Tip Sheet 7 - Secure Destruction of Records

confidential bin and shredder

This tip sheet is designed to assist you in the proper disposal of records once they have reached the end of the retention period described in the Common Records Schedule (CRS). The goal of records destruction is to deal with records containing personal or sensitive University information in such a way that the information cannot be reconstructed. For more information on creating and using confidential records, see Tip Sheet 2 on Confidential Records.

Destruction Methods

Paper Records:

Confidential bins are provided for a fee. Bins are picked up following a service request and are stored in secure locations until their contents are shredded onsite by a shredding contractor.


  • destroy in your office with a shredder

Use a cross-cut (otherwise known as confetti) shredder; avoid strip cut shredders or shredders that produce large pieces that can be reconstructed.

Electronic records and removable electronic media:

  • destroy electronic records by deleting them from your network drives and emptying your trash or recycle bin regularly
  • removable media can be overwritten or physically destroyed (some shredders are equipped to shred CDs and DVDs)
  • note that overwriting may not irreversibly erase every bit of data on a drive

If you have a large quantity of removable electronic media to destroy, contact Facilities who can arrange (at a cost) to have materials destroyed.

Hard drives:

  • hard drives should be re-imaged or re-formatted before computers are re-purposed; contact your local computing support staff for assistance

Other media:

  • audio and video tapes can be overwritten or physically destroyed
  • if you have a large quantity of audio-visual materials to destroy, contact Facilities who can arrange (at a cost) to have audio-visual materials destroyed

Preparing records for destruction: when and how

Ensure that the records you want to destroy have come to the end of the retention as required by the Common Records Schedule.

  • When destroying records you must fill out a Records Destruction Approval Form _. Download it from the IPO’s website.
  • Note that documenting what personal information has been destroyed is a requirement of FIPPA. Documenting all other records destroyed is good practice.

Do not fill out a Records Destruction Approval Form for transitory records. Recall that Transitory records have no ongoing operational, informational, evidential or historical value and can be disposed of as soon as you have finished with them. (See Tip Sheet 3 Transitory Records for more information.)

Important Note: Never destroy records pertaining to an ongoing or reasonably anticipated investigation, legal action or proceeding, Freedom of Information (FIPPA) request, audit or program review. This is so even if the retention period or disposition date specified for the records has already expired.

This document has been developed to assist in establishing good practices and procedures.  Additional questions or requests for advice on records and information management or information and privacy issues should be referred to the Information and Privacy Coordinator: info.privacy@yorku.ca.