A Lawyer's Perspective on Records Retention And Destruction

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A Lawyer's Perspective on Records Retention And Destruction

  1. 1. A Lawyer’s Perspective on Records Retention and Destruction Dan Michaluk May 28, 2009
  2. 2. Records Retention <ul><li>Holistic look at the law that underlies a retention rule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory minimums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory maximums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discretion and reasonableness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Litigation holds </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Records Retention <ul><li>Statutory minima </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to be strict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose 1 – support the enforcement of regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose 2 – value to public itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Featured in privacy legislation (even PIPEDA) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tied to numerous bodies of regulation </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Records Retention <ul><li>Statutory maximums </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shorter history than minimums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not as common </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More flexible than minimums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No uniformity in commercial sector statutes </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Records Retention <ul><li>Statutory maximums </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PIPEDA – keep it ‘till the initial purpose is spent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BC PIPA – and until you have no legitimate reason </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alberta PIPA – withdrawal of consent does not affect the right to retain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quebec PIA – no use without consent once object is obtained </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Records Retention <ul><li>Statutory maximums – not much case law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PIPEDA #157 and 326 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PIPEDA #309 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BC - KT Gostlin Enterprises Limited </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Records Retention <ul><li>Statutory maximums – bona fide purpose? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University or college health clinic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention for 15 years from… (CPSO Guideline) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we keep for longer since they might be relevant to sexual assault claims against our employees or agents? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Records Retention <ul><li>Discretion – Records and information as evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generally looking at the most likely claims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing potential relevance of business records is hard (aim for meeting the 80/20 rule) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s okay to rely on a retention period in getting rid of transitory or “not helpful” records </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Records Retention <ul><li>Discretion – Records and information as evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How closely will a court scrutinize a retention rule? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a positive duty at common law to retain “litigation-related” records absent pending litigation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See Lewy v. Remington </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare Broccoli v. Echostar </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Records Retention <ul><li>Litigation holds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spoliation means failing to preserve records likely to be relevant to reasonably anticipated litigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intentional destruction is bad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negligent destruction is bad too, but sanctions may depend on the resulting prejudice </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Records Destruction <ul><li>The legal requirement in data protection legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonable safeguards standard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plus technology neutral data destruction rule that sounds absolute but has hidden ambiguity </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Records Destruction <ul><li>Three components to the challenge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the proper means? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are the proper means accessible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have reasonable steps been taken to ensure people utilize the proper means? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Records Destruction <ul><li>Leading authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BC OIPC – F06-01 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BC OIPC – F06-02 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IPC/Ontario – Order HO-001 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IPC/Ontario – Fact Sheet #10 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IPC/Ontario – PC 07-41 </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Records Destruction <ul><li>Proper means for paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Locked bins for holding paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-cut shredding or better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A certified agent or one who’s “willing to commit” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A proper “agent’s” contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certificate of disposal </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Records Destruction <ul><li>Proper means for electronics </li></ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No – Delete or reformat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No – Encryption (if you keep the private key) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes – Physical destruction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes – Overwriting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get a periodic expert opinion on your process if doing in-house </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Dan Michaluk </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(416) 864-7253 </li></ul><ul><li>http://danmichaluk.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>http://twitter.com/danmichaluk </li></ul>
  17. 17. A Lawyer’s Perspective on Records Retention and Destruction Dan Michaluk May 28, 2009

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