About Legal Deposit
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 Library and Archive Canada (LAC)'s collection and are available for public consultation and use.
Once a publication is received, a brief record of the item is created in LAC's catalogue.
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.
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."
A “Canadian Publisher” means a person or entity who:
- Makes a publication available in Canada, and
- Publishes from an official office of business that resides within Canada, and
- Where, when present, the published material’s identified place of publication is within Canada, and
- Has at least 75% of its employees based in Canada.
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
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.
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
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.
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
- cartographic materials
- online or digital publications
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
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.