Ready For Regulations, Part II: Tools for Tracing  

In this series’ first post, we went over how to update regulations online beyond the e-Laws and Justice Laws currency date. This week, we’ll be reviewing some tools and tips to help you find and trace back regulations. 

Historical research involving regulations can be fun and interesting but also very time-consuming since the task usually requires deciphering source notes alongside searching the Gazettes. We covered how to read source notes (or breadcrumbs) in this post, but what if you have trouble during the preliminary research stage? Before digging into the source notes to locate amendments, where can you look to identify the regulation you are tracing? 

Unfortunately, there are no comprehensive subject indexes to assist you in finding regulations. Instead, finding regulations is done in two ways: by citation AND/OR by referencing the enabling act (usually alphabetically listed).

Finding Regulations Online 

You can find historical versions of consolidated regulations going back to January 2, 2004 on e-Laws, and March 22, 2006 for Justice Laws (except Income Tax Regulations which go back as far as August 31, 2004). For information on where to find regulations online prior to these date ranges, check out the Great Library’s LibGuide: On The Web: Where to Find Canadian Legislation, and for navigating older issues of the Canada Gazette online, check out: Finding Archived Canada Gazette Material Online. 

If you would like to search for a regulation by citation, here are some tips to help you retrieve on-point results: 

Searching by citation on Justice Laws 

Click on “Advanced Search” located on the left-hand side menu. Select Regulations from the “Search in” drop down menu and enter your citation in the “Chapter/Registration #” field. 

Screenshot of advanced search form on Justice Laws website, highlighting the Chapter/Registration number field and the Search in field. For the Search In field, select Regulations in the dropdown menu.

Searching by citation on e-Laws  

In the “Search” tab (located on the left side of the page) type in the regulation number (i.e., “O Reg 477/18”) in the search box. Make sure you use quotation marks and click the “Use exact search” checkbox. 

Select “Consolidated law” from the results filter and “Regulations” from the “Results for” drop-down menu. 

Screenshot of e-Laws search results page, showing 1 result. The regulation's citation was entered into the keyword search with quotation marks; the Use exact search checkbox and the Consolidated Law button were selected.

Finding Aids 

The Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments (Federal) and the Table of Regulations (ON) are tools which can help streamline the process of tracing back regulations. 

Using the Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments (Federal) 

The Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments is a quarterly updated publication (available online and in print!) of the Canada Gazette Part II. It cumulatively lists all federal regulations from 1955 to the present consolidation that are still in effect.   

Depending on whether you know the regulation by name OR by its enabling statute, the two tables contained in the Index can help you find the history for each Regulation.  

  • Table One – Regulations are listed alphabetically 
    Use this table first if you know the name of the Regulation and need to find out the title of the enabling statute. Already know the enabling statute? Skip ahead to Table 2.  
  • Table Two– Regulations are listed by the enabling statute 
    This table provides citations to where regulations and their amendments can be located. 

Once you locate your Regulation in Table Two, the source notes will most likely refer you to one of the following:  

  • The CRC 1978 – The Consolidated Regulations of Canada (available in print at the Great Library and online through HeinOnline) OR  
  • A Statutory Orders and Regulations (SOR) citation containing the year they were filed, and a number representing the successive order. 

For example, the citation for the Fertilizers Regulations, C.R.C., c. 666 under the Fertilizers Act (pictured below) refers to Chapter 666 from the 1978 consolidation: 

Screenshot of the Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments, amendment history of sections 1-2 of the Fertilizers Regulations, C.R.C., c. 666 listed under the Fertilizers Act.

Whereas the source note for “s.2, heading,” points to a Statutory Orders and Regulations (SOR) citation. SOR/97-7 is the 7th regulation filed in 1997; use this citation to help locate the issue it was published in the Canada Gazette Part II.  

For regulations that were made after the last printed Federal consolidation (CRC 1978), the source notes will almost always direct you to the Canada Gazette Part II. 

Using the Table of Regulations (ON) 

In Ontario, a Table of Regulations containing a cumulative listing of amendment information was published within each volume of the annual statutes (now the Table is online). Under each statute (organized alphabetically) is a list of regulations made under that act, along with citations and amendment information.  

For example, we can find the changes made to the General Regulation (O. Reg. 505/80) under the Hotel Fire Safety Act between 1980-1984. By referencing the 1984 Table of Regulations, we see that it was revoked and replaced by O. Reg. 223/84, which was published in the Ontario Gazette’s April 28, 1984, issue.

Screenshot of the Table of Regulations from the 1984 volume of annual statutes; Hotel Fire Safety Act, General Regulation amendment history.

Want to find out more about using tables on e-Laws? Check out our blog post: Turning the tables on legislative research

Finding Regulations in Print  

For information on where to find historical regulations prior to what is available online, check out our blog posts: