Knowing Which Documents to Store and Which to Destroy

When you’re faced with a giant pile of documents, it can be difficult knowing what to do with them. Some should be kept for several years, and others permanently. Then there are all the outdated files that have to be dealt with. Here are several tips for knowing what to store and what to destroy.

Identity Theft Risk

Even if you have a high risk-tolerance threshold otherwise, protecting the information on your discarded paper documents should be a top priority. Always shred the following documents when they become obsolete:

  • Medical records
  • Utility bills
  • Receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax, mortgage and insurance documents

A residential shredding service can save you the time and headache of having to fuss for hours with a paper shredding machine. Choose a NAID AAA Certified shredding company that will come to you and shred your sensitive documents in a mobile shredding truck while you watch, or transport them a shredding plant for destruction.

Legal Retention Requirements

If you operate a business in Canada, including a home business, you’re required by The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to retain financial documents for specific periods of time. For example, supporting tax documents must be kept for six years. The CRA requires the following information to be kept permanently:

  • Share registries
  • Property acquisition and disposal documents
  • Historical information impacting business share or liquidation

Consult with your attorney to confirm your document retention obligations. After you’ve verified what needs to be kept and for how long, use a records storage provider to ensure your documents are stored securely and managed properly. Your records are protected and preserved in a commercial records centre that offers:

  • Security surveillance systems
  • Controlled card-key access
  • State-of-the-art alarm system with 24-hour monitoring
  • Barcode tracking of documents

If you need a file or document from storage, professionals retrieve and deliver it to you. And when your documents reach the end of their legally-required retention period, they are securely shredded for you.

Privacy Law Compliance

Businesses in Canada must also comply with the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and all applicable provincial privacy laws. PIPEDA requires that confidential documents containing private information be disposed of in a manner that prevents the disclosure of personal information. Always use a National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certified paper shredding service to make sure your documents are destroyed with technology and chain of custody processes that eliminate the risk of unauthorized disclosure.

Knowing what to store and what to destroy is an ongoing process. Use the guidelines we’ve outlined here to stay on top of your records retention and disposition obligations.

Shred Guard provides NAID AAA Certified shredding and destruction services for businesses throughout Atlantic Canada. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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