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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.39 Retention Trigger

Attributes

Attribute

Value

Identifying Attributes

Name

retentionTrigger

Label

Retention Trigger

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - retentionTrigger

Element URI

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

Definitional Attributes

Definition

A condition that must be met to initiate the retention period countdown.

Purpose

To act as a trigger for the authorized disposition of records and files.

Rationale

"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

"Events that activate or enable disposition actions should be clearly identified." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.10

"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

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing retention triggers.

Datatype Name

String

Constraint

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

Obligation

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

References

-

Linkages

Retention Period; Retention Trigger Date

Conditions of Application - Record

Format

Text, based on encoding scheme.

Modifiable

Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked

Yes, by authorized official only.

Yes, by authorized official only.

Occurrence

Not repeatable

Conditions of Application - File

Format

Text, based on encoding scheme.

Modifiable

Yes, by authorized official only.

Occurrence

Not repeatable

Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

A Retention Trigger is a condition that must be met (e.g. file closed) or an event that must take place (e.g. project terminated) in order to start the retention period countdown to the disposition of the record or file. Once the condition is met or the event takes place the corresponding date is entered in the element Retention Trigger Date, and the retention period countdown begins.

When dealing with operational or subject files, this date can be the Record Date.

b) Best Practices

Recommended best practice is to select a value from an institution-specific retention schedule. If there is no approved institution-specific retention schedule for the record or file, or if the retention schedule is under development, the default value 'To Be Determined' shall be applied to this element.

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 records within a file may have a Retention Trigger different than that of the file itself (e.g. policy records that have a superseded criteria within a file that has a trigger of last administrative action). Further, some institutions base their retention and disposition processing at the record level rather than the file level.

In the case of a moratorium on disposition activity, an authorized official shall be permitted to override the value of Retention Trigger.

c) Obligation

As with Retention Period, Retention Trigger is a fundamental records management element and is mandatory. A retention trigger must exist for life cycle management; it determines when to begin the countdown of the retention period

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

This element will be auto-populated based on the application of an institution-specific retention schedule to the classification scheme / file plan.

If there is no approved institution-specific retention schedule for the record or file, or if the retention schedule is under development, the default value 'To Be Determined' shall be applied to this element.

e) Linkages

It is linked to the elements Retention Period and Retention Trigger Date because all three are necessary for the processing of retention and disposition.

f) Examples

  1. "File closed"

  2. "Program closed"

  3. "Project terminated"

  4. "After last administrative action"

  5. "Volume closed"

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