How do you cite a government document?

I’m not going to lie, I think this is the hardest type of citation (at least for me).   As a result, I rely on a few resources to get me through – I’ve included the links at the bottom of this post.  If you’re looking for Stats Can help, they have a great resource on their website.

Government publications follow the same basic pattern as anything else, so try to find the following:

  1. Issuing agency (and any sub groups listed)
  2. Title of document
  3. Personal author (if applicable)
  4. Agency report number
  5. Medium (for anything other than print)
  6. Series (if applicable)
  7. Place of publication
  8. Publisher
  9. Date of publication
  10. Notes (sometimes needed for web resources – i.e. access date)

If you are citing legislation (i.e. a Bill that has been passed) you will need the Parliament Number and Session Number.  This information will come up if you find the Bill online through a government website.

Here are a few citation examples (APA style):

General government docume – online:

  • Canada. Library of Parliament. Parliamentary Information and Research Service. (2000). Aboriginal title: The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia. (BP-459E). Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from


Here are the resources I use when citing government information:

When all else fails, send the library staff an email or come visit us at the desk!

Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Debates, 36th Parliament, 1st Session, vol. 135, issue 121A, June 18, 1998. (Online). Available: (via WWW) [July 30, 2004].