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Information Management and Technology Policy Manual

Mobile Handheld Devices Policy

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1 . Statement

Mobile handheld devices are tools that can help employees manage their job responsibilities while they are away from the office.

Mobile handheld device users must comply with government policy and legislative requirements for asset and records management, privacy, security, and acceptable use.

Only mobile handheld devices that are owned by the GNWT may access the GNWT network.

2 . Scope

This policy applies to all GNWT Departments, Boards and Agencies that use government apps like e-mail, Teams and other apps that may capture data from the GNWT provisioned by the TSC.  The term “Department” throughout this document shall also mean Board(s) and Agency(ies).

3 . Definitions

Mobile handheld devices are used to send and receive voice, text, data, and/or email messages and are categorized as follows:

  • Cellphone – A cellphone is a mobile handheld device that allows a user to send and receive voice messages, Short Messaging Service (SMS or ‘text’) messages, take and send pictures, and access the Internet, via a cellular network. 
  • Smartphone – A smartphone is a mobile handheld device that has the same functionality as a cell phone and includes the ability (among others) to send and receive e-mail messages, store information, and install programs. 
  • Tablet – a small portable computer that accepts input directly on to its screen rather than via a keyboard or mouse, such as an iPad.

Throughout this document, the above will be referred to as “mobile handheld device(s)”.

4 . Roles and Responsibilities

The Informatics Policy Council (IPC)

  • The Deputy Ministers’ committee responsible for approving information & technology policy.


  • Departments are responsible for determining who is eligible to have a mobile handheld device.  
  • The Deputy Minister (or designate) authorizes the purchase of mobile handheld devices and pays monthly service contract fees and TSC chargebacks (if applicable).
  • Departments are also responsible for ensuring that staff return mobile handheld devices when they are no longer required.

Department Telecommunications Coordinator (TC)

  • The TC is the person designated as the primary administrative contact for the Department’s mobile handheld device users, the TSC, and the mobility service providers, regarding the Department’s telecommunications services.
  • TCs coordinate Departmental account inquiries, mobile handheld device service and change orders, and participate in reconciliation and billing/reporting activities.


  • Users are employees approved to use a GNWT mobile handheld device.
  • Users are responsible for device use and safekeeping and must be aware of, and comply with, applicable GNWT policies, procedures, standards, guidelines and best practices (refer to the “Supporting Documentation” section).
  • Users must report loss, theft, damage or suspected misuse and/or device compromise and promptly return the mobile handheld device to the Department if it is no longer required. 
  • Users are not expected or required to respond to work-related messages received via their mobile handheld device outside of regular working hours unless their job specifically includes after-hours or on-call responsibilities. 

Technology Service Centre (TSC)

  • The TSC is responsible for IT infrastructure and network services.
  • The TSC establishes mobile handheld device procedures covering authorization, acquisition, inventorying, security, use and disposal.
  • The TSC purchases mobile handheld devices for authorized users.
  • The TSC provides mobile handheld device users with support including information about device use, security features and contact numbers for service.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)

  • The OCIO is responsible for corporate information and technology (I&T) policy development, interpretation and revision.  

5 . Policy


Departments are responsible for determining users who are eligible for a mobile handheld device. Eligibility considerations include:

  • Senior Management – who may be expected to respond to work-related messages beyond normal working hours;
  • Subject matter experts – who may be required to provide immediate responses to Senior Management;
  • Highly mobile employees – frequent travellers whose productivity can be maintained through use of a mobile handheld device;
  • Front line personnel – who require a mobile handheld device to assist in delivering services directly to clients;
  • Safety – personnel who require communications capabilities as they may be subject to health and safety risks;
  • Critical systems support personnel – employees who need to be contacted to provide after-hours or crisis response support;
  • Service coverage – mobile handheld devices may not work in all NWT communities.


Users must comply with other GNWT legislation, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines related to mobile handheld device use. Refer to the “Supporting Documentation” section of this policy for more information. Specific considerations include:

  1. Government Records
    • Users should be aware that information transmitted or received using a GNWT mobile handheld device is considered a government record and is subject to requests for information under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP);
    • An access to information request for  mobile phone voice or text messages requires authorized personnel to review all records held on the mobile handheld device. Users should be aware this may involve a review of personal messages in additional to work related messages;
    • Users should also be aware that Section 47(1) of the ATIPP Act specifically states individual employees have a direct responsibility for the security of the personal information used within their performance of services for a public body.
  2. Security
    • The TSC pre-configures GNWT mobile handheld devices with security settings.  This helps to manage risk should the mobile handheld device be lost or damaged and helps to ensure compliance with ATIPP legislation and GNWT policy on electronic information security and records management.
  3. Limited Personal Use
    • The GNWT Code of Conduct and personal limited use provisions of the Internet Use Policy (#6003.10.10) and the Email Use Policy (#6003.10.11) apply to all mobile handheld device users.
  4. Proper Use
    • Do not use a GNWT mobile handheld device while driving unless a hands-free mode is used;
    • Do not use a camera-equipped GNWT mobile handheld device to take pictures of people without their permission, or capture copyright protected, sensitive, or confidential documents;
    • Keep mobile devices secured if they are not with you;
    • Do not check mobile handheld devices into your luggage when travelling. Keep the device with you at all times.     

Corporate Rate Agreement

 The GNWT has corporate rate agreement(s) that Departments must use when purchasing service plans for mobile handheld devices. The TSC and Department Telecommunications Coordinators have information about available service plans and Department account numbers.


Departments will be billed a monthly TSC chargeback fee for mobile handheld devices to cover licensing and TSC support costs.

6 . Supporting Documentation

Document Title


Electronic Information Security Policy #6003.00.26


Recorded Information Management Policy #6003.00.18

Section 3 (III) a-d, Section 6 (II) bullet4, Section 6 (IV)

Electronic Records Management Policy #6002.00.20

Section 3 (I), (II) b

Managing Electronic Mail Guidelines #6003.00.21

Items 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Sections 42, 47(1)

Loss of Assets

FAM, Section 215

Internet Use Policy # 6003.10.10


Email Use Policy # 6003.10.11


Code of Conduct


7 . Implementation

This policy comes into effect immediately upon approval by the Informatics Policy Council.