Ontario Hansard Then and Now

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Here’s a handy chronology for finding past and present Ontario Legislative Debates:

1841 – 1953:

Newspaper Hansard, also called Scrapbook Hansard, is a collection of newspaper articles actually clipped from various newspapers whose reporters reported on the goings-on in the Legislature from1841 to 1953. The Scrapbook Hansard has been microfilmed, and the Great Library has the microfilm reels plus a microfilm reader/printer.

A few caveats about using Scrapbook Hansard: these newspaper clippings are not official, they are incomplete (being brief, third-person summaries of speeches), and they reflect the editors’ and reporters’ political biases.

The microfilm Scrapbook Hansard includes rudimentary indexes for some years. However, it often works better to consult the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (1868- ) to find the date(s) when a topic or bill was debated. Then search the microfilm source on the following date, for any newspaper reports that may have been published.

1944 – 1946:

From 1944 to 1946 there were typed versions of the debates.  The Great Library does not have these years in its print collection, but 1945 and 1946 have been scanned and are available through the Internet Archive.

1947 – present:

Official publication of Ontario Debates began in 1947. The Great Library has a complete set of these volumes in print.

Online Sources:

1945 – 1980

You can find digitized copies of the Debates for these years on the Internet Archive.

1975 – present:

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website provides access to Hansard from the current session back to the 30th Parliament, 1st Session (October 28, 1975).

For more detailed information about researching early Ontario Hansard, the Archives of Ontario has an excellent finding aid on its website – Debates (Hansard) of the Legislative Assemblies of the Province of Canada and of Ontario.