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Queen's University Records Management Policy

Approved by the Principal/Vice-Principal's Committee

September 29, 2003


  • The purpose of Queen’s University Records Policy is to ensure responsible management of University records and record-keeping systems as valuable resources and assets.
  • To establish a University-wide records management program covering the retention, maintenance and disposal of all university records.
  • To preserve evidence of the university’s activities in all formats.
  • To support accountability, and promote efficiency and economy.


Queen’s University records management program is based on the following principles:

Principle 1: All University records, regardless of their format or location, are the property of the University.

Principle 2: Good records management practice is essential in creating, capturing, using and disposing of the information required for an organization to fulfill its obligations and meet the expectations of its stakeholders.

Principle 2: The Queen’s University records management policy, program and practice will be based on current professional standards and best practices.

Principle 3: Records in all formats created and received as evidence of University activities will be captured as records and maintained in all processes and systems.

Principle 4: Responsibility for capturing and maintaining records rests with the organization as a whole and with individuals within the organization.

Principle 5: The context and structure of records will be managed in any University record-keeping system, in order to maintain record security, reliability and authenticity.

Principle 6: The appropriate use and re-use of information contained within records will be guided by records management policy and procedures and any current legislation.

Principle 7: Retention of records will be scheduled and authorized so that they are retained only for as long as they are needed.

Principle 8: Records will be protected from inappropriate access, alteration and usage.

Principle 9: University records of archival value will be preserved and access provided where restrictions do not apply.

Principle 10: Personal information contained in University records will be created, used, maintained and disposed of in an appropriate and legal manner.

Principle 11: University records, being the property of the university, may be not be removed from its control or destroyed except under the authority of this policy.


  • The policy requires that the program be applied consistently across the University by all University personnel.
  • The policy applies to all transactions and the records created or received in the course of carrying out all the administrative work of the University and all its transactions and business activities. (The policy does not cover the documents and data, or personal communications created or acquired by Faculty members, or other officers or employees in the course of their preparations for teaching, research and in all aspects of their personal activities.)
  • This policy applies to the creation, receipt, use, handling, maintenance, storage and disposition of all records.
  • The policy covers records in all media and formats, including but not limited to paper, electronic documents and files, e-mail, photographs, film, audio and video-tapes, drawings etc.

(While this policy applies to all records including records in e-mail format a more detailed guidelines for the management of e-mail will be made available separately).


University records: are those documents, data or recorded information in all media and formats created, received, and maintained as evidence and information in the administration of the activities of the University.

Non-record material: are those documents, data or information in all media and formats created, received as a result of personal activities. These may be works created as a result of intellectual or artistic activity and acquired in preparation for teaching and in the course of research (unless created under specific contract with the University that indicates otherwise) and they are the intellectual properties of the Faculty and are not University record.

Active records: are those records that are created or received in the course of University work or activities and are in frequent use. These remain under the custody, responsibility and control of the unit of the University that generates and maintains these records.

Semi-active records: are those records used less frequently but where the ownership remains with the University department or unit even when the records are transferred to the University Records Centre or other storage facilities.

Inactive records: are those records no longer needed for university activities. These may be destroyed or if they are appraised as being records of permanent value they may be transferred to the University Archives. Custody, responsibility and control of permanent records of value are transferred to the University Archives.


The University’s records management program will establish a University–wide record-keeping system and practice that:

  • Ensures control over the creation, maintenance and disposal of university records through record classification plans and retention schedules.
  • Ensures the availability of evidential, accurate, current, unaltered, authentic and reliable University records in all formats to support all University work and functions for as long as they are required.
  • Ensures all record-keeping and retention at the University is consistent with the regulatory environment.
  • Ensures that record-keeping at the University is consistent with professional and legal standards.
  • Offers records management training and advisory services for all University personnel.
  • Develops and reviews policy, procedures and roles for records management at Queen’s University.
  • Establishes institutional requirements and resources for control and care of records at the University.
  • Ensures the proper disposition of University record, carried out in accordance with University policy, and maintains auditable documentation.
  • Ensures care and control of University records in storage in the University Records Centre.
  • Ensures compliance to policy and practice through monitoring procedures.


The Principal shall appoint a University Records Management Committee (the Committee) responsible for the initiation, control and review of records management policies and programs. This committee will be the ultimate body of authority for the control, retention and disposal of University records.

The Committee will approve all University records retention schedules before application/implementation.

The Committee will assign responsibilities to heads of university departments and units to:

  1. ensure the retention of university records according to approved schedules;
  2. authorize the destruction of records according to approved schedules.

The Committee shall consist of:

  • The University Archivist (who will provide expertise on historical and evidential issues and implications) [CHAIR]
  • University Records Archivist (ex officio, who will provide expertise on records management and practice issues and implications)
  • The University Legal Counsel (who will provide expertise in legal issues or implications)
  • The University Internal Auditor (who will provide expertise on financial issues and implications)
  • Director of Information Technology Services, or delegate (who will provide expertise on technological issues and implications)


Responsibility for the effective management of University records according to a current authorized University records management program is a responsibility shared by all University employees and personnel.

Responsibility for the design, creation, implementation, maintenance and operational audit of the records management program shall rest with the University Archivist and university records staff of the Archives.

The university records staff will provide the training and necessary support and advisory services to the staff of university departments and units so that the procedures and controls are understood and applied.

Ultimate responsibility for the control of records created in carrying out specific functions will be assigned by the University Records Management Committee to a senior member of staff in each university department and unit. The responsibility will include ensuring that retention schedules are followed and that the disposal (both destruction and transfer) of records are authorized and documented.

A Records management contact network of record custodians in all departments and units will be maintained.

University records staff will liaise with information management staff concerning the appropriate creation, use, maintenance, and disposition of electronic records in University systems.


A Queen’s university-wide records management program will provide a broad range of benefits to the University as a whole and to each individual department and unit. These benefits range from litigation risk management, staff time and cost benefits, convenience in retrieval of information and informed decision making.

The Queen’s Records Management Program:

  • Supports the accountability of the University to all its stakeholders.
  • Reduces space and costs required for storage for obsolete records.
  • Meets legislative and regulatory requirements.
  • Reduces the risks that occur when the retention and destruction of records are not controlled by the application of an approved retention schedule and destroyed with appropriate authorizations.
  • Provides protection and support in litigation, and manages risks associated with the existence or lack of evidence of University activity.
  • Protects the rights of employees, and students in the management of personal information.
  • Provides continuity in event of disaster
  • Ensures services are delivered in a consistent and equitable manner.
  • Provides accurate and current information in a timely manner for support in decision-making.
  • Preservation of the corporate memory of the University.


Record management policy and program will be reviewed every five years.

Records retention schedules will be reviewed every ten years.


Ontario, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act R.S.O. Chapter F31 (link)

Queen's University Information Security Policy Framework (link)

Approved June 2014