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Researching Government Policies and Issues

This page will help you research government policies and issues. It provides links to sources of government information at federal, provincial and municipal levels, and tips for searching for government information on the Web.

In this assignment, you will learn to identify and locate information about your controversial issue:
  • Who is involved with your issue (MPs, MLA, committee members, etc.)
  • What government members are saying about the issue in Parliament, the Legislature, and City Hall
  • What government members are doing about the issue

Find out Who's Who and What's What in Government

Use these links to find out who your government representatives are at the federal, provincial, and municipal level. Learn what committees and working groups exist and who is on them.
Answer these Questions:
  1. Which parliamentary session are we currently entering? 
  2. Find the list of federal ministries on the House of Commons website. Which federal ministries may be relevant to your topic? How?
  3. Find a federal bill that will be debated in the Fall session of parliament that might influence your selected issue. Provide an APA reference to this bill. 
  4. Which provincial ministries might be pertinent to your topic?
  5. Are there any municipal politicians or city councilors who might be useful to contact to discuss your issue? List them below.
  6. Find your MP for your home riding; provide their name, party affiliation, and duration of service.
  7. Find your senator for your home region; provide their name, party affiliation, and duration of service.

Find out Who's Saying What in Government

Find out Who's Saying What in Government

The transcripts of debates among MPs, MLAs, Senators and Councillors provide rich information on issues being addressed by government and members' arguments on all sides of those issues.

Answer these Questions:
  1. Identify two statements from the federal Hansard relevant to your selected issue. How is the issue being framed by that particular minister or MP? Provide an APA citation for each statement you found.
  2. Find a pertinent MLA for your issue and identify what that MLA has said about this issue in provincial Hansard. Briefly summarise their statement(s) on this issue and provide an APA citation for their statement.

Find out What's Happening in Government

Find out What's Happening in Government

You can learn what work is being done, what decisions are being made, and what issues are being addressed by different bodies within government. Budget Speeches, Throne Speeches, and reports from Committees and Offices provide this information.

Below are a few examples. Search for more of these types of documents on the Senate, Parliament, and Legislature websites using the links above.

Answer these Questions:
  1. Find one of the following documents produced by the federal government that might be pertinent to your research: a throne speech, a budget speech, a committee report, or the most recent budget. Briefly describe why this document is pertinent and useful for your assignment. Provide an APA style citation for this document.

Citing Government Sources

Citing Government Sources

Here are a few examples of citations for the types of sources you need to cite for your assignment. See the additional citation resources on this page for more examples and explanations.

NOTE: APA does not provide guidance on citing Canadian legal information (so we do our best to fit the required information into something that looks like an APA-style citation). The most correct way to cite legal or government information is to use the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (sometimes called the McGill Guide). This is available at MRU Library.

Below are some examples of citations that you can use as guides to citing things like government statutes in APA. (Note that these do no have hanging indents -- your correct citations should!)


Reference List:

Barlow, J. (2018, Mar. 22). "India." Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Edited Hansard 148(274). 42nd Parliament, 1st session.

Citation in Text:

(Barlow, 2018)


Reference List:

Bill C-6: An Act Respecting the Safety of Consumer Products. (2009). 1st Reading Feb. 5, 2009, 40th Parliament, 2nd session. 

Citation in text:

(Bill C-6, 2009, "Summary," para. 2) 


Reference list: 

Post-Secondary Learning Act, SA, 2003, c P-19.5.  

Citation in text: 

(Post-Secondary Learning Act, 2003)

Other Helpful Websites

Advanced Googling for Hard-to-find Info

Having trouble finding what you're looking for on these sites? You can search the website's content using Google, instead of the website's own search function.
Search Google with domain operators to search government websites:

"opioid addiction"

"protected areas"

"snow removal"

You can also search particular ministries/departments through Google:



Another approach is to search specific organization's websites for info on government as it relates to them:

government care

opioid government response

Find Academic Sources

These databases are good places to search for academic sources for your assignments in this course.
Google Scholar search tips:

Include a term for the level of government - federal, provincial, municipal/civic, and the word Canadian

     "communications" recycling municipal canadian

Use advanced search operators (same as in Google) to focus your search.

      allintitle:indigenous health policy

Additional Citation Resources