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Gerstein Science Information Centre


Recommended resources for research related to entrepreneurship, startups and commercialization: from science and technology literature to market research and patents.

Free and Open Resources

Many of the tools we use at UTL are proprietary, which means they cannot be accessed outside of U of T such as at internships, or when you graduate. The resources linked on this page are publicly accessible and (mostly) free to use - some may charge for extended access or offer a free limited trial.

On this page:

See also:

Photo by Basil James on Unsplash

Finding Public Company Information

Federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. This means the public and the media can access financial and other information on the open web.

Quick Links to Open Company Filings Databases:

Understanding Annual Reports and Regulatory Filings

US Securities and Exchange Commission - Searching EDGAR

US companies must submit annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q , and current reports on Form-8-K for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.

Understanding filings

The federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. This means the public can access financial and other information on the open web.


Main form types of interest are:


  • Form 10-K: audited annual report
  • Form 10-Q: unaudited quarterly report
  • Form 8-K: current or “material” information
  • Registration statement (Form S-1) and prospectus (Form F-6)


The annual report on Form 10-K provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements. Although similarly named, the annual report on Form 10-K is distinct from the “annual report to shareholders,” which a company must send to its shareholders when it holds an annual meeting to elect directors.


The annual report on Form 10-K, which must be filed with the SEC, may contain more detailed information about the company’s financial condition than the annual report and will include the annual financial statements of the company.  Companies sometimes elect to send their annual report on Form 10-K to their shareholders in lieu of, or in addition to, providing shareholders with a separate annual report to shareholders.


Source: U.S Securities and Exchange Commission: Using Edgar​​​​​​​

How to read a 10-K

The 10-K begins with a detailed description of the business, followed by risk factors, a rundown of any legal issues, and, finally, the numbers and financial notes in the back. Oftentimes, the most essential components of the annual filing are the following items:

  • Item 1: Business - a description of the company's operation

  • Item 1A: Risk Factors

  • Item 3: Legal Proceedings

  • Item 6: Selected Financial Data

  • Item 7: Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition

Source: How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report | Investopedia

See also: 12 Things you need to know about financial statements

Canadian Securities Administrators - Searching SEDAR

SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) is the official site that provides access to most public securities documents and information filed by issuers with the thirteen provincial and territorial securities regulatory authorities ("Canadian Securities Administrators" or "CSA"). Companies traded publicly on exchanges such as the Toronto Stock Exchange are required to file annual reports and other documentation.

The SEDAR site provides you with three search options - NEW FILINGS, ISSUER PROFILES and SEARCH DATABASE.

  1. Select "Search database"
  2. Select "Search for COMPANY documents"
  3. Search by (full) company name, file type, or industry group. Documents are available electronically back to 1997.
    Main file types of interest are:
    • Annual Report, Annual Information Form, Management Proxy Circular (equivalent to U.S. 10-K)
    • Interim Financial Statement (equivalent to U.S. 10-Q)
    • Material Change Report (equivalent to U.S. 8-K)
  4. If a company doesn't appear in the results, check the name. If you're sure it's right, the company may not be publicly traded in Canada.


Full list of file types

Charities and Non-profits information

Looking for charities filings? Visit the Non-profits and registered charities page.


Private Company Information

Because there are no disclosure requirements for private companies, it can be difficult to find information about them. 

Your best bet is to cast as wide a net as possible, using the following search strategies:

  1. Use an advanced Google search to find articles about the company.  You may find a profile of the company in a trade publication or in the mainstream news media, as well as a company website, LinkedIn page, Twitter, etc.
  2. If the company is a startup, search Crunchbase, AngelList or TechCrunch for profile and investment information, as well as similar companies in the space.

If the company was previously public but has gone private, you can still access their historical public filings from when they were a public company. Check Annual reports and regulatory findings

Startup Websites and Blogs

Given that many startups live on the internet, it's not surprising that many key resources are also found in blogs and websites. Note that much of this information is self-reported by startup companies, and so may be out of date.

Industry information

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) is a system developed jointly by the statistical agencies of Canada, the US, and Mexico to describe economic activity and divides the economy into:

  • 20 sectors (2-digit codes)
  • 102 subsectors (3-digit codes)
  • 322 industry groups (4-digit codes)
  • 708 industries (5-digit codes)
  • 923 Canadian industries (6-digit codes)

NAICS codes are comparable across Canada, the US, and Mexico at the 5 digit code level. Note: unique national industries will have a 6 digit code.

Industry profiles and reports

Industry profiles identify leading companies and provide market forecasts, market segmentation and industry trends.

For freely available information, check out consulting firm (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PWC, KPMG) websites to see if they have industry reports. You can often search offices by region.  Also check bank websites; law firms may have reports for industries like mining or M&A industry reports; government industry and statistical data sites are also good sources of information. 

Census data

Health data and statistics

Looking for free and open sources of health data and statistical information?

Visit the Health Data and Statistics page.

Open international data