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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 2 - General Retention Guidelines - Human Resources Management Function

General Retention Guideline

2.1 Policy and Procedures 5 years after superseded

2.2 Routine 2 years

2.3 Personnel (Employee) File: The legal consent for the disposition and retention of civilian personnel or employee files is authorized via MIDA 98/005 Human Resources Management Function, Appendix I - Terms and Conditions, Section C. Authorization to Destroy. Personnel or employee files shall be retained by the current employing institution for the duration of employment in organizations listed under the schedule of the Privacy Act plus one (1) year. They should then be transferred by the institution to the Library and Archives Canada, Regional Service Centre (RSC) in Manitoba. Library and Archives Canada will destroy the personnel file when the individual turns eighty (80) years of age provided that two years have elapsed since the last administrative action. See Treasury Board's publication Info Source: Sources of Federal Employee Information. ( For help regarding the transfer of Personnel files see the Guidelines for the Transfer of Civilian Personnel Files.

Note that Military personnel files are not addressed by these retention guidelines. The legal consent for the disposition and information on retention of military personnel files are covered under the Institutional Specific Disposition Authority 85/012. Following the expiry of their retention period they should be transferred to the Ottawa Federal Records Centre.

Note: In the absence of specific retention guidance and unless specified otherwise, the five-year retention period for policy and procedures and the two-year period for routine records should be applied to similar records related to each sub-function listed in the tables below.

Retention periods should always be interpreted and applied "after all administrative actions are completed," i.e., 2 years after all administrative actions are completed.

Any activities or sub-functions that fall outside the General Retention Guideline for policy and procedures, and routine will be identified in the tables below.

Caution: For purposes of maintaining an audit trail of transactions in accordance with the Policy on Electronic Authorization and Authentication and the Policy on Internal Audit, it may be prudent to retain those records for a standard period of time; that is, 6 fiscal years for all financial transaction records. Each institution should carefully consider their practices and decide which records should be kept for the 6 year period.

TBS 1996 "Policy on Electronic Authorization and Authentication"

states that the "electronic authorization and authentication system and processes should be designed to ensure complete auditability. The audit trail should include data and files required to reconstruct the sequence of events and transactions processed"


states that "Deputy heads of all departments are responsible for ensuring that the audit committee receives all of the information and documentation needed or requested to fulfil its responsibilities, subject to applicable legislation"

2. Previous retention: 1 year. As per the new Public Service Employment Act which came into force on December 31, 2005, under the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument, Conditions of Delegation, it states that "In exercising delegated authorities, you and your sub-delegated officials will: …ensure that appointment and appointment-related decisions are fully documented and are accessible for a period of five years from the last administrative action."

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