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Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada

Section 2, Part 5

Human Resources Management Function
(Subject-based arrangement)

Section 1 - Introduction

1.1 Coverage

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.

1.2 Exclusions

See the Human Resources Management Function(in Section 1) under / Introduction/ Scope. Where specific subjects and activities are not listed in the retention table, institutions should refer to the alphabetical index located at the end of the guidelines for guidance.

1.3 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 Sections 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.

1.4 Offices of Primary Interest (OPI) and Offices of Collateral Interest (OCI)

See the Human Resources Management Function (in Section 1) / Introduction / Offices of Primary Interest and Offices of Collateral Interest, for examples of those institutions for which the retention guidelines only apply to their common administrative records.

1.5 Use

Note that nothing in these guidelines should be seen as constituting an authority or requirement to dispose of records. Use of the Retention Guidelines should be in accordance with the proposals contained in the main Introduction. For direction regarding the disposition of common administrative records related to the Human Resources Management Function, institutions should consult Library and Archives Canada's Multi-Institutional Disposition Authority (MIDA) No. 98/005.

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.

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