Destroying Records

Destroying Records

Mount Royal University is a public body and is obligated to follow a formal destruction process when it comes to managing all official records belonging to the University.

Providing proof of destruction plays a major role in responding to a FOIP request.

The Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule provides retention periods for official records based on both the legal and operational requirements set out by the University.

How to destroy transitory records
How to destroy official records onsite
How to destroy official records offsite
Legal holds
Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule

How to destroy transitory recordsTransitory records can be routinely destroyed. No formal destruction certification is required.

Transitory records are documents that are required only for a limited time period for the completion of a “routine” action. Such documents are considered to have only short-term business value. The documents are, in essence, either:

  • a copy of the original document that is kept in another department (see the Office of Record Column in the MRU Records Retention Schedule)
  • data that has been transcribed into a formal format
  • a receipt or evidence of a very routine transaction

Examples of Transitory Records (Documents):

  • Advertising Material
  • Blank/Outdated Information media – (Outdated Blank Forms)
  • Draft documents or working materials
  • Duplicates: exact copies of documents, such as photocopies, electronic copies
  • External publications: books, magazines
  • Documents containing information of short term value
  • Post-It notes
  • Emails of no importance to the business. (Emails from Helpdesk)
  • Outdated receipts, such as receipts from Document Services 

In cases where transitory documents contain sensitive personal information, these documents must be destroyed in a secure manner, such as shredding, to limit the risk of a privacy breach.

Examples of how to securely destroy sensitive transitory records can include either using a shredder in your office or contacting custodial services to pick up your transitory records. Tape the box to limit the risk of a privacy breach. 

Transitory records that do not have any personal or sensitive information can be placed directly in the recycle bin in your office.

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How to destroy official records onsite

Onsite Destruction Documentation Example based on process below

Steps:

  1. Identify the official records (not transitory) that need to be formally destroyed in your department or area

    Using the Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule:
    • Observe the Retention Code of the records in question (Example: AD012, ME012 – See the Code Column in the MRU Records Retention Schedule)
    • Observe Retention Period of the records
      (See the Total Retention Column in the MRU Records Retention Schedule)
    • Observe Start Date and End Date of the records
      (That is the Oldest Record in the Folder and the Most Recent Record in the Folder)
    • Observe the event (reason) for the start of the retention “clock” for the records. (Identified in the Retention Schedule as a T=Event, C=Current Year, or P=Permanent)

      Example events include: End of term, Issue resolved, Grievance resolved, End of calendar year, Termination of employment, Current year.

      For a specific example, SS031 has a T = Date of Last Service Provided, therefore Wellness Services is legally required to keep their health records for a Total Retention of10 years after the date of the last visit.

      Hint: The folder labels for new folders can document the data above while the business activity is fresh in your mind, which helps quickly identify which records are up for destruction years later.
  1. Group records with identical retention codes and dates together
    (place in box if the records are being picked up by custodial for shredding)
     
  2. Index (Document) the records that will be destroyed
    (either in your index spreadsheet or use the main Indexing Tool Tab)

Enter the nine-digit destruction certificate number you have assigned for your department:

The first formal destruction certificate number for your area should start at 000000001

    • In the Indexing Tool Tab (Column U)
    • In the Offsite Box Template
    • In the Destruction Certificate
  1.  Copy the identified file folder data from Indexing Tool Tab into the Offsite Box Tab (Folder Listing)

    The Offsite Box Tab is designed to simply provide a template for printing the Folder Listing for approval.
  1. Print the Offsite Box Tab and the MRU Destruction Certificate

    These printed documents show the Department Manager what is being destroyed according to the University Records Retention Schedule.
     
  2. Submit the printed Offsite Box Tab (Folder listing) and the MRU Destruction Certificate to your Department Manager to obtain approval signoff
     
  3. Retain the signed MRU Destruction Certificate and Folder Listing (Offsite Box Tab). 
    • Scan the paper MRU Destruction Certificate and the Folder list into one PDF file format.
    • Save the PDF file in an electronic Folder named “Destruction Certificates” by certificate number and destruction date for future reference in the event of a FOIP request.
    • Maintain the electronic copy for future reference and destroy the paper copy
    • Clear the data placed in the Offsite Box Tab
    • Ensure that the electronic copy is accessible by the department in the event of a FOIP request
  1. If required contact Custodial Services to pick up the boxes for secure shredding or shred them in your office.
     
  2. In the event there is a FOIP request, refer to your Indexing Tool Tab.

    • The Indexing Tool Tab will have documented the formal destruction and the assigned MRU Destruction Certificate number.
       
    • The formal destruction certificate and file listing in PDF file format may also need to be presented in response to a FOIP request to prove that the records have been destroyed based on legal requirements.

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How to destroy records offsite

Offsite destruction documentation example based on process below

Steps:

  1. Identify the official records (not transitory) that need to be formally destroyed in your Offsite Index

             Using the University Records Retention Schedule:

    • Observe the Retention Code of the records in question (Example: AD012, ME012 - See the Code Column in the MRU Records Retention Schedule)
    • Observe Retention Period of the records
      (See the Total Retention Column in the MRU Records Retention Schedule)
    • Observe Start Date and End Date of the records
      (That is the Oldest Record in the Folder and the Most Recent Record in the Folder)
    • Observe the event (reason) for the start of the retention “clock” for the records. (Identified in the Retention Schedule as a T=Event, C=Current Year, or P=Permanent)

      Example events include: End of term, Issue resolved, Grievance resolved, End of calendar year, Termination of employment, Current year.

      For a specific example, SS031 has a T = Date of Last Service Provided, therefore Wellness Services is legally required to keep their health records for a Total Retention of10 years after the date of the last visit.

      Hint: The folder labels for new folders can document the data above while the business activity is fresh in your mind, which helps quickly identify which records are up for destruction years later.
  1. Index (Document) the records that will be destroyed
    (either in your index spreadsheet or use the main Indexing Tool Tab)

Enter the nine-digit destruction certificate number you have assigned for your department:

    • In the Indexing Tool Tab (Column U)
    • In the Offsite Box Template (In the blue box description at the top)
    • In the Destruction Certificate

The first formal destruction certificate number for your area should start at 000000001

  1. Copy the identified file folders from Indexing Tool Tab into the Offsite Box Tab (Folder Listing)

The Offsite Box Tab is designed to simply provide a template for printing the Folder Listing for approval. 

  1. Print the Offsite Box Tab and the MRU Destruction Certificate

    These printed documents show the Department Manager what is being destroyed according to the University Records Retention Schedule.
     
  2. Submit the printed Offsite Box Tab and the MRU Destruction Certificate to your Manager to obtain approval signoff
     
  3. Retain the signed MRU Destruction Certificate and Offsite Box Tab (Folder Listing).  
    • Scan the Destruction Certificate and the Folder list into PDF file format
    • Save the PDF in an electronic folder named “Destruction Certificates” by certificate number and destruction date for future reference
    • Maintain the electronic copy for future reference and destroy the paper copy (after step 7)
    • Ensure that the electronic copy is accessible by the department in the event of a FOIP request
  1. E-mail University Records to initiate Offsite Box destruction by the vendor
     
    • Attach the PDF File - Folder Listing (Offsite Box Tab) and MRU Destruction Certificate
    • Describe the boxes you want destroyed
    • Clear the data placed in the Offsite Box Tab (Folder Listing)
    • University Records will e-mail you with confirmation of the vendor destruction
       
  2. In the event there is a FOIP request, refer to your Indexing Tool Tab
     
    • The Indexing Tool Tab will have documented the formal destruction and the assigned MRU Destruction Certificate number.
    • The formal destruction certificate and file listing in PDF file format may also need to be presented in response to a FOIP request to prove that the records have been destroyed based on legal requirements.

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Legal Holds

In the event that a FOIP request is received by the University, there may be a hold placed on destroying any documents in your area.

The University Information Management Advisor will always notify your area of any pending FOIP request where a suspension on destroying records in your area is required.

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Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule

The Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule is a formal institutional document that provides retention codes for the entire University based on function, which can be specifically assigned to folders containing documents that are being managed by your department or area.

Because operations within an organization can often change over time, it is considered a living document that can be formally revised by contacting University Records if required.

Retention codes are a single alpha-numeric code (Examples: HR008 or AA004) assigned to a particular folder that provides a reference back to the Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule.

The Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule provides a general summary of what documents are associated under that particular code and, most importantly, how long a coded folder that contains all of the identified documents should be legally retained according to federal and provincial legislation.

Information contained in the University Records Retention Schedule guide business units on whether to send records offsite and/or when records can be formally destroyed.

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