 4. (1) of the Privacy Act Regulations states that personal information that is used for an administrative purpose (i.e. the use of the information in a decision making process that directly affects that individual) must be retained for a minimum of two (2) years unless the individual consents to its earlier disposal:

4. (1) Personal information concerning an individual that has been used by a government institution for an administrative purpose shall be retained by the institution

(a) for at least two years following the last time the personal information was used for an administrative purpose unless the individual consents to its disposal; and
(b) where a request for access to the information has been received, until such time as the individual has had the opportunity to exercise all his rights under the Act.

Guidance on the retention for records that contain personal information and have been subject to an "Access to Information" request is provided in Section 7 of the Privacy Act Regulations, which states;

7. The head of a government institution shall retain for a period of at least two years following the date on which a request for access to personal information is received by the institution under paragraph 8(2)(e) of the Act (requests made by an investigative body specified in the regulations)
(a) a copy of every request received; and
(b) a record of any information disclosed pursuant to such a request.

In establishing retention periods for records containing personal information that are generated in support of the Human Resources Management Function, federal institutions should ensure that the Privacy Act and Privacy Act Regulations are applied.

1.6 Retention Period Guidelines

When records are covered by an existing MIDA the retention information offered takes the form of retention guidelines expressed in months, calendar years and fiscal years. In the absence of specific retention guidance and unless specified otherwise, the five year retention period for policy and procedures, the two year retention period for routine records, and the retention periods associated with Personnel (employee) files should be applied to similar records related to each sub-heading/activity listed in this function. Please refer to the "General Retention Guideline" provided at the beginning of the "Human Resources Management Function" table for additional information.

1.7 Guidance

For advice and assistance regarding the retention guidelines, please contact the Recordkeeping Liaison Centre.


3 Former reference: the Public Service Reform Act. Confirmed with Justice Canada… There has never been a Public Service Reform Act. Justice Canada feels that this is probably the Public Service Modernization Act which was referred as the Public Service Reform Act in newspapers although it was not the official title.

4 New, revised Act and official title... came into force April 1st, 2005

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