Rescinded [2013-06-01] - Communications Policy of the Government of Canada: Procedures for Planning and Producing Publications for Sale

Communications Policy of the Government of Canada: Procedures for Planning and Producing Publications for Sale
Date modified: 2008-05-13

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The Communications Policy of the Government of Canada requires institutions to notify PWGSC when they are planning to produce a publication for sale – see Requirement 27(e). PWGSC is responsible for providing institutions with mandatory, as well as optional or non-mandatory, services related to the planning and production of publications for sale.

The Publishing and Depository Services Directorate (PDSD) of PWGSC publishes all government priced material except in cases where an institution has the statutory authority to publish.

The mandatory publishing services the PDSD provides to institutions include:

  • Publication management of legislated publications, including publications tabled in the House of Commons, the Statutes of Canada, Amendments to the Statutes, Royal Commission inquiries and reports, Main and Supplementary Estimates, Customs Tariffs and Federal and Supreme Court reports.
  • Publication management of priced publications for author departments that do not have delegated publishing authority.
  • Co-publishing services for all departments, whereby a private-sector publisher publishes government information on behalf of the Crown.

Planning publications

Institutions must provide PDSD with the following information about their publishing activities:

  • updates on new publications;
  • an indication of whether a planned publication will be free or priced;
  • plans for producing publications in multiple formats to meet the requirements of persons with disabilities;
  • the publication's anticipated release date; and
  • the proposed quantity, including sufficient copies in English and French for distribution through the Depository Services Program (see the Procedures forregistering publications with the Depository Services Program and central publishing database).

Identification of government publications

At a minimum, to ensure proper identification, the publishing institution must ensure that the following information appears in every government publication:

  • the title of the publication;
  • the corporate signature and 'Canada' wordmark, as specified in the Federal Identity Program;
  • the copyright notice;
  • the notice "également disponible en français," which is to appear on the colophon page of the English‑language version, and the notice "also available in English," which is to appear on the colophon page of the French-language version of a bilingual publication;
  • the Government of Canada catalogue number, if applicable;
  • the institutional catalogue number, if applicable; and
  • the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or the International Standards Serial Number (ISSN).

All major publications should conform to the international standards set out in ISO 1086-1975: Documentation – Title leaves of a book.


PDSD is also responsible for the administration and licensing of Crown copyright. For more details, please refer to the Procedures for the Administration and Licensing of Crown Copyright.

Pricing for sale

Institutions that do not have publishing authority must supply PDSD with a work to be published, generally at the camera-ready stage (electronic or paper).

The price of a publication is based on a series of factors including production and printing costs as well as the market value or a reasonable approximation thereof. The list price of a publication is established by PDSD in consultation with the author institution and in accordance with the rate structure approved by the Treasury Board.

When the market price is less than the full cost of the publication, the institution is asked to subsidize the publication's initial print run.

When a private-sector publisher publishes government information on behalf of the Crown, PDSD puts in place a co-publishing agreement that allows the private-sector publisher to produce, print and commercialize the publication. In return, the private- sector publisher pays royalties based on sales.

Marketing and sales

PDS markets and sells priced government publications in Canada and abroad. It also negotiates sales and distribution contracts. PDSD works in close partnership with the author institution to co-ordinate all publication-related marketing activities.

Official languages

A publication may be issued in bilingual or unilingual versions. Overall costs are to be taken into account before deciding whether a publication should be issued in bilingual or unilingual versions. For the purposes of cataloguing and distribution, publications issued separately in the two official languages are considered as two separate publications.

The English- and French-language editions of a publication are to be issued simultaneously. If this is impractical for urgent program reasons, written authorization from the Minister of the author institution is required to release one edition before the other. PDSD will not issue a publication in one language ahead of the other unless it has received ministerial authorization in writing.


If a publication is to be tabled in Parliament, its general distribution is withheld until PDSD has received notice in writing from the author institution, or has evidence, that the publication has been tabled. PDSD may, on written agreement with the author institution, arrange for advance shipments of the publication before it is tabled in Parliament or released.

In addition, the publishing institution supplies the Library of Parliament with five copies of each publication and Library and Archives Canada with two. Publishing institutions also ensure that the Library of Parliament receives, on request, copies of those materials intended primarily for internal government use.

Disposal of surplus stock

Surplus stock of all publications is disposed of in accordance with the requirements of the Library and Archives of Canada Act. The Canadian Book Exchange Centre, managed by Library and Archives Canada, acts as a clearing-house to distribute and exchange publications that are deemed surplus by some institutions, but that may be of use to others.

Central publishing database

Institutions must register all of their priced publications, as well as all publications issued free of charge, with the government's central publishing database. For details about registering and listing publications in the database, please see the Procedures forthe Depository Services Program and Central Publishing Database.


For more information about planning and producing publications for sale, contact at PWGSC:

Christine Leduc
Publishing and Depository Services Directorate

Phone: 613-996-5959
Fax: 613-947-6949

Joanne Joanisse
Publishing Programs

Phone: 613-996-3049
Fax: 613-998-1450

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