Finding Archived Canada Gazette Material Online

Canada Gazette volumes in a row on their shelves.

The Canada Gazette Archive (1841-1997) has been moved to the Government of Canada’s “Collection Search”, and with its migration comes improved functionality. If you’ve found yourself on this resource looking for Canada Gazette material not knowing where to start, we’ve got you covered! 

First, you’ll want to click on the “Advanced Search” option: 

Once navigated to the Advanced Search function, you’ll be able to choose which database you would like to search. Choose “Canada Gazette 1841-1997″ towards the bottom of the drop-down menu: 

Once you have selected the correct database, the following additional filters will appear: 

  • Month 
  • Day 
  • Series / Title 
  • Volume number 
  • Issue number 
  • Issue type 

These filters are specifically tailored to Canada Gazette keyword metadata (e.g., date, volume and issue numbers, etc.). Before you jump into term searching, we highly recommend using these filters first to set yourself up for success.  

Example: SOR 79-400 

Let’s try to find SOR/79-400 in the Canada Gazette as an example. For the purposes of this demo, we will assume that we do not know the corresponding publication volume or issue number.  

Before we even begin our searching, it’s important to consider the anatomy of the Canada Gazette. As reviewed in this blog post, and on this webpage, the Canada Gazette is comprised of three parts, each containing different categories of documents (i.e., Statutory Orders and Regulations, Statutory Instruments, Orders in Council, etc.). With our example, we know we are searching for Statutory Orders and Regulations (SOR), which are published in Part II of the Gazette. So, we need only search Part II of the Canada Gazette, which can be selected with the “Series/Title” filter:  

Moving on to the SOR number itself, SOR/79-400, “79” refers to the year 1979, which was the year the SOR was registered. We can use this information to further narrow our results by filling “1979” in the “Date: Year” filter:

If we initiate our search at this point, several issues for volume 113 are summoned. If we do not know the correct issue number, we can once again rely on the details found in the SOR number. While we know the first number listed (“79”) cites to the year registered, the second number (“400”) indicates the ordered sequence by which the SOR was registered. Knowing that the SORs of Part II of the Canada Gazette are published in numerical order, we can use this to identify the correct issue number.  

For instance, if we see issue number 1 of volume 113 contains SOR/79-1 to SOR/79-64, we know that we need to be referencing a later issue to reach SOR/79-400 (spoiler: it can be found in volume 113, no. 10). Of course, you can also reference the volume’s index to help pinpoint your search.  

A note on term searching and filters: When working with this database, it is important to utilize the filters as much as you can, rather than relying on keyword searching. While keyword searching is an option, Library and Archives Canada has cited to some “problems with the scanned text in the back end of the database.” For example, the letter “o” often did not scan properly[1]. For this reason, we would recommend instead relying on the filters as much as you can.  

Library and Archives Canada contains helpful tips on their “The Canada Gazette (1841 to 1997)” webpage on using Collection Search to find Canada Gazette material. Find tips on functionality, strategy, the parts of the Canada Gazette, the language of the material, and more. 

[1] Library and Archives Canada, “The Canada Gazette (1841 to 1997): Search tips” []