Archived [2020-03-31] - Policy on Information Management

Aims to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making, facilitate accountability transparency and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.
Date modified: 2019-08-02

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This policy replaces:

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The Policy on Information Management is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the Policy on Service and Digital and the Directive on Service and Digital on April 1, 2020.

1. Effective date

  • 1.1This policy takes effect on July 1, 2007, and incorporates updates effective April 1, 2018.

2. Application

  • 2.1This policy applies to departments as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), unless excluded by specific acts, regulations, or Orders in Council.
  • 2.2Those portions of sections 6.4.2, 6.4.3, and 7.1 relating to the role of the Treasury Board Secretariat in monitoring compliance and directing consequences for non-compliance do not apply with respect to the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The deputy heads of these organizations are solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with this policy within their organizations, as well as for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with any Treasury Board instruments that address the management of compliance.

3. Context

  • 3.1

    Information is an essential component of effective management across departments. The availability of high-quality, authoritative information to decision makers supports the delivery of programs and services, thus enabling departments to be more responsive and accountable to Canadians.

    Managing information and records using a whole-of-government approach where legislation permits, supports managers’ ability to transform organizations, programs and services in response to the evolving needs of Canadians. While information management encompasses records, as well as documents, data, library services, information architecture, etc., records and their management are mentioned at key points in the policy for the purpose of emphasis. Integrating information management considerations into all aspects of government business enables information to be used and recognized as a valuable asset. All these activities are indicative of a culture that values information.

    Information is managed to meet requirements for the government as a whole, including official languages legislation and policies, what information is used, how it is organized, described, etc., as well as the specific requirements determined by departmental operational needs and accountabilities. As the Government of Canada increasingly uses information technologies to implement these requirements, integrating information management requirements with technology planning ensures that digital information is accessible, shareable, and usable over time and through technological change.

    All employees are responsible for applying information management principles, standards, and practices as expressed in Treasury Board and departmental frameworks, policies, directives, and guidelines in the performance of their duties, and for documenting their activities and decisions. Expert services such as records, library, and data management provide specialized information management support to departments.

  • 3.2The deputy head is responsible for effective and well-coordinated information management throughout his or her department.
  • 3.3This policy is issued under the authority of section 7 of the FAA.
  • 3.4The Treasury Board has delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury Board the authority to issue, amend, and rescind directives and standards concerning information management roles and responsibilities, and recordkeeping to support this policy.
  • 3.5This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Policy Framework for Information and Technology, and supporting directives and standards
  • 3.6Additional mandatory requirements are set out in the directives and standards listed in Appendix B.

4. Definitions

  • 4.1For the purpose of this policy, information includes information and data, both structured and unstructured, under the control of the Government of Canada, regardless of medium or form.
  • 4.2Definitions to be used in the interpretation of this policy are in Appendix A.

5. Policy statement

  • 5.1


    The objective of this policy is to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency, and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.

  • 5.2

    Expected results

    • 5.2.1Government programs and services provide convenient access to relevant, reliable, comprehensive and timely information.
    • 5.2.2Information and records are managed as valuable assets to support the outcomes of programs and services, as well as operational needs and accountabilities.
    • 5.2.3Governance structures, mechanisms and resources are in place to ensure the continuous and effective management of information.

6. Policy requirements

  • 6.1

    Deputy heads are responsible for:

    • 6.1.1ensuring that departmental programs and services integrate information requirements into development, implementation, evaluation, and reporting activities;
    • 6.1.2ensuring that decisions and decision making processes are documented to account for and support the continuity of departmental operations, permit the reconstruction of the evolution of policies and programs, and allow for independent evaluation, audit, and review;
    • 6.1.3ensuring that information is shared within and across departments to the greatest extent possible, while respecting security, privacy and confidentiality requirements;
    • 6.1.4ensuring that all information is managed to respect user agreements, licensing conditions, or both and for ensuring the relevance, authenticity, quality, and cost-effectiveness of the information for as long as it is required to meet operational needs and accountabilities;
    • 6.1.5ensuring electronic systems are the preferred means of creating, using, and managing information;
    • 6.1.6ensuring departmental participation in setting government-wide direction for information and recordkeeping;
    • 6.1.7designating the departmental Chief Information Officer as the departmental information management senior official for the purposes of this policy;
    • 6.1.8approving the departmental information management (IM) plan, which may be included as part of an integrated IM and information technology (IT) plan;
    • 6.1.9informing the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat of their departments’ participation in developing national and international information standards as those activities relate to this policy; and,
    • 6.1.10maximizing the release of departmental information under an open and unrestrictive, unless otherwise specified, licence designated by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
  • 6.2

    Departmental CIO’s are responsible for:

    • 6.2.1approving the IM component of all departmental strategies, plans, initiatives and projects; and,
    • 6.2.2ensuring that senior management is informed of IM risks, and has sufficient context to make decisions about allocating resources to IM initiatives, as part of an integrated approach to managing information and technology investments.
  • 6.3

    The Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada is responsible for:

    • 6.3.1Providing strategic advice in relation to the management of information to the Secretary of the Treasury Board and, through the Secretary, to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Clerk of the Privy Council, and to deputy heads and Chief Information Officers.
  • 6.4

    Monitoring and reporting

    • 6.4.1

      Within departments

      • Deputy heads are responsible for monitoring adherence to this policy within their departments, consistent with the provisions of the Treasury Board’s Policy on Results and Policy on Internal Audit. They are responsible for ensuring that appropriate remedial action is taken to address any deficiencies within their departments.
    • 6.4.2

      By departments

      • Deputy heads report information management concerns to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in a timely manner.
      • Deputy heads with national or policy responsibilities related to information management are responsible for providing to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, on an annual basis, the names and responsibilities of their officers who are involved in national and international information standards, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the Government of Canada’s involvement and contribution.
    • 6.4.3


      • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will monitor compliance with all aspects of this policy and the achievement of expected results in a variety of ways, including but not limited to assessments under the Management Accountability Framework, examinations of Treasury Board submissions, Departmental Performance Reports, results of audits, evaluations, and studies, in addition to working directly with departments.
      • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (Chief Information Officer) will review this policy, its associated directives and standards, and their effectiveness at the five year mark of implementation of the policy (or earlier for certain directives and standards). When substantiated by risk analysis, the Chief Information Officer Branch will also ensure an evaluation is conducted.

7. Consequences

  • 7.1Consequences of non-compliance can include informal follow-ups and requests from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, external audits, or formal direction on corrective measures.
  • 7.2Consequences of non-compliance with this policy can include any measure allowed by the Financial Administration Act that the Treasury Board would determine as appropriate and acceptable in the circumstances.

8. Responsibilities of other government organizations

Note: This section identifies other departments that have a role in the Policy on Information Management. In and of itself, this section does not confer an authority.

  • 8.1

    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

    The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat:

    • 8.1.1provides interpretive advice on this policy;
    • 8.1.2develops and promotes, in consultation with other federal government departments, a program and framework for the management of information; enterprise information architecture, including principles, methods, processes and standards, to enable consistent information architecture across domains such as finance, human resources, etc., as well as standards, procedures, directives, guidelines, tools, and best practices that achieve the goals and expected results of this policy;
    • 8.1.3promotes functional communities for the management of information as required to develop and sustain information management functional specialist capacity and practices; and
    • 8.1.4develops competency and other professional standards for information management functional specialists as required.
  • 8.2

    Library and Archives Canada

    Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is responsible for administering the Library and Archives of Canada Act. Specifically, LAC:

    • 8.2.1acquires, preserves, makes known and facilitates access to the documentary heritage of Canada;
    • 8.2.2preserves the published heritage of the nation and of the Government of Canada;
    • 8.2.3provides direction and assistance on recordkeeping for the Government of Canada;
    • 8.2.4identifies, selects, acquires and preserves government records, as defined in the Library and Archives of Canada Act, in all media considered to be of enduring value to Canada as documentary heritage;
    • 8.2.5issues records disposition authorities, pursuant to section 12 of the Library and Archives of Canada Act, to enable departments to carry out their records retention and disposition plans;
    • 8.2.6manages and protects the essential records and less frequently referenced material of federal government departments; and
    • 8.2.7assists federal government departments in ensuring that all of their published information is easily accessible to decision makers and is available to the public.
  • 8.3

    Statistics Canada

    Statistics Canada is responsible for administering the Statistics Act. Specifically, Statistics Canada:

    • 8.3.1collaborates with and provides assistance to federal government departments in the collection, compilation, analysis and publication of statistical information, including statistics derived from the activities of federal government departments; and
    • 8.3.2recognizes and addresses opportunities to avoid duplication in statistical collection across the Government of Canada.
  • 8.4

    Canada School of Public Service

    The Canada School of Public Service is responsible for the development and delivery of a government-wide core learning strategy and program for all public servants involved in the management of information. These tasks are performed in consultation with the relevant functional authority centres and are consistent with the Policy on Learning, Training and Development.

9. References

10. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy to your department’s headquarters. For interpretation of this policy, departmental headquarters should contact:

Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Ottawa ON K1A 0R5

Appendix A: Definitions

The definitions in this appendix pertain to terms used in the policy and to other terms that, though not in the policy, will facilitate understanding of its requirements.

Essential record (document essentiel)
A record essential to continuing or re-establishing critical institutional functions.
Functional specialist (spécialiste fonctionnel)
An employee who carries out roles and responsibilities that require function-specific knowledge, skills and attributes in the following priority areas: finances, human resources, internal audit, procurement, materiel management, real property, and information management.
Information architecture (architecture d'information)
The structure of the information components of an enterprise, their interrelationships, and principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time. Information architecture enables the sharing, reuse, horizontal aggregation, and analysis of information.
Information management (gestion de l'information)
A discipline that directs and supports effective and efficient management of information and data in an organization, from planning and systems development to disposal or long-term preservation.
Publication (publication)
Any library matter that is made available in multiple copies or at multiple locations, whether without charge or otherwise, to the public generally or to qualifying members of the public by subscription or otherwise. Publications may be made available through any medium and may be in any form, including printed material, on-line items or recordings.
Recordkeeping (tenue des documents)
A framework of accountability and stewardship in which records are created, captured, and managed as a vital business asset and knowledge resource to support effective decision making and achieve results for Canadians.
Record (document)
For the purpose of this policy, records are information created, received, and maintained by an organization or person for business purposes, legal obligations, or both, regardless of medium or form.

Appendix B: Additional Mandatory Requirements

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-09918-7

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