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 [print] 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 [print].
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 [print], adhering to APA citation standards and rules when they are stated.

General notes

Government documents: online vs. print

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

Online documents

British Columbia Ministry of Health. (2008). Meals and more: A foods and nutrition manual for homes of adults and children with 24 persons or fewer in care. Retrieved from the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia website:


For online reports include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author
  • (Year)
  • Title (in italics)
  • (Report number) (if applicable)
  • URL of document, giving the website address that goes directly to the document if possible:
    Retrieved from Agency Name website:

Print documents

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Canada's residential schools: Missing children and unmarked burials (Vol. 4). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.


For print 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).

Reference in text (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 square brackets [ ] following the full name in the first citation.

First citation:

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

Subsequent citations:

(CMHC, 2010)

References list

General reference forms for:

Online government documents
Author/Agency name. (year). Title. (Report number).  Retrieved from Agency Name website: URL of document
Print government documents
Author/Agency name. (year). Title. (Report number). Place of publication: Publisher.
*add Report number only if applicable

References list example

British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. (2010). New relationships with aboriginal people and communities in B.C.: Measuring outcomes, 2008-2009. Retrieved from the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation


  • Author or Agency's name can vary between Provincial and Federal governments along with punctuation:


British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.


Canada, Commission of Inquiry into Part-Time Work.

  • For documents retrieved online, identify the publisher as part of the retrieval statement unless the publisher has been identified as the authorRetrieved from Agency Name website:
  • 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 print documents, include the place of publication and the publisher, separated by a colon.
  • Exceptions include debates and legal documents (see sections below).

Reports (7.03, p. 205)

Report by individual author

Plant, P.G. (2007). Access and excellence: The campus 2020 plan for British Columbia's post-secondary education system. (Report No. C2007-960088-3). Retrieved from the Legislative Library of British Columbia website:

Standing committee reports

Canada, Parliament, Senate. Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. (2008). Report on the financial security for seniors: Entitlements and retroactivity provisions under the Canada Pension Plan. 39th Parl., 2nd sess. Rept. 9. Retrieved from the Parliament of Canada website:

Department reports

Environment Canada, Transportation Division. (2009). Fleet average NOx emission performance of 2007 model year light-duty vehicles, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles: In relation to the On-road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations under the  Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Ottawa: Author.

Legal documents (Appendix 7.1, p. 216-224)


Bill C-6: An Act Respecting the Safety of Consumer Products. (2009). 1st Reading Feb. 5, 2009, 40th Parliament, 2nd session. Retrieved from the Parliament of Canada website:

Government regulations

Canadian Wheat Board Act: Regulations amending the Canadian Wheat Board regulations. (2010). Canada Gazette Part II, 144(4). Retrieved from the Canada Gazette website:

Case law (A7.03, pp. 217-219)

R. v. Beaulieu, 7 Supreme Court of Canada. (2010). Retrieved from the Supreme Court of Canada Judgments website:


  • 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 (A7.04, pp. 219-221)

Advance Payments for Crops Act, Revised Statutes of Canada (1985, c. C-49). Retrieved from the Justice Laws website:


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

Additional government documents

Debates (Hansard)

Layton, J. (2010, Mar. 5). "Afghanistan." Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Edited Hansard 145(3). 40th Parliament, 3rd session. Retrieved from the Parliament of Canada website:

Committee proceedings

Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. (2004). Minutes of Proceedings. 38th Parliament, 1st session, meeting no. 6. Retrieved from the Parliament of Canada website:


Statistics Canada. (2008). Aboriginal peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis, First Nations, 2006 census. (Catalogue number 97-558-XIE2006001). Retrieved from Statistics Canada website

See the Citing guide for Statistics Canada, PCensus, and CHASS data or How to Cite Statistics Canada Products for more information on citing statistical data obtained from Statistics Canada's Web site, the PCensus database or from CANSIM via the University of Toronto's CHASS site.

Additional resources

Citing materials obtained through Access to Information / Freedom of Information requests

"Researchers wishing to embrace the collaborative and collegial aspects of ATI/FOI research can help by ensuring that all ATI/FOI requests used in the preparation of a written work are clearly identified. There are no citation guidelines that apply specifically to ATI/FOI records, but researchers should strive to follow two principles:

  1. Be consistent: Adopt a single approach to referencing ATI/FOI content and use it throughout a written work
  2. Facilitate Follow-up: Adopt an approach that will provide your reader with enough information to a) make sense of the essential details of the record(s) you are referring to and b) follow-up by filing a request for previously released records.

For a example of ATI/FOI record referencing, consider the elements included by Canadian researcher Tia Dafnos in a chapter on the policing of aboriginal activism. Another researcher interested in these records is provide with enough information to file a follow-up request with the Ontario Ministry of community safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS)."

Larsen, M. [2013]. Access in the academy: Bringing ATI and FOI to academic research. Retrieved from

Sources used for this guide

The bluebook: a uniform system of citation [print]
Table 2.6 [T2.6, pp298-305] contains Canadian citation examples, including Common Law and Civil Law (Quebec), constitutions, statutes, and regulations.

Canadian guide to uniform legal citation, 8th ed. [print]

Cite right, 1st ed. [print]
This edition of Cite Right contains a section on Blue book legal citations [Ch12, p149] which is not present in the 2nd edition [2011].

The complete guide to citing government information resources, 3rd ed. [print]
Review the index for sections related to Canada, including statutes, acts, and related parliamentary proceedings.

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.

Government Information Citation Guides - Courtesy of Concordia University 

How to Cite a Government Report in APA Style - From the APA Style Blog (6th ed.)