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Hi Chris.

There is a 1995 Canadian standard Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence
that sets out the policies, guidelines, procedures, etc. that if followed
should solve your legality issue.

   <http://www.techstreet.com/cgi-bin/detail?product_id=1252845>
http://www.techstreet.com/cgi-bin/detail?product_id=1252845

 
Steve Seaton
Ottawa Canada



-----Original Message-----
From: Records Management Program [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of C G
Sent: June 27, 2007 3:29 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: electronic records as legal substitutes

I live in Ontario and wonder if anyone on this list may be able to
help clarify this records question for me.

A co-worker has asked whether electronic copies of "job fact sheets"
constitute legal  substitutes for the paper hard copies.

I reviewed various labor-relations Acts but none are so specific. So
far as I can tell, the only one that is relevant is the Electronic
Commerce Act which simply confirms that the use of electronic
documents rather than paper documents does not in itself affect the
legal validity of the record (sections 7, 8 and 12 are especially
relevant in this instance, which I've summarized at the end of this
message).

I am prepared  to tell her it is an office policy decision. From my
standpoint, an electronic copy is a record. The real question is, what
is considered the official record? If her office deems that certain of
its electronic versions are the official ones, then so be it.

The second question is, what are the risks? If asked to produce it in
a court of law, the electronic copy could be argued to have been
manipulated. As such, best practice would be to ensure that the "last
modified" information was captured by the electronic document somehow.
 Further, the office should be able to point to a policy document that
states that this will be the manner in which they treat job fact
sheets.

I'd appreciate any comments or feedback you might have to ensure all
our  bases are covered.

Cheers,

Chris

* * *
Electronic Commerce Act

When the legal requirement is for a specified  non-electronic form,
the electronic equivalent is acceptable  if it is organized in the
same or substantially the same way.  (Section 7)

When the legal requirement is that an original  document be provided,
retained or examined, the electronic  equivalent is acceptable if the
integrity of the information is preserved. The degree of confidence in
its integrity will depend on the use to which the information is to be
put. (Section 8)

When the legal requirement is to retain a  document, whether written
or electronic, an electronic version  may be retained if it is
accurate and is available to the same  extent as the original document
and for the same length of time.  (Section 12)

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