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Primary Sources Guide

Federal Legislation - The Statutes of Canada

The Statutes of Canada were last revised in 1985.  Any acts in effect at this time will be cited as the RSC 1985, for Revised Statutes of Canada.  The chapter number includes the initial letter of the name of the act.

Example:     Privacy Act, RSC 1985, c P-21.

Privacy Act, Revised Statutes of Canada 1985, chapter P-21, cited to the official printed version.

If a federal act was passed after 1985, it is cited as SC for Statutes of Canada.  In this case, chapters are indicated by numbers only, with no initial letters.  If citing a section of an act, add the section number at the end.

Example:     Nunavut Act, SC 1993, c 28, s 5(2).

Nunavut Act, Statutes of Canada 1993, chapter 28, section 5, subsection 2, cited to a sessional volume of the official printed version.

The Government of Canada's Consolidated Statutes and Regulations are available online at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/.  Statutes are generally updated weekly.  As of June 1, 2009, all consolidated acts and regulations on the Justice Laws website are considered to be "official", meaning that they can be used for evidentiary purposes.  When an official version of any legislation is in electronic format, the regular format for citing legislation is used.  You do not need to indicate the electronic source.

Example:  Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 318(1)(a).

Criminal Code, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, chapter C-46, section 318, subsection 1(a).

The Statutes of Canada are also available online in the CANLII and Quicklaw databases.  If citing to a database such as these, which are not an official version, put CANLII or QL in brackets at the end of the citation.

Example:     Youth Criminal Justice Act, SC 2002, c 1, s 38(2), (QL).

Since the Charter of Rights is not an independent enactment, it is cited as Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  This citation is to the official printed version.  A citation to the online version would require the same information included above for the Criminal Code.

Note the unusual placement of the Charter section number (section 15) in the following example:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 15, Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

Provincial Legislation

Statutes are published annually at the end of each parliamentary session into annual volumes.  Every so often all of the annual volumes are consolidated with all existing statutes into one complete set called the Revised Statutes.

The statutes of British Columbia were last revised in 1996.  Any act in effect at that time is cited to the RSBC 1996, for Revised Statutes of British Columbia, 1996.

Example:     Treaty Commission Act, RSBC 1996, c 461, s 5(1).

Treaty Commission Act, Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1996, chapter 461, section 5, subsection 1, cited to the official printed version.

If a British Columbia statute was passed after 1996 and is in an annual volume, it is cited as SBC, for Statutes of British Columbia.

Example:      Apology Act, SBC 2006, c 19.

Apology Act, Statutes of British Columbia 2006, chapter 19, cited to the official printed version.

British Columbia does not have an official online version of its statutes.  An unofficial database is maintained at www.bclaws.ca.  Whenever possible, cite to the official printed version.

Provincial statutes are available in electronic databases, such as CanLII, Quicklaw and BC Laws (only BC Statutes).  If citing to an electronic database such as these, put Can LII, QL or BCLaws in brackets at the end of the citation.

Example:    

Parental Responsibility Act, SBC 2001, c 45, s 2(1), (BCLaws).

Parental Responsibility Act, Statutes of British Columbia 2001, chapter 45, section 2, subsection 1, found in BC Laws.

Bills

When citing bills, include the bill number, the title of the bill, the session of Parliament, the number of the Parliament, and the year. 

Bills originating in the House of Commons are preceded by "C-".  Bills originating in the Senate are preceded by "S-".  When referring to provincial bills, include the jurisdiction.

Examples:

Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, 2nd Sess, 39th Parl, 2007.

Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act, 2nd Sess, 40th Parl, 2009, cl 5 (first reading 29 January 2009).

When citing provincial bills, include the jurisdiction. 

Example:

Bill 53, Family Day Act, 4th Sess, 39th Parl, British Columbia, 2012 (assented to 31 May 2012), SBC 2012, c 24.

Regulations

Federal regulations were last consolidated in 1978.  Regulations in effect in 1978 are cited to the Consolidated Regulations of Canada (CRC).

Example:

Air Cushion Vehicle Regulations, CRC, c 4.

After 1978, federal regulations are cited by the year and number.

Example:

Trade-marks Regulations, (1996), SOR/96-195.

SOR stands for Statutory Orders and Regulations, 96 is the year and 195 is the number of the regulation.

Provincial regulations are also cited by year and number, but include the jurisdiction.  In the following example, 74 is the year and 181 is the number of the regulation.  The title is optional.

Examples:

BC Reg 181/74.

Jury Regulation, BC Reg 282/95.

Citing Legal Citation