Canadian Corporate Reports on Microfiche and Index
The C.B. "Bud" Johnston Library is estimated to have around 350,000 microfiche. For over 20 years the Library subscribed to services that provided corporate reports in that format. Until the end of 1982, the Canadian service was provided by Bell & Howell which had a contract with the Ontario Securities Commission. The service was known as CANFIL. When that service ceased, the contract was taken over by Micromedia which provided the documents on microfiche under the name INSIDER. In addition, the Business Library also received reports on fiche from the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
From the period from 1983 until 1997, the Business Library subscribed to Micromedia's INSIDER. In 1996 it was announced that the Canadian reports would no longer be provided on microfiche starting in 1997. At that point it was anticipated that the new electronic service - SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) - would provide an effective substitute.
As a project, the staff of the Business Library attempted to inventory the entire collection of Canadian microfiche reports. As of 1994, the printed list of company names of those Canadian company reports on microfiche covered almost 500 pages and consisted of over 25,000 entries. In 1995 it was decided that the list could no longer be maintained. At a later point a decision was made to again attempt to survey the extent of the collection. The entire collection was retrieved from our storage facility and all the company names were checked against the original list. Companies that had been missed were added as were any new companies that arrived between 1995 and 1997.
The types of reports filed by corporations vary and they were not always the annual reports. Annual reports for these companies may be available for some or all of the years between 1983-1997. It may also be that we have some of the print annual reports in another collection. Queries about obtaining reports or about our holdings can be directed to the C.B. "Bud" Johnston Library.
Other libraries that own all or part of these collections include: York University, McMaster University, University of Waterloo (TUG), Toronto Public, University of New Brunswick, Memorial University, University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta (NEOS), Simon Fraser University and The University of British Columbia.
The Value of Old Stocks
We are often contacted by individuals who wish to determine the values of the securities related to the reports in our collection. We are unable to assist with determining the value of old stocks.
Try contacting the transfer agent listed on the certificate. This is not always possible as the original transfer agent may no longer be in business. Ask at your local public library for the Financial Post Survey of Predecessor & Defunct Companies. This publication is an excellent source of information. Also try the TMX website, they have a database that allows you to search by company name. Company names are registered with the government so try contacting the province of incorporation. Similarly try contacting the securities regulatory authority in the region in which the company is registered. There are also brokers that will perform the search for a fee. In the end a broker or lawyer is usually required to assist with the legal work especially with shares that are not in your name. Provided below are two links that will be useful for those looking for Canadian or American information relating to old securities.
- Ontario Securities Commission - "I have a share certificate. How can I find out if it has any value?"
- Securities & Exchange Commission - "Stock and Bond Certificates, Old"