Legal Deposit-S


The national library collection is assembled through legal deposit and becomes the record of the nation's published heritage. Legal deposit applies to all publishers in Canada, and to all publications in all mediums and formats. Through legal deposit, all materials produced by Canadian publishers become part of LAC’s collection and are available for public consultation and use.

Once a publication is received, a description acknowledging the contribution of the publisher is entered into LAC's online catalogue, which can be accessed by all Canadians in the comfort of their home.  

Legal Deposit: Preserving and Providing Access to Canada's Published Heritage

History of Legal Deposit

Legal deposit has been an effective means of collecting and preserving the country's published heritage for over 450 years. The concept was established in 1537 with the Ordonnance de Montpellier, enacted by King Francis I to ensure the collection and preservation of documents published in France.

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 cartographic materials as well as online or digital publications (2007).

Authority for Legal Deposit

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

The Legal Deposit of Publications Regulations define the classes of publications which publishers are required to send to LAC for deposit and those which are not required unless requested in writing by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

Publications Required for Legal Deposit

Legal deposit applies to publications produced in Canada regardless of medium or format, including, for example:

  • books (monographs)
  • serials (journals, periodicals, magazines)
  • sound, video and spoken-word recordings
  • multimedia or instructional kits
  • CD- and DVD-ROMs
  • microforms
  • cartographic materials
  • online or digital publications

Publishers Affected by Legal Deposit

Legal deposit applies to all publishers in Canada.

A “publisher” is defined broadly in the Legal Deposit of Publications Regulations as:
“a person who makes a publication available in Canada that the person is authorized to reproduce or over which the person controls the content. It does not include a person who only distributes a publication.”

Types of publishers include, for example:

  • trade and small press publishers
  • academic and educational publishers
  • periodical publishers
  • producers of music, video and spoken-word recordings
  • publishers of multimedia, cartographic and microform materials
  • federal government departments and agencies
  • associations, organizations
  • self-publishers

Note: Titles by Canadian authors published outside of Canada are not subject to legal deposit. If authors or publishers wish to donate copies of these publications to LAC's collection, they are welcome to send them to the following address:

Gifts Section
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON
K1A 0N4

Legal Deposit Exclusions

The following are not subject to, or are specifically exempted from, legal deposit:

  • official publications of Canadian provincial, territorial and municipal governments
  • loose-leaf publications with updates in print format
  • materials not intended for public sale or distribution
  • pre-publication manuscripts or materials not formally published
  • portions of publications (abstracts, summaries, table of contents) without the complete text
  • publications missing essential attributes (a distinct title, a specific author or authoring body, a specific publication date, etc.)
  • materials with little or no substantial text (stationery, agendas, notebooks, forms, calendars, postcards, posters, newsletters, alerts, bulletins, etc. comprised only of hyperlinks, etc.)
  • materials in poor physical condition
  • For additional examples and information, please consult the Legal Deposit of Publications Regulations.  

Instructions for the Deposit of Physical or Analogue Publications

For physical (print or analogue) publications, the following key features apply:

  • Two copies of all print publications are to be deposited when 100 or more copies are produced. This includes all formats of each item published (paperback, hardcover, etc.).
  • One copy of each format, of all print publications, is to be deposited when between 4 and 99 copies inclusively are produced.
  • One copy of each format published, of musical sound recordings and multimedia kits, is to be deposited.
  • Where publications exist in both physical and digital formats, both mediums should be deposited.
  • Copies must be sent, at the publisher’s expense, to the following mailing address:

Legal Deposit
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON 
K1A 0N4

Titles submitted to Legal Deposit should be accompanied by the appropriate Legal Deposit form. Specific forms are available for the following types of publications: books (monographs), serials and sound recordings. Completion of this form provides valuable information (such as the size of the print run and background data on the authors) which is added to LAC's records. Publishers should add LAC to their mailing list to ensure distribution of all future titles.

Instructions for the Deposit of Online or Digital Publications

  • Digital publications should not be printed and sent. Instead, the digital format in which the publication was published should be deposited.
  • LAC currently prefers Adobe PDF and EPUB formats for digital publications. Publications are archived in the portable format in which they are received.
  • Where publications exist in both digital and physical formats, both mediums should be deposited.
  • Publications in formats for the Web (*HTML, XML, PHP, ASP, etc.) should not be deposited:
    • Where portable formats exist of the same publication (Adobe PDF, EPUB, etc.), these should be deposited instead.
    • Where the publication only exists in formats for the Web, please contact the Web Harvesting section to make harvesting arrangements.

Options for deposit of digital publications:

  • Online via the Digital Collection's Upload platform (files 10 MB or less at a time) (archived site):
    • Before depositing publications, you will need to register with LAC. Upon completion of the registration process, you will receive a login that will enable you to submit publications.
    • Click on the "Submit publications” link, enter your login to gain access to the submissions area. Once logged in, follow the steps to submit your publication(s).
    • Once you have submitted your publication(s), you will receive an email acknowledgement.
  •  FTP (for large quantities of files):
    • Please contact LAC to set up a FTP account.
  • Email (mostly for subscriptions)
  •  CD-ROM or other storage devices, via regular mail (these are not returned to the publisher)

Note: The Digital Collection contains Canadian publications as they were originally published, and cannot be altered once archived. Please ensure that your publications are in their final version prior to submission. New editions will be added as new materials and will not replace earlier editions or copies.

LAC Services for Canadian Publishers

Canadian publications gain significant publicity through a number of associated LAC programs to which, prior to publication, publishers should apply to: 

International Standard Numbers are to be added to publications prior to publishing and depositing with LAC. These numbering systems ensure the unique identification of titles, facilitate the ordering of copies at point-of-retail, and permit inventory control and the quick retrieval of publication information from databases.

Certain types of materials that comply with eligibility criteria can receive Canadian Cataloguing in Publication (CIP). This program enables the cataloguing of books before they are published, and ensures the prompt distribution of this cataloguing information via LAC's catalogue prior to publication and deposit.

What Happens After Physical or Analogue Publications Are Deposited?

After receipt of deposited titles, LAC:

  • Creates a catalogue record describing the publication and makes this description available through LAC's catalogue.
  • Acknowledges receipt of the publication by issuing a "Receipt for Legal Deposit" to the publisher. In the case of a serial publication, an acknowledgement is sent only once after receipt of the first issue, and also after a title change.
  • Stores one copy of every publication, in any format, in the LAC preservation collection, where it is kept in a carefully controlled environment. Since the objective of this process is to ensure its availability for future generations, only limited use of this copy is permitted. The second copy is placed in the LAC service collection for public consultation and use.

Note that use of all materials is subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act.

What Happens After Online or Digital Publications Are Deposited?

After receipt of deposited titles, LAC: 

  • Creates a catalogue record describing the publication and makes this description available through LAC’s catalogue.
  • Archives the publication on a LAC server and adds it to LAC’s Digital Collection with its own search interface(archived sites).
    • A disclaimer is displayed (once for every new search session) which informs the viewer that the publication is an archived version. The disclaimer reads as follows:
      • “You are viewing a document archived by Library and Archives Canada. Please note, information may be out of date and some functionality lost.”
      • “You will be redirected in 15 seconds or follow this link to continue to the publication.”
Currently, LAC offers publishers a choice of two types of access levels for their digital publications: open access and restricted access. Publishers need to select one of these access options. 
  • Open access: anyone can view and download the publication through the Web. Whenever possible, we ask publishers to select this option.
  • Restricted access (usually for retail titles): publications are viewable by the public only at select terminals at LAC’s main building in Ottawa. It is not possible to print, download or transfer files from these terminals.

Note: Use of all materials is subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act.

Tax Deduction

Although the market value of publications sent to LAC for legal deposit is not deductible for income tax purposes, a publisher can deduct, as a business expense, the cost of labour and material required for producing the copies deposited, when such expenses occur in the course of earning income from the business of publishing.

For more information on the maximum amount of the deduction and for any exemptions, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency.


Please note that while depositing published materials with LAC does not constitute or convey formal copyright registration, it does provide evidence of the existence of an intellectual work at the time of receipt at LAC. Questions about copyright should be directed to the Client Service Centre at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) at Industry Canada at:

Toll free (Canada) Telephone: 1-866-997-1936
Telephone (international calls only): 819-934-0544


Legal Deposit
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON
K1A 0N4

Telephone: 819-997-9565
Toll free (Canada): 1-866-578-7777 (Select 1+7+1)
Toll free (TTY): 1-866-299-1699
Fax: 819-997-7019
Email: (Physical or Analogue Legal Deposit)
Email: Legal Deposit)
Email: (Web Harvesting)

LAC staff would be pleased to provide more detailed information, or answer any further questions you may have.

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