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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.44 Supplemental Markings




Identifying Attributes




Supplemental Markings

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - supplementalMarkings

Element URI

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

Definitional Attributes


Special handling requirements for the record or file.


To help prevent unauthorized handling of, or access to, records with special sensitivities.


"The regulatory environment, in which the organization operates, establishes broad principles on access rights, conditions or restrictions that should be incorporated into the operation of records systems…Records may contain personal, commercial or operationally sensitive information. In some cases, access to the records, or information about them, should not be permitted….Ensuring appropriate access controls is done by assigning access status to both records and individuals." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.7

"Managing the access process involves ensuring that:

a) records are categorized according to their access status at a particular time,
b) records are only released to those who are authorized to see them, …
e) parts of the organization with responsibility for particular business functions specify access permissions to records relating to their area of responsibility." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.7

"Key elements of security metadata, such as basic access rights or restrictions, should be identified and applied at the point of record creation and capture in order to facilitate a record's ongoing preservation and management. Security metadata should a) identify the access restrictions that apply to records and their aggregations, business processes, and agents, b) ensure that records can only be accessed by authorized personnel…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s.

"Access to records should only be restricted when there is a business need or when the law requires it. Security metadata should be monitored and updated to ensure the ongoing applicability of all identified restrictions… Security metadata need to be maintained and kept current throughout a record's existence." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s.

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing special handling requirements.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level and file level.


Optional at record level; optional at file level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Institution-specific scheme




Releasable To

Conditions of Application - Record


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked


Yes, by authorized official only.



Conditions of Application - File


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Yes, by authorized official only.



Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

This element is used to identify those records or files that are sensitive for specific reasons and do not necessarily pertain to national security or private interests. These records are identified within the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

This element is not to be confused with the element Usage Conditions which pertains primarily to the management of intellectual property rights.

b) Best Practices

Institutions are required to ensure that records with special warnings are properly handled and adequately protected against unauthorized access. Penalties may apply if records with special warnings are not adequately protected.

Recommended best practice is to select a value from an institution-specific scheme.

Once a record is locked, the value for this element may be modified by an authorized official only. Similarly, with the value for the file. Such modifications accommodate changes to the security levels of the record or file which precipitate changes to its handling.

c) Obligation

This element is deemed Optional because not all institutions will require this element.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate


e) Linkages

This element is linked to the element Releasable To since the value of that element may have a direct affect on the value of Supplemental Markings.

f) Examples

  1. "Cabinet Confidence"

  2. "Solicitor/Client Privilege"

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