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Research Guides

Government publications: Where to start

Canadian government publications

The University of Toronto Library has a large paper collection for Canada and Ontario, and a smaller, selective paper collection for the other provinces.

The Library catalogue is therefore an essential starting point for finding material. However, for Canada's early years (see specific dates below), the Library holds the majority of government publication titles in large sessional paper sets, and these also are essential sources for that time period.


Other important sources, for later dates, are also listed below.

1867-1925: Sessional papers of the Dominion of Canada

  • CA1..YS........-S27 
  • electronic version available
  • includes reports, documents, public accounts, royal commissions, and much more. An essential set for these years.
  • How to find individual papers if you already have a citation (year and sessional paper number): a list at the front of each volume will send you to the correct volume for that year. If you are looking for a topic, first consult the indexes, located at the Reference desk, 4th floor, Robarts.

1924/25-1954/55: Annual departmental reports of the Dominion of Canada

  • CA1..YS......S28
  • While some departments' annual reports for this time period are listed individually in the Library catalogue, most are collected in this set.

1982+: Canadian Research Index (CRI)

  • an essential source for provincial material, where the paper collection is more selective
  • a back-up source for Canada federal and Ontario
  • Tip: search government bodies under the Company/org heading. 
  • Finding the items in your results list
    • search the titles in the Library catalogue to see if there is a paper copy
    • all items can be found in the CRI (Microlog) microfiche set in the Government Publications collection, 5th floor, Robarts Library
    • use the Microlog number from the database (examples: 2008-01234 or 103-01234 or 99-01234).

1994 (ca.)+ Canadian government documents: Google custom search

  • via Carleton University.  
  • prefer this site to the federal government's own search engine
  • federal, provincial and municipal
  • results can be broken down by level of government
  • full text, University of Toronto only
  • includes publications from Canadian public policy institutes, government agencies, advocacy groups, think-tanks, university research centres and other public interest groups.
  • To enter: select "Canadian Public Policy Collection" from the "Select Collection" drop down menu

Government of Canada official website (Federal)

Government and Legislative Libraries Online Publications Portal (GALLOP)

  • provides access to full text and/or citiations to electronic legislative and government publications held in libraries of the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada.

Historical Debates of the Parliament of Canada Portal (Library of Parliament and

  • Senate: 1867 - February 27, 1996
  • House of Commons: January 17, 1994

Other relevant guides

For help locating print and electronic resources:

Selected Canadian Pre-Confederation, Provincial and Territorial Parliamentary Holdings

by Map & Data Library 

More help with Canadian resources: