Tips on finding a document
To enter a query, type in a few descriptive words and press the "Enter" key, or click on the "Search" button, for a list of relevant documents. Since the search engine only returns documents that contain all the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered. Your new query will return a smaller subset of the pages the search engine found for your original, broader query.
Choosing key words
For best results, it is important to choose your key words wisely. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Try the obvious first. If, for example, you are looking for regulations, enter the title of the regulations rather than just subjects like immigration or environment
- Use words likely to appear on Web sites with the information you want. For example, entering "bridges in Ontario" gets better results than "bridge that crosses over the river in my province."
- Make key words as specific as possible. For example, entering "Supplementary letters patent" gets more relevant results than "letters."
Automatic "and" queries
By default, the search engine only returns pages that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more terms. For example, to find notices concerning the relocation of a head office of a certain company, such as ABC Enterprise of Canada Inc., type "ABC Enterprise relocation."
Automatic exclusion of common words
The search engine ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how," as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. The search engine will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box.
If a common word is essential to obtain the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it. Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign. For example, to search for ABC Railway Company I, type "ABC Railway Company +I."
Another method for doing this is by conducting a phrase search, which means putting quotation marks around two or more words. Common words in a phrase search such as "where are you" are included in the search. For example, to search for ABC Railway Company I, type "ABC Railway Company I."
Searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "northwest territories," "Northwest Territories," and "nORthWesT TeRritoRIEs" will all return the same results.
Word variations (stemming)
To provide the most accurate results, the search engine does not use "stemming" or support "wildcard" searches. In other words, it searches for the exact words that you enter in the search box. For example, searching for "tax" or "tax*" will not yield "taxes" or "taxation." If in doubt, try both forms: "tax" and "taxes."
Tips on finding a document after performing a search
If you are looking for proposed regulations: open files starting with "regX-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for official regulations: open files starting with "sor-dorsXXXX-eng.html" or "si-trXX-eng.html" or "g2-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for notices published by federal government departments: open files starting with "notice-avis-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for notices published by federal government agencies: open files starting with "commis-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for notices published by the governor general: open files starting with "gh-rg-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for notices published by private sector companies or by provincial and municipal governments: open files starting with "misc-divers-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."
If you are looking for notices published by the House of Commons or the Senate and/or notices published under the Canada Elections Act: open files starting with "parliament-parlement-eng.html" or "g1-xxxxx.pdf."