Before delving into the Hansard search, it's vital that you follow the appropriate preliminary steps to ensure an effective and targeted search. For a step-by-step guide on how to start the search for Hansard, look to our blog post Legal Research Survival Guide, Part 6 —Help with Hansard.
LEGISinfo is an essential research tool that provides electronic access to a wide range of information about federal bills, and of course, provides access to Hansard as well as associated committee documents. The coverage of LEGISinfo goes as far back as the 1st session of the 35th parliament, or in other words - the beginning of 1994, though the coverage of these earlier years is not comprehensive.
Bills (Parliament Sessions)
Use the "Bills" feature near the top of the page to select the relevant session and parliament number. Once you have completed this step, simply locate the bill of interest. You can filter the bills by originating chamber, bill type, or political affiliation, and you can sort them by latest activity date or bill number. See below for coverage on the Hansard-related information included on LEGISinfo for each federal bill:
This section indicates the latest stage the bill in question has reached (ministerial statement, first, second, committee, third and royal assent). However, don't let it fool you! Though a bill on LEGISinfo may not be complete in it's second reading, some Hansard from the second reading may already be available as parliament often sits on multiple days before completing a sitting stage. Look to this section for direct links to the associated Hansard (House of Commons, Senate, and committee).
Look to this section for a record of the votes, speaker rulings and statements, and major speeches relating to the bill.
This section contains more details about the bill including its legislative summary, department information, associated research publications, and more.
For more information on finding Hansard online, look to our blog post Finding Hansard Online: Canada and Ontario.
For those debates not included in the coverage found on either LEGISinfo or Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources, look to the Parliament of Canada website.
“House Publications” – View sitting dates by browsing through the House of Common sessions from the beginning of the 1st Session of the 35th Parliament (1994) onwards (current day). Also provides access to the Journals and Order and Notice Papers for the same time period.
“Debates of the Hansard (Senate)”– View sitting dates by browsing through the Senate sessions from the beginning of the 2nd Session of the 35th Parliament (1996) onwards (current day). Also provides access to the Journals and Order and Notice Papers for the same time period.
Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources provides digitized versions of the debates, journals, and committee documentation of the Senate and the House of Commons from the 1st Session of the 1st Parliament (1867) until the end of the 1st Session of the 35th Parliament (1996). Start your search by simply choosing to browse through the House of Commons or Senate debates, and then choosing the correct Parliament and Session. Remember: it's important when researching Hansard for a particular bill to read both the House of Commons and Senate materials.
House of Commons - 1865 to current
Senate - 1867 to current
House of Commons - 1867 to current
Senate - 1867 to current