Destruction of Records

Destruction? It’s kind of an intense term, like a robot yelling “Destroy! Destroy!” But the secure destruction of records is how records are disposed of when they are no longer in use and are no longer needed.

Can I Destroy Records?

At UNB, records that are no longer needed are scheduled for “secure” destruction. Simply shredding physical records with a shred machine is not good enough. The University Secretariat can help organize and schedule proper “secure” shredding and help ensure that you’re not only protecting your sensitive information but that you’re securely disposing of it.

While simply using a shred machine is well intended it is still in the best interest for employees/faculties/departments to organize a more secure method of disposal. Many different departments at UNB are using shredding consoles (big gray boxes) that are regularly picked up and disposed of by a third party contractor.  UNB University Secretariat, Records Management can set up this arrangement for you.

However, the appropriate moment to destroy records can be a little unclear. A record cannot be destroyed until it has completed its retention schedule and is ready to be securely disposed of. There are even some records that must be kept forever and will not be destroyed at all. These records may end up in the archives. Information cannot be destroyed/deleted if it is the subject of a Right to Information request or if it may be needed for a legal proceeding.

On the flip side, there are also many records that are not pertinent and can be disposed of but how exactly do you recognize these types of records?

To Keep or Not to Keep?

That is the question. Not all recorded information that you create or receive in the course of your work will be records that need to be retained. It may be of a transitory nature and required only temporarily, having no long-term or future value. These are records that contain information which is not of long-term value for the conduct of business or operation of UNB.

How to distinguish whether or not a record can be destroyed

The easiest and most efficient way to think of records is to understand that everything is a type of record. Then there are no complications or uncertainty. It’s just a matter of determining what type of record it is and whether it can be disposed of or if it should be retained for and for how long. It may seem like a difficult concept to grasp at first, but treating everything like a type of record, whether transitory or official is just another way to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle of records management.

If you have any questions or concerns about records managrment, record types or record retention please e-mail rim@unb.ca or phone (506)453-4710.


Many records need to be kept for very long periods of time and may not be destroyed for quite a few years. The next topic, Storage will provide helpful information on how to store these records properly.