Library and Archives Canada does not hold adoption records because adoptions fall within the jurisdiction of provincial authorities. Access to those records is restricted to protect the confidentiality of the information they contain.
To trace a biological parent, sibling or child, you are best advised to work through provincial and private associations such as Mouvement Retrouvailles, [www.mouvement-retrouvailles.qc.ca/] Canadian Adoptees Registry Inc [www.canadianadopteesregistry.org/]. and Parent Finders [www.parentfinders.org/].
If Your Ancestor Was Adopted
As a general rule, prior to the early to mid-1900s when provincial authorities became involved in adoptions, children were placed with family, friends or neighbours without documentation by government authorities.
In Quebec, prior to 1847, adoptions can be found in Notarial Records. Private agreements were made between the government authorities and the families and were ratified in a notarial record. Those records are entitled "Engagement," "Accord" (Agreement)and sometimes "Adoption." A typical adoption record would be:
11 octobre 1705, notaire Louis Chambalon
Engagement en qualité de serviteur domestiques de Pierre Garan, enfant orphelin âgé de 8 ans, par François Madeleine Ruette, écuyer, seigneur d'Auteuil et de Monceaux, conseiller du Roi et procureur général de Sa Majesté au Conseil souverain, à Anne Dufresne et Jean Étourneau, habitant, son époux, demeurant au Cap Saint Ignace. [sic]
The Parchemin database can be used to search Notarial Records from 1635 to 1779.
After 1847, adoption in Quebec became a responsibility of religious authorities running orphanages. Still, private adoption records can be found in notarial records.