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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

Status and Copies of Bills

Overview

Federal bills are typically published at first reading, as amended by committees, as passed by the House of Commons, and on Royal Assent.
Ontario bills are published at first reading, after amendment by Committee, and upon Royal Assent as individual chapters.
After a bill has received Royal Assent, it is assigned a chapter number (which has no relation to bill number), and printed as a final version of the bill.

In addition to the obvious names of amending bills, be aware of:

  • "Miscellaneous Statute Amendment Acts" which normally list minor amendments to a series of different acts.
  • "Omnibus Reform Bills" which amend many different acts dealing with a similar subject matter

Federal

Electronic Sources

LEGISinfo - gives the text of the bill at various stages, legislative summaries, important speeches at second reading, votes, and coming into force data.

Print Sources

  1. Canada Statute Citator: The easiest source is to use the Canada Statute Citator. The green pages at the front of this Citator have a monthly status of federal bills.
  2. Canada Legislative Index: This is a loose-leaf service prepared and published by the BC Courthouse Library Society. It is updated weekly while Parliament is in session, and monthly while Parliament is in recess.
  3. Canadian Current Law - Legislation: Published several times per year, these booklets list the status of federal and provincial legislation for the current calendar year.
  4. Copies of Federal Bills:  Government Information in Stauffer Library may have copies of bills--consult a reference librarian for assistance.

Ontario

Electronic Sources

The Ontario Legislative Assembly's Legislative Business - Bills contains information on bills and the status of legislation. Here you will find an indexed listing of all the government bills, private members' public bills and private bills introduced in the Ontario Legislature during the current session showing dates of readings, referral to committees, dates of consideration, Royal Assent and proclamations, where applicable. Copies of current and previous versions of the bill are available from this site.

Print Sources

  1. Ontario Statute Citator: This is the easiest print source to use. It contains a "Weekly Bulletin Service" (pink pages) which includes a Status of Bills service. It also reprints bills which have received Royal Assent in its Current Bills Service.
  2. Canadian Current Law - Legislation: Published 8 times per year, these booklets list the status of federal and provincial legislation for the current calendar year.
  3. Copies of Ontario Bills:  Government Information in Stauffer Library may have copies of bills--consult a reference librarian for assistance.

Closing Note

Electronic versions of both Ontario statutes on E-laws and federal statutes on justice.gc.ca (see O Reg 413/08 and the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act, RSC 1985, c S-20, s 31) are now official. However, print sources may still be the official means to find and update other jurisdictions' statutes. In reality, it is most effective to use a combination of resources to find the information you need. There are many ways to access the same information and it is to a student's benefit to become familiar with all of these. In this way you will be prepared to work in any environment (electronic or print) in which you may find yourself.