Records Management Operation

Royal Roads University Procedure

Effective Date: 
April 1, 2020


The Archives and Records Office has created a classification scheme to help units manage their administrative records under a consistent framework, informed by consultation with various units within the university. The classification scheme provides broad categories that cover all types of records created, used, and maintained by the university. In accordance with current legislative and regulatory standards, a recommended retention period is given per category, which indicates how long a record should be kept and how to transition the record at the end of this period. The classification scheme has been reviewed and endorsed by the executive team for implementation, understanding that it will be adapted over time.

NOTE: The classification scheme is available on the RRU internal network (file:///O:/Staff/Library/Public/Archives/Website/RRUDesignDraft2.html). You must be on campus, or connected via sentinel or direct access to view. Copy and paste the link into Chrome or Firefox to ensure the page opens correctly.


The purposes of this procedure are:  

  • To create a system through which the university’s administrative records are created, managed, retained, and disposed of in an effective, efficient and consistent manner in accordance with the board policy on Records Management; 
  • To support efficient, risk-reducing management of the university’s administrative records by implementation of a coordinated institutional Records Management program;  
  • To facilitate long-term preservation of the university’s records of enduring value; and  
  • To support both protection of privacy and freedom of information services throughout the university.


All administrative records are the property of Royal Roads University and subject to its overall control. The University also supports creator-owned Intellectual Property, subject to certain exceptions specifically designed to ensure the ability of the University to effectively carry out its normal course of business. IP generated as part of prescribed and assigned duties is typically owned by or freely accessible to RRU. For more information, consult the Intellectual Property Policy.

Official university records require a higher level of control than non-official records. To determine whether a record is considered official, consult the Guide for Identifying Official Records or contact the Archives and Records Office. Official records can include, but are not limited to, documents, email, spreadsheets, text messages, and voice mail that are created or received in the regular course of university business.  It is the context and content of the record that determines its significance and therefore its retention.  In other words, the format of a record is not generally a point of consideration in determining the retention of a record.

General Guidelines

Records must be retained for as long as they are necessary to meet legal, administrative, operational, and other requirements of the university. Recommended retention periods are provided in the classification scheme. The Archives and Records Office also provides advice concerning the operational management of records. 

Under no circumstances should any records relevant to an existing Freedom of Information request or legal discovery be destroyed until the request or discovery is complete.   

Leaving or Changing Positions

Employees leaving Royal Roads University or changing positions within RRU are to leave all administrative records for their successors. Administrative records are not to be retained by individuals; administrative records are university property.  This applies to both official and non-official records. Similarly, disposal of records at the point of departure should follow disposal procedures outlined in this document.

Roles and Responsibilities

The responsibility and accountability for the creation, use, security, maintenance, and disposal of university administrative records is a shared responsibility between the university and the members of the university community authorized to create, use, access, retain, and dispose of university records. It is the responsibility of unit leaders and managers to put appropriate structures in place to support compliance with this procedure. The Archives and Records Office also provides advice concerning the operational management of records.

It is the responsibility of individual units to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to secure records containing personal or other confidential information. For more information about personal information and records, please contact the privacy office

Records Management Process

  1. Consult the Royal Roads Classification Scheme and determine the category that best fits the record.   
  2. Keep the record for the length of time as specified by the category you identified in the classification scheme. 
  3. When the record has been kept for the specified length of time, follow the disposition instructions for that category: either send the record to the Archives, or destroy the record in such a way that it cannot be reconstructed. 

If you cannot find a category for your record, or if you think that there are legal or operational considerations that warrant a longer retention period, please contact the Archives and Records Office.  

The classification scheme is subject to annual review by the Archives and Records Office and a summary of revisions are sent to the Executive team for approval. 

Non-official records

Many records are ephemeral or transitory in nature and can be destroyed when they are no longer needed. Examples include spam, non-work related email, some transactional day to day correspondence, most draft versions, and duplicate copies. It is, therefore, not necessary to classify and retain them according to the classification system. Consult the Guide for Identifying Official Records or contact the Archives and Records Office for assistance. Note that disposal of non-official records requires the same consideration as official records in terms of completeness of destruction.

Disposal of Records

Disposal of records at the end of their lifecycle is a significant part of an effective records management program. It ensures that records are not being kept unnecessarily, thereby reducing storage and migration costs, and mitigating some risks. It also promotes efficiency because less time is required to search for records by reducing the overall volume of records. With timely destruction, there is also less chance that private or confidential records will be seen by those not authorized to do so. Finally, scheduled destruction is required by legislative and regulatory standards.

Disposition is the action taken when the record has completed its official retention period, which can involve: physical destruction by various methods, such as shredding, burning, or recycling; secure deletion of electronic records, or physical destruction of electronic storage media; transfer to archival storage for selective or full retention; or a formal act of deaccession from the custody of the university. Remember that the method of disposition must be appropriate for the record. For example, confidential records should never go into an open recycling bin. Destruction of records that contain personal or confidential information must be carried out in a permanent and secure manner. 

Every destruction of official records may be subject to later scrutiny. For this reason, it is prudent to create and retain a simple description of the destroyed records. It is also prudent to acquire and retain approval for the destruction from a manager who oversees the business activity associated with the records, or in consultation with the Archives and Records Office. This form can help track records destruction.

Archival Records

Some records within the classification scheme are designated as archival. This means that at the end of their retention period and because of their enduring value, they are sent to the archives for full or selective retention. The archivist will appraise the records and process them for addition to the archival collection. The transferring unit will receive a copy of the finding aid related to that archival accession and will be able to access the archival records as needed. Please contact the Archives and Records Office to arrange transfer of archival records.

Related Policies

Records Management Policy

Intellectual Property Policy

Privacy Policy

For More Information

If you have any questions about records management activity at Royal Roads University contact Jenny Seeman, Archives Manager or Kate Chandler, Records Analyst, in the Archives and Records Office.