The FOIP Act Review and Records Management in Alberta


Role of the FOIP Act

Historical Controversies

A Selection of Submissions made to the Standing Committee on Health

Issue 1: Municipal Government Records

Issue 2: Treatment of Electronic Records

Issue 3: Records and Social Networking Websites

Issue 4: Concept of "Custody" vs. "Control"

Issue 5: Harmonization with Other Privacy Legislation

Review by the Standing Committee on Health




Issue 2: Treatment of Electronic Records

A record can be considered to be evidence of human activity that requires preservation over time (Shane, 2010a). This definition does not restrict records to simply a paper record format, which for many is the type of record which may first come to mind when discussing records management issues. However, in recent years there has been a great deal of discussion involving the creation, storage, disposition and security of electronic records. Many organizations are finding it prudent to rethink how they view records; reviewing how records are defined in order to more efficiently deal with electronic records. In its first section of definitions, the text of the FOIP Act defines a record in quite specific terms:

“record” means a record of information in any form and includes notes, images, audiovisual recordings, x-rays, books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers and papers and any other information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include software or any mechanism that produces records” (Alberta Queen’s Printer, 2009)

Despite the seemingly exhaustive nature of this definition, concerns have been expressed regarding the application of the FOIP Act to electronic records. An example of one concern of this nature was submitted by Vulcan County Administrator Larry Barran (2010) who expressed a need for more specific regulations within the FOIP Act regarding digital video recordings, including on which occasions video recordings may be created and when and how they may be released. It is crucial for the effective management and privacy of records that electronic records, including audio and visual recordings, be explicitly included in records legislation.


This assignment was originally created in the Fall Term 2010 for LIS 594 - Records Management.
This website was created by Leah Townsend, as a requirement for graduation from the Masters of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta.