How to find Privy Council Orders at Library and Archives Canada

In the article “Orders-in-Council: What you can access online” we learn that Library and Archives Canada holds the Privy Council Orders-in-Council published between 1911 and November 1, 2002. However, many of them are not available online. You must therefore do your research on site to find the full references.

Can’t come in person? You can send a reference request using the form Ask Us a Question, or you can hire a freelance researcher. Please note that our research services are limited.

Privy Council Office fonds

Orders-in-Council are part of the Privy Council Office fonds, series “Orders-in-Council,” sub-series “Minutes, Annexes and Reports.” The entire group is identified by the document group number RG2-A-1-a, an essential part of the reference number.

Indexes and registers

It is important to first consult the annual registers and indexes, which list all the Orders-in-Council submitted by the Privy Council Office and provide details to be included in the references (including order numbers and approval dates). Most registers are bound to their respective indexes.
A number of indexes and registers are on microfilm; please see the list in finding aid FA 2-6.

Finding aids

After finding the necessary information in the indexes and registers, you must consult the finding aids to identify the numbers of the volumes in which the orders are held. The volumes are filed in numerical order and can be found using the approval dates.
Finding aid FA 2-39 covers the period from 1867 to 1987. For orders approved in 1988 and after, you must consult other finding aids.


Now you have all the information you need to put together full references: order numbers, approval dates, and document and volume group numbers. For example:

PC 1967-813 dated May 4, 1967 = RG2-A-1-a, vol. 2374

We will be publishing a blog post in the near future about accessing Orders-in-Council.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Launch of “Carleton Papers―Loyalists and British Soldiers, 1772–1784” Database

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, Carleton Papers―Loyalists and British Soldiers, 1772–1784.

This online database allows you to access more than 54,000 references to names of Loyalists and British soldiers. Names were taken from the British Headquarters Papers, New York―also known as the Carleton Papers―which include a variety of documents about Loyalist soldiers, civilian refugees, as well as British and German soldiers who settled in Canada after the American Revolution (1776–1783).

Start searching the Loyalists and British Soldiers now!

For more information, please contact us.

Newly Digitized Microfilms on the Héritage Portal

Our project partner,, recently added the following digitized microfilms to the Héritage website. Please note that the titles have been translated for convenience, but the records are still in the language of origin. Searching in the original language will improve search results.

Adjutant General Branch, Medals, 1935–1937
Alexander Whyte Wright: Knights of Labour correspondence and miscellaneous items
Andry Zhuk Collection: Newspapers, journals, serials publications and other printed material
Appendices to the Journals
Arthur Meighen: Series 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, correspondence and finding aid
Bastican Iron Works fonds
Canadian Government Railways: Government Railways Managing Board
Canadian Government Railways: Office of the Chief Superintendent, outward correspondence
Canadian Government Railways: Office of the General Superintendent correspondence
Canadian Government Railways: Office of the Manager, outward correspondence
Canadian Government Railways: Office of the Superintendent, correspondence
Department of Indian Affairs: Northern Superintendency
Department of Indian Affairs: Northern Superintendency, Division 1
Department of Militia and Defence: Nominal rolls and paylists for the Permanent Force
Department of National Defence: Examination Unit
Department of Transport: Registers and ledgers cards of ships closed-out
Department of Transport: Registers of marine certificates
Dominion Lands Branch: Correspondence files
Dominion Lands Branch: Half-Breed files
Dominion Lands Branch: Manitoba Act files
Extracts from the Normandy parliament registers (Recueil d’extraits de registres du Parlement de Normandie)
Finding aid no. 525 to the Amos Botsford and Family fonds
France, War Ministry. Historical army services. Historical archives: A1 Series. General correspondence (Ministère de la Guerre. Service historique de l’Armée. Archives historiques : Série A1. Correspondance générale)
George Allsopp and family fonds
Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst fonds
Herman Witsius Ryland and family fonds
Instructions to Governors in Quebec and Lower Canada
Diaries from a few Atlantic crossings (Journal de quelques traversées de l’Atlantique)
Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto fonds
Land submissions to the Executive Council
Louis Franquet collection
Marine Casualty Investigations: Registers of wrecks and casualties
Media Club of Canada: Clippings, scrapbooks and other printed matter, 1906–1975
National Council of Young Men’s Christian Associations of Canada fonds
National Library of France. Manuscript Department: French Fonds (Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits : Fonds français)
New Democratic Party fonds
Northcliffe collection: Series 1: Robert Monckton papers
Northwest Mounted Police: Telegrams of the Commissioner’s Office, 1882–1919
Office of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs
Papineau family collection
Parish registers: United States
Post Office Department, Transportation Branch: Mail service contract registers, 1839–1980
Quarantine Division registry files: Records relating to the Quarantine Division, Immigration Medical Services and Sick Mariners Service
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Personnel files for members of the RCMP and its predecessors, the RNWMP and the NWMP (1873–1999)
Sir Charles Tupper: family papers
Sir John A. Macdonald: Miscellaneous political papers
Sir John A. Macdonald political papers (General letters)
Sir John Thompson fonds
Society of Friends fonds: Finding aid no. 20
State submissions to the Executive Council [Province of Canada], 1841–1867: Indexes and registers
Upper council of New France fonds (Fonds du Conseil supérieur de la Nouvelle-France)
Vice Admiralty Court of Nova Scotia fonds

The Central Technical School of Toronto: a century of learning

Toronto’s Central Technical School (CTS), located near the intersection of Harbord and Lippincott streets in Toronto, is celebrating an important anniversary this fall. Officially opened on August 31, 1915, the school has been a significant local and national landmark since day one. The building was lauded in the October 1915 Construction Magazine as being a “beautiful and lasting monument to the determination and energy of the little minority who realized the importance and the great future of technical education.” The estimated cost of 1.5 million dollars was borne by the City of Toronto.

A black-and-white photograph showing a large building taken from the side.

Front of the Central Technical School in Toronto, photo taken by John Boyd on October 23, 1915 (MIKAN 3327188)

Once considered to be the largest school of its kind in the British Empire, it is designed in a Collegiate Gothic architectural style. Many early 20th-century Canadian schools were built in this style.

While construction was funded entirely by the local municipal government, in 1913, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden saw it was in his best interest to lay the first cornerstone. The important Montreal architectural firm Ross and Macfarlane (later Ross and MacDonald) won the design competition for the school (the firm is noteworthy for designing Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens among many other buildings).

Top-ranked artists lined up to teach here including Group of Seven artists Lawren Harris and Arthur Lismer. Others, some of whom were part of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, were:

Artists who later became nationally renowned also studied and taught here, such as

As Rebecca Sisler stated in her book, Art for Enlightenment: a History of Art in Toronto Schools, the artists who came here were among the “legion of department graduates who became ranking artists in Toronto, and who were to make national names for themselves in all artistic disciplines….” Library and Archives Canada has many of these artists’ private archival collections. The school also boasts as its alumni, the colourful businessman Edwin “Honest Ed” Mirvish and the renowned physicist Leon Katz.

A black-and-white photograph showing the front entrance of a building. There are two cars parked in front of it and a few people standing at the entrance.

Central Technical School, March 23, 1921 (MIKAN 3655954)

A black-and-white photograph showing a teacher working with a student at a technical school along with other students in the classroom.

Anthony Hryniewiecki being taught by W. Bardsley at the Central Technical School in preparation for future work in jet propulsion, April 1945 (MIKAN 4295799)

The school (which was considered for a heritage designation by the City of Toronto in 2014) has many medieval-inspired features, and is an extended rectangular-shaped three-storey plan with stone walls that are faced with a combination of pink and grey limestone, and trimmed with stone and terra cotta. The west facade features a square tower that has buttresses, balustrades, decorative stonework, and narrow lancet windows. The main entrance is also spectacular—a stone archway supported on buttresses with grotesque sculptures symbolizing “industry” and “science,” a set of three oak-panelled doors, and a stone crest that includes the coat of arms of the City of Toronto. The Toronto School District documented the construction of the school.

The building is a striking expression of Canadian society’s belief in learning in the early 20th century. Dr. Alexander Charles Mckay, Director of the Toronto Board of Education from 1911 to 1926, was partly responsible for this. While he wanted a Canadian school that would support the instruction of skilled workers in various technical industries, McKay also believed that a beautiful building was conducive to the soul of learning. So before the school was constructed, Mackay conducted a tour of European polytechnical schools to look at good designs. And certainly a century later, the imposing Central Technical School still works; it is a grand and uplifting place which has aged gracefully, and now harbours an aura of old-world tradition and excellence.

Happy birthday Central Technical School!

New version of the “Home Children Records” Database

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a new version of its online database, Home Children Records.

This online database has been extended to include more than 245,000 entries for British children sent to Canada between 1869 and 1932. Names have been indexed from a variety of sources, such as records from sending organizations, publications, governmental and private records.

Start searching home children records now!

For more information, please contact us.

Do you have Doukhobor ancestors?

Do you want to know who your first Doukhobor ancestor was and when he or she arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your Doukhobor origins?

If so, our website is a great place to begin your research. Here you will find a page dedicated to genealogical research on the Doukhobors. This page provides you with historical information, archival documents and published material from the Library and Archives Canada collection, as well as links to other websites and institutions.

If your ancestor came to Canada between 1865 and 1935, you might find his or her name on the passenger lists.

Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files – Update of November 2015

As of today, 217,062 of 640,000 files are available online via our Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database. Please visit the Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files page for more details on the digitization project.

Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order. Please note that over the years, the content of some boxes has had to be moved and, you might find that the file you want, with a surname that is supposed to have been digitized, is now located in another box that has not yet been digitized. So far, we have digitized the following files:

  • Latest box digitized: Box #3121 and surname Fitzpatrick.

Please check the database regularly for new additions and if you still have questions after checking the database, you may contact us directly at 1-866-578-7777 for more assistance.

Searching for the Service Files of Soldiers of the First World War


You can find references to the service files of soldiers who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in our database Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918.

However, it is sometimes difficult to find a soldier for several reasons:

  • His given name or surname may be written in a variety of ways
    The information in the indexes is what was written in the archival records, which were often written by hand. There may also be an error in the database. The database search engine may find words with the same root. For example, “Worth*” will lead to a search for “Worth”, “Worthing” and “Worthington.”
  • Several soldiers had the same name
    To identify your soldier, you need to check the attestation papers (enlistment forms) because they contain personal information about him.
  • He gave an incorrect date of birth
    To be able to enlist in the army during the First World War, a recruit had to be between the ages of 18 and 45.

Digitization of the files

For updates on this project, consult Digitization of Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files.

When a record is digitized, you can access it free of charge by clicking on the link “Digitized Service File—PDF format”, which is included when you go into the database. If you do not see the PDF link, the file has not yet been digitized.

How to order a copy of the file

If the file has not yet been digitized, you can obtain a copy of it. Information explaining how to obtain copies is provided on our website under the heading Price List and Service Standards—Regular Copies.

To order reproductions, you need to include the complete reference indicated in the database. For example:

Service number: 105564
Date of birth: 31/05/1881
Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992–93/166, Box 6736—5
Item number: 147430

To better understand the service files

The following links provide details of the important documents that can be found in the service files:

War diaries

The service files indicate the locations of postings in England, but do not provide similar information for France or Belgium, or the battles in which the individual participated. The files provide the names and numbers of the units to which a person was posted. Therefore, you need to have a copy of the service file before consulting the war diaries. Read our page War Diaries of the First World War on the subject.


You can consult our database on Military Medals, Honours and Awards, 1812-1969.

For information on members who served in the air force or navy, or for any other information, consult our page on the First World War.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Launch of “Ukrainian Immigrants, 1891–1930” Database

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, Ukrainian Immigrants, 1891–1930.

This online database allows you to access more than 14,700 references to names of Ukrainians who arrived in Canada and the United States between 1891 and 1930. Names were taken from passenger lists held at LAC for the following Canadian and American ports:

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Montréal and Québec, Quebec
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • New York, New York
  • Portland, Maine

Names were also taken from notes about early Ukrainian settlers and pioneer families in Canada gathered by Dr. Vladimir Julian Kaye (1896–1976).

Start searching immigrants from Ukraine now!

For more information, please contact us.

Did your ancestors come from East India?

Do you want to know who your first East Indian ancestor was and when he or she left East India and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your East Indian origins?

If so, our website is a great place to begin your research. Here you will find a page dedicated to genealogical research on the East Indians. This page provides you with historical information, archival documents and published material from the Library and Archives Canada collection, as well as links to other websites and institutions.

If your ancestor came to Canada between 1865 and 1935, you might find his or her name on the passenger lists.