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BILL NO. 25

                                                        Government Bill

       
                                                                         
                  3rd Session, 56th General Assembly
                              Nova Scotia
                         44 Elizabeth II, 1995

       
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                           An Act Respecting
                   Government Records in Nova Scotia










       
                                                                         
                                                                         
                   The Honourable Gerald J. O Malley
                    Minister of Supply and Services


       
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                       
       
                                                                         
                                Halifax
              Printed by Queen's Printer for Nova Scotia
                                   
                                   
                                   
                            An Act Respecting
                    Government Records in Nova Scotia



         Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:


         1  This Act may be cited as the Government Records Act.


         2  The purpose of this Act is to

            (a) vest the records of public bodies in Her Majesty in right of the Province;

            (b) ensure comprehensive and accurate description and classification of records
         in the custody or under the control of a public body; and

            (c) authorize the retention and disposition of the records of public bodies.


         3  In this Act,

            (a) "Committee" means the Government Records Committee;

            (b) "head", in relation to a public body, means

                (i) where the public body is a department, branch or office of the
            Government of Nova Scotia, the member of the Executive Council who presides over
            it,

                (ii)    where the public body is a board, commission, committee, office,
            foundation, agency, tribunal, task force, council, association or other body of
            persons reporting directly to a member of the Executive Council in respect of its
            day-to-day operations, that member,

                   (iii)     where the public body is a board, commission, foundation, agency,
              tribunal, task force, council, association or other body of persons not reporting
              directly to a member of the Executive Council in respect of its day-to-day
              operations, the chair or presiding officer of the board, commission,  committee,
              office, foundation, agency, tribunal, association or other body of persons, or

                   (iv) in any other case, the person designated by the regulations as the head
              of the public body.

              (c)  "Minister" means the member of the Executive Council assigned responsibility
         for this Act;

              (d)  "municipal unit" means a city, an incorporated town, a municipality of a
         county or district, a regional municipality or village commissioners incorporated pursuant
         to the Village Service Act or to whom that Act applies and includes any agency, board or
         commission thereof;

              (e)  "Public Archives" means the Public Archives of Nova Scotia;

              (f)  "public body" means a Government department or a board, commission,
         committee, office, foundation, agency, tribunal, task force, council, association or other
         body of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, all the members of which or
         all the members of the board of management or board of directors of which

                   (i)  are appointed by order of the Governor in Council, or

                   (ii) if not so appointed or specified, in the discharge of their duties are
              public officers or servants of Her Majesty in right of the Province,

         but does not include the House of Assembly, its committees, the Legislature Internal
         Economy Board, the Office of the Speaker, the Office of the Clerk of the House, the Office
         of the Legislative Counsel, the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, the caucus
         offices, the offices of party leaders or any other offices within the jurisdiction of the House
         of Assembly or the Speaker and, for greater certainty, does include

                   (iii)     the Office of the Auditor General,

                   (iv) the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, and

                   (v)  the Office of the Ombudsman,

         and includes a public body designated as a public body pursuant to clause 14(1)(c),

              (g)  "records" means information or data that is recorded or stored by graphic,
         photographic, electronic, mechanical or other means and includes public archives vested
         in Her Majesty in right of the Province;

              (h)  "records schedule" means a comprehensive description and classification of
         all records of a public body with a plan governing the life cycle of the records from
         creation or receipt to disposition or permanent preservation.


         4    (1)  This Act applies to all records in the custody or under the control of a public
body, including court administration records.

              (2)  This Act does not apply to

                   (a)  a record in a court file, a record of a judge of the Nova Scotia Court
              of Appeal, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Court or Provincial Court, or
              judicial administration records;

                   (b)  personal, political, party or constituency records of a member of the
              House of Assembly or the Executive Council; or

                   (c)  material placed in the custody of the Public Archives by or for a person,
              agency or other organization other than a public body.


         5    The Minister has the general supervision and management of this Act.


         6    (1)  There shall be a Government Records Committee consisting of

                   (a)  the Provincial Archivist;

                   (b)  the Deputy Minister of Finance or such other officer of the Department
              of Finance as the Deputy Minister may designate;

                   (c)  the Auditor General of Nova Scotia or such other officer as the Auditor
              General may designate;

                   (d)  the Deputy Attorney General or such other officer of the Department
              of Justice as the Deputy Attorney General may designate;

                   (e)  the Deputy Minister of Supply and Services or such other officer as the
              Deputy Minister may designate; and

                   (f)  such other persons, not exceeding two, as the Governor in Council may
              determine, appointed by the Governor in Council.

              (2)  The Provincial Archivist is the Chair of the Committee.


         7    The Committee shall

              (a)  review records schedules submitted to it by a public body;

              (b)  review procedures for the retention, preservation, destruction or alienation
         of records identified in a records schedule; and

              (c)  recommend approval of records schedules to the Minister.


         8    No person shall destroy, alienate or transfer to the Public Archives the records of
a public body except in accordance with a records schedule approved by the Minister pursuant
to this Act for those records.


         9    (1)  Every head of a public body having custody or control over records shall
prepare one or more records schedules that

                   (a)  describe, classify and index all the records in the custody or under the
              control of the public body;

                   (b)  govern the life cycle of the records, including

                        (i)  the creation, receipt, handling, control, organization, retention,
                   maintenance, security, preservation, conservation, destruction or alienation
                   of the records,

                        (ii) the period prescribed for retention of records in the custody or
                   under the control of the public body, and

                        (iii)     the disposition of the records, whether by transfer to the Public
                   Archives, destruction or alienation; and

                   (c)  provide for retention periods and establish whether each class of
              record is to be permanently preserved, destroyed or otherwise alienated from the
              custody or control of the public body.

              (2)  The head of a public body shall forward each records schedule to the Minister
for review and recommendation by the Committee and, upon doing so, so advise the Provincial
Archivist.


         10   (1)  Upon receipt of a records schedule from the head of a public body, the
Committee shall review the records schedule.

              (2)  Upon completion of its review of a records schedule, the Committee shall

                   (a)  forward the records schedule to the Minister with its recommendation
              for approval; or

                   (b)  return the records schedule to the head of the public body with the
              Committee s recommendations.


         11   (1)  Upon receipt of a records schedule and a recommendation to approve it from
the Committee, the Minister may approve the records schedule.

              (2)  The records schedule of a public body has effect upon approval by the
Minister.


         12   The head of a public body shall

              (a)  apply each records schedule for which the head is responsible and that has
         been approved in accordance with this Act; and

              (b)  protect and maintain records in the custody or under the control of the public
         body so that records are

                   (i)  usable and accessible,

                   (ii) transferable,

                   (iii)     legible and understandable, and

                   (iv) maintained in formats, media and conditions that ensure retention and
              preservation in accord with the records schedules.


         13   The records kept by or in the custody of a public body or any Provincial or
municipal officer in pursuance of the officer s duty as such officer are vested in Her Majesty in
right of the Province.


         14   (1)  The Minister may make regulations respecting any matter or thing that in the
opinion of the Minister is necessary to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act and,
without limiting the generality of the foregoing,

                   (a)  designating and establishing classes of records for the purposes of
              retention, destruction or permanent preservation of the records of a public body;

                   (b)  respecting the practices to be observed in dealing with records for the
              purposes of disposition and retention, and respecting the transfer of records to the
              Public Archives for permanent preservation;

                   (c)  designating, as a public body for purpose of this Act,

                        (i)  any municipal unit,

                        (ii) any school board as defined in the Education Act,

                        (iii)     a university or college,

                        (iv) any agency, association, board, commission, corporation, office,
                   society or other body

                             (A)  any member of which is appointed by the Governor in
                        Council or a member of the Executive Council,

                             (B)  a controlling interest in the share capital of which is
                        owned by Her Majesty in right of the Province or any of its agencies,
                        or

                             (C)  that performs functions pursuant to an enactment;

                   (d)  defining any word or expression used in this Act but not defined in this
              Act.

              (2)  The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in
subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.


         15   Chapter 374 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Records Act, is repealed.



         16   Chapter 375 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Records Disposal Act, is
repealed.