A green paper released by the European Commission is a discussion document intended to stimulate debate and launch a process of consultation, at European level, on a particular topic. A green paper usually presents a range of ideas and is meant to invite interested individuals or organizations to contribute views and information. It may be followed by a white paper, an official set of proposals that is used as a vehicle for their development into law.
A green paper in Canada, like a White Paper, is an official document sponsored by the Crown. Green Papers tend to be statements by the government, not of policy already determined, but of propositions put before the whole nation for discussion. They are produced early in the policymaking process, while ministerial proposals are still being formulated. Many so-called White Papers in Canada have been, in effect, Green Papers, while at least one Green Paper - that on immigration and population in 1975 - was released for public debate after the government had already drafted legislation