Archived [2020-03-31] - Directive on Recordkeeping

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Note to reader

The Directive on Recordkeeping is no longer in effect.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

1. Effective date

1.1 This directive takes effect on June 1, 2009.

2. Application

2.1 This directive applies to all departments as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act, unless excluded by specific acts, regulations or Orders in Council.

2.2 Although this directive does not apply to separate agencies, it is recommended that they use it to define their own recordkeeping policies and practices.

2.3 Sections 6.2.2 and 7.1 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 directive 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 Recordkeeping is a resource management function through which information resources of business value are created, acquired, captured, managed in departmental repositories and used as a strategic asset to support effective decision making and facilitate ongoing operations and the delivery of programs and services.

3.2 As a core resource management function within the Government of Canada, effective recordkeeping enables departments to manage their ongoing operations, deliver programs and services, and ensure key departmental capacities for accountability, stewardship, evaluation, audit, access to information, privacy, security and policy compliance.

3.3 Information resources of business value include published and unpublished materials, regardless of medium or form, that are created or acquired because they enable decision making and the delivery of programs, services and ongoing operations, and support departmental reporting, performance and accountability requirements. An information resource identified as having business value and placed into a repository enables effective decision making and provides reliable evidence of business decisions, activities and transactions, for program managers, deputy heads, ministers, and Canadian citizens.

3.4 Recordkeeping for the Government of Canada is undertaken in accordance with three key pieces of legislation: the Financial Administration Act, the Library and Archives of Canada Act, and the Access to Information Act.

  • Under the management authority of the Financial Administration Act, deputy heads have the responsibility for the management and administration of information.
  • Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada has the authority to issue disposition authorities and has the power to delegate this authority for the disposition of information resources.
  • Under the Access to Information Act, the President of the Treasury Board has responsibility for the general administration of the Act.

3.5 This directive is issued under the authority of section 7 of the Financial Administration Act.

3.6 Treasury Board has delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury Board the authority to issue this directive under the Policy on Information Management.

3.7 This directive is to be read in conjunction with the Policy Framework for Information and Technology, the Policy on Information Management, and the Directive on Information Management Roles and Responsibilities.

4. Definitions

4.1 Definitions to be used in the interpretation of this directive are attached in the appendix.

5. Directive statement

5.1 Objective

5.1.1 Ensure effective recordkeeping practices that enable departments to create, acquire, capture, manage and protect the integrity of information resources of business value in the delivery of Government of Canada programs and services.

5.2 Expected results

5.2.1 Information resources of business value are used as strategic assets to facilitate decision making and the efficient delivery of government programs and services.

5.2.2 Effective recordkeeping practices that ensure transparency and accountability of government programs and services.

6. Requirements

6.1 The departmental IM senior official designated by the deputy head is responsible for ensuring the following:

6.1.1 Identification of information resources of business value, based on an analysis of departmental functions and activities, carried out by a department to enable or support its legislated mandate.

6.1.2 Protection of information resources of business value by:

  • Identifying and documenting the risk profile of information resources, taking into consideration legal and regulatory risks, access to information, security of information and the protection of personal information; and
  • Responding to and mitigating documented risks to the protection of information resources.

6.1.3 Establishment and implementation of key methodologies, mechanisms and tools to support the departmental recordkeeping requirements throughout the information life cycle. These include the following:

  • Identifying, establishing, implementing and maintaining repositories in which information resources of business value are stored or preserved in a physical or electronic storage space;
  • Establishing, using and maintaining taxonomies or classification structures to facilitate storage, search, and retrieval of information resources of business value in all formats;
  • Establishing, implementing and maintaining retention periods for information resources of business value, as appropriate, according to format;
  • Developing and implementing a documented disposition process for all information resources; and
  • Performing regular disposition activities for all information resources.

6.1.4 Documentation of recordkeeping practices within the department that aligns with business activities, and that address accountability, stewardship, performance measurement, reporting and legal requirements.

6.1.5 Communication with, and engagement of, departmental managers and employees on the risks associated with poor recordkeeping and their responsibilities for recordkeeping within the department and the Government of Canada.

7. Monitoring and reporting requirements

7.1 IM Senior Officials are responsible for supporting their deputy head by overseeing the implementation and monitoring of this directive in their departments, bringing to the deputy head's attention any significant difficulties, gaps in performance, or compliance issues, developing proposals to address them, and reporting significant performance or compliance issues to the Chief Information Officer Branch of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

7.2 The Treasury Board Secretariat will monitor compliance with all aspects of this directive 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, audits results, evaluations, and studies.

7.3 The Treasury Board Secretariat will review this directive and its effectiveness at the five-year mark from the effective date of the directive (or earlier if warranted).

8. Consequences

8.1 In support of the responsibility of deputy heads to implement the Policy on Information Management and related instruments, departmental IM Senior Officials are to ensure corrective actions are taken to address instances of non-compliance with the requirements of this directive. Corrective actions can include requiring additional training, changes to procedures and systems, the suspension or removal of delegated authority, disciplinary action, and other measures.

8.2 Consequences of non-compliance can include informal follow-ups and requests from the Treasury Board Secretariat, external audits, or formal direction on corrective measures.

8.3 Consequences of non-compliance with this directive can include any measure allowed by the Financial Administration Act that the Treasury Board would determine as appropriate and acceptable in the circumstances.

8.4 Consequences of non-compliance with this directive may include the Secretary of the Treasury Board recommending that the Librarian and Archivist of Canada review the disposition authorities issued to a department.

9. Roles and responsibilities of government organizations

Note: This section identifies other departments that have a role in the effective implementation of the Directive on Recordkeeping. In and of itself, this section does not confer authority.

9.1 The roles and responsibilities of other government organizations are described in section 8 of the Policy on Information Management.

9.2 The Department of Public Works and Government Services is responsible for providing common government-wide solutions to meet IM requirements of departments and agencies for delivering services such as document management, Web content management, portal and collaboration, and enterprise search management.

10. References

11. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this directive to the Departmental IM Senior Official. For interpretation of this directive, the Departmental IM Senior Official or equivalent should contact:

Information Management Division
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa ON  K1A 0R5

Appendix – Definitions

Note: The following supplements the terms and definitions provided in the Policy on Information Management and the Directive on IM Roles and Responsibilities.

disposition authorities (autorisations de disposer)
Disposition authorities are the instruments that enable government institutions to dispose of records which no longer have operational value, either by permitting their destruction (at the discretion of institutions), by requiring their transfer to Library and Archives of Canada, or by agreeing to their alienation from the control of the Government of Canada.
information life cycle (cycle de vie de l'information)
The life cycle of information management encompasses the following: planning; the collection, creation, receipt, and capture of information; its organization, use and dissemination; its maintenance, protection and preservation; its disposition; and its evaluation.
information resources (ressources documentaires)
Any documentary material produced in published and unpublished form regardless of communications source, information format, production mode or recording medium. Information resources include textual records (memos, reports, invoices, contracts, etc.), electronic records (e-mails, databases, internet, intranet, data etc.), new communication media (instant messages, wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc.), publications (reports, books, magazines), films, sound recordings, photographs, documentary art, graphics, maps, and artefacts.
information resources of business value (ressources documentaires à valeur opérationnelle)
Are published and unpublished materials, regardless of medium or form, that are created or acquired because they enable and document decision-making in support of programs, services and ongoing operations, and support departmental reporting, performance and accountability requirements.
record (document)
For the purpose of this directive, records are information created, received, and maintained by an organization or person for business purposes, legal obligations, or both, regardless of medium or form.
recordkeeping (tenue de documents)
A framework of accountability and stewardship in which information resources are created or acquired, captured, and managed as a vital business asset and knowledge resource to support effective decision-making and achieve results for Canadians.
repository(ies) (dépôt(s))
A repository is a preservation environment for information resources of business value. It includes specified physical or electronic storage space and the associated infrastructure required for its maintenance. Business rules for the management of the information resources captured in a repository(ies) need to be established, and there must be sufficient control for the resources to be authentic, reliable, accessible and usable on a continuing basis.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-09684-1