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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University


The University has a Records Retention/Destruction Policy that requires us to do a number of things which includes that we destroy records periodically in accordance with the policy.

What is Records Management?

In short, it is to systematically control records throughout their lifecycle; from their creation to the end of their usefulness.

Records Management is a field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of, and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Source: Information and Documentation - Records Management - Part 1: General (ISO 15489:2001) [10]

What are the Objectives of Records Management?

To effectively manage records in a systematic manner, to outline how long to keep records, and when to disposed of them based on their retention period.

  1. To control the creation and growth of records.
  2. To reduce operating costs.
  3. To improve efficiency and productivity.
  4. To ensure regulatory compliance.
  5. To minimize litigation risks.
  6. To safeguard vital information.
  7. To support better management decision making.
  8. To preserve the corporate memory.
  9. To foster professionalism in business operations of the university.
  10. To assimilate new records management technologies over time.
Why is Records Management Important to the University?

Managing records throughout their lifecycle ensures each University employee is able to:

  1. Locate email, documents or information when needed.
  2. Reuse valuable work that has been produced in the past.
  3. Determine the most recent version of a document or record.
  4. Produce evidence as to why a particular decision was made.
  5. Protect themselves, colleagues, students and the University in the event of litigation.
  6. Support cultural, social and historical values, helping future generations.
  7. Understand the University’s history and collective achievements.

What is a record? What is a transitory record?

Record: Under University's Records Retention/Disposal Policy, a "record" means recorded information, regardless of medium or form, which the University creates, receives or maintains in connection with the conduct of the University’s affairs.

Some examples of records include:

  • emails
  • reports
  • databases
  • faxes
  • spreadsheets
  • maps and plans
  • samples and objects
  • letters
  • minutes
  • photographs
  • social media sites
  • information in business systems
  • text messages
  • policy and briefing papers
  • research data

Transitory Record: Under the Records Retention/Disposal Policy, transitory records are records that are only required for a limited period of time for the completion of a routine action or the preparation of an ongoing record.

Transitory records should be retained only while there is an operational need to retain the record. Some examples of transitory records include:

  1. Working documents, such as drafts or preliminary versions of a record.
  2. Committee agendas and minutes held by committee members other than the committee chair/secretary.
  3. Copies of records retained when the original is sent to another department (e.g. copy of invoice when original sent to the Finance Department for payment).
  4. “Cc” “Bcc” or “FYI” copies of records kept for convenience or information.
  5. Routine emails to schedule or confirm meetings or events.
  6. Routine text messages, voicemails and recordings of voice messages as outlined in #5.

More information on these types of records can be found through this link.

How do I know when to destroy or keep a record? What is a records retention schedule?

The Records Retention Schedule forms part of the Records Retention/Disposal Policy and sets out retention periods by record category, and names the unit responsible for the management of records by category.

To purge or not to purge (records)?

Disposal of records is the last phase of the information lifecycle and is very important. It allows the University to:

  1. Effectively use resources by reducing storage costs for both physical and electronic records.
  2. Improve efficiency when trying to locate needed information as there is less volume to manage.
  3. Reduce efforts when responding to access to information requests (freedom of information requests or FOIs) made under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as there are less records to collect and process as part of the administration of these applications.
  4. Reduce risks in terms of privacy/information security breaches – old/unmanaged records increase risk to the University should there be a breach.
  5. No longer hold information that has lost its business value.
  6. Get control of the information its employees use and store.
  7. Move towards data governance – a structure approach to managing and protecting information.

How do I start managing my records?
  1. Review the Records Retention Policy & Records Retention Schedule
    • The Schedule is updated periodically so check the on-line version of the Policy as your first step.
  2. Download the TRU Records Destruction Approval Form
    • Enter details about the records you plan to destroy prior to their destruction.
    • Transitory records do not need to be listed on Records Destruction Form as transitory records should be managed on an ongoing basis and purged when they are no longer needed.
  3. Review the Information Classification Standard
    • The Standard outlines method of disposal (and information handling practices) for various record types based on information class.
    • Once you have collected and documented your records to be destroyed, the Records Destruction Form must be signed by your Dean/Director or most senior officer prior to destroying the records. Once this form is signed you may proceed with disposing of the listed records.
    • The Records Destruction Form must be kept as a permanent record in the department.
Records Retention/Destruction Policy #13 - Non-Destruction of Records

Legal Requirements supersede any University policies authorizing destruction of records, including the written approval granted by the Dean/Director or most senior officer. If the content of a record is related to actual or threatened litigation, or if the University has received a request for access to information under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the record must not be destroyed without the written permission of the General Counsel of the University.

Questions about Records Management should be sent by email to or you may call 250-828-5012.

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