Tips for searching Hansard
The Ontario Debates (Hansard) database provides access to all House debates starting with the third session of the 31st Parliament (March 6, 1979 - ). Each day's Hansard is made available for searching in the database by 8:00 a.m. the following day.
The basic search page has been created to make searching this large database easy and straightforward.
If you need any help in using the Ontario Hansard search engine or if you need additional material please call the Hansard Reporting Service at (416)325-7400.
database is structured to allow fast and easy access to Debates.
Each day's Hansard has been broken down into the following hierarchy of parts and each level in the hierarchy can be viewed as a separate HTML document:
Issue - the full issue of Hansard. (note: on any day when the House sits past 6:00 p.m., two issues of Hansard are published. The first issue covers the time between the beginning of proceedings up to 6:00 p.m., the second covers from 6:00 p.m. to the time the House rose).
Type of Business - relating to an order of business (e.g. petitions; oral questions) during the day's proceedings
Topic - relating to the subject being debated under each section
Speaker - relating to the member debating
Each level in the hierarchy is linked to the one above it, thus a search for a specific speaker will provide users with a document from which they may link to documents containing the Topic under discussion, to the Type of Business in which it was discussed or to that day's entire Hansard.
Note: Given the amount of material
in the Hansard database, it is important to make your
searches as specific as possible. Simply searching for a speaker over the whole
database for example (i.e. not limiting your search to a specific date, Topic,
Type of Business or Session), may retrieve an unmanageable amount of material.
Try to focus your search as narrowly as possible by filling in as many of the search fields as you can.
You may enter search terms in any of the fields in the
The Ontario Hansard search engine allows users to search using the following fields:
Type in any word or phrase you want to search for. The term or phrase will be found if it occurs in anywhere in the legislative Debates (i.e. in the title, session, date, section, speaker etc.)
You may restrict your search to a specific session. To search a number of sessions at once, use the date range field instead of the session field.
Unless you restrict your search by Session or date, you will be searching the entire Hansard database (from March 6, 1979 onwards)
You can limit the dates to be searched in the following ways: You can fill in just the On / From date to search on a single, specific date, just the To date to search from the start of the database to the date specified or both the On / From and To date fields to search for a specific date range.
Note: The date fields are inclusive e.g. Searching From 09 June 1993 will find debates starting from and including 09 June 1993.
need not fill in all three components of the date. I.e. you can simply pick a
year; a month and a year; or a day, a month and a year.
The day field is numeric, while the month and year can be picked from the drop-down lists.
To search for Debates from an entire month (e.g. May 1992), simply search from May 1992 to June 1992 (leave the day fields empty)
To search for Debates from an entire year (e.g. 1992), simply search from 1992 to 1993 (leave the day and month fields empty)
To search for Debates from a specific date to the present (e.g. from June 9th, 1992 to today), search from 09 June 1992 to the current date.
Type of Business
The Type of Business refers to the parts of the day's proceedings as outlined in the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Use this field to restrict your search to debates or remarks made during a particular part of the proceedings - e.g. Petitions, Members' Statements, Oral Questions etc. Use the drop-down list in this field to view the Type of Business used in Hansard.
Use this field to restrict your search to a particular broad subject under debate.
Topics are assigned to sections of the debates by the Hansard editors. These Topics are relatively broad e.g. Economic Policy or Education Reform. If the subject of debate is a specific bill, the bill's title and number will be used as the Topic for Hansard purposes. Examples of such Topics are:
VICTIMS BILL OF RIGHTS ACT, 1993 and REFERRAL OF BILL 7.
Use this field to restrict your search to remarks by a specific member.
<!-- Click HERE for a list of members from 1989 to present. -->
Note: The first time a member speaks on a topic both the member's first name and his or her riding is mentioned, (e.g. Mr John Smith (Algoma) ), thereafter the honorific and surname alone are used (e.g. Mr Smith).
The first time cabinet ministers speak on a topic, the minister's first name and ministry are mentioned, but not their riding (e.g. Hon. John Smith (Minister of Housing) ), thereafter, the honorifics and surname alone are used (e.g. Hon Mr Smith ).
Please also note that where two members have the same surname, they are referred to by their first names as well as the honorific (e.g. Ms Jane Doe and Ms Alice Doe )
In order to be sure you are searching for all occurrences of a speaker, use the surname alone, without the honorifics.
In the keyword, Title and Speaker fields you can search for a word, several words or a phrase.
To search for a phrase, use quotation marks to define the phrase e.g.:
" early voting results "
will find only those debates containing the exact phrase "early voting results"
Use the truncation operator (*) if you want to search for variations of a word.
will find debates containing "train", "trains", "training" etc.
Note that left truncation (e.g. " *train ") is not supported.
The following (boolean)
operators available in the keyword, and Topic fields.
Note: the OR operator can also be used in the Speaker field.
AND - search field must include both terms e.g.:
acid AND rain finds debates that contain both of the words anywhere in the text
AND NOT - search field does not contain the term or phrase in e.g.:
acid AND NOT rain finds debates that contain the word "acid" but not the word "rain"
OR - debates contain either one term or the other or both e.g.:
' acid rain ' OR acidulated finds debates with either one or both of the terms. Results are presented in order according to how often each of the terms appear.
NEAR - debates contain both terms or phrases and are ranked according to how close to each other the terms appear. e.g.:
interest NEAR default finds debates containing both of the words "interest" and "default" close together. The debates are presented in order, debates containing e.g. "interest in default" will appear higher in the results list than those with "interest is charged by default".
Note: Debates in which the terms appear separated by more than 50 words will be retrieved by the "near" search but will not be ranked.
This is the default search screen. It allows keyword
searches and you may restrict your search to a specific session.
Click here to go to the basic search page.
With a choice of seven fields to search, the advanced search
screen allows you to search in more complex ways than the basic search screen.
Click here to go to the advanced search page.
The command language search screen allows you to construct
complex queries, including boolean
and nested queries using a command language syntax. The command language search
feaures, while a little more difficult to master,
allow a more detailed and complex search statement than is the case with either
the basic or advanced standard search screens.
Click here to go to the command language search page.
The results of your search are presented in reverse chronological order (most recent debates first), then according to how closely each article matches your search request. The most recent debates containing the greatest number of your search terms will appear first in the search results list.
Once you have executed your search, your search results are presented in brief form, listed in chronological order. The format of the brief records will vary according to the criteria used to perform the search. Thus a search by speaker (the lowest level of Hansard's hierarchial structure) will display the following fields:
Type of Business
While a search for a keyword alone (the highest level of Hansard's hierarchial structure) will display the following:
The Brief record will also link you to the full text of the Hansard retrieved by your search.
As with the brief search
results, the content of the full search results will vary according to the type
of search that has been performed.
For example, a search of Hansard for a specific speaker will retrieve documents containing the text of that speaker's remarks alone. To view the context of the speech, click on the link to the "view Hansard topic" to display all speeches of comments under that Topic, or click on the link to "view entire issue" to display that entire issue of Hansard.
A search for a Type of Business of Hansard will retrieve documents containing all speeches under that Type of Business. Links to the entire issue of Hansard are provided at the top of each document.
Note: As some Hansard documents are quite large, you may need to use your browser's find function to locate the occurrence of your search words in the retrieved document.