Disposing of records

What is disposition?

Disposition is the final action to be taken on records at the end of their retention periods. This could include destruction or permanent retention at the University Archives. Disposition of records should occur routinely to ensure that costly physical space is freed for new paper records, and that electronic records do not become lost on local drives or shared networks.

All University offices are responsible for disposing of inactive records in accordance with University policy.

Evaluation by the office

The first step in evaluating University offices’ records is to determine if the records are a duplicate of other records within the same office. For example, if an office has five copies of a report generated by the office, then only one copy needs to be retained. Electronic records generated on staff desktops using email, word-processing, and spreadsheet computer applications do not need to be maintained if a paper copy of the document already exists, and vice versa.

Once inter-office duplicate records have been identified and destroyed, the next step in disposing of inactive University records is to determine if the records, or portions of the records, are covered by a retention and disposition schedule, or listed in the University of Toronto File Plan.

Scheduled records

Records that have been scheduled should be disposed of in accordance with the appropriate retention and disposition schedule.

Records that can be destroyed should be destroyed in a confidential manner using a records destruction form. Please see destroying records for more details.

Paper records that can be forwarded to the University Archives should be transferred in accordance with UTARMS' transfer procedures. Offices that have electronic or imaged records (such as microfilm) that are scheduled for transfer to the University Archives should contact UTARMS directly.
   For born-digital records, see Digital Records Transfer

Records that must be retained by University offices for a longer period of time remain the responsibility of University offices.

Unscheduled records

If your office has records that have not been scheduled, please contact UTARMS before transferring or destroying the records so they can be appraised and scheduled based on their legal, fiscal, informational and historical value.

The Records Archivist determines, in consultation with the University office, how long records must be kept. The Records Archivist will prepare a Statement of Appraisal specifying which records can be destroyed, which need to be retained for a longer period of time by the office and which can be transferred to the University Archives for permanent retention.

The Statement of Appraisal is then sent to the University office for approval by a senior administrator.