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Records Management Guidelines

Our team of information management professionals offers the following services to help ensure that documents and records are organized, retained and disposed of in compliance with generally accepted recordkeeping principles and applicable legislation.
These guidelines will help you organize your documents while working in-office and from home - a new reality requiring specific measures for safely and efficiently locating, referencing, and storing information from remote locations.

Records Management FAQ

This FAQ complements the Guidelines linked above, and is regularly updated. If there is a particular issue related to records management that you feel has not been addressed below, please feel free to share it with us at

The Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) mentioned below is reserved for use by Concordia employees. To request a reference copy, please write to

Register for an RMA training session: Records Management and Archives (RMA) has put together a training program to help you organize your paper and digital documents. Various training sessions -all free of charge to internal employees- explore the basics of Records Management, as well as tips and tools for using the Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP).

View the schedule of training sessions. 

Note that trainings are open only to Concordia employees.


Filing boxes are available in Ariba through Concordia supplier Staples/Eway: Bankers Box Enviro Stor Letter/Legal Storage Box, Brown Kraft, Item # FEL00872.

Retention periods are listed in the Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP). Periods have been established in accordance with concerned internal units and the administrative needs of each record series. Each retention period has been reviewed by the University Archivist prior to being approved by the Secretary-General and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). In compliance with the Archives Act (R.S.Q., c. A-21.1) public institutions must maintain an updated retention schedule for all documents. Therefore, the RCRP has a legal value, and every unit must apply retention rules as stated in the RCRP.

If the final disposition of your documents is Destruction, your department head will receive a notification from RMA with a request for approval. Following receipt of approval, documents will be sent for confidential shredding. Destruction take place in April of each year. A certificate confirming confidential destruction of your documents is available upon request from RMA.

If the final disposition of your documents is Permanent Retention, your department head will receive a notification from RMA, following which, the records will be transferred to Historical Archives. A careful cull will be made by members of the RMA team to ensure the application of best archival practices toward the preservation and conservation of deposited documents. Final box listings of documents in permanent retention are available upon request from RMA.

As of June 2012 all documents and records should now be organized, processed, and retained according to the RCRP. RMA has created a Cross-reference Table associating the 32 series in the former University Filing System to categories in the current Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) for those requiring reference to the former and current systems. 

Send your request to Include the box number in which the file is located and the location where you would like the file or the box to be delivered. Please indicate if the retrieval is permanent and update your box listings accordingly.

All box listings have been digitized by RMA. Pease email to request digital box listings for materials previously deposited by your unit. 

Generic filing boxes are available through the Bookstore. Please use the following codes: 125005  (110-0066501).

Due to health a saftey requirements, a standardized box format is not required by RMA. Please complete a Confidential Destruction Form and attach a copy to the top of each box sent for secure shredding.

Please contact us at to arrange for transport of AV material for destruction (boxes should then be sent to RMA via Distribution to S-FG-A112).

Computer hardware (e.g. external hard drives, hard disks) must be erased by IITS, as indicated in the Policy on Computer Provisioning. Guidelines for the computer decommissioning process are available on the IITS web site.  

With the exception of boxes containing documents for secure shredding, RMA incurs the cost of confidential document destruction.

Please note that RMA may request fees for the destruction of large volumes of media (videocassettes, hard drives, etc.)

As of July, 2010 RMA has stored the majority of semi-active archival materials with external supplier, Access (Formerly Docu-Dépôt), to maximize classroom space and reduce overall costs. Storage facilities are equipped with fire suppression and counter intrusion security systems.

Access is committed to same-day pick-up for requests submitted before 11am and next-day pick-up for requests submitted after 11am. Upon request, pick-ups can be made directly from your unit. Rush pick-ups can also be arranged for an additional fee charged to your unit.

Please contact the unit responsible for the original document and send it to them (or hand deliver when possible) for completion of their records. Do not hesitate to contact RMA at with any related concerns or questions.

Department heads are primary copy owners of documents that reflect their unit's activities and outcomes. There can be more than one primary copy owner of a document.

The Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) provides more information on primary copy owners, including that owners are responsible for their documents throughout their retention period. 

Please contact the Records Management team at with your contact information and a list the boxes you need to retrieve. Please note that due to space restrictions, RMA is unable to retrieve more than 25 boxes at one time.

The Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) is a work in progress that is consistently being updated. That said, there may not yet be a retention rule applicable to your document(s). If you think this is your situation, please contact the Records Management team at to discuss the particulars.

"Retention rule under development"  generally indicates that the retention rule is in the process of being approved. Each rule must be reviewed and approved based on legalities related to the Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) and adherence to governance. Reviewers include the University Archivist (Head, RMA), General Counsel, and the Secretary-General, prior to final approval by Bibliothèques et Archives nationales du Québec (BANQ).

Please note that a retention rule under development can not be applied until its approval is complete, but RCRP numbers may still be used on box listings.

Box listings are now created and stored digitally (.doc or .pdf) to optimize efficiency. Optical character recognition (OCR) software recognizes only electronic characters, rendering handwritten content unsearchable. RMA encourages users to store box listings in electronic format on a shared drive.

Please note that users are responsible for their box listings and must keep them for the duration of the retention period associated with their contents.

In most cases the 'closing date of the file’ refers to a date corresponding to the most recent document in a given file, and bears on the calculation of a retention period. In some cases the closing date will be event-triggered. For example, if the retention rule associated indicates: ‘until final appeal date + 10 years’, the final appeal date (event trigger) should appear on the box listing (an exact date is not required; the year is generally sufficient).Please contact the Records Management team at if in doubt as to which date to use. 

Retention rules apply to hard copy and digital documents, including email. Please keep this in mind when clearing space on personal and shared drive(s). Applying the Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) to all documents will ensure the identification and retention of those determined to be essential.   

Coding documents in coloured folders can be an effective organizational method. Keep in mind, however, that dyes contain acids that will deteriorate documents kept over longer time periods. RMA recommends avoiding coloured file folders for record series that require long-term retention, or for documents with high historical value (i.e. minutes of governing bodies' committee meetings, etc.). Please consult the Records Classification and Retention Plan (RCRP) to identify the retention period of your documents and make decisions accordingly with regard to filing materials.

Security is the number one concern when storing documents on a cloud server. Be aware that many servers are located outside Canada, which may carry legal consequences given that several  provinces legally prohibit the storage of information by public bodies on servers located outside of the country. More information on cloud computing can be found here in Carrefour. Please contact the Records Management team at with any related questions.  

Sponsors, secretaries and chairs of committees must deposit meeting documents in accordance with the Archiving Boxing Procedure. Unless you are the sponsor, secretary, or chair of a committee, do not send committee meeting documents to RMA. Keep the documents in your unit until they lose their administrative value (approximately 2 years), then securely destroy them. 

Flexibility, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, and longevity are factors to consider when creating documents. Ideally, open formats are preferred to proprietary formats; however, over time Microsoft Office suite and its (proprietary) formats have become acceptable.  

The following formats meet RMA preservation and access mandates:


 .pdf .docx .odt  


 .pptx .odp


 .xlsx .ods


 .tiff .jpg






If in doubt, contact the Records Management team at

Please consult our Donating Archives section to determine if the material you wish to donate is aligned with what RMA acquires. If you believe it is, please write to with a request to have your material assessed and to discuss the terms of the donation.

Register and attend an RMA E-mail Management training and review the Records Management Guidelines for Email Management. The RM YouTube channel also contains information on sorting e-mail, using the Outlook online archive, and creating and applying Outlook rules that automatically file or delete incoming email. 

Please note that trainings are available only to Concordia employees.

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