The recommended document retention period ranges from 6 months to 6 years. However, some documents should be kept for as long as the related goods are owned or for the lifetime of the holder.

The following documents should be kept for

  • 6 months:
    • Household appliance repair invoices
    • Motor vehicle and motorcycle repair invoices
    • Cell phone bills
  • 1 year:
    • Telephone bills
    • Bills for Internet services
    • Bills for cable or satellite television services
  • 3 years:
    • Rent receipts
    • Municipal, school and water tax receipts
    • Electricity, gas and fuel bills
    • Healthcare invoices and professional honoraria
    • Accounting records or statements
  • 6 years:
    • Deeds of sale (house or land)
    • Income tax returns and supporting documents
    • Release of mortgage documents
    • Pay stubs
    • Employment Insurance stubs
  • For as long as a good is owned:
    • Leases
    • Purchase contracts for homes or land
    • Purchase contracts for vehicles and motorcycles
    • Invoices and warranty certificates for electrical and audio devices
    • Invoices and warranty certificates for household appliances
    • Invoices and warranties for big-ticket items
    • Invoices and statements for goods paid for with a credit card
    • Service invoices or recreational invoices
    • Tuition invoices
    • Specific-warranty certificates (tires, rust-proofing treatment, etc.)
    • Life insurance policies, fire and theft insurance policies, liability insurance policies (for the term of the policies or until a compensation claim has been settled) 
    • Certificates for term deposits, registered retirement savings plans, investments or savings bonds
  • For life:
    • Legal separation or divorce judgments
    • Marriage, civil union or de facto union contracts
    • Degrees, diplomas and certificates
    • Wills
    • Deeds of gifts
    • Health booklets
    • Birth certificate
    • Death certificates for family members

At the end of the retention period, certain documents can be kept in one’s personal files. Documents to be destroyed should be shred rather than thrown away so as to protect any personal information they may contain.