Keeping reliable, accurate and complete records about your business is essential. Knowing when it is okay to destroy documents helps reduce storage clutter. Save space by regularly purging older records according to the rules. Details for each government agency are available in the hyperlinks:
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): For GST/HST, income taxes, source deductions (EI, CPP), business income and expenses, property and motor vehicle use, you must keep all records and supporting documents 6 years from the end of the last tax year they relate to.
Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) does not have clear standards on record retention, but CFIB is pushing for specific timelines to be established.
NWT Employment Standards retention of employee records: An employer shall maintain the records for a period of not less than two years after the time each record was made.
Canada Labour Code: In workplaces under the jurisdiction of federal labour standards, payroll and employment records must be stored for at least 3 years.
Tips to improve your record retention
- You must store records at your principal place of business.
- Paper documents can often be converted to electronic images and stored on microfilm.
- Backup copies of electronic files should be stored in another location free from hazards that may affect the storage device, such as magnetic fields, direct light and excessive moisture. Be sure your chosen storage format is usable by the government agencies.