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Research Guides

Canadian government information

A guide to resources available to the University of Toronto community for Canadian government information.


Senate Government Bills, numbered S-1 to S-200, are public bills sponsored by the Government, but first introduced in the Senate.

Private Senator Public Bills, numbered S-201 to S-1000, are sponsored by a private Senator and deal with public policy initiatives.

Private Senator Private Bills, numbered beginning S-1001, are also sponsored by a private Senator, but concern matters related to a specific person or group. Most of these Private Bills originate in the Senate.

Senate bills were numbered using an alpha-numeric sequence, (for example, A3), until the 24th Parliament, 1st Session (1958). To the end of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session (2004/05), they were numbered chronologically within each session, as introduced, beginning with the letter 'S'.


The Senate delegates to Committees most of the detailed study of proposed legislation and scrutiny of government policies and programs.

Standing Committees are permanent and review matters under their jurisdiction, often legislative, referred by the Senate. Special and Select Committees are appointed on an ad hoc, temporary basis to inquire into specific matters. Joint Committees are composed of members of both the House and the Senate. Subcommittees consider matters delegated to them by their respective Committees. Committee of the Whole refers to all members of the Senate sitting as a committee and these proceedings are reported fully in the Debates .

Committee Minutes are a brief synopsis of proceedings. Evidence contains a verbatim transcript of public meetings and includes witness testimony. Final Reports are presented to the Senate and most often appear in Committee proceedings. They may also appear in Senate Journals , Debates, Minutes of Proceedings and Parliamentary Sessional Papers. Lengthy Reports may also be published separately.

From the 1st to 17th Parliaments (1867 - 1935), Committee Minutes, Evidence and Reports, if 'ordered printed', were frequently published in the Senate Journals or published separately as monographs. Committee documents cited as 'not printed' are not widely available. A number however, may have subsequently been published as monographs. The most extensive collection of Committee documents is held at Library and Archives Canada.


Official, verbatim report of daily Senate proceedings. Commonly referred to as Hansard. Includes results of recorded votes (divisions) and  progress of legislation section.


Official, condensed record of daily Senate proceedings. Includes results of recorded votes (divisions).

Minutes of Proceedings

Includes official agenda for next day's business, information on tabling of documents, notices of motions, questions and orders of the day. May include selected Committee Reports.

Order Paper and Notice Paper

The Order Paper is the official agenda for the Senate and lists all items of business that may be brought forward during the day's sitting. The Notice Paper presents notices of bills, motions and questions which Ministers and Members plan to bring before the Senate.