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How to use this tool:

  • This tool is designed for IM specialists to use with relevant business areas when identifying information resources of business value (IRBV) and retention specifications.
  • The IRBV and retention specifications contained in this document are recommendations only and should be customized to apply in each institutional context. The complete document should be read before using any recommendations.
  • This Generic Valuation Tool does not provide Government of Canada institutions with the authority to dispose of information. Generic Valuation Tools (GVT) are not Records Disposition Authorities (RDA) and do not replace the Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDA).

Validation: The business processes and IRBV of this GVT have been validated by subject matter experts from the following departments:  Industry Canada, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canadian Industrial Relations Board, Copyright Board of Canada, Canadian Transportation Agency and Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Defining the Activity

Authorization is a common operational activity carried out by many Government of Canada (GC) institutions.  It includes the issuance of licenses, certificates, or other tools which either allow an individual or an institution to perform a relevant activity, or approve the sale or use of a product, process, or service.  Authorization is an activity within the broader regulatory process. Footnote1

Based on a review of multiple institutions that perform this activity, GC institutions do not consistently use the terms “authorization”, “licensing” or “certification” in their Program Alignment Architectures (PAAs).  Most often, program activities are expressed in terms of the desired (strategic) outcome of the activity, with authorization as a way in which GC institutions achieve the outcome. Footnote2 Terms used in this GVT are defined as follows:

Licence: A license is issued to allow an activity by a person or organization. Footnote3

Certification: The confirmation of characteristics of an object, person, or organization which allows them to perform an activity. Footnote4

Authorization:  the broad process of reviewing and confirming ability or status against set criteria to allow an activity; an instrument that grants a right. Authorization can include, but does not always require, the issuance of a licence or certificate.

Authorization is not prescribed across the GC, though it is for certain individual institutions.  Despite the lack of prescription, authorization is conducted in a predictable manner regardless of the regulatory framework being enforced.  The recommendations of this GVT are based on legislation, policies and guidelines from multiple institutions across the GC that license and/or certify.

The activities of adjudication and authorization have been separated into two GVTs, but in practice, the separation is often less clear.  Both activities involve making a decision.  Many GC institutions that perform authorization are quasi-judicial bodies (i.e. boards or tribunals) that also adjudicate.  For the purposes of the GVTs, a distinction has been made that “adjudication” involves making a decision in a dispute, while “authorization” involves making a decision to grant permission, sometimes by means of a licence.  The process of granting a licence or certificate is usually straightforward, while the process of granting authorization can be more complex.  When the decision-maker granting authorization is able to use discretion in making a decision, the institution may decide that the Adjudication GVT is more appropriate. Institutions need to assess which GVT best suits their needs and activities.

In some cases, departments may perform environmental assessments as part of an authorization process. Footnote5 In this case, the final report of the environmental assessment has business value for the authorization activity, but an environmental assessment would create many additional IRBVs that are out of the scope of this GVT.

Relationship to Other GVT

Business processes and activities often overlap. When the IRBV from an activity is identified in another GVT, there is a note in the table of IRBV and retention recommendations (below) to direct the user to the proper tool.

The authorization activity is related to many other common activities and business processes across the GC and should be applied in conjunction with other GVTs. 

Management and Oversight: The development of all policies, standards, guidelines, and similar documents that set out requirements or provide guidance related to authorization are addressed in the Management and Oversight GVT. Also included are the processes of audit and evaluation of a program to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency, as may be done with a licencing or certification program.

Adjudication: The Adjudication and Authorization GVTs are closely related.  As stated in section 1.3, institutions should ensure they choose the GVT that is appropriate for their business activities.  The Adjudication GVT covers the business processes surrounding dispute resolutions.   

Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement: Both authorization and compliance and enforcement involve the implementation of regulatory frameworks.   The activities are, however, distinct, and are therefore addressed in separate GVTs.   

When an authorization is modified as a compliance measure it is addressed in the Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement GVT.  When a modification is based on the changed circumstances or wishes of the authorized party, it is addressed in this Authorization GVT.  The monitoring of an authority is also part of regulatory compliance and enforcement.

Science and Technology Activities: While some of the business processes associated with authorization may include a research component, all research activities done in support of authorization are covered by the Authorization GVT, and not the Science and Technology Activities GVT.

Business Processes

The activity of authorization consists of 6 sub-activities, with a number of associated business processes.

1. Management of applications:

This sub-activity involves receiving applications or submissions for authorizations such as licenses, certificates, permits and delegation of authorities. These applications may be for a new authorization or for a renewal or amendment.  They may include a wide variety of supporting documentation.

2. Training:

Some institutions train applicants in the skills needed in order to become certified, or may train third parties to perform certification activities on behalf of the government.  This training is outside that done by Human Resources for government employees since it is provided for private citizens.

3. Assessment of Applications:

This sub-activity includes a number of different business processes associated with assessing eligibility for a licence or certificate, which, depending upon the type of license or certificate under consideration, will have various levels of complexity.  For example, the assessment sub-activity may be as simple as an inspection, examination or a brief review of the application.  Alternatively, an assessment might involve a lengthy research process, environmental assessment, public consultation or hearing.  Institutions using this GVT should select only those business processes which apply to their particular mandated activities. The business processes and IRBV for public consultations, including the Crown’s duty to consult, can be found in the Communications Services GVT. 

4. Making a Decision:

This sub-activity includes the final decision about the granting of a license or certificate based on the assessment undertaken.  This decision may be made by a board or tribunal or may be made by an individual officer.  This sub-activity includes the issuance of the license or certificate as well as any subsequent amendments. An interim decision may result in a letter of authority, granting permission until the formal authorization proceedings are completed.

5. On-going management of licensed communities:

GC institutions are often required to maintain a registry of all licensed individuals or institutions within their jurisdiction.  This sub-activity may also involve co-ordinating or communicating with other institutions or levels of government that perform related activities. It does not include activities related to investigation, or monitoring compliance with regulation.

6. Collection of user fees:

Sometimes applications, licences or certificates are subject to a fee.  For IRBV related to the establishment of user fees and managing revenue generated by authorization activities, please refer to the GVT for Financial Management.


Recommended retention specifications in GVTs are determined based on traditional or best practices, a review of government-wide legislation and policy, and validation with subject matter experts. Retention periods are suggestions only; departments must take into account their own legislative requirements and business needs.

There are no GC-wide pieces of legislation or regulations that govern the retention of information resources associated with authorization.

A retention recommendation always has a “trigger”, or event which signals the beginning of the retention period. Identifying this trigger is important to ensure the information resource is retained for the correct period of time.  For this GVT, the expiration, replacement or revocation of a license or certificate has been used as the trigger event.  However, institutions which authorize activities without the use of a license would need to consider their own appropriate trigger event.  This might be the end of the time any appeal to the authorization is possible, or merely the end of the administrative process for granting the authorization.  This will be more institution-specific and will depend on legislative and business requirements.

Business Value and Retention Recommendations

1. Management of Applications

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period
Receiving applications

Application forms

Supporting documentation (for example, checklists, architectural drawings, procedure manuals)

Public notice of application
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.

2. Training

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period

Plan course

Deliver course

Substantive drafts and final copies including:

Training plan
Curriculum material
Standard exams

2 years after superseded.

Evaluate students

Participant list

Notification of evaluation to the student
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.

3. Assessment of Applications

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period
Planning assessment process

Assessment plan

Request for information

Record of decision regarding need for environmental assessment
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.
Researching and validating claims in application

Inspection reports

Summary of research and technical evaluations

Environmental assessment reports


Standard exams

Board review

Correspondence and coordination with other institutions, levels of government or jurisdictions, and non-government institutions

Reports from other institutions and jurisdictions
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.
Managing Public Consultations For IRBV please see Communications Services GVT For retention please see Communications Services GVT

Managing hearings

Considering evidence

Hearing applications

Making interim decisions

Any document that initiated the proceeding

Notice given of proceeding

Notice of hearing



Discovery order

Documentary evidence

Written expert reports

Objects or photos of objects


Transcripts/recordings of proceedings

Summary of oral evidence

Application for intervention

Application for postponement

Motion for particulars

Motion for inadmissibility

Application to amend

Request for extension of deadline for submissions

Request for change of decision-maker

Request for exclusion of witnesses or in camera hearing

Application to set aside a proceeding for irregularity

Notification of withdrawal by applicant

Response of Tribunal/Board to above (including dismissal of case)

Notice of postponement

Notice of adjournment
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.

4. Making a Decision

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period
Making decision based on assessment

Documentation of decision (and reasons for decision)

Minutes from committees tasked to make assessment decisions

Letter of approval or authority

Letter of refusal
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.
Issuing licenses, permits, certificates

Certificates, licences or other instruments of authorization

Delegation of executive authority
2 years after the licence or certificate has expired or is superseded or revoked.
Issuing amendment Amendment or modification to licence 2 years after the licence or certificate has been amended.
Managing appeal process


Appeal notice

Review decision
2 years after appeal decision.

5. Collection of user fees

IRBV created in the collection of user fees will be identified in the Financial Management GVT.

6. On-going management of licensed community or of agreement undertaken

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period

Maintaining registries of authorized companies, individuals

Coordination with other institutions or levels of government re. authorizing activities

Registry of companies, individuals with authorized status

Correspondence with other institutions or levels of government
2 years after last administrative action.

Modification  or amendment of licence (e.g. cancellation, reduction)

Documentation of change in applicability (e.g. notification of change from licensee)

Request from licensee for change

Notice of cancellation of licence

Reports/statistics from licensees

Declaration of continuance of qualifications

Verification of status of qualifications
2 years after last administrative action.
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