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Law: Ontario Legal Citation Guide

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

Introduction to Ontario Bills and Statutes

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

Proposed laws are presented to the Legislative Assembly as bills. Bills are numbered consecutively as they are introduced from the beginning of the session. Private members' bills are numbered with a prefix so that they can be distinguished from government bills. Bills are approved in three stages (readings) during which they may be changed. After final approval (third reading) by the Legislature the bill must receive approval by the Crown (Royal Assent) to become an act (statute ). The bill gets a chapter number and immediately has the force of law unless otherwise noted. Those acts or sections of acts that do not come into force at the time of Royal Assent are proclaimed at a later date. Existing statutes may be changed (amended) only by the passage of a new bill which may amend all or part of the existing law.

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

Bills

Reading of Bills

To determine the dates on which a bill has passed through its various stages, consult the following:

E-Laws - Legislative Tables - Consolidated Public Statutes - Detailed Legislative History
 

Text of Bills

Legislative Assembly of Ontario - Bills & Lawmaking

 

Royal Assent

To determine the date upon which a bill received royal assent consult:

E-Laws - Legislative Tables

 

Proclamation

To find the date upon which an act, or parts thereof, come into force consult one of the following

Print:
Statutes of the Province of Ontario (Newnham, King) REF KEO 185.O568


Electronic:
E-Laws - Legislative Tables - Proclamations

Citation of Bills

Bill 5,
An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Act,
4th sess.,
51st Leg.,
New Brunswick,
1991, cl.2.
1
2
3
4
5
6

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

  1. Number of a bill
  2. Title
  3. Session
  4. The legislature
  5. The jurisdiction
  6. The year (note: the "cl.2" refers to "clause 2"; clauses become sections after enactment

Statutes

Text of Statutes

The texts of acts or statutes are found in the following:

Print:
» Statutes of the Province of Ontario (Newnham, King) KEO 185.O568
» Revised Statutes of Ontario (Newnham, King) KEO 63 1990.O5

Electronic:
E-Laws - Legislative Tables
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) Judicial or administrative tribunals interpretations (Case Law); and 3) Declarations of Constitutional Invalidity (Striking down).

Consult the following to determine if there have been any changes to a statute since the last consolidation:

E-Laws - Legislative History

Citation of Statutes

Boundaries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.B.10 I-21, s.3(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 the annual volume as S.O. 1991. There is no comma following the jurisdiction.
  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. Ontario statutes use a period (B.10).
  6. Section Numbers. Abbreviate section to "s" and subsections to "ss". Place a comma after the alphanumeric designation if you are citing a section.

Canadian Uniform Legal Citation (McGill Guide)

The Canadian Uniform Legal Citation, or McGill Guide as it is more commonly known, establishes the legal citation standard in Canada. Find standards for citing case law, bills, by-laws, statutes, regulations, legal monographs, articles from Canadian law journals, government documents, common international law sources, and legal abbreviations.

Regulations

Introduction to Regulations

Statutes often empower administrative agencies (Lieutenant Governor, Minister, Board, Commission or tribunal) to make rules (regulations) without the need for further legislation. These regulations provide detail about how a statute is to be implemented. ie. Definitions, licensing requirements, registration requirements, performance specifications etc.

 

Finding an Ontario Regulation

Paper:
Prior to 1990: Revised Regulations of Ontario (NH), (KG) REF. KEO 87 1992.
Consult the "Table of Regulations" in the front of any volume. Look under the title of the Act under which the regulation was made. This table will direct you to the appropriate R.R.O. 1990 volume.
 

Electronic:
E-Laws Legistlative tables - Regulations

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.

Citation of Regulations

Revised

Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 575
1 2 3 4

Not revised

Ontario Tax Credit System O. Reg. 1992, Reg. 364
1 2 3 4

A correct legal citation of an Ontario 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 Ontario Regulations contain abbreviations that signify: "Revised Regulations of Ontario" in the first sample, and "Ontario Regulations" in the second.

Additional Resources

For most up-to-dated information on Ontario BILLS, you can access the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website. From this page, click on "House Documents".

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