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Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada

Section 2, Part 3

Materiel Management Function
(Subject-based arrangement)

Section 3 - Exceptions to General Retention Guidelines

Subject Group Subject and Description Retention Guidelines and / or Remarks
Always apply the General Retention Guideline unless specified otherwise
3.1 Audio visual equipment Procurement, purchase and issue  
3.2 Boats2 Small water crafts 1 year after disposal of water craft
3.3 Building materials Procurement, purchase and issue of lumber, building hardware, etc…  
3.4 Catalogues, manuals and price lists   Until superseded or obsolete
3.5 Clothing Procurement and purchase of clothing, uniforms, smocks, etc., includes cleaning and laundering  
  • Supply and records of issue
3 years
3.6 Communications equipment3 Procurement, purchase and issue of communications equipment such as telephones, telegraphs, radios, facsimiles, teletype etc…  
3.7 Computer equipment Procurement, purchase and issue of computers such as desktops and larger computers, Local Area Networks, printers, scanners, etc…  
3.8 Disposal and surplus Includes office and computer equipment, furniture, small water crafts, vehicles etc…  
  • General
1 year after surplus declaration to Crown Assets Distribution Directorate, Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Condemnation and destruction
1 year after disposal
  • Write-offs, sales, surplus and donations
1 year after disposal, sale or donation
3.9 Educational Procurement, purchase and issue of educational and training equipment and supplies  
3.10 Flags (Canadian), Coat of Arms of Canada etc…4 Procurement, purchase and issue of Canadian: flags, coat of arms, pennants etc…  
3.11 Foods Procurement, purchase and issue of food items  
3.12 Forms Procurement, purchase and issue of forms 1 year
3.13 Fuels Procurement, performance, supply, etc., of heating and motor fuels, natural gas, oils and lubricants, etc.  
3.14 Furniture and furnishings Procurement, purchase and issue of household and office furniture and furnishings  
3.15 Inventories of assets For stocktaking, issue, transfer and disposal of equipment 1 year after superseded or obsolete
3.16 Issue General and scales of issue regarding the release of materiel pursuant to a properly authorized requisition or instruction 5  
3.17 Labelling Cataloguing and identification Until superseded or obsolete
3.18 Loans Loans of equipment and supplies 1 year after return or disposal of equipment
3.19 Maintenance and repairs Maintenance of and repairs to material assets 2 years or 1 year after disposal of equipment
3.20 Manufacture and production6    
3.21 Medical supplies and drugs Procurement, purchase and issue  
3.22 Micrographics equipment Procurement, purchase and issue of film, micro-film, micro-fiche, readers, cameras, processors, audio-visual equipment, etc.  
3.23 Office Equipment Procurement and purchase of office equipment7 5 years
3.24 Photocopying and duplicating equipment Procurement, purchase or rental  
3.25 Procurement Purchasing, contracting, leasing, renting, making or replacing materiel assets and/or parts. See appropriate material asset as well...8  
  • Contracts, contract demands, purchase orders, tenders, progress reports, etc…
  • Routine correspondence
3 years after all action is completed
  • Authorities, invoices, Notes of Credit, etc.
  • Routine correspondence
1 fiscal year
  • Procurement of replacement material assets and/or parts
3 years
  • Requisitions (for approved requisitions see the Comptrollership function)
  • Routine correspondence
1 year after requisition filled
3.26 Standing offer agreements Commodities or services available to government institutions including the names of contractors, their addresses, and dates on which the offer expires  
  • Individual agreements
Until offer expires
3.27 Stationery/ Office supplies Procurement, purchase and issue of stationery items such as paper, hand punches, address cards and other small office items  
3.28 Technical equipment (other than the equipment already listed)9 Heating plants, telecommunications  
  • Minor
2 years
  • Major
5 years
3.29 Vehicles Routine correspondence 3 years
Individual vehicles  
  • Log books
1 year after disposal
  • Operating instructions10
Until disposal of vehicle or transfer to new owner upon sale or donation
  • Registration and licences
Until superseded or obsolete

2. Formerly "Ships (large and small). This subject group was removed as large ships are excluded in MIDA 99/003. Only small crafts such as canoes and small boats apply. As such, the subject group "Boats" was thought to be more applicable a heading and replaces the term "Ships"…

3. New subject group as the procurement, purchase and issue of communication equipment such as telephone, telegraph, radio, facsimile, teletype etc… was not previously covered

4. Formerly "Badges, emblems, crests, flags." Subject group heading changed to "Flags (Canadian), Coat of arms of Canada" as these are considered to be common amongst institutions. Other types of badges, flags, pennants etc… are considered specific to each institution, are not common in nature and therefore not considered common administrative records or assets.

5. As per the "Glossary" in TBS' policy Materiel Management- Review Guide, they define "Issue" as "The release of materiel pursuant to a properly authorized requisition or instruction." In order to provide clarity for the client regarding this activity, this definition was used to expand the descriptive for "Issue" in this function.

6. LAC team advises to remove this activity as they are unsure as to what would constitute as a shared or common "manufacturing and production" activity amongst institutions.

7. LAC team was unable to find specific policy or legislation dictating the retention of procurement, purchase and issue records for "Office Equipment" for 5 years. As such, we recommend applying the "General Retention Guideline" for policy, procedure and routine records associated with this activity. Note that currently, the Comptrollership Function suggests a standard retention period of 6 fiscal years for financial transaction records such as vouchers, invoices, claims etc... This retention is applied after all administrative actions have been completed. Note that the team queries whether there are any legislative or policies in place which bolster the need to apply the same retention period to common administrative records that support or document a financial action. References: the 1996 Treasury Board "Policy on Electronic Authorization and Authentication" Appendix A, Guidelines, iii Audit states that "The electronic authorization and authentication system and processes should be designed to ensure complete auditability. The audit trail should include delegation matrices, user profiles and all the electronic authorization and authentication data and files required to reconstruct the sequence of events and the transactions processed" and the Treasury Board "Policy on Internal Audit" (April 1, 2006) under section 5. Policy Requirements, 5.5 states that "Deputy heads of all departments are responsible for:" under 5.5.3 "Ensuring that the audit committee receives all of the information and documentation needed or requested to fulfill its responsibilities, subject to applicable legislation."

8. In order to clarify the types of records which would appear in this function, the LAC team has decided to include/identify "Routine Correspondence" under those financial transaction records whose retention guidance fell below that of the standard 6 fiscal year period associated with original financial transaction records (Comptrollership). Please note "Request for Client Feedback" at the beginning of the table for considerations regarding rollup to 6 fiscal years for those records that support or document a financial transaction record. LAC team also queries whether these routine records should have a standard 2 year retention period as they were unable to find supporting policy, legislation or best practice which dictated otherwise.

9. Original inclusion of "Acquiring Technical Equipment (Heating Plants, telecommunications)" pulled as these are fixed assets and are not considered to be a common administrative activity shared amongst institutions.

10. Originally grouped under one heading of "Routine correspondence, maintenance and repairs, operating instructions, procurement, etc… "with a retention guideline of 3 years. In consultation with LAC Materiel Management specialists, it was recommended this be broken down into its proper components and apply the same retention standard as per other material assets. i.e., disposal, maintenance and repairs, procurement etc... In keeping with "Disposal and surplus" retention guidance, "Operating instructions" has also been revised to reflect the needs and operations of fleet materiel management.

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