McMaster University


Guide to Government Publications
Canada - Sessional Papers

Sessional Papers are reports and papers which have been tabled in the House of Commons (and sometimes the Senate) and deposited with the Clerk. These papers include annual reports of government departments and boards, the Estimates, the Public Accounts, and the reports of the Royal Commissions.

Each sessional paper is assigned a distinctive number (in chronological order by date of tabling).

Not all sessional papers are printed for distribution. The abbreviation "n.p." beside an entry in the various indexes indicates the paper has been tabled, but not printed.


1825 - 1866

From 1825 until 1866, the sessional papers were printed in the appendices to the Journal of the Legislative Council and the Journal of the Legislative Assembly. The various indexes to the Journals (see the following section) provide good access to the papers.

1860 - 1925

From 1860 until 1925, all papers (except committee reports, which continued to be printed in the appendices to the Journals were printed together in bound volumes called the Sessional Papers. Several volumes of papers were printed for each session. Each volume in the session includes both alphabetical and a numerical list of papers for the entire session. References are to paper numbers as the pagination between sessional papers is not continuous.

The actual papers are printed in numerical order by sessional paper number. Many of the reports include an individual Table of Contents, thus facilitating quick access to specific subjects.

Some papers which were not printed at the time they were written have been retrospectively collected on microfilm.

1925 - 1930

From 1925 until 1930, the annual reports were bound together as the Annual Departmental Reports, and indexed in the Journals.

1930 -

From 1930 on, all sessional papers, including departmental annual reports, were printed under separate cover.

All papers, whether printed or not, are listed in the daily Votes and Proceedings. Published papers are listed in the Canadian Government Publications Catalogue. Unprinted papers can be purchased through the Journals Branch of the House of Commons or the Minutes and Journals Branch of the Senate.


The Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. A Table of Contents and Index to Journal Appendices (Ninth to Thirteenth Parliaments, 1825-1840). (Neufeld)
CA UCX 2 - J53 (MILLS Gov Pubs)

The Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, A Table of Contents and Index to Journal Papers, 1841-1866.
J 102 .H3 (MILLS Gov Pubs)

General Index to the Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, 1852-1866.
CA CP X 2 - W7G23 (MILLS Gov Pubs; Canada - Historical)

General Index to the Journals of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada and of the Sessional Papers of Parliament, 1867-1876, 1877-1890, 1904-1915, 1916-1930.
(5 vols.)
CA1 X2 J53 (MILLS Gov Pubs)


Journals and Appendices of the Parliament of Upper Canada, 1825-1840.
CA UCX 2 - J53 (MILLS Gov Pubs - Historical)

Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada.
CA.CP X Z - J54 (MILLS Gov Pubs (mfilm))
     1841 - 1866

Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, 1860-1925.
CA1 YS - S26 ENG (MILLS Gov Pubs)

Annual Departmentals of the Dominion of Canada, 1924/25-1929/30.
CA1 YS - S27 ENG (MILLS Gov Pubs)

Unpublished House of Commons Sessional Papers, 1916-1958.
CA1 YS - S26U (MILLS Gov Pubs (mfilm))
Last Reviewed: August 30, 2007