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Government Publications: Canada

Parliamentary Committees

Both the House of Commons and the Senate form Committees - primarily to review bills and suggest amendments before they become law. They also examine issues of national interest, policies, programs and departmental estimates. The evidence and reports of these committees provide insight into Canada's economy, society and history.

Key Terms

  • Evidence is the verbatim record of what was said at a committee meeting.
  • Minutes of proceedings provide a concise description, in chronological order, of what occurred at a committee meeting.
  • Reports are usually produced based on the evidence heard.

Locating Committee Documents

One way that Committee reports are referenced is by number. The numbering system consists of the number of the Parliament, the session number, and the meeting number.

  For example:  35th Parliament, 2nd Session, meeting no. 56

The reports can also be found by title or by Committee name - in a variety of sources and a variety of formats:

  • Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources (Library of Parliament Online (April 17, 2019 NEW!)
    • Committee evidence and reports are now available on the Library of Parliament’s Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal. This includes committee material from both the Senate and House of Commons, in French and English, from 1874 to 1993. The functionality for browsing and searching the new content is being finalized. Once the site update is completed, there will be an official launch of the new content, along with related communications products.

  • Internet Archive
    • Various contributors have digitized and uploaded a wide array of Senate and House Committee publications - mostly from 1901 - 1934, but there are some older documents as well.
    • The easiest way to bring these documents up is to do an advanced search with "Canada. Parliament" in the creator field and "Committee" in the title field. You can then choose to sort results by date - with the latest document sorting at the top.

 

  • Online from Early Canadiana Online - a subscription database that is restricted to current UBC students, faculty and staff, and patrons working at UBC Library workstations.
    • This database has a very rich collection of digitized Senate and Commons Committee reports, stretching back to Pre-Confederation years - generally starting in the 1830s - and continuing forward to 1900.

 

  • In print
    • Committee Reports have a varied print publication history. Many were published as independent monographs and were also included in the Journals, Appendices to the Journals and/or the Sessional Papers for the relevant session up to the 1920s. You may, therefore, find reports in the UBC Library Catalogue:
      • under their individual titles
      • under the titles Minutes of Proceedings and EvidenceMinutes of Proceedings; or Evidence for the relevant Committee or Sub-Committee
      • within the Journal or Sessional Papers for the Parliament and Session of the time.

 

  • On microfiche under their individual titles or under the titles ReportsMinutes of Proceedings; or Evidencefor the Committee or Sub-Committee in question. The call number range for these is AW5.C35324 to AW5.C35444.