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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.

Coming Into Force of Legislation

Overview

Finding a statute is often only the beginning of a search. Once a relevant statute, including any amendments, has been found, one must check for additional information. Even though it has received Royal Assent, an act may not necessarily be in force. The concluding section of a statute normally deals with its commencement. Certain sections of the Act may be brought into force in different ways and at different times. All or part of the statute may be brought into force by the following methods or a combination thereof:

  • as soon as Royal Assent has been received
  • on the date specified in the act
  • upon proclamation by the Governor-in-Council, as published in the Canada Gazette, for federal statutes and upon proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor, as published in the Ontario Gazette, for Ontario statutes.
  • if the act is silent:
    • The Interpretation Act, RSC 1985, c I-21, ss 5-6 provides that federal statutes will come into force on the date of Royal Assent.
    • The Legislation Act, SO 2006, c 21, Schedule F, s 8(1) provides that Ontario statutes will come into force on the date of Royal Assent.

Finding Proclamation Dates

If a statute, or a particular section of a statute, is to be brought into force on a date to be proclaimed, one has to check for proclamation dates. For Ontario statutes, proclamations are officially published in the Ontario Gazette. For Federal statutes, proclamations are officially published in the Canada Gazette.

Electronic Sources

For coming into force information for federal statutes, you can consult the Table of Public Statutes from the Department of Justice. although one should also be familiar with print sources. LEGISinfo has coming into force information for 2001 onward.

For coming into force information for Ontario statutes, consult the Table of Proclamations from e-Laws.

Print Sources

  1. Statute Citators: The "Monthly Bulletin Service" in the Canada Statute Citator has a Cumulative Alphabetical List of Proclamations for federal statutes. Proclamation information is also listed under the particular section in the main text of the citator. For Ontario statutes the most convenient source is Ontario Statute Citator's "Weekly Bulletin Service" (pink pages). This cumulates weekly during the session. It lists bills by title including proclamation date information. It also lists all proclamations of past statutes issued during the current session.
  2. Canada Gazette, Part II:  Since March 27th, 1979, federal proclamations are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II under the Statutory Instruments Act.
  3. Annual Statutes Volumes:  The federal annual statute volumes contain Tables of Proclamations covering specified periods. The Ontario statute volumes contain cumulative listings of Acts both proclaimed and not yet proclaimed.
  4. Canadian Current Law Legislation: Published several times per year, this service includes federal and provincial "Statutes Amended, Repealed, or Proclaimed in Force".