About legal deposit

With the help of Canadian publishers and music producers, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has built the national library collection. Through the legal deposit program, LAC collects all materials intended for sale or public distribution. We are then able to make the material available for the public to consult, and to preserve it for future generations.

History of legal deposit

Most countries have legislation requiring the deposit of published material in a designated library or archives. Legal deposit in Canada has been in effect since the National Library of Canada was created in 1953. Initially applied primarily to books, legal deposit was later expanded to include serial publications (1965), sound recordings (1969), multimedia kits (1978), microforms (1988), video recordings (1993), CD-ROMs (1995), and maps, as well as online or digital publications (2007).

Authority for legal deposit

The Library and Archives of Canada Act is a federal statute that legally empowers LAC to collect and preserve Canada's published heritage.

The Legal Deposit of Publications Regulations help to clarify how the Act is applied.

Tax deductions

A publisher or producer can deduct the cost of labour and material used to produce the deposited copies as a business expense. The market value of the material is not deductible. For more details on the maximum deduction and for any exemptions, contact the Canada Revenue Agency.


Depositing material with LAC does not mean that you have registered copyright. For questions about copyright, contact the Client Service Centre at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Legal deposit receipts can be used to prove the existence of material to a third party.

Use of personal information

Any information collected during the legal deposit process, including personal information such as a creator’s year of birth or nationality, may be made publicly available through one or more of our online cataloguing products. Our recording of this information, which helps us to properly credit creators, publishers and producers for their works, and ultimately helps people find those works, meets internationally recognized standards of bibliographic description.

Other services for Canadian publishers or producers

International Standard Numbers

You do not need to have International Standard Numbers (ISNs) for legal deposit. However, using them ensures the unique identification of titles. If you use ISNs, you should add them to your materials prior to deposit.

Cataloguing in Publication

You may apply to have Canadian Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) data if your material complies with the eligibility criteria. This program catalogues books before they are published and ensures that this data is ready prior to publication and deposit.

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