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Citing Canadian Government Documents- APA Style

Government publications come from many different sources and so can be particularly challenging to cite.
The Publication Manual of the APA (BF 76.7 P83 2010) does not cover Canadian government sources, though it does include some American government sources (section 7.03, p. 205 and Appendix 7.1, pp. 216-224). For legal sources, APA recommends using Bluebook Legal Citation style, which can be found in the book Cite Write (available in print at PN 171 F56 L55 2006).
This online guide to citing Canadian government sources was developed by SFU Librarians using the Publication Manual of the APA (6th edition, 2010), The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources (Z 7164 G7 C48 2002) and Cite Right, adhering to APA citation standards and rules when they are stated.



Reports (APA Manual, 7.03, p. 205)

Reports by Individual Author

 Standing Committee Reports

Department Reports

Legal Documents


Government Regulations

Case Law (APA Manual, A7.03, pp. 217-219)

Italicize the names of cases in text, but not in the reference list.

Court cases often have several years, each of which reflects a specific stage in the case's history. Include all years in your citation.


Acts/Statutes (APA Manual, A7.04, pp. 219-221)


Do not italicize titles of acts or statues in the Works Cited List.


Additional Government Documents

Debates (Hansard)

Committee Proceedings 


See also: SFU's Citing Guide for Statistics Canada, PCensus, EStat and CHASS 


Rules & Explanations 

Online vs. Print Government Documents

Many government documents are most often accessed online, and so almost all the examples above are for documents accessed online. In APA citation style there are a few differences between citing a document online and citing one in print.

Print Documents Online Document


  • For reports Include as much of the following information as possible:
    • Author
    • (Year)
    • Title (in italics)
    • Report number (if applicable)
    • Place of publication
    • Publisher (if the publisher is the author, as is often the case in government documents, put the word Author in place of the publisher).
  • For legal documents and additional government documents, see examples above for variations on citing print documents.
  •  When citing an online document, begin with the same information found in print citaton, but do not include the place of publication or the publisher. Instead, put: Retrieved from Agency Name website:, giving the website address that goes directly to the document if possible.


Works Cited List

Many government documents follow a similar format. Exceptions include debates and legal documents (see examples above). Begin the citation with the author or agency's name.


British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.


Canada, Commission of Inquiry into Part-Time Work.


Next, include the date (generally just the year) followed by the title in italics. If the issuing agency assigned a number (e.g., report number, contract number) to the report, give that number in parentheses following the title.

For documents retrieved online, identify the publisher as part of the retrieval statement unless the publisher has been identified as the author: Retrieved from Agency Name website:



For print documents, include the place of publication and the publisher, separated by a colon.

For more information on citing reports, see the APA Manual, 7.03, p. 205.

For more information on citing legal documents, see the APA Manual, Appendix 7.1, p. 216-224

In-Text Citation (APA Manual, 6.13, p. 176; table 6.1, p. 177)

Government groups as authors are usually spelled out each time they appear in a text citation. If the name is long, it can be spelled out in full the first time, and abbreviated thereafter. Be sure that the abbreviation is familiar or easy to understand, so that the reader does not have trouble finding the appropriate reference in the Works Cited list. You may put the abbreviation in brackets following the full name in the first citation.

First citation: (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC], 2010)

Subsequent citations: (CMHC, 2010)

Additional Resources

SFU's APA Citation guide, 6th ed.- General guide to APA-style citation.

Brief Guide to Citing Canadian Government Sources - Guide by Queen's University for citing government resources. Note that this resource does not use APA Style, but does have some useful examples.

APA Style Guide - Government Publications - Sample Vancouver, B.C. and Canadian government APA citations from Douglas College.

Citing Government Documents- APA - University of Nebraska's guide to citing American government documents.