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APA Citation & Formatting : Government Documents

Attention Students!

This guide covers APA 7th Edition. Your instructor may choose to use APA 6th Edition. Please make sure that you are using the citation style required by your instructor.

This guide is a starting point only. For full details on correctly citing resources and creating references, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020).

How Do I Cite Government Documents?

APA Style does not have a separate category for government publications. Instead, government documents are cited based on their format, such as books, technical or research reports, brochures, and more. This includes resources published online (9.2). Below are some recommended best practices for citing government documents (10.4).

  • Treat a government document as a book, report, or brochure.
  • If a person is named on the title page, list this person as the author.
  • If no person is named, use the government agency, department, or branch as a group author (9.7). 
  • Give the name of the group author exactly as it appears on the title page.
  • If the branch or agency is not well known, include its higher department first. If the group author is also the publisher, just use the word Author after the location (9.11).
  • If there is a series or report number, include it after the title.
  • The Publication Manual refers to the GPO, the U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office. Canadian equivalents may include the Queen’s Printer, Canadian Government Publishing, etc.

Reference List Entry: Format (10.4)
Author, A.Title of report (Report number, if applicable). (Date). Publisher name. DOI or URL if applicable.

Example:
Canada Council for the Arts. (2013). What we heard: Summary of key findings: 2013 Canada Council's Inter-Arts Office consultationhttp://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.830541/publication.html

Remember! An author can be a single person, multiple people, a group such as an institution or a government agency, or a combination of individuals and groups (9.7).

Please Note! In this example, the publisher, Canada Council's Inter-Arts Office, is also included in the title, and it is not repeated. Instead, the source, a URL, follows the title.

Parenthetical Citation (Paraphrase)
(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Date), e.g.: (Canada Council for the Arts, 2011)

Parenthetical Citation (Direct Quotation)
(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Date, Page number), e.g.: (Canada Council for the Arts, 2011,p. 6)

Narrative Citation (Paraphrase)
Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization (Date), e.g.: Canada Council for the Arts (2011)

Narrative Citation (Direct Quotation)
Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization (Date, Page number), e.g.: Canada Council for the Arts (2011, p. 6)

Reference List Entry: Format (10.4)
Title of report (Report number, if applicable). (Date). Publisher name. DOI or URL if applicable.

Example:
Industrial water use. (2011). Statistics Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.580168/publication.html

Remember! If the publisher and the author are the same entity, do not repeat this information. Instead, list the title as the first piece of information in the reference list entry, followed by the date, publisher and URL or DOI.

Parenthetical Citation (Paraphrase)
(Title or short form of title, Date), e.g.: (Industrial water use, 2011)

Parenthetical Citation (Direct Quotation)
(Title or short form of title, Date, Page number), e.g.: (Industrial water use, 2011, p. 5)

Narrative Citation (Paraphrase)
Title or short form of title (Date), e.g.: Industrial Water Use (2011)

Narrative Citation (Direct Quotation)
Title or short form of title (Date, Page number), e.g.: Industrial Water Use (2011, p. 3)

Please Note!

This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020). Library staff have reviewed the information in this guide, and to the best of our knowledge, it is accurate. However, mistakes do occur. Students bear sole responsibility for ensuring that their citations are correct, and that their assignments meet the criteria laid out by their instructor. Students are encouraged to contact Peer Tutoring or the Writing Clinic for assistance.