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3501-2021 Establish a Records Retention Policy

3501-2021 Establish a Records Retention Policy


Passed by Council January 11, 2021.


– BY-LAW NUMBER 3501-2021

WHEREAS Section 254(1) of the Municipal Act, 2001, c25, as amended, provides
that a municipality shall retain and preserve the records of the municipality and its
local boards in a secure and accessible manner;

AND WHEREAS subsection 255(3) of the Municipal Act provides that a
municipality may establish retention periods during which its records must be
retained and preserved;

AND WHEREAS subsection 255(2) of the Municipal Act provides that a record of a
municipality or a local board may be destroyed if a retention period for the record
has been established and the retention has expired or the record is a copy of the
original record;

NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Augusta
enacts as follows:

1. THAT the Policy to establish a Records Retention Policy attached hereto
as Schedule A and forming part of this by-law be approved;

2. THAT the Records Retention Schedule identified as Schedule ‘B’ in
substantively the same form as that attached hereto which forms an
integral part of this by-law, be adopted;

3. THAT the Clerk be authorized to amend the Records Retention
Schedule annually, as required, based on updates in legislation only;

4. THAT notwithstanding #3 above, any other updates requested to the
retention schedule be brought back to Council for approval;

5. THAT this by-law shall not be interpreted to contradict or violate any
statute or regulation of the Province of Ontario;

6. THAT By-Law 2206 or any other by-law inconsistent are hereby

7. THAT this By-law shall come into force and take effect immediately upon

Read a first and second time this 11 day of January, 2021

Read a third time and passed this 11 day of January, 2021

Signed by Mayor Doug Malanka and Clerk Annette Simonian


Schedule A

Section: Clerks
Subject: Records Retention
Policy Number: By-Law 3501-2021
Effective Date: January 11, 2021

Township of Augusta
Policy for Records Retention


The Township of Augusta views records as a corporate asset and is committed to
promoting and facilitating a comprehensive records management system that
ensures the efficient and effective government administration of records,
regardless of their format, throughout their life cycle.


This policy is to provide a standard for the preservation, retention and destruction
of Township records, regardless of the format, that are created in the course of
furthering corporate business.


The Clerk oversees and coordinates the management of corporate records and
provides guidance and procedures to ensure compliance with all relevant legal

Members of Council and individual staff are responsible for ensuring that they
safeguard corporate records in their custody or control are protected from
inadvertent destruction or damage.

Under MEIPPA and Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, The
Township must make every effort possible to protect confidential information held
within its custody. Careful consideration of legal obligations under MFIPPA.
PHIPA and other legislation is required before any record is publicly released or

The Act also prohibits any person from altering, concealing or destroying a
record, or causing any other person to do so, with the intention of denying a right
under MPIPPA to access the record or the information in a record.

This policy applies equally to paper and electronic records created or received by
Staff, Councillors and Council Committees of the Township of Augusta.


It is the responsibility of all municipal employees, Councillors and contractors
who create, work or manage records to comply with the Records Retention By
law and Policy and ensure official records in their custody and control are
protected from inadvertent destruction or damage.


Active Record means a record that is actively referred.

Archived Records means a record that has been appraised for enduring
significance and permanent retention because of its historical value.

Corporate Record means any official record, in any format, created, received or
held in the course of business that is used to support a Township function or to
conduct municipal business and documents business activities.

Disposition means the final phase of a records life cycle meaning:

• Destruction;
• Designation as inactive for storage; or
• Designation of a record as archived/permanent.

e-mail means a message received electronically that can be transitory or
information that supports operations, make decisions or account for
organizational business activities.

Inactive Record means a record that has outlived its usefulness but is not yet
slated for destruction.

Life Cycle means the life span of a record from its creation or receipt throughout
its active and inactive stage, to final disposition.

Official Record means recorded information in any format or medium that
documents the corporation’s business activities.

Orphan Data means data that:

• Is not machine readable by any of the Township’s computer
systems in place during the disposal year, because the data exists
with no identifiable computer application that can retrieve the data;
• Is machine readable but does not have sufficient content, context or
structure to render it understandable by an experienced Township employee who is knowledgeable about the business function or
functions to which the data relates.

Record means information however recorded, made or received (on any device)
in the course of the conduct of the affairs of the Township and retained by the
Township for the purpose of future reference.

Records Management means the process of planning, organizing, directing and
controlling all the steps involved in a record’s life cycle.
Retention means the length of time a record is to be retained before its final

Retention Schedule means an approved document that authorizes the length of
time records are to be retained before their final disposition.

TOMRMS means the Ontario Municipal Records Management System which is
the Corporation’s standardized file classification system.

Transitory Record means a record that is non-corporate and is temporary by
nature. A non-exhaustive list of examples of transitory records includes:

• Retained solely for convenience of reference (duplicate document);
• Copies of official records kept solely for convenience;
• Required solely for the completion of routine action, or the
preparation of another record;
• Of insignificant or of no value in documenting Township business
• Not an integral part of the Township record;
• Not filed regularly within the Township’s records keeping system;
• Not required to meet statutory obligations or to sustain
administrative or operational functions;
• Special events that are not Township events;
• Not a File related to Township Business (no evidence of official
• A publication that originated outside the Township;
• Personal emails, not related to township.

Policy Guidelines and Principles:

The following shall govern the destruction of records:

1. All records created or received in the course of official business are
subject to this policy.

2. No official record shall be destroyed unless first classified according
to the current records retention policy.

3. No official record shall be destroyed unless the retention period has
expired! or the record is a copy of the original.

4. All records shall be destroyed in a manner that preserves the
confidentiality of any information contained in such records.

5. No official record shall be destroyed without the appropriate

6. The final disposition action will take place in a timely manner.

7. Any records pertaining to pending/actual litigation, an investigation
or a request under the privacy legislation shall not be destroyed
until such records are no longer required for this purpose.

8. A copy or duplicate of a record do not require formal approval for
destruction if the original is subject to a retention period.

9. Records retention does not apply to records that were not made in
the course of Township business or are transitory in nature unless
required for legal purposes.

10. Records deemed to have long term value may be retained as an
archived record for longer for historical purposes.

11.When electronic documents are produced in hard copy the
electronic version may be considered a copy and can be discarded
when it is no longer useful. Otherwise the electronic version is the
official record.

Records: Keep it or Pitch It

Step One:

Is the record necessary for legal, financial, operational, historical or archival requirements?
Does the record provide evidence of business activity, decision or transaction related to the functions and activities of the Township?
Does the record Protect the rights of the citizens of the Township?

If you answered YES, move to Step Two.

If you answered NO, it is a TEMPORARY Record: Pitch it!

Step Two:

Does it contain information that is only of immediate or short term reference value and won’t be required in the future?
Is it a duplicate (or cc) that was circulated to you for reference purposes and the master of the record has been filed?
Is it a draft version of the record that will have no further value once updated or when the final version of the record is produced?

If you answered YES, it is a TEMPORARY Record: Pitch it!

If you answered NO, it is an OFFICIAL Record: Keep it!  File it in TOMRMS.


Staff shall receive the necessary training to enable them to implement the
Records Management system to ensure vital records are protected and the
efficient retrieval of records.

The Clerk shall provide an updated retention schedule to department managers
annually, when released by TOMRMS, noting the changes from the previous

The Clerk shall provide a list of records scheduled for destruction to department
managers who will request in writing any documents they wish retained for an
additional period.

Upon the Clerks satisfaction that the retention period as set out in Appendix A of
the current retention policy, has expired, there is no further business or legal
reasons for retaining official record and disposal has been properly authorized by
the auditor, they shall then order the records to be destroyed, in a manner which
preserves the confidentiality of any information contained in such records.

Electronic Data

Electronic data stored in systems shall be retained in the same manner as paper

An electronic record includes any information that is recorded or stored by means
of any device.

Electronic records involving litigation cases must also be identified and protected
against inadvertent deletion. In legal proceedings the corporation may be
required to produce and surrender electronic records to authorities.

Official records in electronic format must be managed systematically throughout
their life cycles.

When new software is introduced, the corporation will take all reasonable
measures to convert their active records to the new system or retain the ability to
access them.

All collection, use, retention and destruction of any personal information held in
any system is required to meet the requirements of MEIPPA.

Orphan Data

Prior to the destruction of any orphan data, the following documentation is

• The title of the orphan data (if available)
• Department (classification section)
• Format data stored in
• Brief description of originating department and relationship to main


E-mails are now commonly used as a convenient mode of communication.
When received as part of the activities of government, they must be managed in
accordance with the requirements of managing traditional corporate records.
Care should be taken to ensure that they are organized, maintained and stored
separately to ensure accessibility.

E-mail records may be subject to an access request under MEIPPA, where a
Councillor may be advancing the business of Council and/or played an integral
part in council decision.

All electronic messaging records sent or received by authorized users of the
Township of Augusta, as well as no board members and Councillors for the
purpose of carrying out Township activities shall be managed throughout their life
cycle according to the requirements of the current records retention by-law.
For example:
Emails instructing staff to write a report regarding the state of a municipal road.
Such electronic messaging records where a Councillor is acting as an officer of
the municipality are subject to the custody and control of the Township Records
Management Program.

Email messages that meet the definition of a Transitory Record can be deleted
together with any associated attachments.

Note: Staff electronic messaging records are considered “personal” records
where they are not received, used, circulated or communicated in the course of
carrying out government activities. Correspondence between a Councillor, in
their political role, and their constituents are not considered a corporate record.
For example:
Emails to/from citizens regarding their opinion on the state of a municipal road.

Such electronic messaging records may not constitute public records and are not
subject to the custody or control of the Township’s Records Management

Text Messages

Text messages should be avoided for business purposes. If texts are used and
they advance the business of the Township, they should be followed up with an
email message to better manage as a record.

Damaged Records

In the event that a record is unexpectedly destroyed whether by accident or
natural event, the Clerk shall, with the assistance from the department head will
assess the damage and decide if the record(s) is considered vital and decide if it
can be recovered and restored and action required depending on damage.


The Township website is used as a means of making information available to the
public. Once records that are published on the website, they can be accessed by
anyone and there should be consideration of privacy implications before posting
documents on the website.

Suspension of Policy

In the event of a notice of litigation, notice of claim, audit or investigation for
which the Township may have relevant records, the suspension of this policy
shall come into effect for all records applicable to the issue.

Schedule B

NOTE: Schedule “B” of By-Law 3501-2021 is a 31 page document produced by “The Information Professionals” a TOMRMS Compliance Service. It is not in an accessible format.  Should you wish to review this document in an accessible format, please contact the Township Office (613-925-4231 ext. 105).  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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