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Canadian Legal Research Guide


Making Canadian Federal Legislation

On this page:

  • Finding Bills
  • Finding Parliamentary Debates (Hansard)
  • Finding Orders in Council
  • Finding Government Gazettes

For concise and helpful overviews of the legislative process see:

Finding Bills

Use LEGISinfo (open access) on the Parliament of Canada website to find the text of all versions of bills considered and those currently before Parliament, very useful legislative summaries by the Library of Parliament, all information about the bill's passage through the Senate and the House of Commons - including first, second and third reading speeches, major speeches at the second reading (in the Hansard Debates), committee reports, coming into force details, and further reading such as journal articles, press releases and cases.  

LEGISinfo provides this information for all bills considered by both houses since the start of the 37th Parliament in 2001. For bills introduced in the 35th (1994-1997) and 36th Parliaments (1997-2000), LEGISinfo provides the bill titles and numbers and, where available, the text of the bills at various stages in the legislative process and legislative summaries. 

For information on bills and how they become law, and for information on using LEGISinfo, see the LEGISinfo FAQs.

Finding Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (open access)

Official reporting of Parliamentary debates began in 1871 in the Senate, and in 1875 in the House of Commons.

The Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal is a searchable database of digitised versions of the debates and journals of the Senate and the House of Commons, from Session 1 of the first Parliament (1867) until coverage on the Canadian Parliament website began.

SENATE

Senate Debates are available on the Senate website, from February 27, 1996 (35th Parliament, 2nd session) to current. The Debates can be searched and browsed from the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session (2010) to current. Earlier debates can only be browsed. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS

House of Commons Hansards can be searched. They are available from January 17, 1994 (35th Parliament, 1st session) to current. 

From the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament (January 2009) keyword searches of the Debates, Journals and Committee Evidence can be performed using a search and browse tool. Click on Search the Publications tool in the left-hand navigation menu. For more information, see the Search and Browse FAQ and User Guide documents. Earlier Debates can only be browsed.

In addition, when viewing a particular daily Hansard, a 'Publication Explorer' menu will appear on the right of the page - this allows you to search that particular Hansard by eg: topic, member etc. 

  • For detailed information on how to use the House Hansard online, see the User Guide.

Finding Orders in Council 

Orders in Council are available in:

Finding Canada Gazettes 

The Canada Gazette has been the official publication of the Government of Canada since 1841. The online PDF version of the Canada Gazette has been official since April 1, 2003. The Gazettes are divided into Part I: Notices and Proposed Regulations, Part II: Official Regulations, and Part III: Acts of Parliament (this includes Proclamations of Canada and Orders in Council relating to the coming into force of Acts). 

The Gazettes are available: