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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.34 Office of Primary Interest




Identifying Attributes




Office of Primary Interest

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - officeOfPrimaryInterest

Element URI

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

Definitional Attributes


The institution and the entity within the institution that authorises the disposition of the records of a function or activity on behalf of the Government of Canada.


Supports retention and disposition processing and requirements.

To identify point of contact for Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) and legal discovery requests.

To assist in the archival appraisal process.


"The following principles should govern the physical destruction of records. Destruction should always be authorized…" ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.9

"At point of record capture, key elements of records management metadata, such as retention and disposition authorisations…should be identified and applied in order to facilitate the ongoing accountability of an organization for, and the ongoing management of, records. Records management metadata should … c) identify and document the agent authorisations or permissions required to perform specific activities…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.6.1

"Agent metadata at the point of record capture should … b) identify the agents involved in records management processes and their authorisation, such as the identities and positions of the agents making decisions about record disposition…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.4.1

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing the Offices of Primary Interest.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level or file level. Must be applicable for at least one level; may be applicable at both levels.


Mandatory at record level or mandatory at file level. Must be mandatory for at least one level; may be mandatory at both levels.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Institution-specific scheme




Disposition Action; Event Type; Releasable To

Conditions of Application - Record


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked

Yes, by authorized official only.

Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

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 Office of Primary Interest (OPI) is intended to identify the institution and the entity within an institution (i.e. branch, division, office) that has the authority to authorise the disposition of the record or file of a particular function of the Government of Canada. In this capacity, the OPI is an important stakeholder in the archival appraisal process. These functions have been specifically assigned by legislation, regulation, policy, or mandate.

The definition for this element has been further refined from that in the glossary in order to provide clear guidance on the usage of this element.

It should be noted, however, that the element OPI within this application profile is used in a different context than that of archival appraisal methodology. Within archival appraisal, the key distinction is that made between OPI and OCI (Office of Collateral Interest), and is applied to institutions and their respective positions within the GC rather than to entities within an institution (i.e. branch, division, office).

OPI is similar to the element Approved By in that both are related to the accountability of a record, but the person granting approval of the content of an individual record is not necessarily the OPI.

This element is not related to the Trustee of a record which is applied at the individual record level. The Trustee is responsible for the on-going stewardship of the record and does not grant authorisation to dispose of records.

b) Best Practices

Generally, the value for OPI should not be changed, but rather linked to the new OPI. This maintains the historical context within the record profile and log. Under all circumstances any changes to the OPI must be made by an authorized official only.

This element is generally applied at the file level, with the records in the file inheriting the value. It can, however, be applied at the record level. It must be applied to at least the file or record level and may be applied at both. Some institutions base their retention and disposition processing at the record level rather than the file level.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory in order to identify the office responsible for authorising disposition actions. Without this information, there cannot be a legal disposition.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

This element can be auto-populated based on the institution's classification scheme / file plan.

e) Linkages

This element is linked to the elements Disposition Action and Releasable To since the OPI is the authority for both of these actions.

OPI is also linked to the element Event Type in cases where a change to the OPI of the record or file must be noted in the management and event history log.

f) Examples

  1. "National Defence - Human Resources Division" - Although a manager is the trustee of a subordinate's performance appraisal record, the Human Resources division is the OPI.

  2. "Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Financial Management Division" - A minister approves an internal financial management policy. In this case, the minister is the Approved By and the Financial Management Division is the OPI.

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