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Law: Canadian Legal Citation Guide

This subject guide provides information resources for the School of Legal and Public Administration Legal Programs.

Introduction to Federal Bills and Statutes

This guide lists selected sources of information concerning the creation of statute law in Canada. You can use the references to find the dates and the text of laws in their various stages of development.

Proposed laws are presented to the House of Commons or Senate as bills. Bills get a number and a prefix that indicate when and were they originated. " C" for bills introduced at the House of Commons, "S" for bills introduced at the Senate. Sometimes private members' bills are numbered in a separate sequence from government bills. Private bills may also be numbered in a different sequence from public bills (both government and private members'). Bills must pass through three readings, first in the House of Commons and then in the Senate, before they become law. Changes can be made to the bill up until the third reading in each chamber. After third reading in both the Commons and the Senate, the bill must receive approval by the Crown (Royal Assent) in order to become an act (statute). It gets a chapter number and is published in the annual volume of statutes. Unless otherwise stated the act immediately has the force of law. Those acts or sections of acts that don't come into force at the time of Royal Assent are proclaimed at a later date. Statutes can be changed (amended ) by the passage of a new bill which may amend all or part of an existing act.

For more information please look at the Federal Legislative Process under Legislative process tab.

Bills

Reading of Bills

To determine if there are any pending bills on a particular act, and the dates of the readings of a bill, consult the following:

 Great Library: Canadian Legislation Online
 LEGISinfo: Library of Parliament

Text of Bills

LEGISinfo: Library of Parliament

Royal Assent

To determine the date the bill received Royal Assent, consult the following:

Great Library: Canadian Legislation Online
LEGISinfo: Library of Parliament

Proclamation

To determine the date of proclamation, consult the following source:

LEGISinfo: Library of Parliament

Statutes

Text of Statutes

To find the full text of a statute or an act, consult one of the following sources:

Print:
Statutes of Canada (Newnham, King) REF KE89.C32
Revised Statutes of Canada (Newnham, King) REF KE89


Electronic:
Department of Justice (Canada): Laws of Canada
The Great Library: Legislation
LawSource

(Thomson Reuters / Carswell) Contains cases, legislation, the Canadian Abridgment Case Digests, and the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest.

Nexis Uni 

(LexisNexis) A large multi-tiered database of over 16,000 sources including newspapers, journals, wire services, newsletters, company reports and SEC filings, case law, government documents, transcripts of broadcasts, and selected reference works.

 

Amendments to Statutes

Statutory law can be altered by one of the following: 1) Other acts of the legislature (amendments or repeals); 2) Judical or administrative tribunals interpretations ( Case Law); and c)Declarations of Constitutional Invalidity (Striking down). Consult the following to determine if there have been any changes to a statute since the last consolidation.

Print:
Statutes of Canada (Newnham, King) REF KE89.C32


Electronic:
Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers
Department of Justice (Canada): Laws of Canada
 

Regulations

Introduction to Regulations

Statutes often empower the government (formally the Governor-General or in some cases, a Minister, Board, Commission or Tribunal) to make law regulations without further legislation. Regulations provide detail that is not found in the statute in the form of: definitions, licensing requirements, performance specification, exemptions, forms, etc.

To have the force of law most regulations made under the authority of a federal statute must be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Last consolidation of the Revised Regulations of Canada took place in 1978.

Finding a Federal Regulation

Consolidated Regulations of Canada, 1978. (Newnham; King) REF. KE114 1978. Federal regulations that have been published up to 31 Dec. 1977 are consolidated in this set.


Electronic:
Department of Justice (Canada): Laws of Canada
The Great Library: Legislation
 

Citation of Statutes

Interpretation Act,
R.S.C.
1985,
c.
I-21,
s.1
1
2
3
4
5
6

A correct legal citation of a statute consists of the above-numbered parts:

1. Title. This is the title of the statute, followed by a comma. Use the short title of the act.
2. Volume. Cite the Revised Statutes as in the above example or cite annual volumes as S.C. No comma follows.
3. Year. Immediately after the jurisdiction. A comma follows the year.
4. Chapter. Abbreviate to a lower-case "c" followed by a period.
5. Alpha-numeric Designation. The letter is drawn obviously from the title of the statute. Federal statutes are noted with a hyphen (I-21).
6. Section Numbers. Abbreviate section to "s." and sections to "ss". Place a comma after the alphanumeric designation if you are citing a section.

For more information see:
Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, (Newnham) REF.KE259.C35

Citation of Regulations

Canada Corporations Regulations,
C.R.C.
1978,
c.424, s. 23 (revised)
1
2
3
4

 

St. Andrew's Lock Regulations, SOR/91 (this # indicates year created) 144, s.6 (not revised)
1 2 and 3 4

A citation of a federal regulation consists of the following parts.

1. Title of the enabling act. Optional
2. Jurisdiction
3. Year. Immediately after the jurisdiction. A comma follows the year.
4. Number. Regulation number.

The abbreviations signify " Consolidated Regulations of Canada" and "Statutory Orders and Regulations".

Citation of Bills

There are five elements that comprise the citation, each element being separated by a comma:

Bill C-231,
An Act to Amend the Family-Allowance Act,
3d sess.,
34th Parl.,
1991
1
2
3
4
5

1. Number of the bill (the number of a federal bill is preceded by the letter "C" for House of Commons bills as in the example or "S" for Senate bills)
2. The title of the bill
3. The session
4. Parliament
5. The year

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