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Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990
AN ACT RESPECTING THE PROVINCIAL ARCHIVES AND THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RECORDS
1. This Act may be cited as the Archives Act.
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2. In this Act
(a) "archives" means the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador;
(b) "committee" means the Public Records Committee established under section 7;
(c) "department" means a department of the government of the province and includes
(i) a board, commission or organizational unit that forms part of the public service of the province but that is not part of a department,
(ii) a corporation that is an agent of the Crown,
(iii) a corporation, commission, board or other body empowered to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial or administrative functions and whose members are appointed by an Act of the Legislature, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown, or a combination of them, and
(iv) a court established by the Legislature;
(d) "minister" means the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs;
(e) "public records" means records created by or received by a department in the conduct of its affairs except copies of records created only for convenience of reference and surplus copies of mimeographed, multilithed, printed or processed circulars or memoranda;
(f) "records" includes correspondence, memoranda, forms, papers, parchments, manuscripts, books, maps, plans, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, magnetic tapes, microforms and all other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics; and
(g) "records management" means a program instituted to provide an economical and efficient system for the creation, maintenance and disposal of public records.
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3. (1) The Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador is continued for the purposes of the safekeeping, classification, indexing and calendaring of all records delivered to the archives for safekeeping and custody.
(2) The archives consist of all the records in the care and control of the provincial archivist.
(3) The archives shall be the official repository for all public records.
(4) The general management, regulation and control of the archives is vested in and shall be exercised by the minister.
(5) Records in the archives are the property of the Crown.
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4. (1) There shall be a provincial archivist who shall be appointed in the manner authorized by law.
(2) The duties of the provincial archivist are
(a) to have the care and control of the archives;
(b) to make records available to the general public where possible;
(c) to preserve records of enduring historical value;
(d) to discover, collect and preserve records having a bearing upon the history of the province including records originating from private sources;
(e) to copy and publish copies of records relating to the history of the province;
(f) to classify, index and catalogue all records in his or her care and control;
(g) subject to the approval of the minister, to dispose of records; and
(h) to perform other duties that may be assigned to him or her by the minister.
(3) The provincial archivist may acquire by gift, bequest, loan or purchase and place in the archives for preservation records having a bearing upon the history of the province upon the terms and conditions that may be agreed to by the provincial archivist and the person giving, bequeathing, lending or selling the records.
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Records management branch
5. (1) There shall be within the archives a branch which shall be responsible for records management.
(2) The provincial archivist shall be responsible for the general supervision of records management.
(3) The day to day responsibility for records management is vested in the records manager.
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Duties of branch
6. The branch of the archives responsible for records management shall
(a) counsel departments in the management and preservation of their records;
(b) develop a uniform file classification system;
(c) be responsible for a records centre which has been established for the purpose of maintaining public records until they are destroyed or transferred to the archives or otherwise disposed of; and
(d) give effect to a disposal schedule established according to this Act.
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Public Records Committee
7. (1) There shall be a committee to be known as the Public Records Committee which shall consist of
(a) the provincial archivist;
(b) the Deputy Minister of Justice or a person designated by him or her to act on behalf of the deputy minister;
(c) the Deputy Minister of Finance or a person designated by him or her to act on behalf of the deputy minister;
(d) the auditor general or a person designated by him or her to act on behalf of the auditor general;
(e) the Deputy Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs or a person designated by the deputy minister to act on his or her behalf;
(f) the records manager, who shall be by virtue of the position a non-voting member; and
(g) those other members that the minister may appoint.
(2) The Deputy Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs or the person designated by the deputy minister to act on his or her behalf shall be chairperson and the records manager shall be secretary of the committee.
(3) The committee may, subject to the regulations,
(a) establish and revise disposal schedules for the retention, destruction or transfer to the records centre or to the archives or for otherwise disposing of public records;
(b) make recommendations to the minister regarding the disposal of public records that are no longer required by a department; and
(c) make recommendations to the minister regarding the disposal of records in the archives collection.
(4) A decision of a majority of the members of the committee shall be the decision of the committee and in the event of a tie the decision of the chairperson shall be the decision of the committee.
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8. Subject to the regulations, public records shall be dealt with by a department in accordance with the disposal schedules established by the committee.
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Powers of minister
9. The minister may, on the written recommendation of the committee, authorize the disposal of
(a) public records referred to in paragraph 7(3)(b); or
(b) records referred to in paragraph 7(3)(c).
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10. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) designating a document or class of documents to be or not to be a public record for the purpose of this Act;
(b) respecting the preparation of disposal schedules for public records and governing the preservation or disposal of a public record or class of public record;
(c) prohibiting or restricting access to public records;
(d) designating public bodies which shall be required to preserve their records, prescribing the nature of the records to be preserved and the period of time they are to be preserved and providing for their preservation in the records centre or the archives;
(e) respecting the organization and efficient operation of the records centre;
(f) respecting the duties of the provincial archivist and the records manager;
(g) respecting the duties and the powers of the committee and providing for the holding and procedure of meetings of the committee; and
(h) generally, to give effect to the purpose of this Act.
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11. Where a dispute arises between a department and the committee concerning
(a) the adoption or operation of a disposal schedule established by the committee; or
(b) the disposal of public records,
the committee may submit the matter to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may, by order, issue directions with respect to the dispute.
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12. Public records shall not be destroyed or removed from the ownership or control of the Crown unless the destruction or removal is authorized under this Act.
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Application to judge
13. (1) The minister may apply to a judge of the Trial Division for an order requiring a person wrongfully in possession of or withholding public records to deliver them to the proper custodian or to the person named in the order.
(2) The judge may grant an order referred to in subsection (1) or issue a summons to the person named in the application for the order to appear before him or her in the matter and costs shall be in the discretion of the judge.
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Records open to public
14. Except where otherwise prohibited by law or by order of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council public records in the archives are available for public inspection.
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15. The signature of the provincial archivist on copies of public records is proof of the fact that the records exist and are lawfully in the archivist's possession and a copy so signed is equivalent to the original record.
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16. A person who unlawfully damages, mutilates or destroys a record or removes or withholds from the possession of a department, the records centre or the archives a record or otherwise violates this Act is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both a fine and imprisonment.
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17. All officers, clerks and other employees employed by the province for the purpose of the archives shall co-operate with the Legislative Library of the province to ensure that copies of records of interest to that library, suitable for the purposes of the library, are, before or after transfer to the archives, as circumstances require or the Lieutenant-Governor in Council directs, provided or made available to that library upon the terms and conditions, that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may order.
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