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LAW Canadian Statutes

This guide is intended to help researchers locate legislation for all Canadian jurisdictions and provide links to sources for other legislative materials

Information about the Canadian Statutes Law Guide

This guide is intended to help students and researchers to find resources and best practices for searching Canadian legislation including statutes, regulations and bills. Legislative materials in print are located on the 1st floor of the library. This guide does not included foreign or international legislation, but specific subject guides can be found as follows:

Canadian Legislation

Acts (also known as Statutes) are passed by the Parliament of Canada and by provincial and territorial legislatures. The laws passed by the Federal government are initially announced in the Canada Gazette, and then published in the Annual Statutes of Canada. The Revised Statutes of Canada are consolidations of law published periodically by the Government of Canada. Laws passed in provinces and territories follow a similar process.

Generally, these are the steps for Canadian legal research:

  1. Start with secondary sources which include encyclopedias, books and journal articles. They provide an overview of the law and background information and give references (citations) to relevant legislation.
  2. Use the library search box on most library pages to locate books.
  3. Continue with primary materials including legislation, regulations and cases.
  4. Ensure the law is current.

Legislative synonyms

When dealing with legislative materials you may find that an item is also known by a different name:

  • Statutes = Acts = Laws
  • Regulations = Rules = Statutory Instruments = subordinate legislation
  • Hansard = Debates

Finding legislation

Research in Canadian legislation includes finding bills, statutes and regulations. It may be in federal, provincial or territorial jurisdictions. Some materials can be located on line - other materials may only be available on paper in the law library collection.

As well as the primary legislative materials the law library has some annotated acts that add explanatory notes and case law summaries. Annotated acts may also contain concordances between different jursidictions.

Legal Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia provide a brief discussion of a wide range of legal topics, with many footnotes referencing cases and some statutes. There are two Canadian legal encyclopedias: the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest and Halsbury’s Laws of Canada.

Legislation Research Guides