History of the Canada Gazette

Learn more about the history of the Canada Gazette by reading the book entitled 160 years of the Canada Gazette, and its follow-up, In the past fifteen years... a sequel to “160 years of the Canada Gazette.”

On this page

160 Years of the Canada Gazette

The book 160 Years of the Canada Gazette was published in 2001. It documents the history of the Canada Gazette.


Attention: Download the bilingual PDF

This is a digital copy of the original book. It is a large file.


This book was published in 2001. As such, some information may be out of date.

Table of contents: 160 Years of the Canada Gazette

Message from the Acting Queen's Printer

This book is about the commitment of a government to inform its citizens. At the centre of this promise is a single official newspaper, the Canada Gazette. With the publication of this book, we commemorate 160 years of coordinating, producing, publishing and distributing the Canada Gazette. In that time, it has captured a unique place in the evolving history of our country—yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Although Communication Canada is now responsible for the Canada Gazette, Public Works and Government Services Canada has played a leading role in this commitment. Since 1869, the Queen's Printer has had the responsibility of publishing the Canada Gazette. Since that time, the Queen's Printer has been an officer of the Department appointed by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. In its rich and steady history, the Canada Gazette has been a source of information giving every Canadian the ability to have a voice in the activities of government.

Through Canada's challenging years of growth as a nation, the Canada Gazette served as a central building block in the relationship between the federal government and Canadian citizens. Its texts are brimming with fascinating details of exceptional moments in our history.

The Canada Gazette has kept up with a population that can now push a button and look to a computer screen to get information. The Government On-Line agenda encouraged the Canada Gazette to go 1 step further, by connecting all Canadians—including persons with disabilities and Canadians in remote regions—to the laws and regulations that affect us all.

Marking the Canada Gazette's place in the history of Canada also compels us to look forward. The years ahead will bring more challenges and more improvements to the Canada Gazette. There is no doubt that the Canada Gazette will continue to proudly serve Canadians.

Pierre G. Tremblay, Ph.D.
A/Queen's Printer for Canada
Communications Services Sector
Communication Canada

Getting the word out: 160 years of the Canada Gazette

Many aspects of working with Canada's official newspaper continue to awe and inspire me; its historic role in protecting the democratic rights of Canadians is just one. I've always held that the most impressive feature of the Canada Gazette, however, is the quality of the team that gets the publication out to readers week after week.

They keep working, no matter what, to meet strict deadlines. In our old offices—in Hull, Quebec, home of the Canada Gazette for decades—power interruptions used to occur frequently, but they would never slow production. Almost without thought, staff would grab the cardboard boxes ever at the ready, and abandon the darkened, windowless offices for the cafeteria, the only part of the building whose windows maximized the natural light. There, they would unpack the contents of the boxes—red and blue pens used in different stages of the editing process, rulers, scotch tape, staplers, and correction tape for masking mistakes. Even a half-day's delay in the production process could mean missing a publication deadline. In turn, failing to publish on schedule could affect the effectiveness of regulations. So, they worked in eerie silence—the other workers who shared the offices having already left the powerless building—until the current issue of the Canada Gazette was finished.

This is the kind of shared history and pride that bring together the people who are the faces behind the printed pages of the Canada Gazette. It is a part of the reason why most of the 19-member production team has more than a decade of continued service on the production of the Canada Gazette. Theirs is a dedication built on pride in serving well a publication that has been at the heart of our democratic Government for over a century and a half.

I would like to dedicate this book to those individuals who, over the years, have worked through illness, storms, holidays and power outages to guarantee Canadians' right to information that can affect their daily lives.

As we herald the remarkable achievements of the Canada Gazette, let us marvel in its rich history, for it is only by remaining in touch with our roots that gives us all a sense of belonging and being connected to the world.

Heartfelt thanks are given to the current production team of the Canada Gazette.

Carole Kennedy
Canada Gazette Directorate
(7 years of service)

The current production team of the Canada Gazette

Linda Charron
Administrative Officer
(21 years of service)

Luc Bourgault
(17 years of service)

Lorraine Lévesque
(13 years of service)

Nicole Cloutier
Manager, Editing Services
(12 years of service)

André Leduc
(12 years of service)

Chantal Normand
Administrative Officer
(12 years of service)

Thérèse Lafleur
Publications Support Coordinator
(12 years of service)

Nicole Clément
Publications Support Coordinator
(12 years of service)

Pauline Gauthier
Publications Support Assistant
(12 years of service)

Manon Bertrand
Publications Support Assistant
(12 years of service)

Louise Debain
Publications Support Assistant
(11 years of service)

France Labelle
Publications Support Assistant
(10 years of service)

Suzanne Lepage
(8 years of service)

Anita Ott
(8 years of service)

Robert Moncion
(7 years of service)

Pierre Gravel
former Manager, Publications Support Services
(7 years of service)

Madeleine Low
(3 years of service)

Joyce Martel
Document Technician
(1 year of service)

Pierre X. Tremblay
Acting Manager, Publications Support Services
(1 year of service)

Marc Dupras
Document Technician
(6 months of service)

Part I

A fledgling nation finds its voice

Canada's official newspaper has its roots in the beginnings of a nation. The creation of the Canada Gazette, its history and its future are intertwined in the growing pains of an entire country. Through times of war and peace, of prosperity and depression, through innovations that turned the industrial world upside down and shrunk the global world to a village, the Canada Gazette has remained 1 constant. Collectively, its pages mirror aspects of an evolving nation—its words define who we are as Canadians.

This book commemorates the 160th anniversary of the Canada Gazette. The first part tells a story of a publication that is as much a part of the growth of a nation as it is an historical account of Canada's official newspaper. It is a story that supports the belief that every person has the right to be a part of the laws and regulations that affect Canada's citizens. The second part contains the historical facts that detail the evolution of the Canada Gazette. Originally written and published in 1995 in the electronic journal Government Information in Canada by Martha Foote, a law librarian, it was substantially revised for this book.

The Canada Gazette makes its debut in the new Province of Canada

In the nineteenth century, printing presses were often established to satisfy the needs of Government. After all, administrators had only limited means to communicate with citizens—the town crier and public readings were about the only other ways of announcing proclamations.

Print shop

Print shop

Early printing presses, such as the wooden screw-press imported from England, advanced the means of Government to communicate. Operating the press was a laborious process. Printers would first convert written material into lines of types. Each line was assembled in a composing stick, letter by letter. Lines were made equal in length by inserting lead metal blanks called, appropriately enough, leads. Once a page was completed, it was firmly locked into a metal frame and dabbed with ink. This process produced about 60 printed sheets per hour.

When the Canada Gazette made its debut on Saturday, October 2, 1841, official gazettes were already being circulated as a means of disseminating government notices. The Canada Gazette soon became the official voice of the new Government of the Province of Canada. In achieving supremacy, it superseded gazettes issued by the former provinces of Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec).

Appointing Queen's Printer among first official business

At only 3 pages long, the first Canada Gazette contained a proclamation, 2 new acts, an order in council, and 2 government appointments. 1 of these appointments was that of Stewart Derbishire and George-Paschal Desbarats as joint Queen's Printers and Law Printers in and for the Province of Canada. Derbishire was an Englishman who, in his prior careers, was a soldier, lawyer and journalist. Desbarats was a French Canadian with a solid grounding in his family's printing trade.

The title of Queen's Printer dates back almost to Confederation, when the new Dominion's Parliament decided that it was too costly to appoint private printers as official printers to the Crown. An act in 1869 required that a government official, known as the Queen's Printer, be appointed to supervise the printing of its official newspaper, the Canada Gazette, and any printing required by government departments.

The Canada Gazette mirrors the changing landscape of a nation

Since before Confederation, the Canada Gazette has been used to issue official proclamations of both war and peace, to call federal elections, to publish amendments to regulations, and to open and close sessions of Parliament.

Through the years, the Canada Gazette has been an accurate yardstick in measuring the changing landscape of our country. The publication has not changed so much in appearance, but the nature of its content is strikingly different. Throughout the 1800s, the Canada Gazette published notices of appointments, proclamations and regulations but the majority of the notices filling its pages were bankruptcy notices and sales of real estate under the Insolvent Act.

During the 1900s, suppliers could find government business opportunities published in the Canada Gazette, giving them an opportunity to bid on government contracts. Today, its pages are filled with information that speaks more of people than of property; it is about Canadians. A quick study of the Canada Gazette reveals issues that revolve around the health and security of Canadians in the areas of agriculture, environment, transportation, health, justice and finance.

Information for ordinary Canadians part of official newspaper

An official looking document, the Canada Gazette might seem, at first, to hold little interest for anyone who isn't a lawyer, a banker or someone involved in parliamentary procedure. On closer examination, however, the aspects of Canadian life that are covered in the Canada Gazette are varied and comprehensive. There is both ordinary and everyday information: the Chan family wants to fill in a bog on its property to build a house; a county snowmobile association has applied to build a bridge over a creek. For the protection of our environment, the Navigable Waters Protection Act requires that the plans for building such roads and/or bridges must first be published in the Canada Gazette.

The plans must first be approved, and written objections based on the effect of the work on marine navigation and on the environment must be sent to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans not later than 1 month from the date of publication of that notice. The official newspaper also publishes items of great national significance. When the Government proposes changes to the Young Offenders Act, for example, the federal Department of Justice is required to publish that information along with an invitation to Canadians to consult on the proposed amendments.

The Canada Gazette might also inform readers, for instance, that importing fresh yellow onions may adversely affect Canadian industry. The Canada Gazette indicates who has been appointed deputy minister, and who has received medals or awards from the Governor General. The annual supplement on unclaimed balances will tell if great-aunt Helen has $20,000 somewhere sitting around in a bank.

Citizens can consult the Canada Gazette to find out about the assets and liabilities of the Bank of Canada. They may note the time and place of the annual general meeting of some Canadian companies.

Rolling change and solid roots

The Canada Gazette wordmark

The Canada Gazette wordmark

In serving Canadians for more than a century and a half, the Canada Gazette gives any citizen, even in the most remote part of the country, a voice in government decisions that may affect him or her.

Though it is referred to as 1 publication, the Canada Gazette is published in 3 parts. Part I comes out every Saturday and contains general notices, official appointments and proposed federal regulations. Part II is published every second Wednesday and details new regulations. Part III publishes all public acts and their enactment proclamations and is printed irregularly, usually when there are enough acts to warrant an issue (3 to 4 times a year).

The Canada Gazette gives every person an equal opportunity to read a proposed regulation for the first time. Regulations are intended controls on an activity, product or commodity because health or safety is in question. Publication in the Canada Gazette is the last step before a regulation is enacted. Since 1986, the federal government has made it policy to prepublish proposed regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette, giving citizens the opportunity to present their views and concerns on a specific issue.

The last decade of the 20th century represented a significant time of challenge and opportunity for the production of the Canada Gazette. Throughout this period of rolling change, 1 ideology remained in focus: the team would have to develop new approaches to enhance its services while maintaining its roots as an official gazette of the Government of Canada.

A period of challenge and opportunity for the Canada Gazette Directorate
Man working in a print shop

Man working in a print shop

The Canada Gazette Directorate, formerly known as the Canada Gazette Section, is part of Communication Canada. The Directorate is responsible for publishing all 3 parts of the Canada Gazette, as well as extra editions and supplements as necessary. It also publishes the required indexes to parts I and II.

In 1983, the Clerk of the Privy Council established a committee to review the operations of the Canada Gazette Directorate. Through this review, the Canada Gazette's increase in volume and cost received particular attention. In fact, the volume of printed pages had tripled in less than 10 years, and the costs had increased by almost tenfold during this same period.

It was subsequently recommended and adopted that the Canada Gazette Directorate operate on a cost recovery basis, ending a tradition of free publication services that lasted more than 100 years. On April 1, 1986, government and private sector clients began to pay to publish notices in the Canada Gazette and, citizens, to subscribe to the printed copy.

An efficiency study conducted in 1987 recommended that all functions for the Canada Gazette Directorate be integrated. At that time, the composition division and the editing division were physically distant from one another. The separation meant that, in a given week, documents might have had to be manually exchanged up to 500 or more times. This created a situation in which the Directorate had minimal operational control over the complete production process, though it remained ultimately responsible for timely delivery of the newspaper. On April 1, 1989, the 2 functional divisions, together with the administration division were combined to form the new Canada Gazette Section.

In 1989, to improve efficiency and make better use of new technologies, clients were encouraged by way of a special discount to send their notices both in print and on diskettes. This reduced substantially the need to input text and helped respect the tight publication deadlines.

Some old traditions get left behind

Modernizing the official newspaper's publishing environment necessitated the placement of some antiquated procedures into the history books of the Canada Gazette. For instance, the production team would no longer rely on pressurized air tubes to whisk copy between editors and composition experts on 2 different floors of the Office of the Queen's Printer in Hull, Quebec. Shared accommodations between editing and composition divisions eliminated the need for the ancient “work ready” light. For many years, light tables and waxing machines were used to lay out the non-text information such as graphics, tables and maps, and paste them in their appropriate space using the Canada Gazette template serving as a guide. It was only in 1996 that the Directorate changed computer software that enabled the use of electronic graphic files. Today, this equipment is used on rare occasions, when all other electronic options have failed.

E-democracy comes within reach

Management team

Management team

To this day, the success of the Canada Gazette Directorate depends on its ability to adapt Internet technology to expand its reach. The Canada Gazette experienced its first wave of such change in the late 1990s. Around that time, Web-based technologies were sweeping the country, changing the way business interfaced with its customers, and opening doors for persons to communicate with business. The Canada Gazette was not to be left behind, and the Directorate began to look at the Internet as a relevant tool for disseminating the official newspaper.

The last 7 years have witnessed the greatest changes to the newspaper, with the introduction of electronic versions in bilingual PDF (Portable Document Format) side-by-side version, and separate English and French ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) versions as an alternate format for people with disabilities. These changes widened access between Government and its electorate. It also represented immense challenges for the Canada Gazette Directorate.

The production schedule of the Canada Gazette leaves little room for variance. There's no room to hand off 1 person's workload to another to focus on training, for instance. All of the technological advances adapted in the last few years were accomplished in-house, over and above the usual workload of meeting production deadlines. The information in the database cannot be put at risk, therefore the development and testing of any new software must be done at a separate environment and training is usually done after regular working hours. The Canada Gazette team succeeded nonetheless in launching an Internet version of the newspaper in less than 6 months.

The Canada Gazette goes on the World Wide Web

In 1998, all 3 parts of the Canada Gazette became accessible on the Internet. From anywhere in the world, individuals were now able to access the Canada Gazette at no charge. Although unofficial—the printed copy is still the only official version—the electronic PDF version of the Canada Gazette replicates the printed copy's bilingual side-by-side format. Readers can browse either official language by accessing specific notices through the table of contents and index.

With an average of 3,500 to 5,000 downloaded pages of the Canada Gazette from the Internet per day, even more interested Canadians are taking advantage of a quick and reliable way to get information about the laws of the country and the opportunity to comment on proposed regulations.

A portion of the readership of the electronic version originates outside of Canada. Approximately one-third of the hits on the Canada Gazette Web site can be traced to other countries. The most international hits come from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. People from some 81 countries around the world have accessed the Canada Gazette Web site.

Persons with disabilities access the Canada Gazette
An image of the Canada Gazette in the paper era

Paper era

On April 17, 2000, the Canada Gazette first appeared in alternate format (separate English and French) on the Internet making it accessible to persons with disabilities. The ASCII format is a common text language that can be read by virtually any software, including DOS-based systems and screen-reading and speech-output devices. This step has been a success, measured by the fact that over 30 percent of downloaded pages from the Canada Gazette Web site are now done in ASCII format rather than the more traditional PDF.

The Canada Gazette continues to evolve

Opportunities to optimize emerging technology continue to push the Canada Gazette toward a new edge in electronic communications and e-democracy.

The Directorate aspires to give official status to the PDF Internet version and publish the printed copy of the Canada Gazette simultaneously with the official on-line version. One day, citizens wishing to send their comments to a responsible department on proposed regulations might be able to do so through a direct hyperlink function from within the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette. Currently, interested persons wanting to comment are invited to do so by sending their comments directly to the appropriate departmental contact person named in the notice.

Canada Gazette distribution box

Distribution box

A more advanced search engine on the Canada Gazette Web site would greatly improve the search capabilities. In addition, the Directorate will monitor advances in adaptive technologies and work with the disability community and experts in the field of assistive devices and information technology to include the tables, graphics, equations and chemical formulae (which are presently removed because they cannot be converted) to the alternate format.

These changes continue to broaden the spectrum of government communications in an increasingly sophisticated world, where access to Government is available at the touch of a button.

Some advances have more to do with a little ingenuity than with complex technology. A distribution box, similar to those used for daily newspapers, is located at a convenient bus stop on Parliament Hill. This innovation makes the Canada Gazette as available to passers-by as any other newspaper.

Canada continues to evolve as a nation respected around the world. With the rapid pace of technological innovation, advances in the fields of medicine, and lessons learned daily about our earth, the history books studied by schoolchildren will someday chronicle the present day as a time of growth and change. There is certain assurance that the Canada Gazette will have played an important role.

Part II

By Martha Foote, B.A., M.L.I.S.Footnote 1

Seal of the Canada Gazette


The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. It has been published regularly by the Queen's Printer since 1841, although its antecedents can be traced back more than 2 centuries. In it are published new statutes and regulations, proposed regulations, decisions of administrative boards, private sector notices and an assortment of government notices which are required by statute to be published so as to disseminate this information to the public. This paper will examine the origins of the Canada Gazette, its early years and the effects of Confederation, the creation of separate parts for regulations and new statutes, and the development of an Internet edition.

I. History of the gazette

The earliest gazettes originated in Italy in the fifteenth century as newsletters which enjoyed wide circulation throughout Europe. In England, the first gazette was the Oxford Gazette, which published its first issue on November 16, 1665. At this time the court of Charles II had moved to Oxford in order to escape the plague. Gazettes were published concurrently in London and Oxford, but when the court returned to London early in 1666 the Oxford edition ceased and the publication became known as the London Gazette, the name it has retained ever since. In addition to its reputation for accuracy and authoritativeness, its importance lies in its emergence as the first real newspaper in England. Prior to the establishment of the Oxford Gazette, news had been published in the form of a book or booklet. The Oxford Gazette was a two-column half sheet printed on both sides, establishing a format for news publication which has continued, with some modifications, to the present day. Both the Oxford Gazette and the London Gazette were used by the Government to communicate information to the public as well as to exercise control over the dissemination of news. The gazettes were non-partisan and contained no editorial commentary, publishing instead foreign news and shipping reports.Footnote 2

In addition to the London Gazette, which is now published each weekday, there are a number of other Commonwealth gazettes, and each province and territory of Canada also publishes its own gazette.

II. The Canada Gazette: 1841 to 1867

Upper Canada Gazette wordmark

Upper Canada Gazette wordmark

Upper and Lower Canada

The history of the Canada Gazette is interwoven with that of the nation and its forerunners date back to the early years of British rule in Canada. In the province of Lower Canada (now Quebec), the Quebec Gazette had begun publication in 1764. It had semi-official status and continued until 1823, when it was replaced by the Quebec Official Gazette. Following the establishment of the Province of Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1791, the Upper Canada Gazette was begun at the instigation of John Graves Simcoe, the newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor. It was published for the first time on April 18, 1793, and continued until 1848 or 1849, the exact date of its demise being uncertain.Footnote 3 Its status was semi-official in that the printers were appointed by the Government and it published official notices; however, it also contained general news items and sometimes anti-government editorials.

Province of Canada

The Union Act, 1840,Footnote 4 which took effect on February 10, 1841, united Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. On Saturday, October 2, 1841, the Canada Gazette made its debut, being published “by authority.” It became the official newspaper of the new Government, enjoying a status which had not been held by the Upper Canada Gazette and only lately by the Quebec Official Gazette, both of which it was intended to replace. During its lifetime the Government sat at different locations in the united provinces and for most of these twenty-6 years the Canada Gazette was printed at the seat of Government. The exception was in 1850 and 1851 when the Government sat in Toronto while the Canada Gazette continued to be published in Montréal.Footnote 5 The first issue was very brief, running to only 3 pages, and contained a proclamation, 2 new acts, an order in council and 2 government appointments. 1 of these appointments was that of Stewart Derbishire and George-Paschal Desbarats as joint Queen's Printers and Law Printers in and for the Province of Canada.

Derbishire (1794?—1863), has been described as a middle-class English adventurer. He was a soldier, a lawyer and a journalist before coming to Canada in 1838 to gather intelligence for Lord Durham, the Governor General of British North America, concerning the 1837 rebellion in Lower Canada. He later entered politics, sitting as the member for Bytown (Ottawa), but his political career was unsuccessful. His connection with government officials led to his appointment in 1841 as Queen's Printer, a post he held until he died. George-Paschal Desbarats (1808 to 1864) was a French Canadian who, unlike Derbishire, had a solid grounding in the printing trade, having entered his family's printing business when he was eighteen. His commissions included the Journals of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada. He was named Queen's Printer with Derbishire in September 1841. While serving as Queen's Printer he continued his printing career with his son. Their output included a reprint of the works of Samuel de Champlain. Desbarats was also a very capable businessman whose investments included a glass works in Québec, the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, and land in Ontario and Quebec.

Planing block

Planing block

Following Derbishire's death, Desbarats shared his responsibilities with Malcolm Cameron until his own death the following year.Footnote 6

For the first few years the publication of new acts was an important part of the Canada Gazette, and the size of an issue was usually determined by the number and length of the statutes published therein. The content of the Canada Gazette soon began to expand to include other types of information such as selected treaties of the British Government, notices of Royal Assent, proclamations and regulations, financial statements of chartered banks, corporate notices, notices of bankruptcy and a variety of miscellaneous notices including the appointments of notaries and justices of the peace, admissions to the Law Society of Upper Canada, and appointment of Queen's Counsel. Not everything was strictly business. A notice dated June 26, 1847, announced that the wife of the Governor General, the Countess of Elgin and Kincardine, would receive ladies at her residence from 3 to 5 pm on Thursdays. The text of new acts appeared only sporadically after the mid-1840s, although notices of proclamations remained an important component of the Canada Gazette.

The Canada Gazette's role in the publication of statutes was the subject of an early order in council. Prior to the union of the Canadas, the provincial gazettes published by law various notices of private and public interest. The Upper Canada Gazette in particular published new statutes immediately after their coming into force, so that members of the bench and bar had quick access to the newest laws. However, after the union, the provincial gazettes as well as the new Canada Gazette published these materials. The Government acted swiftly to establish the Canada Gazette's primacy:

In the absence of any legal provision it was necessary that the Gazettes should be continued for the purpose of publication of such matters as were required by Statute to be inserted in these papers, and it was deemed inexpedient by the Government, suddenly to take away the accustomed means of information, with regard to its own Acts, or to the Laws of the Province these have accordingly been published as before, and in addition have been inserted in the Official Gazette of the Province.

The Committee are however of opinion that there is no necessity for the publication of Proclamations and Government Notices in any paper but the official Gazette, and after the end of the Present Year they recommend that the official publications in the Gazettes of Upper and Lower Canada should be confined to such matters as are legally necessary to be inserted therein, unless the Publication of other matter officially, should be specially directed by 1 of the Provincial Secretaries.Footnote 7

In establishing the Canada Gazette's primacy, the Government reinforced the new Province of Canada as the successor to the old provinces of Upper and Lower Canada.

The Canada Gazette's status was strengthened and confirmed in 1849 with the passage of An Act to provide for the insertion of certain official and legal notices in the Canada Gazette.Footnote 8 This statute took effect on October 1, 1849. It substituted the Canada Gazette for the Upper Canada Gazette and the Quebec Gazette, both of which were still being published in spite of their diminished status. Section 1 speaks of the circulation of the 2 regional gazettes as “limited and local” and that of the Canada Gazette as “great and co-extensive.” The Canada Gazette was firmly established as the official voice of the Government of the Province of Canada.

The Canada Gazette, October 9, 1841

The Canada Gazette, October 9, 1841

Until 1843 the French-language content was almost negligible. This was slow to change, but gradually more and more of the Canada Gazette came to be printed in French, although the English section always preceded the French. In almost every instance the French version was a translation of the English. Volume numbering did not commence until January 1853; until then there were only consecutive issue numbers. Extra issues, or “gazettes extraordinaire,” were printed as required, for example to announce the Royal Assent of new bills, the recall of Parliament, or the departure of the Governor General. An index was published for the years 1841 to 1844 and there were annual indexes thereafter.

What might be the first official exchange of gazettes between Canada and a sister colony was initiated in 1858 by the Government of New Zealand. In a letter dated October 22, 1858, the Colonial Secretary's Office stated that a copy of the New Zealand Gazette was to be forwarded to the Government of Canada, and requested a copy of the Canada Gazette in return. The Executive Council acquiesced to this request on February 15, 1859.Footnote 9 Later that year, the Executive Council directed that a copy of the Canada Gazette be sent to the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.Footnote 10

III. The Canada Gazette: 1867 to 1869

The Canada Gazette, June 28, 1867

The Canada Gazette, June 28, 1867

On July 1, 1867, the Dominion of Canada was created by dividing the Province of Canada into Ontario and Quebec and merging them with the colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The Canada Gazette took note of Confederation: the issue dated June 18, 1867, printed a proclamation uniting the provinces, a list of new senators and a notice declaring July 1, 1867, as a “day of rejoicing.” An “extra,” dated July 3, 1867, published a list of appointments made on July 1 by the Governor General, including the names of the members of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada, the lieutenant-governors of the 4 provinces, cabinet and other appointments. Ottawa, which had been made the capital of the Province of Canada in 1857, became the capital of the new dominion, and the Canada Gazette continued to be printed from here.

One result of Confederation was the concurrent publication, until 1869, of 2 Canada Gazettes. Both series were published weekly on Saturdays by Malcolm CameronFootnote 11 who had become Queen's Printer in 1863. The series which had begun in 1841 continued until the end of 1869, and focused on Ontario and Quebec, with greater emphasis placed on Quebec. The new series, which began on July 1, 1867, dealt with federal matters. The original series was discontinued after the Ontario Gazette and the Quebec Gazette began to publish in 1868 and 1869 respectively, making it redundant.Footnote 12

Individual issues of the new series were brief with a strong English focus, publishing proclamations, parliamentary and government notices, and general orders in council. Material from London, such as notices from Downing Street and information about English schools, was also included. The numbering sequence begun with the new series remained and continues to the present day. The continuing series had much larger issues than the new series and contained proclamations, notices of bankruptcy, sale of real estate, and corporation, government and parliamentary notices, the majority of which were concerned with Quebec. The rules of court for Quebec were also published here. Very occasionally the text of a new statute was published as a supplement.

The language issue did not die with the union of the Canadas. While the English content continued to be printed first, the French began to increase as more information was printed in both languages. Most government notices and proclamations were printed in English and French, but not all corporate, bankruptcy and miscellaneous notices. The practice was to translate items pertaining to Quebec, although this did not happen in every case.

2 years after Confederation, Parliament passed legislation concerning the Canada Gazette. An Act Respecting the Office of Queen's Printer and the Public PrintingFootnote 13 came into force on October 1, 1869, and dealt with the appointment, salary and duties of the Queen's Printer, one of which was the printing and publication of the Canada Gazette, “the Official Gazette of the Dominion.” Section 3 specified the content of the Canada Gazette: “[a]ll Proclamations issued by the Governor or under the authority of the Governor in Council, and all official notices, advertisements and documents relating to the Dominion of Canada, or matters under the control of the Parliament thereof, and requiring publication, shall be published in the Canada Gazette, unless some other mode of publication thereof be required by law.” Section 9 gave the Governor in Council the power to prescribe the “form, mode and condition of publication of the Canada Gazette” The Canada Gazette was governed by this Act (cited as the Public Printing and Stationery Act from 1906) until its repeal by the Government Organization Act, 1969.Footnote 14

IV. The Canada Gazette: 1869–

The Canada Gazette continued to be published every Saturday in the first half of the 20th twentieth century with very few changes. It affords an interesting glimpse into a Canada still very much under the British flag. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 was mourned with black borders on each page of the issues dated from January 26 to March 16, 1901. An “extra,” published on January 30, 1901, announced that court mourning would continue until January 24, 1902, and directed the public to wear deep mourning until March 6, 1901, and half mourning until April 17, 1901. Further, there would be no receptions at Government House in Ottawa until the cessation of court mourning the following year.

Canada Gazette Part I
Front page of the Canada Gazette

Front page of the Canada Gazette

Following the creation of Part II in 1947 to publish the text of statutory instruments and regulations, this part of the Canada Gazette became Part I, publishing material of a general nature. It is still published every Saturday with the occasional extra issue as required. The Canada Gazette Directorate is responsible for coordination of notices from both the public and private sectors as well as all steps of production, publishing and distribution. The habit of separating the English and French sections continued until 1970 when it was replaced by English and French text in parallel columns, thus making the Canada Gazette a completely bilingual publication.

Today's Canada Gazette Part I contains a mixture of government and parliamentary information as prescribed by section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations.Footnote 15 Among the more important types of material to be found therein are:

There has been an increase in private sector notices since the enactment of the Navigable Waters Protection Act which requires approval of plans and site work by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans before building any road or bridge over a body of water. Even more recent are requests for sinking of old ships to create underwater reefs for scuba diving. Many private entrepreneurs in the business of snowmobile and scuba-diving expeditions are required to publish in Part I of the Canada Gazette.

Supplements are published as required to accommodate large items such as documents from the Copyright Board and lists of insurance companies and fraternal benefit societies registered to do business in Canada under the Insurance Companies Act. These are usually documents that must be published at regular intervals. One of the most interesting supplements is the list of unclaimed balances over $100, arranged by name of chartered bank and showing the name of the depositor and the amount left in accounts for 9 years. If this money is not claimed by the tenth year it reverts to the Government of Canada. Extra editions are published as necessary before the regular Saturday edition of the Canada Gazette Part I in order to accommodate a statutory deadline for certain notices. A short notice of the extra edition and its publication date is published in the next regular issue of Part I.

Each issue of theCanada Gazette Part I has its own non-cumulating index, a practice begun with volume 14 in 1880. The indexes are now prepared by the Canada Gazette Directorate. The early indexes were very brief and covered very little of the actual content, while those of today are much more detailed.Footnote 17

In 1986, prepublication of proposed regulations in Part I became the rule instead of the exception. The Government of Canada Regulatory Policy includes the requirement that Canadians be consulted about regulatory activities and be given an opportunity to participate in the regulatory process. Before a proposed regulation is enacted, Canadians have an opportunity to comment on it within a specified number of days, which varies depending on the act. This is an important function of the Canada Gazette Part I.

Canada Gazette Part II

The antecedents of the Canada Gazette Part II can be traced back to the early days of World War II and a publication entitled Proclamations and Orders in Council Relating to the War. It was followed in October 1942, by Canadian War Orders and Regulations, a weekly publication of the Statutory Orders and Regulations Division of the Privy Council Office, and contained war-related orders and regulations. In 1945 it was renamed Statutory Orders and Regulations. The purpose of these 3 publications was to recognize the growing importance of subordinate legislation in Canada and to accord it special treatment by virtue of a separate publication.Footnote 18

Growth in the amount of delegated legislation—orders in council, rules, regulations and proclamations—greatly expanded during the war years and never returned to its pre-1939 level. Between 1932 and 1938, the federal government approved 23,139 orders in council; between 1939 and 1945 the number soared to 60,655; in the years immediately following the end of the war, 1946 to 1952, there were 40,953.Footnote 19 No specific statute pertaining to the publication of delegated legislation yet existed and would not be created until the passage of the Regulations Act, 1950. Those orders which required publication could be found in the Canada Gazette.

This rapid expansion in the number of regulations made in Canada, and the Government's recognition that regulations would become a fixture of Canadian life, resulted in the creation of a permanent series to publish regulations. The Canada Gazette Part II was authorized by P.C. 1946—4876, The Statutory Orders and Regulations Order, 1947, which was made on November 26, 1946. It ordered that after January 1, 1947, the Canada Gazette be published in 2 parts. Part I was to be called “General” and would contain “the matter which prior to the said date was published in the Canada Gazette excepting the matter to be published in Part II as hereinafter set out.” Part II was entitled “Statutory Orders and Regulations” and was to contain “proclamations, orders, rules and regulations” as set out in section 4 of the order. Section 6 stated that “Part II of the Canada Gazette, entitled ‘Statutory Orders and Regulations', shall be published regularly by the King's Printer, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.”

This order was subsequently revoked and replaced by P.C. 1946—5355 of December 30, 1946. Section 6(a) directed the Clerk of the Privy Council to prepare a consolidation of “all such orders, minutes, rules or regulations” that were in force as of December 31, 1947. This consolidation was eventually published in 1950 under the title Statutory Orders and Regulations, Consolidation, 1949 and was followed by similar editions in 1955 and 1978, with the Canada Gazette Part II functioning as the updating tool.Footnote 20

Part II of the Canada Gazette was published for the first time on Wednesday, January 8, 1947. It continued the numbering sequence begun in 1867, so that the initial issue was volume 81, number 1. The text of each instrument was printed in full, together with its registration number and date. 2 non-cumulating tables were printed at the back of each issue. The “Table of Contents” was arranged by instrument number and provided the title, name of administering body and page reference, while the “Index to Statutory Orders and Regulations” had a topical arrangement, also with page references.

In 1950 Parliament passed the Regulations Act.Footnote 21 This new statute required the Clerk of the Privy Council to keep a record of regulations transmitted to him by regulation-making authorities, the Governor in Council and the Treasury Board. It also required that all regulations be published in the Canada Gazette, in English and in French, within 30 days of being made. Publication in the Canada Gazette was to be considered proof of a regulation's existence.Footnote 22 The Act further provided that regulations be cited as “Statutory Orders and Regulations” or “SOR” followed by the number. SOR/50-572, which took effect January 1, 1951, pursuant to the new Act, continued the Canada Gazette in 2 parts and prescribed that Part II was to contain regulations as defined in section 2(a) of the Regulations Act, thus tightening the requirements set out in The Statutory Orders and Regulations Order, 1947. The passage of the Regulations Act demonstrated the growing importance of regulations in Canada and the importance of the Canada Gazette in disseminating the text of regulations to the public.

At the same time, SOR/50-572 directed the Clerk of the Privy Council to publish every 3 months a consolidated index and a table of all regulations made since the last consolidation, together with all amendments, revocations or other modifications. This index commenced January 1, 1950, and took up where the 1949 Statutory Orders and Regulations consolidation left off. Its main feature was a “Table of Statutory Orders and Regulations” which listed new regulations and amendments to existing ones, giving the name of the enabling Act, name of the regulation, volume and page reference to the 1949 consolidation (where applicable) and amendments with page references to Part II, making the task of updating regulations very easy.

In 1972 the Regulations Act was repealed and replaced by the Statutory Instruments Act.Footnote 23 Section 10 continued the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada. The status of the Canada Gazette had been in doubt since its parent statute, the Public Printing and Stationery Act, was repealed in 1969 by the Government Organization Act which made no mention at all of the Canada Gazette. The issue of the Canada Gazette's status was taken up by Parliament. In his appearance on February 16, 1971, before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, which was examining the statutory instruments bill, the Honourable John Turner, Minister of Justice stated that “ the Canada Gazette is recognized as the official gazette of Canada but this recognition has no statutory basis…we are not creating the Canada Gazette by statute. We are just saying…'The Queen's Printer shall continue to publish the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada.'Footnote 24

The question of the Canada Gazette's status was the subject of a lively debate in the House of Commons on March 8, 1971, shortly after the Minister's appearance before the Standing Committee. The Opposition raised the matter of the Canada Gazette, claiming that since the repeal of the Public Printing and Stationery Act it had no statutory authority. According to 1 honourable member, the repeal of this statute had “abolished” the Canada Gazette; while the Government Organization Act, 1969 continued the office of Queen's Printer, it did not authorize the printing and publishing of an official gazette. “ I suggest, and the [M]inister himself confirmed this, that in the course of the preparation of the government reorganization bill of April 1969, something was inadvertently done which removed the statutory authority which gave the Canada Gazette its status as the official gazette of Canada.Footnote 25

An examination of Hansard reveals the niceties of the issue. The Minister of Justice told the House that “This clause [section 10] does not provide that the Queen's Printer shall continue to publish the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada; it simply provides it shall be continued as the official gazette of Canada. At the present time, the Canada Gazette is recognized as being the official gazette, but this recognition needs a statutory basis, one which the clause in question will give to it. There has been no interruption in the authority for the publication of the gazette.”Footnote 26 Later in the same debate he said: “ The Canada Gazette retains its status as a journal in which documents needing publicity for validation must be published…. Authority for the Canada Gazette lies in the fact that it is the Canada Gazette, not that it is designated as the official gazette. All the statutes to which the honourable member refers speak of the Canada Gazette. The legal power is not changed by designating it the official gazette.Footnote 27 This debate was not resumed as the House moved on to consider other sections of the bill.

The Statutory Instruments Act was duly passed and remains the governing statute for the Canada Gazette. The Canada Gazette's official status is continued by section 10, and section 12 permits the Governor in Council to “direct that any statutory instrument or other document, or any class thereof, be published in the Canada Gazette” and further directs that the Clerk of the Privy Council, under the authorization of the Governor in Council, “may direct or authorize the publication in the Canada Gazette of any statutory instrument or other document, the publication of which, in his opinion, is in the public interest.”

Because the number of regulations made by the federal government continues to increase, the importance of the Canada Gazette Part II has not diminished. Its contents now encompass “all ‘regulations' as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act and certain other classes of statutory instruments and documents required to be published therein”Footnote 28 including the proclamation of new acts. These proclamations are designated as SIs or “Statutory Instruments and Other Documents (Other than Regulations)” to distinguish them from SORs or “Statutory Orders and Regulations.” Since January 1984, it has been published every second Wednesday, and instead of separate English and French editions there is 1 edition with English and French in parallel columns. The Privy Council Office is responsible for the registration of all regulations and the coordination for publication in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

The quarterly cumulative index is now called the “Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments” and is perhaps the most valuable index produced by the federal government after the “Table of Public Statutes.”Footnote 29 It cumulates from January 1, 1955, and contains only those instruments still in force. Table II, “Table of Regulations, Statutory Instruments (Other than Regulations) and Other Documents Arranged by Statute” lists all amendments in force under the short title of regulations which in turn are arranged alphabetically by name of the enabling act. Instruments made by other than statutory authority can be found at the end of this table. Table I is an alphabetical list of regulations, giving the name of the enabling statute so that the researcher can then refer to Table II for amendments. Table III lists those regulations which are exempt from registration and publication in the Canada Gazette. Fortunately there are very few and the table takes up no more than 1 or 2 pages. Anyone doing retrospective research should consult back copies of the “Consolidated Index” for those instruments which were made after January 1, 1955, but are no longer in force.

Special issues are published as required. The most important to date is “Special Issue 1978,” which was published in 2 volumes on December 31, 1978, in conjunction with the release of the Consolidated Regulations of Canada 1978, the first revision and consolidation of federal regulations since 1955. The “Special Issue” republished those regulations made in 1978 which amended or revoked regulations in the new consolidation, with the section numbers now corresponding to the Consolidated Regulations of Canada 1978. Extra editions are published to accommodate deadlines which occur before the next publication date. A short notice of the extra edition and its publication date is published in the next regular issue of Part II.

A 'Special Issue' of the Canada Gazette

A “Special Issue” of the Canada Gazette

Canada Gazette Part III

The next major change to the Canada Gazette was the creation of Part III, which was published for the first time on December 13, 1974, in order to publish public acts as quickly as possible after Royal Assent, thus eliminating the long wait between publication of the bill copies and the sessional volumes of statutes.Footnote 30 The authority for Part III was SOR/74-652, which amended the Statutory Instruments Regulations.Footnote 31 Unlike the rest of the Canada Gazette, Part III has always been published irregularly, usually when there are enough new acts to warrant another issue. It supersedes the bill copies as the source for new statutes until the official volume of acts for the calendar year is published. Responsibility for the content of the Canada Gazette Part III lies with the Department of Justice. The Canada Gazette Directorate is responsible for the publication and distribution of Part III.

Publication in Part III does not necessarily signify that an act is in force, since proclamation is frequently required in addition to Royal Assent. Therefore each issue also contains a non-cumulating “Table of Proclamations” covering acts which have been proclaimed in force during the time period covered by that specific issue.

Until 1993 the Canada Gazette Part III included 2 other very useful tables which were published under separate cover. The “Table of Public Statutes” is an alphabetical listing of acts in force since 1907 together with section by section amendments to those acts and notes about coming into force. The “Table of Acts and the Ministers Responsible for their Administration” allows for easy identification of administering departments and was published with the “Table of Public Statutes.”

The Canada Gazette Part III dated August 25, 1993, carried the announcement that both these tables would cease to be published with Part III, citing the high cost of printing as the reason. This decision has not resulted in the demise of the tables, which are of great value to the researcher. Instead, they are now published independent of Part III by the Department of Justice. The “Table of Public Statutes” is also published with the annual bound volume of statutes. There has been talk of discontinuing Part III because the statutes are now published annually and “assented to” acts were introduced in 1990; the original reason for creating Part III no longer exists. So far this has not happened and Part III continues to be published.

V. Canada Gazette DirectorateFootnote 32

Photo of Chantal Normand, Administrative Officer

Chantal Normand: Administrative Officer

Photo of Luc Bourgnault, Editor, and Madeleine Low, Editor

Luc Bourgnault: Editor, Madeleine Low: Editor

Responsibility for the production, publication and distribution of all 3 parts of the Canada Gazette lies with the Canada Gazette Directorate, Communications Services Sector, Communication Canada. The statutory requirement to publish lies with the Queen's Printer as appointed by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). The position is held by the Assistant Executive Director of the Communications Services Sector, Communication Canada. While the Privy Council Office and the Department of Justice are responsible for the content of the Canada Gazette parts II and III, as well as the contents of the proposed regulations in Part I, the Canada Gazette Directorate has overall responsibility for the publication and the distribution of all 3 parts. This includes the weekly and quarterly indexes, supplements, extracts and extra editions.

All parts of the production of the Canada Gazette Part I are carried out by the Canada Gazette Directorate, including coordinating notices, revising, editing and proof-reading notices in both official languages, comparing English and French versions, and formatting and typesetting to produce the camera-ready copy of the Canada Gazette for printing and distribution. Because only those notices which have a statutory requirement to be published may appear in Part I, the Canada Gazette Directorate examines all incoming notices to determine whether or not they meet the criterion for publication. Of particular importance is the Canada Gazette Directorate's need to meet statutory deadlines for publication. The Canada Gazette Directorate also formats and typesets the Canada Gazette Part II and publishes the “Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments” to Part II. While the content of the Canada Gazette Part III comes from the Department of Justice, the Canada Gazette Directorate prepares the pagination and ensures that the layout conforms to approved standards.

Since April 1, 1986, the Canada Gazette Directorate has operated as a full cost recovery service, charging insertion fees for material to be published in the Canada Gazette and recovering part of its printing costs for the printed copy through subscription fees.

VI. Electronic format

After more than a century and a half in print, the Canada Gazette was launched on the Internet. The Canada Gazette Web Site became available on June 4, 1998, and is free. It includes all 3 parts of the Canada Gazette, the extra issues, the supplements, the Quarterly Index to Part I and the Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments to Part II. The format and content of the electronic version of the Canada Gazette are identical to the format and content of the printed copy. PDF (Portable Document Format) was chosen because it is able to accommodate the graphics, columns, equations and chemical formulae which appear in the Canada Gazette. The Canada Gazette Directorate is responsible for all aspects of the Web edition. For evidentiary purposes, only the printed copy can be used.

Photo of Manon Bertrand, Coordinator

Manon Bertrand: Coordinator

An important step was the launch, on April 17, 2000, of the alternate format of the Canada Gazette parts I and II, making the Canada Gazette accessible to persons with disabilities. The text has been produced in ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) format which can be read by almost all types of software, including DOS-based systems, and screen-reading and speech-output devices, but does not include the tables, graphics, columns, equations and chemical formulae which appear in the Canada Gazette since ASCII does not support these documents. The Minister commented at the time of the launch of the alternative format:

“My department is committed to providing all Canadians with equal access to Government of Canada information… [a]s the Government of Canada moves towards connecting Canadians on-line, the Canada Gazette on the Internet will play an important role in enabling more Canadians to provide input and be part of the democratic process by commenting on the proposed regulations published in the Canada Gazette.”

Communication Canada plans to work with representatives of the disability community and experts in the field of assistive devices and information technology to make the alternative format of the Canada Gazette completely accessible on the Internet.Footnote 33

The Web edition has made the Canada Gazette more accessible to Canadians and to people and organizations outside Canada who require the information published in it. The Canada Gazette Directorate continues to work to enhance the Web edition. Goals include making the electronic version official and providing both versions simultaneously; making the site fully accessible to persons with disabilities who have difficulty with the present format; and making the site searchable by incorporating a search engine.Footnote 34


I would like to especially thank the following persons who made this book possible:

I would also like to acknowledge the following organizations for their dedication to this project:

As well as the following persons for their assistance and contribution:

I would also want to thank all those who were responsible for the operation and production of the Canada Gazette during the changing years:

And finally, a very special thank you to all those who, through the years and for several different organizations, printed and distributed the Canada Gazette, never once missing a publication date. Many of these persons are presently employed by St. Joseph Ottawa/Hull Inc., the current printer of the Canada Gazette and of 160 years of the Canada Gazette.

In the past fifteen years… a sequel to “160 years of the Canada Gazette”

In the past fifteen years… a sequel to “160 years of the Canada Gazette” was published in 2016. This piece documents the evolution of the Canada Gazette from 2001 to 2016.


Attention: Download the bilingual PDF

Table of contents: In the past fifteen years…a sequel to “160 years of the Canada Gazette”

A word from the Director of the Canada Gazette

On October 2, 2016, the Canada Gazette Directorate (CGD) will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Canada Gazette. This milestone provides a perfect opportunity to take stock. In the past 15 years, many aspects of the Canada Gazette production process have evolved, including technology, security and administration, to name a few.

The work environment at the CGD and the tools it uses daily have dramatically changed over the years, but the role of the Canada Gazette has stayed the same. The Canada Gazette remains the official newspaper of the Government of Canada and is an important tool the Government uses to inform and consult Canadians.

It is a privilege and an honor to work with such a dedicated group of professionals. These devoted employees ensure, week after week, that the Canada Gazette is published in a timely manner, that quality service is provided to clients and that the high service standards are met. Pursuant to specific Regulations, the Canada Gazette must be published on time, whether it is a small edition or a gigantic one.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the commitment of the CGD to continuously evolving and remaining abreast of current trends so that it may constantly strive for excellence, all the while fulfilling its mandate.

Lyne Tassé
Canada Gazette Directorate


Technology has changed the way in which the Canada Gazette is produced and distributed. Most of the major changes have occurred in the past 15 years.

In 2003, the Portable Document Format (PDF) version was given official status. As well, this same year, the "Current Consultations" Web page was launched; it provides a list of current proposed regulations for which Canadians are invited to submit their comments. The informatics world also witnessed the migration from American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) to HyperText Markup Language (HTML) which improved access to the Canada Gazette.

The Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds were added to the website in 2008. The feeds allow readers to receive updates on certain content published in the Canada Gazette. Currently, readers may subscribe to three different categories: Part I, Part II and Part III.

With the client always in mind, the CGD improved the search engine on its website. Searches may now be performed by category or by format; these are just some of the improvements that have been made.

The CGD continues to evolve and remain abreast of current technology. A major project for the CGD in 2011 was the modernization of its publication tool, which transitioned from MS Word to Adobe InDesign; another software, namely InCopy, and some plug-ins were also added to InDesign.

In July 2014, Public Works and Government Services Canada (now called Public Services and Procurement Canada) consolidated all of its information management and information technology responsibilities under the umbrella of a new entity known as the Chief Information Officer Branch. Thus, the responsibilities of the CGD's hardware, software, computer specialists and consultant contracts were transferred to this new group.

In addition, the CGD’s work processes were greatly improved and the team of editors now performs on-screen editing, rather than editing on paper, with the new aforementioned software and plug-ins. Also the CGD wishes to put in place a workflow management system in order to increase its efficiency. As well, in the near future, the CGD will try to find new ways to allow clients to use templates for certain types of notices that could be completed and submitted electronically.

As well, the CGD implemented the electronic transmission of documents from certain private sector clients and some departments; it also anticipates implementing the electronic reception of all classified texts (whether Protected A, B, C or Secret). This project will take shape if the Chief Information Officer Branch and Shared Services can provide us with the service required, i.e. a secret transmission system.

Finally, in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the majority of issues of the Canada Gazette published between 1841 and 1997 were digitized and are available for consultation on the Library and Archives Canada’s website.

Security and emergency planning

The CGD is a secure environment and all employees must possess a secret security clearance. Some documents are secret until they are officially published, hence the need for additional precautions. Outside of the CGD offices, there are security cameras, and visitors must request access and be accompanied in order to circulate through the premises of the CGD.

The CGD also has its own network, separate from Public Services and Procurement Canada's network. This network is dedicated solely to the production of the Canada Gazette and ensures the protection of the content of the Canada Gazette prior to its publication.

To further ensure a timely production, an uninterruptible power supply system (UPS) is installed on the premises, for the sole purpose of producing the Canada Gazette. The CGD must be able to produce the Canada Gazette regardless of an emergency or a disaster situation. The CGD also has a Business Continuity Plan, which provides for the continued production of the Canada Gazette under exceptional circumstances.

Service standards

The CGD is committed to offering its clients the highest level of service, whether it is through translation services (for certain types of notices only), invoice processing or answering general inquiries. In 2007, the CGD conducted a client satisfaction survey, with results showing an overall satisfaction rating of 97%. In a follow-up survey in 2011, the CGD maintained its high client satisfaction rating with a rate of 95%. The CGD's service standards are as follows:

To provide better service and further the modernization of our operations, the frequency of meetings with clients and partners has increased. These meetings promote improved relations between clients, partners and the CGD, and also create efficiencies for all parties involved.

Service standards are of great importance to the CGD, and the Directorate's employees strive to offer the best possible service to their clients. Always open to improvement, the CGD welcomes comments and suggestions, which may be submitted through its website.


The CGD has undergone several significant administrative evolutions. Following the dissolution of Communications Canada in 2004, the CGD returned to the Department of Public Services and Procurement, where it had been from its inception.

In addition, the billing system migrated to SAP/SIGMA, the financial system used in most federal government departments, and invoices are now sent electronically via email.

In 2012, we put in place a method to adjust the CGD’s insertion rates. Specifically, we utilized the consumer price index to calculate the annual increase of the costs to publish in the Canada Gazette. This had become a pressing matter as the rates had remained unchanged from 1991 to 2012!

In addition, clients and messengers who deliver notices in person for publication in the Canada Gazette may now place them in a specially marked drop box belonging to the CGD, located directly outside its office.


The CGD sometimes has the opportunity to visit other countries, or to host foreign delegations, with the aim of comparing the processes and practices of each. The CGD visited England and France, and welcomed delegations from China, Japan, Singapore and the Netherlands.

In addition, the CGD is an active member of the Queen's Printers Association of Canada. The Association is a national organization, composed of representatives from each province and territory in Canada, as well as representatives from the federal government, all of whom are responsible for the publication and printing of the official government documents in their respective jurisdictions. These representatives meet on an annual basis to share information and best practices related to the publication and printing of government documents, and to examine partnership opportunities between different jurisdictions.

In 2011, the CGD had the honor of hosting this meeting in Ottawa. Indeed, each entity member of the Association must organize, in turn, the annual conference of the Queen's Printers, and the CGD was given this important mandate in 2011. If the current schedule is maintained, the CGD will once again host the Association in 2023!

What has changed and looking forward

Many aspects of the CGD and the Canada Gazette have evolved in the past fifteen years. Some notices are no longer published in the Canada Gazette, such as the relocation of head office and the surrender of charter, and others have been added, such as the publication of notices on the evaluation and categorization of certain chemical substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Then, the CGD collaborated with the Department of Justice to repeal section 13 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations in view of enabling the Canada Gazette to transition to an exclusively electronic publication, and also to support the Government's greening initiatives as part of its sustainable development strategy. As such, the paper copy of the Canada Gazette no longer exists since April 1, 2014.

The CGD also made changes to the presentation of its publication at the request of the Department of Justice, which has been presenting its laws and regulations in a new format since January 1, 2016. The CGD followed its lead in early 2016.

In all aspects of technology, service and administration, the CGD will continue to strive to meet and exceed all expectations.

Date modified: