Lucky 21: Must -Know Legal Websites for the New Year

A picture of a small slot machine with three lucky 7's.

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back! As we move forward with 2021, we find ourselves reflecting on our past year, on all of the questions answered and all those resources that helped us get through it. While there are many legal tools we use when tackling research , there are a few that we consistently rely on — not only for their usefulness, but also for their accessibility.

In honour of the new year, we will be posting our favourite (and free) 21 online legal sources for 2021. These will come in three installments; each installment featuring seven websites.

This week, we focus on those indispensable Canadian primary law websites that no researcher should go without:

1. e-Laws

Your first stop for consolidated, current, source and repealed/revoked/spent Ontario statutes and regulations, e-Laws also has some really helpful legislative tables. Click here for a full list of the tables available.

2. Justice Laws

Justice Laws is the online source for federal consolidated and annual acts, as well as consolidated regulations. Like e-Laws, Justice Laws is also home to some really useful tables, like their Table of Public statutes and Responsible Ministers and Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments.

3. Legislative Assembly of Ontario

While there is a lot of information contained on this site, some of the main tools we like to use it for are:

Current Bills – displays the activity of all bills moving through the current session of the Legislature, organized chronologically by bill number.

House Documents – makes available Hansard transcripts, Orders and Notices and Votes and Proceedings, and in some instances goes back until 1975.

House Hansard Index – with coverage going back to the 1st session of the 39th parliament (Nov 28, 2007), this database makes the Hansard of the Legislature searchable by topic or house speaker.

4. LEGISinfo

An essential database for finding detailed information on federal bills, their status, coming into force information, Hansard transcripts, etc. since the start of the 37th Parliament in 2001. (For bills from 1994 to 2000 only the titles and bill numbers are available.)

5. Parliament of Canada Website

For when you need federal documents earlier than those available on LEGISinfo, the Parliament of Canada website may have you covered. Access to House of Commons Debates begins with the 1st Session of the 35th Parliament (1994) and Senate debates with the 2nd Session of the 35th Parliament (1996). Most committee materials from both chambers are available from 1994 to present.

6. Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources

Look to this resource for digitized federal legislative documents from all sessions of Parliament from 1867 up to 1996. This database includes a well-organized collection of Senate and House of Commons debates, journals, committee documentation and bills. For more information, see our earlier post.

7. CanLII

Canada’s largest free source of federal, provincial and territorial legislation and court and tribunal decisions continues to expand its scope, with more searchable commentary, case summaries and journal articles. Check Primary Law Databases and Commentary for full content information.

These resources have acted as reliable research buddies through years past, and we hope they do they same for you as well as we move through the new year. Look to the next two posts in the Lucky 21 series for some more online favourites.