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MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): Government Documents

This guide shows you how to cite using MLA 8th edition

Abbreviating Months

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan.
February = Feb.
March = Mar.
April = Apr.
May = May
June = June
July = July
August = Aug.
September = Sept.
October = Oct.
November = Nov.
December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 


Access Date

Works from the web can be changed or removed at any time, so it is important to include the date you accessed the material in your citation. This is optional, but is especially important when there is no date specifying when the item (web document, article, webpage) was produced. Add the access date to the end of your citation. E.g. Accessed 23 July 2019.


The format of all dates is: Day Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Write the full date as you find it on the source. If there is only a year listed, you will only put the year in your citation. For others, you will also include a month and day if they are given.

If there is no date listed, just leave it out unless you can find that information available in a reliable source. In that case the date is cited in square brackets to show that you found that information somewhere else. E.g. [2008]


Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).


Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Government Document From a Website

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Department, Agency or Committee, Publication Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Works Cited List Example

Highlights from the Competition Bureau’s Workshop on Emerging Competition Issues. Competition Bureau of Canada, 4 Mar. 2016,$FILE/cb-Workshop-Summary-Report-e.pdf. Accessed 6 July 2016.

In-Text Citation Example

(Shortened Title of Document)

Example: (Highlights)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.

Government Document in Print

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Department, Agency or Committee, Publication Date.

Works Cited List Example

Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report. 7th ed., Statistics Canada, 2015. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Shortened Title of Document)

Example: (Women in Canada 4)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.