Multi-Institution Disposition Authorizations (MIDAs)

Multi-Institution Disposition Authorizations (MIDAs) are a specific type of disposition authorization issued by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to provide direction to government institutions subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act regarding the disposal of records managed by all or an identified group of government institutions. MIDAs empower the institutions to dispose of records under certain terms and conditions, and are designed to eliminate the need for government institutions individually to request disposition authorization from Library and Archives Canada for records which have similar administrative or operational status.

It is important to note that any disposition authorization, including MIDAs, issued by LAC to permit the destruction of records by a government institution does not constitute a requirement to destroy, nor does it provide direction regarding the timing of records destruction. Accountability regarding the decision to destroy records and the timing of records destruction rests solely with individual government institutions.

Any authorization to dispose of records granted by Library and Archives Canada to a government institution indicates that LAC has determined that these records do not need to be preserved for the future archival or historical use of Canadians. The authorization grants permission to dispose of records only in relation to the Act; GC institutions are solely responsible for determining any legal liability resulting from the application of any other federal legislation or legal requirement. 

Retention periods for records covered by MIDAs

All  disposition authorizations issued by Library and Archives Canada to government institutions, including MIDAs, do not provide an approval for the retention periods which are necessary to the life-cycle management and disposal of records by institutions.

The determination of retention periods for records managed by government institutions in the conduct of government business is the responsibility of individual institutions. Such determination occurs within the context of the GC institution's assessment of its business needs and risks in relation to information management, taking into account federal information law as well as other statutes or regulations which may have application to the retention of records. However, Library and Archives Canada facilitates the means by which government institutions can set retention periods for their records by providing advice and serving as a source of expertise.

Between 1998 and 2013, LAC issued three types of MIDAs:

  • For common administrative records

Common administrative records are records that are created, collected or received by a federal government institution to support and document broad internal administrative functions and activities common to or shared by all federal government institutions.  Examples of this type of MIDA include real property management, finance, and the management of human resources.

These MIDAs include:

Authority No. 98/001
General Administration Function;
Authority No. 98/005
Human Resources Management Function;
Authority No. 99/003
Materiel Management Function;
Authority No. 99/004
Comptrollership Function;
Authority No. 2001/002
Real Property Management Function.
  • For some physical record formats commonly found in government institutions
  • For types of operational records commonly found in government institutions

Operational records are records created, collected or received by a federal government institution to support and document business functions, programmes, processes, transactions, services and all other activities uniquely or specifically assigned to that particular institution by legislation, regulation or policy.

These MIDAs include:

Authorization No. 96/021
Institutional Records in the Office of a Minister;
Authorization No. 96/022
Records of Deputy Heads of Government Institutions;
Authorization  No. 96/023
Electronic Imaging Systems;
Authorization No. 96/024
Poster-Creating Areas of Government Institutions;
Authorization 2005/006
Operational Case File Records
Authorization 2009/001
The Disposal of Records provided in Confidence to a Government Institution
Authorization 2010/004
The disposal of Surplus Publications in Government Institutions
Authorization 2013/001
Web Analytics

In 2016, LAC issued the Disposition Authorization for Transitory Records (DA 2016/001).  An application guide is available to provide general guidance on how to apply the DA.

Who May Use the Multi-Institution Disposition Authorizations?

It is important to understand the two types of MIDAs:  those issued between 1998 and 2013 that covered all GC institutions, and those issued after 1 January 2015 to specifically identified groups of government institutions.

  • For GC wide MIDAs issued 1998-2013: 

Unless otherwise specified in a new disposition authorization issued to the institution after 1 January 2015, government institutions subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act may continue to use the Multi-Institution Disposition Authorizations to dispose of records which do not have archival or historical value.

Specific exceptions to the application of a Multi-Institution Disposition Authorization issued between 1998 and 2013 are identified in its appended terms and conditions, notably in the statement of the scope of records disposition coverage and in the statement of the authorization to destroy.

  • For MIDAs issued after 1 January 2015:

Only institutions listed in Appendix A of the MIDA may apply the authorization. 

All other GC institutions that have been issued a new disposition authorization after 1 January 2015 must follow the terms of that authorization, which includes the continuing applicability of only three GC-wide MIDAs

  1. the  authorization covering transitory records (e.g., MIDA 2016/001);
  2. the authorization covering the disposal of records provided in confidence to a government institution for the purpose of prosecuting or defending the interests of the Government of Canada in dispute resolution (e.g., MIDA 2009/001); and
  3. the authorization covering the disposition of digitized records (e.g., MIDA 96/023).

If a GC institution has not received a disposition authorization issued after 1 January 2015, existing authorizations (including any applicable MIDAs issued between 1998 and 2013) should be applied to records by government institutions in the following order of priority:

  1. Institution-Specific Disposition Authorizations (ISDAs) related to records managed by single government institutions. ISDAs take precedence over all other DAs issued by Library and Archives Canada.
  2. MIDAs related to operational or medium-specific records.
  3. MIDAs related to common administrative records.

Note: the Disposition Authorization for Transitory Records (DA 2016/001) may be applied at any time to records which meet the criteria for destruction under the terms of that authorization, except where an ISDA contains instructions to the contrary.


Questions concerning the application or interpretation of the MIDAs listed here may be addressed to: Liaison Centre. The Liaison Centre will forward queries to the archivist responsible for your institution.

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