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Law - Federal Statutes

How to find statutes of Canada.


Statutes or Acts are considered primary sources of law. They are enacted by Parliament in order to reform the common law, to amend existing statutes, to codify the common law, or to deal with issues not addressed by the common law. They are the most formal expression of the will of the State.

Federal statutes are created and amended by Bills, which are introduced in either the House of Commons or the Senate. Bills originating in the House of Commons begin with the letter C- and Senate bills with the letter S-. For a federal bill to become law, it must be read and voted on three times by both the House of Commons and the Senate, and then receive Royal Assent.

Many bills become law when they receive Royal Assent; others come into force on a later date specified in the statute, or when the statute is proclaimed into force, by order of the Governor in Council. Check for a commencement section near the end of the statute. Note that some longer federal statutes have commencement sections for each Part of the statute. A commencement section gives information about when the statute is to come into force. If there is no commencement section, the statute comes into force on the date of Royal Assent, pursuant to the Interpretation Act, RSC 1985, c I-21, s 5(2).