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LRW Class UBC Law


									         LRW Class 8

The Canadian Legislative Process
Part II – Provincial (BC) legislation
How to:
1.   Find current versions of BC bills and statutes
2.   Find amendments to current BC statutes
3.   Find out whether a statute is ‘in force’
4.   Cite BC statutes

1. Rehash a little background about statutes

2. Explain how the province enacts them.

3. Show you how to find information on
   statutes + get you to do an in-class exercise.
     1. Some background info on
I. They are a primary source of law.

II. Enacted by the provincial legislative
    assembly for a number of reasons:
  a) to reform the common law.
  b) to codify particular parts of it for clarity.
  c) Or deal with particular issues.
III. You have to be mindful of Jurisdiction.

     i.e. which legislative body has the power to
     legislate in this area, Federal or Provincial?

     To answer such questions, refer to the
     Constitution Act, 1867.

     Generally powers under s91 are Federal,
     and those under s92 are Provincial.
Examples of areas under Federal and
Provincial jurisdiction:

Section 91 – Banking, copyright and
patents, criminal law and procedure, and
marriage and divorce.

Section 92 – direct taxation within the
Province, municipal institutions, property
and civil rights.
Some areas of jurisdiction overlap however.

E.g. In the area of family law the Federal
Parliament has passed the Divorce Act,
while the Provincial legislature has passed
the Family Relations Act, and the Child,
Family and Community Services Act.

Why does Jurisdiction matter? If a piece of
legislation they pass is not within their
jurisdiction it is ultra vires I.E. BEYOND THE
IV. And then you guys also have the Charter -
    stops laws which violate charter rights from
    being valid.
         The Legislative Process
• Types of bill that can be introduced:
  – Public bills: Most common!
     • Introduced by a Minister of the government
     • Reflects government policy, and thus likely to pass
       because the government should in theory have a
       majority of votes.
– Public bills: Most common! (Cont’d)
   • New legislative initiatives are normally submitted to
     Cabinet months before the start of the legislative
      – It gets considered by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation
        and regulations, and then taken to full Cabinet.
      – Once the full cabinet approves, the Legislative Counsel begins
      – Once a satisfactory draft is ready, again presented to the
        Legislative Committee for recommendation to the full Cabinet
      – Once the government is satisfied that it’s ready, the bill is sent
        to the Queen’s Printer.
– Members Bills: Introduced by some random
   • Normally by a “back bencher” or member of the
   • Don’t necessary reflect official government policy
   • Designated with an “M” then the bill number, usually
     M201 onward.
   • Usually drafted without any help from Legislative
     Counsel, and presented in manuscript form.
– Private Bills: Introduced by an MP
   • To enact a law for the benefit of a particular person or
   • They are designated with a Pr and then the bill number.
            Stages of a BC Bill
• A provincial bill must go through the following
  stages in order to become law:
  – First reading;
  – Second reading;
  – Committee report;
  – Third reading;
  – Presented for Royal Assent – once that’s done it
    becomes law.
• First Reading
  – The Bill is introduced to the Legislative Assembly.
  – Not actually read section by section.
  – Just a formality, but the Bill’s sponsor may make a
    brief statement.
• Second Reading
  – Main purpose discussed/debated. These debates
    (“Hansard”) are an important source for
    identifying underlying policy.
• Committee stage
  – Clause by clause debate of the bill takes place in
  – The “committee” is normally the Committee of
    the Whole House i.e. the whole legislative
  – The bill may be amended at this stage, but at a
    provincial level Committee stage bills are not
    necessarily reprinted.
  – These debates are an important source of info
    regarding legislative intent.
• Report Stage
  – The Committee reports the bill as either complete
    without amendments or complete with

• Third Reading
  – Final reading, normally passes without debate.
  – Reprinted with any changes made at earlier
  – The bill is certified as correct by the law clerk, and
    is added to the government website.
• Royal Assent
  – Once bill has passed the third reading it needs
    approval from the Lieutenant Governor before it
    becomes law.
  – Once enacted it becomes an Act of the Legislative
    Assembly of British Columbia, and is assigned a
    chapter number for the Statutes of British
                            Finding BC Bills
•   The Legislative Assembly of B.C. website at (Legislation 
    Bills) has information on bills going back to the 35th Parliament (1992).

     – Search for bills by name or bill number, under the relevant session of the legislative
     – The Progress of Bills table has links to first and third reading bills, and includes dates of
       Royal Assent and chapter numbers in the SBC.

•   QP LegalEze, via the Law Library homepage, has the same information, although
    the information may take longer to load than the 24 hours turnaround time on the
    Legislative Assembly website.

•   B.C. bills from previous sessions are bound and shelved at Law Library Statutes
    KEB27.B74 (LC).
        When is an Act in Force?
• By default it would be the date of royal assent.
• Since 2004, all BC Acts have a commencement clause
  (s 77) which specifies whether the Act comes into
  force on the date of royal ascent, retroactively, or a
  future date to be set by regulation of the Lieutenant
  Governor in Council.
• If an Act is going to be brought into force by
  regulation, the Minister responsible decides the
  appropriate time. This is called proclamation.
• Delay may be necessary for admin reasons.
     Locating In Force Information
• A Provisions in Force page, organized by year, is available on
  the Legislative Assembly of B.C. website at (click on Legislation  Provisions in

• BC Regulations Bulletins
   – Available on:
       • QP LegalEze (via the Law Library homepage > Legislation & Government
          British Columbia);
       • Legislative Assembly of B.C. website at (click on
         Legislation  B.C. Regulations Bulletins); and
       • BC Laws website at (click on Regulations Bulletins);
   Background info on BC Statutes
• In print:
   – Annual Volumes (formerly sessional volumes)
      • All Acts passed within a legislative session are published in the
        annual hardcover volume of the Statutes of British Columbia.
          – Located in reserve, and law library statutes under call number
          – Also includes Private Acts passed during a session.
          – Annual volumes of the Statutes of British Columbia from 1871
             to 1995 are available via LLMC – (Law Library homepages 
             Legislation & Government  British Columbia) .
– Revised statutes
   • To date there have been 10 revisions in BC: 1871, 1877,
     1888, 1897, 1911, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1979 and
   • Done to consolidate all the amendments made to
     statutes since their enactment, or the last revision.
   • Published in hardcover volume.
   • IMPORTANTLY when this is done, the names of statutes
     may change, and their chapter and section numbers
     almost ALWSYS change.
   • A table of concordance is usually published to help you
     trace things back…
   • Available at Law Library Reserve and Law Library
     Statutes KEB41 1996 (LC).
  Finding up-to-date British Columbia
• To locate a current ‘unofficial’ consolidation of the
  Revised Statutes of British Columbia, use one of the
  following resources:
   – QP LegalEze – includes updated versions of Private, Special
     and Local Statutes of British Columbia, and a complete
     Table of these Statutes.
   – B.C. Laws website ( provides free
   – CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) provides free
             Noting up BC Statutes
• Noting-up statutes means either checking for
  amendments to a statute or looking for judicial
  consideration of a statute or statute section(s).
• A pending amendment to legislation may be
  important to an issue you are working on, or
  provisions may have recently come into force that
  would change your argument or position.
• amendments:
   – Use the Legislative Assembly of B.C. website to check for
     any pending amendments that may affect your Act.
       Noting up BC Statutes Cont’d

• judicial consideration:
   – KeyCite on Westlaw Canada (based on the Canadian
     Statute Citations print set) and QuickCite on LexisNexis
• Annotated statutes are also useful sources for
  locating case law that has considered a particular
  statutory provision.
      • A few examples are:
          – Annotated British Columbia Business Corporations Act
          – Annotated British Columbia Law and Equity Act
      Noting up BC Statutes Cont’d…
• A reminder that annotated statute volumes are not
  exhaustive. Often only a selective listing of
  ‘significant’ cases that have considered a particular
  provision is included.
• To find annotated statutes, do a keyword search on
  the online catalogue.
       Noting up BC Statutes Cont’d…
• judicial consideration (print):
   – Canadian Statute Citations, part of the Canadian Abridgment, is a
     multi-volume grey set shelved on the low reference shelf in Law
     Library Reference.
• Use the hard-bound British Columbia volumes and relevant
  paper parts to check for judicial history and treatment.
• B.C. statutes and statute sections that have been judicially
  considered are listed in bold-face type by statute title and by
  section number.
• Citations to cases that have considered a provision are
  included, along with symbols indicating the treatment of the
             Citing Federal Statutes
The full citation of a BC or other provincial statute
consists of the:

   –   Title (short title),
   –   Statute volume
   –   Jurisdiction
   –   Year,
   –   Chapter,
   –   Pinpoint (if relevant).

•    Motor Vehicle Act, RSBC 1996, c 318.
•    Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c 43 s 32.

Consult the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal
Citation, 7th Edition (McGill Guide) for complete
citation rules.
• Let’s say we’re interested in Bill 17, and we know that it was
  tabled during the 2nd session of the 39th Parliament.
• Two ways to find it:
   1.    Go to → legislation → bills
   2.    Browsing – best to browse
• To browse click “progress of bills”
   – Gives progress of bills currently making their way through the
• For older bills click the same “progress of bills” link under the
  relevant session and parliament.
           Demonstration Cont’d…
• Let’s say we’re interested in the BC statute that regulates
  strata property.
• Two ways to find it:
   1.   Go to → Laws
   2.   Browse by title of legislation if you know it; or
   3.   Search by keyword
              Demonstration Cont’d…
Noting Up Statutes!
• Ok, we have our statute, but we want to know if there is any case law on
• Two ways to good resources are:
    1. Quiklaw; and
         1.   Click on “legislation” link
         2.   Specify jurisdiction
         3.   Type name of legislation
         4.   Enter number of relevant section as a number e.g. “4”
    2.    Westlaw
         1.   Tick the “Keycite” box
         2.   Type the name of the act and or citation if you have it
         3.   Specify jurisdiction
         4.   Enter number of relevant section just as a number e.g. “4”

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