Records Life-Cycle

Records life-cycle

A Mount Royal University record (hereafter document) is created during the events based on the University’s everyday activities. Based on this definition, a Mount Royal University document actually belongs to the University and provides evidence that an activity or event took place.

Step 1 – A document is created

A document is created from a University activity the document is about. The document typically represents the “original” in that it is the final version, which can be used to prove that an event or decision took place at the University. These documents support Mount Royal University business operations.

Transitory records or documents

There are some documents, however, that are considered “transitory” records or documents. That is, some documents are not actually deemed the original as they are only a copy of an original kept simply to provide a reference for the activities they are about.

A second type of a transitory record or document would be if data was recorded on one medium (such as note paper concerning meeting minutes) and then transferred over to another medium (such as the formal Meeting Minutes documents).

A transitory record or document, in other words, is basically a temporary copy that typically only has short-term value for your area of operations.

Transitory records or documents 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
  • data that has been transcribed into a formal format
  • a receipt or evidence of a very routine transaction

Determining whether a document is “transitory” largely depends on the judgment of the department or area on the value of the document to provide evidence regarding their business.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule in that some documents may actually meet the criteria of being transitory, yet they are extensively used for your operations or are absolutely necessary to provide evidence of a transaction for your specific area. An example would be the need to retain various revisions to a vendor contract.

If your area deems that particular transitory records are pertinent to your activities then these documents should be retained in a file folder following formal retention schedule rules set out by the University.

Culling transitory documents instead of sending them to an official file folder ultimately helps decrease how many documents you will actually have to manage or surrender during a FOIP request.

In addition, having too many documents, or several copies of the same document, can also inhibit the productivity of your department or area by making documents difficult to find.

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
  • E-mails of no importance to the business.
  • Outdated receipts, such as receipts from Document Services

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.

Destroying transitory records - documents

Transitory documents can be routinely destroyed.

However, 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.

Step 2 – Filing documents in file folders

The document is then filed into a file folder within the department or area.

The file folder holds many kinds of documents and the folder is assigned a single retention code, such as AD001.

Retention codes assigned to file folders ultimately provide a reference to the University’s Records Retention Schedule.

The Records Retention Code Guide is a tool or document that outlines each retention code available within the organization upon which documents can be filed under that code.

The guide document is, in essence, a short-form version of the Records Retention Schedule to help employees with filing documents.

The University Records Retention Schedule is the formal legal document that determines how long file folders holding the documents need to be retained.

Step 3 – Determining retention

At some point during a file folder’s life-cycle, the documents contained in the file folder become “semi-active”. That is, employees refer to the file folder only on an “occasional” basis.

The file folder should already have been assigned a single alpha-numeric retention code according to the Mount Royal University Records Retention Schedule. The assigned retention code will help determine when it is appropriate to either destroy the file folder(s) or send them offsite to be stored for a pre-determined length of time.