Print Version, PDF 367 KB
The purpose of this generic application guide is to provide general guidance on how to apply the Disposition Authorization (DA) for Transitory Records 2016/001. It should be considered as a starting point and not a definitive or exhaustive list of all types of records that could be considered transitory. Individuals should consult their Information Management staff to determine the applicability of the DA within their specific institutional context, and for assistance in identifying the business value attached to information resources.
The DA states:
A.2 Transitory records are not of business value. They may include records that serve solely as convenience copies of records held in a government institution repository, but do not include any records that are required to control, support, or document the delivery of programs, to carry out operations, to make decisions, or to provide evidence to account for the activities of government at any time.
Note that while publications are a form of “information resource,” they do not meet the definition of “government record” under the Library and Archives of Canada Act and are therefore not subject to the disposition requirements under Section 12. As a result, DA 2016/001 would not apply.
Questions concerning the application or interpretation of Disposition Authorization 2016/001 may be addressed to: BAC.Centredeliaison-Liaisoncentre.LAC@canada.ca.
The document types associated with transitory records
Records pertaining solely to the private lives of government employees that do not support any aspect of government business
- Personal correspondence
- Records relating to professional associations in which one takes part as an individual rather than as an official representative of a government institution
Blank Information Media
- Paper and electronic forms
- Pre-printed media that were not used to record information
- Erased storage media, such as video or audio tapes, diskettes, compact discs, digital video discs, magnetic tapes, hard drives, and other analogue or digital storage media
Advertising and Promotional Material
Solicited and unsolicited information received from businesses or individuals acting in a business or professional capacity that advertises or promotes products and services
- Product bulletins
- Course and seminar announcements
- Company profiles
- Sales letters
- Flyers, brochures, menus and catalogues
- Free trial CDs or DVDs
- Price lists
- Direct mail or email notices, also referred to as junk mail and spam
- Email messages advertising goods and services
Does not include:
- Material that has been created by the GC institution
- Advertising or promotional material required to document and support a specific transaction or purchase such as price quotations, price and product comparisons
Externally Sourced Material from a Bulletin Board or Listserv
Mass distributed information, not individually addressed to the recipient or the agency
- Information received due to membership in a discussion group or listserv
- Listserv emails and discussion threads
Circulated Internal Information
Mass distributed information not meant to result in direct action from the recipient
- Bulletins, e-bulletins
- Team newsletters
- Institutional newsletters
- Memoranda and messages addressed to all staff (e.g. large internal distribution lists) about holidays, charity events, office parties, special events, retirements, IT help desk notifications, fire drill notices, etc
System Backup Files
Routinely made for security of information and emergency system recovery purposes, typically on a daily, weekly, monthly and / or annual basis.
Note: System backup files are only required for limited periods of time to meet the requirements of government agencies to restore the original data after a loss event (e.g, deletion or corruption).
Failed Output Records
Records that are unusable as a result of a failed output or duplication process
- Failed print jobs (printer, photocopier, facsimile, photo finishing)
- Failed audio or video reproductions
- Outputs resulting from abnormally ended jobs, improper selection criteria and/or programming errors
- Photographs eliminated immediately after creation because of poor quality or repetitiveness
Data Input / Data Entry
Forms or other records used to enter data into an electronic system
This designation generally applies to information that has been initially recorded in a standardized format.
Content from the standardized formats is then transferred into an electronic system, where it is subsequently maintained and used as an information resource of business value.
- Filled in paper forms
- Punch cards
- Electronic transaction files used to update a master file
Note: These examples are not automatically transitory records per se. They should only be considered transitory records if the system(s) that they feed have been identified as the official information resource of business value.
Records that are used solely in the preparation of other records and are not needed once the preparation of other records is completed.
- Negatives created solely as an intermediate stage in printing operations (such as negatives used to create lithographic or photo off-set plates)
- Minor administrative messages such as confirming meeting times
- Dictation audio tapes and shorthand notes used by secretarial and processing services, including internal requests for service
Records of Short-term Purpose
Records created or received for very minor or short-term informational purposes only, not used to support or document mandated institutional activities
- Basic communications (e.g. phone calls, emails, SMS, texts, etc.) such as “please return my call,” “I’m on my way,” “I’m running late”
- Routing slips, routine notices
- Contact, telephone and distribution lists
Preliminary products that the writer creates in the initial stages of a writing process including incomplete material where a more complete document exists.
- Document versions showing only editing of spelling and grammar, formatting and/or stylistic changes
- Comments on drafts of internal memoranda, routine correspondence, and reports that were incorporated into a final draft
- Versions not circulated beyond the author
Not all drafts are automatically considered transitory. Drafts are not transitory when they provide information at key decision points that are not included in the final version of the document.
In some cases, offices that draft policy, legislation, standards, guidelines, procedures, legal documents, audit reports, etc. may need to track the evolution of the final product very closely.
Various drafts may therefore need to be kept in order to have a record of the changes made and why.
Personal Working Materials
Rough notes, calculations, statistics, figures, etc. used in the creation of a more substantive record and not communicated beyond the individual who created them.
- Personal notes
- Flip charts, white boards
Personal working materials are not transitory if they provide evidence of:
- formal decisions and approvals
- reasons for actions
Transitory Records Decision Diagram
Transitory Records Decision Diagram
Question 1: Is the material a blank form (form/stationery that has not been filled out with information)?
Result: Not a government record under LAC Act; DA 2016/001 applies to these records
Result: Go to question 2
Question 2: Does the record (electronic, paper or other format) document an activity of the Government of Canada?
Result: "Not work related (personal correspondence, documents relating to private life). DA 2016/001 applies to these records."
Result: Go to question 3
Question 3: Does the record (electronic, paper or other format) have any of the following characteristics: Is it advertising/promotional material, externally sourced material from a bulletin board or listserv, or circulated internal information (mass distribution)? Is it a routine system backup file, a failed output (e.g., a print job), or a form of data input to an existing electronic system? Was it used solely to prepare other records and is not needed when preparation of the other record is completed? Was it created or received for a very minor or short-term informational purpose only, not used to support or document mandated institutional activities?"
Result: "Yes, it is a transitory record. DA 2016/001 may be used to dispose."
Result: No, do not use DA 2016/001 to dispose; consult Information Management for the correct authorization for disposition.