It was the second paper to be printed in the city, the first being The Federal Capital Pioneer. The paper was sold to the Fairfax group in the 1960s by Arthur Shakespeare on the condition that it continue to advocate for Canberra. It was later sold to Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, which in turn sold it to Kerry Stokes in 1989 for $110 million. Rural Press Limited bought the paper from Stokes in 1998 for $160 million. The Times rejoined the Fairfax banner in 2007 when Rural Press merged with Fairfax. The paper first went online on 31 March 1997.
Its current editor-at-large is Jack Waterford. A recent editor in chief, Peter Fray, left in January 2009 to edit The Sydney Morning Herald. His successor is Rod Quinn. Previous editors include Michelle Grattan (1993–95), the first female editor of a metropolitan daily newspaper in Australia.
In 2008, The Canberra Times printed a formal apology after the paper published an essay in which Irfan Yusuf falsely accused American historian Daniel Pipes of suggesting that Muslims deserved to be slaughtered as Jews were during the Holocaust.
On 17 October 2008, The Canberra Times was distributed with a sticker advertising the ACTLabor Party on the front page. Complaints about the sticker prompted the general manager, Ken Nichols, to issue an explanation.