News: WatClass Updates

The WatClass records classification and retention schedules are being updated to simplify the classification structure and complete sections of the retention schedules. This will make it easier for University employees to find the appropriate retention schedules for their records. Retention schedules have been converted from Adobe Acrobat PDF files to regular web-pages, to improve accessibility and facilitate future updates.

The following changes are underway for WatClass and this website:

  • The total number of records classes is being reduced. Records classes for similar processes/activities, with similar records retention periods, are being consolidated into a smaller number of records classes with expanded scope. In future, WatClass will have no more than 10 to 15 records classes and retention schedules in each of its 12 functional categories.
  • Draft records retention schedules are now available for functional categories which currently do not have approved retention schedules (e.g., for  Information & Technology Management).
  • The simplified classification structure and draft revisions for retention schedules which upon final approval will replace the current approved sections of WatClass (e.g., for Students and Teaching & Learning) are available for review, with tables displaying how the new classification scheme maps to the old. See Updated Records Classes & Retention Schedules for more information.
  • Records class ID numbers within functional categories will be revised to eliminate gaps and inconsistencies in numbering which have arisen since WatClass was first introduced.
  • Please note that records of faculty councils and their committees are now classified as Governance (GV) rather than Administration (AD) records. The re-classified records retention schedules are currently labelled as “Drafts” but there are no changes to the retention periods for records.


WatClass provides a 3-level classification structure for University records:

  • The top level is the 12 functional categories: e.g., Administration (AD).
    • The second level is the records classes within the functional category, with their corresponding records retention schedules: e.g., AD20 – Administrative Committees.
      • The third level is the sub-categories of records within a records class described in the “Retention” section of the records retention schedule (e.g., “Constitutions and terms of reference”, found in AD20 – Administrative Committees).

The 2nd level is the most important for managing records: the records retention schedules document the information stewards, information confidentiality classification, units responsible for official records in that class, and the information needed for the disposal of records at the end of their retention period.

Finding the appropriate retention schedule is unnecessarily difficult when there are too many records classes within a functional category. For example, the Health, Safety, & Security section currently contains 44 records classes: almost 30% of all currently approved records retention schedules.

The 2nd level of the classification is now being simplified by combining similar, related, records classes into one records class with broader scope. For example, the five records classes for appointments and recruitment authorization in the Human Resources functional category are easily consolidated into a single records class for recruitment and appointment records. The 3rd level of the classification essentially remains unchanged, but it becomes easier to reach this level when there are fewer options to review at the 2nd level.

WatClass was originally designed to have approximately 250 records classes across all twelve functional categories. The new WatClass will have less than 120 records classes by establishing new records classes with broadened scope.