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BILL NO. 25
3rd Session, 56th General Assembly
44 Elizabeth II, 1995
An Act Respecting
Government Records in Nova Scotia
The Honourable Gerald J. O Malley
Minister of Supply and Services
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
(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
(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
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
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,
(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,
(C) that performs functions pursuant to an enactment;
(d) defining any word or expression used in this Act but not defined in this
(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