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Law - Federal Statutes

How to find statutes of Canada.


Statutes or Acts are:

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

Federal statutes are created and amended by Bills


  • are introduced in either the House of Commons or the Senate
  • 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
    • then receive Royal Assent

Many bills become law:

  • when they receive Royal Assent or
  • 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

To see when statutes comes into force, check for a commencement section:

  • near the end of the statute or
  • in part of the statute (for longer statutes)

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)