Federal regulations are governed by the Statutory Instruments Act, RSC 1985, c S-22. This act requires that regulations be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, within 23 days of registration unless the regulations are exempted by the enabling statute. The act also defines what constitutes subordinate legislation as well as stipulating that there must be statutory authorization for every regulation in the form of an enabling statute. If publication is required, the regulation is effective as of the date of registration with the Clerk of the Privy Council. If the regulation is exempt from publication, it is effective as of the date of promulgation.
Print versions of regulations are extremely important because they are considered to be official sources. However, the online .pdf version of the Canada Gazette is official from April 1, 2003 onward. Finding and updating regulations via the paper trail is a somewhat more complicated and time consuming process than using electronic sources, yet it is important to realize that electronic sources before April 1, 2003 are still considered unofficial. For this reason, it is necessary to become comfortable using print sources to locate and update regulations.
The print method outlined here can also be employed using the online sources listed under Using Online Sources to Update Regulations.
Citations to regulations will refer you to one of two sources:
a) The CRC 1978 - The Consolidated Regulations of Canada.
The CRC set is arranged alphabetically by enabling statute and is shelved in the Federal Legislation section of the stacks.
b) Canada Gazette Part II - A particular issue.
The Gazette is shelved together with the other legislative materials.
If you do not know the name of a regulation but do know the name of its enabling act, proceed directly to Table II.