Don’t Assume [Part 1]

When conducting legal research, it’s best not to assume. Anything. Go and find out the correct answer. One often heard assumption is that an Act passed in a specific year came into force in that same year. Not necessarily! Ontario Acts can come into force in several different ways:

  • on Royal Assent;
  • deemed in force on a specific date, or dependent upon the coming into force of another Act; or
  • by proclamation.

And, depending on the year the Act was passed, there can be a more complex coming into force date.

So, to find coming into force information, start by looking at the end of the Act: is there a coming into force provision? If not, look through the entire statute to see if there is a commencement statement in earlier sections, or at the end of individual schedules.

Currently the Legislation Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 21, Sched. F’s section 8 deals with the commencement of Acts. But this Act was only proclaimed in force July 25, 2007 , so for Acts passed before this date must consult the previous Statutes Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.21. This earlier Act has a more complicated coming into force provision:

Don't assume pt. 1

Fortunately, at the Great Library we work hard to make your legal research easier and more efficient. In the legislation room, the volumes of annual Ontario statutes that have an “annotated” sticker on the spine have been annotated by our staff. The in-force date for each Act is noted, including the proclamation date and the citation for the page in the Ontario Gazette where the proclamation was published.

Researching legislation can be complicated, and having the correct in force information can make or break your case. So don’t assume – run and find out.

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