Procedures for Publishing

Outlines procedures to ensure the ready availability and efficient, cost-effective publication of your communications products.
Date modified: 2019-08-10

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1. Effective date

  • 1.1These procedures take effect on .
  • 1.2They replace the following procedures, all dated May 2005: Procedures for the Depository Services Program and Central Publishing Database, Procedures for the Canada Gazette, Procedures for Planning and Producing Publications for Sale, Procedures for the Administration and Licensing of Crown Copyright, Procedures for Contracting Film, Video, and Multimedia Productions; and Planning Information Products: Effective, No-Frills Publishing Practices dated 1992.

2. Application

  • 2.1These procedures apply to all departments listed in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act, unless excluded by specific acts, regulations or orders in council.
  • 2.2Requirements 6.10.3 and 6.10.5 do not apply to the following departments:
    • Office of the Auditor General of Canada;
    • Office of the Chief Electoral Officer;
    • Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada;
    • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages;
    • Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada; and
    • Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.
  • 2.3The deputy heads of departments listed in paragraph 2.2 are solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with these procedures within their departments. They are also responsible for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with any Treasury Board instruments providing principles and guidance on managing compliance.

3. Context

  • 3.1Under the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, departments are required to be innovative and up-to-date with new technologies. By enhancing electronic publishing, the Government of Canada is ensuring that its information is readily available and delivered to Canadians in a cost-effective manner. The Government also ensures that its publications, including audio recordings and videos, are preserved as part of Canada’s documentary heritage and are easily accessible by using emerging technologies and traditional methods.
  • 3.2These procedures support the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and the Directive on Management of Communications. They describe key requirements for senior managers and heads of communications, and the roles of Library and Archives Canada as well as the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate and the Communications Procurement Directorate in Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  • 3.3These procedures are issued pursuant to section 7 of the Financial Administration Act.
  • 3.4These procedures are to be read in conjunction with the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, the Directive on the Management of Communications, the Policy on Official Languages, the Directive on Official Languages for Communications and Services, the Directive on Official Languages for People Management, the Standard on Web Usability and the Standard on Web Accessibility.

4. Definitions

Definitions to be used in the interpretation of these procedures are included in Appendix: Definitions.

5. Procedures statement

5.1 Objective

The objective of these procedures is to ensure that Government of Canada communications products are readily available to Canadians and are published in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

5.2 Expected results

The following are the expected results of the application of these procedures:

  • Communications products are readily available to Canadians on Government of Canada websites.
  • Departments manage all their publishing activities efficiently and in a cost-effective manner, to achieve value for money.

6. Requirements

Departmental senior managers are responsible for:

6.1 Electronic and print publishing

  • 6.1.1obtaining the approval of the head of communications or designate for all communications products, promotional items and volume printing; and
  • 6.1.2ensuring that on-demand printing is carried out by default, rather than volume printing, using the most economical printing option and in black and white unless colour printing is deemed necessary.

Heads of communications or their designates are responsible for:

6.2 Promotional items

  • 6.2.1approving the development, production, acquisition, distribution and use of promotional items;

6.3 Electronic and print publishing

  • 6.3.1approving all communications products and volume printing;
  • 6.3.2ensuring that all communications products are posted on Government of Canada websites, in print-ready formats where possible;
  • 6.3.3ensuring that their department undertakes volume printing only in the following situations:
    1. a printed version is specifically required under legislation, regulations or parliamentary procedures;
    2. the product informs the public about key information related to health, safety or security issues;
    3. a printed version is required to meet the specific needs of the target audience;
    4. the size or format of the product does not allow for printing using commonly available printers;
    5. an existing contract for printing, warehousing or distribution services, put in place prior to these Procedures taking effect, cannot be cancelled, or the cost of cancelling the contract exceeds the benefits; or
    6. the Minister or the person designated in Schedule VI (Part III, Column II) of the Financial Administration Act requests the printing;
  • 6.3.4ensuring that permission to reproduce, adapt, translate and publish third party material (such as text, photographs, and videos) has been secured beforehand;
  • 6.3.5ensuring that when communications products are posted on third-party platforms (e.g. social media), they are also available on Government of Canada websites;

6.4 Index of publications

  • 6.4.1maintaining an index of all of their department’s publications, including electronic, free and priced publications as well as co-publications;
  • 6.4.2forwarding electronic copies of the index mentioned in 6.4.1 twice a year (November and April) to the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate at Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Digital Legal Deposit Unit at Library and Archives Canada;

6.5 Copies of publications

  • 6.5.1providing electronic and tangible copies of all publications, in all available formats, editions and language versions to Legal Deposit Unit at Library and Archives Canada;
  • 6.5.2providing electronic copies in portable formats only of all publications in all language versions to Public Services and Procurement Canada;

6.6 Publication numbers and metadata schema

  • 6.6.1obtaining an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), if applicable, for publications from Public Services and Procurement Canada;
  • 6.6.2obtaining an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) for journals and other serial publications from Library and Archives Canada;
  • 6.6.3obtaining a Government of Canada catalogue number, if applicable, from Public Services and Procurement Canada;
  • 6.6.4ensuring that their department provides information on its metadata schema and any available structured metadata to the Legal Deposit Unit at Library and Archives Canada;

6.7 Information to include in publications

  • 6.7.1applying the criteria outlined on the Public Services and Procurement Canada website (Government of Canada Publications - Information to Include in Publications at when producing publications;

6.8 Crown copyright and contracting

  • 6.8.1managing the administration and licensing of Crown copyright;
  • 6.8.2ensuring that contracts for the production, distribution and evaluation of films, CDs, DVDs, videos, television programs and multimedia productions are issued by Communications Procurement Directorate at Public Services and Procurement Canada; and

6.9 Canada Gazette

  • 6.9.1applying the requirements outlined on the Canada Gazette website when publishing in the Canada Gazette.

6.10 Monitoring and reporting

Within departments

Heads of communications are responsible for:

  • 6.10.1monitoring compliance with these procedures within their department; and
  • 6.10.2reporting, as directed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, on their department’s performance as a result of the implementation of these procedures at the end of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 and upon request by the Secretariat thereafter.


Public Services and Procurement Canada and Library and Archives Canada are responsible for:

  • 6.10.3monitoring the implementation of these procedures in their areas of responsibility, and informing the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat of any significant or systemic non-compliance issues.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for:

  • 6.10.4working with Public Services and Procurement Canada and Library and Archives Canada to address any significant or systemic non-compliance issues;
  • 6.10.5monitoring government-wide compliance with these procedures; and
  • 6.10.6reviewing these procedures and their effectiveness at the five-year mark of implementation.

7. Consequences

  • 7.1Consequences of non-compliance with these procedures can include any measure allowed by the Financial Administration Act that the Treasury Board would determine as appropriate and acceptable in the circumstances.

8. Roles and responsibilities

8.1 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for:

  • 8.1.1advising departments on the interpretation of these procedures.

8.2 Public Services and Procurement Canada

Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for:

Electronic and print publications

  • 8.2.1producing a weekly checklist of new publications in electronic or tangible format, and making it available to the depository library network and to the public until ;
  • 8.2.2producing an online report of new publications that is updated regularly, effective ;
  • 8.2.3cataloguing all submitted publications in the Government of Canada’s central database;
  • 8.2.4issuing International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and Government of Canada catalogue numbers to departments;
  • 8.2.5developing and maintaining an online collection of electronic publications on the Government of Canada Publications at website;
  • 8.2.6printing, distributing, warehousing and commercializing the Canada Gazette Part I, II, and III and print publications on behalf of departments until ;

Film, video and multimedia productions

  • 8.2.7managing the acquisition process, including issuing contracts for the production of all films, CDs, DVDs, television programs, video and multimedia products; and
  • 8.2.8issuing all relevant contracts, standing offers, supply arrangements, and call-ups; managing contract amendments, financial security issues, dispute resolutions, contract terminations and contract close-outs; and reviewing supplier performance.

8.3 Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada is responsible for:

  • 8.3.1managing the Legal Deposit Program for the collection of Government of Canada publications in accordance with the Library and Archives of Canada Act;
  • 8.3.2acting as the permanent repository of publications of the Government of Canada and its departments;
  • 8.3.3ensuring a permanent record of Government of Canada publications through tools such as its national database of Canada’s published heritage; and
  • 8.3.4issuing International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN) to departments and issuing blocks of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) to the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

9. References

10. Enquiries

Appendix: Definitions

Communications product (produit de communications)

in the context of these procedures, any product produced by or on behalf of the Government of Canada that informs the public about policies, programs, services, and initiatives, as well as dangers or risks to health, safety or the environment. Communications products can also aim to explain the rights, entitlements and obligations of individuals. Communications products can be developed for a variety of mediums such as print, electronic and recording. Communications products include, but are not limited to publications, news releases, posters, pamphlets, brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets and presentation decks. Advertising is not considered a communications product in the context of these procedures.

EPUB format (format EPUB)

file format for electronic books or documents that can be opened with most e-readers, tablets and mobile devices.

Government of Canada websites (sites Web du gouvernement du Canada)

in the context of these procedures, refers to internal and external websites, including departmental Intranet and any other website owned and managed by the Government of Canada.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) (Numéro international normalisé du livre)

numeric identification system used for digital, electronic and print publications. Assigning an International Standard Book Number to publications provides them with a unique and internationally recognized identifier.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) (Numéro international normalisé des publications en série)

unique code for identifying serial publications, such as periodicals, newspapers, annuals, journals and monographic series.

Metadata (métadonnées)

structured data used to help identify, describe, locate or use information resources.

Metadata schema (schéma de métadonnées)

structured framework or plan that defines a set of data elements used to describe an information resource.

On-demand printing (impression sur demande)

printing, whether using in-house printers or contracted printing firms, communications products such as publications, when requested by an individual or as the need arises. On-demand printing does not require warehousing.

Portable format (format portable)

electronic format (e.g. PDF, EPUB) that allows a publication to be opened and viewed with most computers, mobile devices and operating systems.

Print-ready format (format prêt à imprimer)

format of a product that allows printing on any printer without the need for additional formatting (e.g. HTML, PDF, etc.).

Promotional items (produits promotionnels)

in the context of these procedures, novelties, mementoes, merchandise, gifts and other giveaways used to promote a program, project, service or initiative.

Public (public)

all Canadian audiences, including employees of the Government of Canada and Canadians living or travelling abroad, who require information about Government of Canada decisions, policies, programs and services.

Publication (publication)

an information product with a long shelf-life produced by or on behalf of the Government of Canada in any medium or format, including electronic (e.g. EPUB or other portable formats), digital, print or recordings, that is made available to the public. Publications include products such as books, reports, booklets, brochures, periodicals, maps, charts, prints, audio recordings, films, videos, television programs, audiovisual and multimedia productions, guides and handbooks, online publications and serial publications. In the context of these procedures, publications do not include purely promotional or short-lived items, such as calendars, news releases, advertising, backgrounders, forms and presentation decks. Publications do not include HTML webpages.

Publishing (edition)

the act of making government information available to the public.

Tangible format (support tangible)

physical format, such as printed publications, CDs and DVDs. When publications are produced in tangible formats, it is the tangible format itself that is treated as the publication, catalogued and distributed.

Third-party material (document d’un tiers)

material, such as text, photographs and videos, whereby ownership does not belong to the Crown.

Volume printing (impression de masse)

pre-determined number of printed communications products, including publications, that requires warehousing. Also referred to as a print run.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-09971-2

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