June 2018

General Policy

CANENA requires staff members to be able to state and explain CANENA policies and actions.  To do so, they must preserve certain records.  But constraints on office and storage space for both paper and electronic documents create a need to exercise judgment in saving records.

This policy will guide CANENA staff in making decisions on specific types of documents.  In exceptional cases, certain documents (particularly those of historical significance) may be saved.  All guidance in this policy applies to computer network, hard drive, and diskette files as well as to traditional paper files.  All references to “documents” includes electronic or digital documents as well as paper documents.

Staff members are also reminded that, when a party in litigation requests or a court orders CANENA to review or to disclose files, no such records should be destroyed.  Questions in such circumstances should be referred to counsel.

Records should be reviewed in their entirety not less than once a year for compliance with this policy.

I. Retention Periods by Category of Document.

A. Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws

The Secretary General is responsible for maintaining a permanent record of CANENA’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, together with all amendments to them, as well as any formal interpretations of them.

B. Publications Containing Policies or Positions

Any CANENA publication which promulgates the Council’s policies or positions should be kept permanently.

C. Minutes

One original copy of all minutes of all meetings of the Council and the Executive Committee is retained permanently in CANENA files.

One electronic copy of all minutes of all Technical Harmonization Committees and all other Committees or Subcommittees shall be retained for ten (10) years in CANENA files.  If an electronic copy of Subdivision and Committee minutes are maintained in electronic or digital format on a media storage device, paper copies of those minutes may be discarded at any time, and the electronic copy must be discarded after ten (10) years.

Electronic storage.   All minutes of CANENA meetings shall be stored electronically (Read-Only) in the manner directed by the Secretary General.  Electronic records shall be maintained for the same periods of time as all other records.

D. Agendas

A copy of meeting agendas should only be retained long enough to complete the minutes or report of the meeting.

E. Correspondence

Correspondence should generally not be kept beyond two years.  See paragraph I below.

F. Contractual Matters

Documentation relating to contractual matters is to be retained for a period of five years after performance under the contract is completed.

The original of every contract, except contracts relating to meetings and events, is to be filed with the Secretary General.

Any contracts that CANENA has entered into with federal, state, or local government may have specific record retention laws and regulations.  Records related to such contracts are to be reviewed by CANENA Counsel on a case-by-case basis.

G. Financial, Accounting, Tax and Employment Records; Dues and Assessment Data

Retention of these data is governed by law.  It is the responsibility of the Secretary General, on advice from counsel and CANENA’s accounting services.

H. Letter Ballots

Letter ballots on financial matters are subject to Paragraph G, above.

Letter ballots which concern CANENA positions or policies should be destroyed when the results of the ballot are recorded in a document which is to be maintained.  Since votes have been tabulated, files containing individual votes should not be retained.

I. Miscellaneous

Documents which do not set forth or record CANENA policies, positions or actions and which are not specifically treated above, should be retained only as necessary and convenient for informed operation, and as may be deemed useful for historical purposes.  Included within this group would be general or routine correspondence, interoffice memoranda, materials from outside organizations, which do not record official CANENA actions or positions, and extra copies of documents noted in paragraphs A-M.


Once a year, the Secretary General will schedule a day to review documents for compliance with this policy.  CANENA shall retain documents as required by the provisions above and shall discard documents that are no longer required to be retained.


The Secretariat is provided by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), which has its own Records Retention Policy.  NEMA’s Information Technology staff manages electronics record retention, including the records of the Secretariat relating to CANENA.

NEMA’s Retention Policy Implementation

The following explains how the NEMA IT department has implemented the NEMA retention policy and provides a guideline for staff on how to manage electronic information such as emails, files, and databases. This document supplements the NEMA Document Retention Policy document which defines the classification and retention terms for business information.  The following recites NEMA’s electronic retention practices applicable to the Secretariat’s records for CANENA.

1.         Retention Policy Review Dates:

The NEMA retention policy and its application should be reviewed two times a year:

  • File Clean-up Day/ 1st Mail Purge:

The end of January

  • 2nd Mail Purge:

First 2 weeks in April

2.        Email Retention Policy:

2.1       Bi-Annual Purge:

Twice a year, NEMA IT will initiate an email purge. This purge will scan all mailboxes and delete items that meet predefined retention terms (based on the folder the item resides). The purge will apply only to emails.

2.2       Purged Emails

When the email purge is run, all mailbox items that exceed its folder’s retention term will be transferred to the Deleted Items folder. This will give staff the opportunity to view the items slated for deletion. All deleted items, including the emails moved there from email purge, are then deleted permanently after 90 days

2.3       Folder Specific Retention Terms

By default, all Outlook folders have a 9 month retention term. This includes the Calendar, Inbox, Sent Items, and any other custom mail folders. (e.g., a subfolder created under Inbox). Some folders have no retention term applied, including Calendar, Contacts, Drafts, Notes, and Tasks. The deleted items folder has a 30 day retention term.

Outlook Folder          Retention Term

Calendar       Permanent

Contacts        Permanent

Deleted Items            30 days

Drafts Permanent

Inbox  9 months

Journal          9 months

Notes  Permanent

Sent Items     9 months

Sync Issues (only laptop users)    9 months

Tasks  Permanent

Managed Folder       Variable

2.4       Archiving Emails

In addition to the default Outlook folder, there is also a folder named Managed Folders that itself contains 2 Archive folders. All email correspondence that needs to be archived should be placed in these folders. The two main archive folders are “ARCHIVE (2 YEAR)” and “ARCHIVE (5 YEAR)”. The folder name designates the retention term for all items placed w/in them.

For example, if you receive correspondence that needs to be kept for longer than 9 months, then the email should be moved to the Managed Folders > ARCHIVE (2 YEAR)  folder. Thus the email would be purged after 2 years instead of 9 months.

2.5       Personal Folders Restricted

Personal folder will no longer be used for archiving emails. Personal folder are not network enabled (therefore risk data loss in the event of computer problems) and do not follow NEMA retention policies. Outlook Auto Archiving is also forbidden since it backs up to local personal folders.

2.6       Email Restore Policy

All purged emails will be moved to the Deleted Items folder where the user has up to 30 days to recover the email by moving it out of this folder. Otherwise, the emails will be permanently deleted.

3.        File Retention Policy

3.1       File Clean-Up Day

At the beginning of the year (and coinciding with the 1st mail purge of the year) NEMA staff will be required to clean-up both paper files and electronic files. Such materials will be disposed in accordance to legal council’s document retention policy.

3.2       Purged Files

On File Clean-Up Day, all files and folders that exceed their retention term will be moved to an archive folder on their respective drives. All purged files should be permanently deleted after 30 days.

3.3       Folder Specific Retention Terms:

Like Outlook folders, network folders also have specific retention terms. By default, this is two years. This means that all files and folder with a last modified date greater than 2 years will be deleted. Any files that need to be saved for greater than 2 years will have to be placed in special folder designated by the IT department. Below is a list of those locations:

4.        Database Retention Policy

Data contained in databases are also subject to NEMA retention terms. On annual file cleanup day

4.1       File Clean-Up Day

In the beginning of the year during NEMA’s file clean-up day, all data stored in databases will be purged according to their retention terms. Such purges will be conducted directly by the IT department.

5.        Retention Policy Audit

All retention terms will be audited by NEMA legal counsel to ensure compliance. This includes all network files. Legal counsel will notify Department heads when conducting the audit.

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