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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.20 Disposition Authority




Identifying Attributes




Disposition Authority

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - dispositionAuthority

Element URI

[To be actioned by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat before publication]

Definitional Attributes


Legal instrument issued by Library and Archives Canada that authorizes the transfer, destruction, or alienation outside the control of the Government of Canada, of the record or file.


To provide a link between records and files and the disposition action to be taken on them.

To help ensure that the correct disposition actions will be taken on records and files.

To establish accountability for the disposition of records and files.


"No government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist or of a person to whom the Librarian and Archivist has, in writing, delegated the power to give such consents." Library and Archives of Canada Act, 2004, c.11, s. 12.(1)

"The transfer to the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist of government or ministerial records that he or she considers to have historical or archival value shall be effected in accordance with any agreements for the transfer of records that may be made between the Librarian and Archivist and the government institution or person responsible for the records." Library and Archives of Canada Act, 2004, c.11, s. 13.(1)

"A government institution shall dispose of personal information under the control of the institution in accordance with the regulations and in accordance with any directives or guidelines issued by the designated minister in relation to the disposal of that information." Privacy Act, R.S. 1985, c. P-21, s. 6.(3)

"Records systems should be capable of facilitating and implementing decisions on the retention or disposition of records." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 8.3.7

"At the point of record capture, key elements of records management metadata, such as retention and disposal authorisations … should be identified and applied in order to facilitate the ongoing accountability of an organization for, and the ongoing management of, records." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.6.1

"Records management metadata should
a) ensure that records management instruments, such as disposition authorities … are able to be applied in a records system,
b) capture the disposition metadata applied to records in a records system…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.6.1

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing disposition authorities.

Datatype Name



Applicable at file level only.


Mandatory at file level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Government of Canada Records Disposition Authority Control System (RDACs)


Contact Information Management Centre for access,,


Disposition Action

Conditions of Application - Record




Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked





Conditions of Application - File


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

This element identifies the authority that dictates the Disposition Action to be taken on a record or file. This authority will contain Institution-Specific Disposition Authorities (ISDAs) for operational records and Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDAs) for common administrative records. The MIDAs are developed and maintained by Library and Archives Canada.

Each institution must have approval from the Librarian and Archivist of Canada to implement an ISDA.

b) Best Practices

Although the value for this element will differ between institutions, if there is no approved Records Disposition Authority (RDA) for the file, or if the RDA is under development, the default value "To Be Determined" should be applied. Files that are not covered by a Records Disposition Authority must be retained. If an RDA does exist, the authoritative title and date of the disposition authority document should be assigned to the element.

This element is applied to the file level through the classification scheme / file plan. Records within each file will inherit the value applied to the file. Disposition Authorities cannot be applied to individual records.

The value for this element may be modified by an authorized official only.

c) Obligation

This is a mandatory element in order for the disposition of files to be conducted legally.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

If an institution has one disposition authority (i.e. an ISDA), the value for this element may be defaulted. If there is no approved RDA for the file, or if the RDA is under development, the default value "To Be Determined" should be applied.

This value may also be auto-populated via the institution's classification scheme / file plan.

e) Linkages

Disposition Authority is linked to Disposition Action as the former impacts the processing of the latter.

f) Examples

  1. "Records Disposition Authority No. 96/024 issued for Poster-Creating Areas of Government Institutions"

  2. "MIDA 98/001" - General Administration Function

  3. "MIDA 2001/002" - Real Property Management Function

  4. "Records Disposition Authority 2000/14 DSCDS" - National Defence Subject Classification and Disposition System

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