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Government Publications: Canada

Key Documents


Despite its name, the Budget is not a detailed account of projected spending. Rather, it is a policy document that includes an overview of the current state of the economy, development prospects, proposed taxation amendments, and the government's main priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Budget is tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance and acts as a major indicator of confidence in the government. Should the Budget fail to pass it could trigger an election.

Major components of the Budget are a speech by the Minister of Finance, fact sheets and a "budget in brief." You can find the Budget:

Online, from 1968 to present on the: Department of Finance Canada website

in print, from UBC Library. Note, each component of each budget is catalogued separately under its own title. For example, you will find the 2009 budget speech by searching the Library catalogue for keywords "Canada" "budget" "speech" and "2009;" and you will find a wide array of related budget publications by using keywords "Canada" "finance" "budget" and a specific year.

If you want to examine detailed spending estimates for each federal department and agency you will need to look at the Budget Estimates. These "provide information on the total projected spending requirements of departments, agencies and appropriation-dependent Crown corporations for the upcoming fiscal year."


The Estimates are available online from 1996 to present from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

The Estimates, parts 1 & 2, are available in print from UBC Library for:

  • 1886 - 1968 (some volumes are missing) at call number HJ13.A4
  • 1968/69 - present at call number HJ13.A4.

Note, even greater detail is available by consulting the Report on Plans & Priorities and the Departmental Performance Report for each department and agency. These are published separately under their own titles/authoring agencies and may be found by searching the UBC Library catalogue.

Public Accounts

If you want to see how government monies were actually spent, the Public Accounts are the official record of expenditures by every federal department and agency for the fiscal year. These are prepared by the Receiver General of Canada and are available online for the current year on the website for the Receiver General, and for past years back to 1995 from Library & Archives Canada.

The Public Accounts are also available in Print from UBC Library for 1870 - present at call number HJ13.A11. Note, some volumes are missing or damaged but will be in the Sessional Papers of Canada over the years.