Record Holds

Sometimes records, transitory records and/or non-records are required to be held for reasons including litigation, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) requests, audits, investigations, contractual obligations and/or specific operational requirements.

The purpose of a hold is to ensure that no information is destroyed accidently. A hold suspends a record’s disposition. When any of the reasons listed above are identified relating to a group of documents, the records should be isolated and the hold form completed. The type of hold will depend on how the documents will be managed.  

Hold Types Include:


It is the responsibility of the unit placing the hold to inform the units holding the records when the hold is lifted. It is recommended that records on hold be reviewed annually by the unit holding the records’ designated signing authority to ensure that records are not retained longer than necessary.

Legal Hold

Records identified as part of a legal hold by the university’s Legal Counsel Office cannot be dispositioned until the hold is removed and disposition is expressly permitted by the Legal Counsel Office.


When a request is made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Act Dalhousie University is committed to making every reasonable effort to assist persons seeking information concerning the university, to help them with the FOIPOP applications and to respond immediately in an open, accurate and complete manner. For more information about FOIPOP please contact Dalhousie’s Legal Counsel.

According to the FOIPOP Act, Section 5.1:

“A person has a right of access to any record in the custody or under the control of a public body upon complying with Section 6.” 

What does this mean for records? When a unit is made aware of a FOIPOP request and records have been identified that apply to that request, those records must be held until the university’s FOIPOP administrator identifies that the records are cleared for disposition.

Audits or Investigations

Any records required to be produced for an audit or investigation will be retained onsite. If the records are needed offsite a certified copy will be produced and sent. The original records will be retained in the unit.


Different reasons exist for an operational hold, such as audits, investigation program reviews or contractual obligations.  When an operational hold other than an audit or investigation is identified, please contact the Records Manager for further guidance.

Contractual Obligations

When contractual obligations have been met, or when there are conditions on work that require completion, the records relating to that project will not be dispositioned until all aspects of the agreement have been met.