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A New LibGuide: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not follow the usual path of Canadian legislation.  Tracing its evolution involves research in two jurisdictions – Canada and the UK – since the power to change our Constitution and incorporate new constitutional measures such as the Charter did not lie in our hands but rather with the Crown.  This can cause a lot of confusion when searching for source law on the Charter. 

For this reason, we have created a LibGuide that aims to guide the researcher in their pursuit to locate and identify legislative intent for the Charter as well as to help form a basic understanding of the legislative pathway the Charter underwent to be enacted.  This LibGuide provides the dates and direct links to the British and Canadian Hansards and identifies some helpful secondary and primary source material concerning the Charter.  The territories of this LibGuide include:

  • The Charter:  A Brief Legislative History
  • The Hansards: The Charter in Canada
  • The Hansards: The Charter in the United Kingdom
  • Secondary Resources at the Great Library

And the LibGuide is now live!  Much like the other LibGuides produced by the Great Library, the Charter LibGuide will be periodically updated.  Visit the Great Library Research Guides to find this and other helpful LibGuides produced by the Great Library staff. 

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New Year, New Rules: Changes in Smalls Claim Court

In October, the Ontario government announced that they would be raising the claim limit for Smalls Claim Court from $25,000 to $35,000 in the New Year.  This is part of an access to justice initiative to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their disputes in front of a judge.

Currently, all claims that exceed $25,000 must seek redress through the Superior Court of Justice— one of the busiest courts in Canada.  By increasing the Smalls Claim Court claim limit, more litigants will be able to bring their disputes to a court where cases are often resolved in less than a year, and where the use of less expensive legal representation such as paralegals, law students, and self-representation is available.  This will also help free up the Superior Court of Justice to focus on more pressing family and criminal law cases as more civil cases are diverted to Small Claims Court.

Along with this change also comes the increase in the minimum amount of a claim that may be appealed to Divisional Court from $2,500 to $3,500.  Additionally, litigants who started a claim in the Superior Court can seek to transfer their case to Small Claims Court if the claim falls within the monetary threshold.

Legislation Responsible:

O. Reg 343/19 was the regulation responsible for amending O.Reg 626/00, Small Claims Court Jurisdiction and Appeal Limit (regulation under the Courts of Justice Act) to change the maximum claim amount from $25,000 to $35,000.  It also increased the minimum amount of a claim that may be appealed to Divisional Court from $2,500 to $3,500.  O.Reg 343/19 comes into force on January 1, 2020.

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House of Bills: A Fall Recap of Ontario Bills

As of December 12 the Legislative Assembly of Ontario stands adjourned for the winter recess and does not plan to return until February 18th. As promised, we have compiled a list of those bills which have progressed through the House this fall (October 28-December 12) and have identified the latest stage they reached before the winter recess.

First Reading

Bill 134, Caribbean Heritage Month Act, 2019
Bill 135, La Francophonie Act, 2019
Bill 137, Franco-Ontarian Community Act, 2019
Bill 139, Caribbean Heritage Month Act, 2019
Bill 140, Defibrillator Registry Act, 2019
Bill 143, Health and Safety at Work Day Act, 2019
Bill 146, Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019
Bill 148, Doored But Not Ignored Act, 2019
Bill 149, Dyslexia Awareness Month Act, 2019
Bill 151, Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act (Vaping is not for Kids), 2019
Bill 155, Rent Control Act, 2019
Bill 158, Defibrillator Training and Access Act, 2019
Bill 160, Education Amendment Act (Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraints), 2019
Bill 161, Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019
Bill 162, Public Accountability and Lobbyist Transparency Act, 2019
Bill 163, Food Day Ontario (Food Day Canada in Ontario) Act, 2019
Bill 164, Protecting Vulnerable Persons in Supportive Living Accommodation Act, 2019
Bill 165, Ontario Climate Crisis Strategy for the Public Sector Act, 2019
Bill 166, Great Lakes Protection Amendment Act, 2019
Bill 167, Legislative Assembly Amendment Act, 2019
Bill 168, Combating Antisemitism Act, 2019
Bill 169, Home Warranties to Protect Families Act, 2019
Bill 170, Protecting Passenger Safety Act, 2019

Second Reading

Bill 125, Making Northern Ontario Highways Safer Act, 2019
• Lost on division
Bill 133, Buy in Canada for Mass Transit Vehicles Act, 2019
• Lost on division
Bill 156, Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019
• Debate

Committee Stage

Bill 112, Lupus Awareness Day Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government
Bill 130, Combatting Litter for the Environment and Nature Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General government
Bill 141, Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 142, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Air Brake Endorsements), 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 144, Northern Health Travel Grant Advisory Committee Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills
Bill 145, Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General government
Bill 147, Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General government
Bill 150, Ensuring Transparency and Integrity in Political Party Elections Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General government
Bill 152, Occupational Safety and Health Day Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 153, Long-Term Care Homes Amendment (Till Death Do Us Part) Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 154, Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 157, COPD Awareness Day Act, 2019
• Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy
Bill 159, Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2019
• Bill considered by Standing Committee on Social Policy

Royal assent

Bill 6, Poet Laureate of Ontario Act (In Memory of Gord Downie), 2019 (SO 2019, c 16)
Bill 116, Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act, 2019 (SO 2019, c 17)
Bill 123, Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act, 2019 (SO 2019, c 18)
Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019 (SO 2019 c 12)
Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 (SO 2019, c 14)
Bill 136, Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 (SO 2019, c 13)
Bill 138, Plan to Build Ontario Together Act, 2019 (SO 2019, c 15)

That’s all for now, folks! Come back the end of February for the next “House of Bills: A Weekly Update on Ontario Bills” post.

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New Books: Winter 2019

Here are some recent additions to our collection:

New Titles

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Herrmann. KF 300 H47 2019 / Circulating Collection, 2nd Floor.

Mark Herrmann gives it to you straight in the second edition of his book The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law.  Committing to the character of the old and grumpy curmudgeon, Herrmann offers sound, practical advice on what to do and not to do to practice law successfully, including how to write persuasively, prepare for court, build a practice, and treat colleagues and clients with professional courtesy and respect.

Gerald Fridman and the Law of Obligations: Past, Present and Future, edited by Neyers et al. KF 385 G47 2019 / 1st Floor.

The late Professor Gerald Fridman was one of Canada’s most respected and prolific legal scholars. This collection of papers, written by both academics and practitioners and originally presented at a Western Law symposium last fall, celebrates and explores Professor Fridman’s  influence and contributions to the study of private law. The volume is divided into four parts, reflecting the primary fields of his scholarship:

  • Part I: The Law of Contract
  • Part II: The Law of Torts
  • Part III: The Law of Unjust Enrichment, Restitution, and Trusts
  • Part IV: Commercial Law: Sale of Goods and Agency

A Lawyer’s Guide to Working with Special Needs Clients by Courtney. KF 311 C68 2019 / 1st Floor.

This bookfills a fundamental need for basic information on planning techniques and legal strategies unique to representing clients with special needs. Chapters are included on special needs trusts, education, housing, and other financial and legal issues to consider. While this is an American guide, the book’s first two parts “Understanding the Special Needs Client” and “Understanding Special Needs Practice Issues” will be particularly relevant to the Canadian practitioner as they cover topics such as working with clients and their families, essential questions to ask clients, and managing ethical and practice risks.

Prosecuting and Defending Drug Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook by Gorham et al. KF 3890 G67 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

This text, which marks Volume 11 in Emond Publishing’s Criminal Law Series, presents practical and in-depth guidance for any practitioner litigating drug-related offences. It includes substantive chapters on bail, disclosure, trafficking, possession and sentencing, as well as advice on specific procedures, such as Garofoli applications. The book is balanced, providing guidance from both the prosecution and defence perspectives, and clearly laid out, with helpful charts and ample case references.

Real Estate Finance in Canada by Manzer & Porter. KF 695 M36 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

This guide is intended for legal practitioners involved in managing and documenting financial transactions based primarily on the security of real property. The authors covers the fundamentals of real estate finance, as well as the specialized aspects involved, such as regulatory issues, construction, zoning, environmental risk and Indigenous rights. The practical value of the text is further enhanced by the inclusion of checklists, charts and precedent document clauses.

Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide by Barker & Anderson. KF 425 B37 2019 / Reference Collection, 2nd Floor.

Highly anticipated by the staff at the Great Library, Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide is just that—a practical, clear guide to the perplexing process of researching legislative intent.  Beginning with a foundational overview of the history of the use of legislative intent and of the legislative process in Canada, the book moves on to describe the various sources available to trace legislative history and assist in statutory interpretation. Perhaps most importantly, this comprehensive guide outlines how to use and apply those sources to research legislative intent. Other topics covered include statutory instruments and delegated legislation, researching the history of regulations, and interpreting treaties with Indigenous Peoples. 

Updated Editions


Branding and Copyright for Charities and Non-Profit Organizations, 3rd ed., by Carter & Goh. KF 3180 C37 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Education Law, 5th ed., by Brown et al. KF 4119 B76 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Estate Planning with Life Insurance, 7th ed., by Stephens. KF 750 S74 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Evidence: Principles and Problems, 12th ed., by Delisle et al. KF 8935 .ZA2 D44 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

The Executor’s Handbook, 6th ed., by Greenan. KF 778 G74 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Inadmissible to Canada: Travel to Canada after a Conviction, 2nd ed., by Feil. KF 4483 .I5 F45 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Modern Trial Advocacy: Analysis & Practice, Canadian 4th ed., adapted for Canada by Tape & Rosenthal. KF 8915 L83 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

The Privacy Officer’s Guide to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2020 ed., by Banks. KF 1263 .C6 C36 P 2020 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Trusts in Common-Law Canada, 3rd ed., by Pavlich. KF 730 P39 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

U.K., U.S. & International

Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, 9th ed., Crawford. KZ 3225 .B76 P75 2019 / 1st Floor.

A Litigator’s Guide to Building Your Best Argument, 2nd ed., by Kuhne. KF 8915 K84 2019 / 1st Floor.

Plain English for Lawyers, 6th ed., by Wydick & Sloan. KF 250 W9 2019 / Reference Collection, 2nd Floor.

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Legal Research Survival Guide – Part 6: Help with Hansard

In our previous Survival Guide posts, we’ve covered planning your research and getting off to a quick productive start with research guides, current legal texts and CPD papers. This week we’re continuing with some practical tips for conducting effective statutory research, using Hansard.

Hansard is the term commonly used for the record of the debates of Parliament and provincial and territorial legislatures. It is a key resource for research into statutory interpretation, helping to shed light on the context and intent of legislative changes.

Hansard research can however be confusing and time-consuming. So here some useful preliminary steps to help you clarify and focus your Hansard search before you dive in:

  1. Identify the statute section(s) of interest

Don’t make your job harder than it needs to be! While there are times when an entire statute may be relevant to your research, quite often you’re really only interested in the legislative intent behind changes to specific provisions. Identify those sections using the current consolidated version of the statute. This will make the next stages of your research more efficient.

  1. Trace your section(s) back

Once you’ve identified the section(s) for which you want to find legislative intent, you’ll need to then trace the section(s) back to the point at which a relevant change was made by amending legislation, or to the point at which the section was first introduced. To do so, use the source (historic) notes included at the end of your section(s) in the current consolidated version of the statute. For a primer on how to read statutory source notes, see Following the Breadcrumbs: Source Notes and How to Use.

  1. Identify the bill number, parliament and session

Once you’ve located the amending or original statute of interest, you’ll need to find the corresponding bill number because Hansard deals with bills not statutes.

It’s also important to take note of the year, the parliament or legislature and the session number for your bill so you can search the correct Hansards. For example, knowing you’re looking for debate on Bill C-20 is not enough. You’ll need to know it’s the Bill C-20 from the 36th Parliament, 1st Session (1997-1999), not Bill C-20 from 35th Parliament, 2nd Session (1996-1997).

You can find bill numbers, parliament and session information on LEGISInfo (federal bills) and the Ontario Legislative Assembly website, as well as in the official annual print volumes of the Ontario and Federal statutes.

  1. Use the indexes

At this point, you have all the information you need to locate the correct Hansard volumes. Select the index for the parliament/legislature and session you need, and look up the bill number or name to find the pages numbers where debate at each stage (reading) of the bill’s legislative process can be found. (Page numbers in online versions of debate indexes are typically direct links into the full-text of Hansard.)

When searching Hansard online, you can use Ctrl-F or available keyword search boxes to get to the points in Hansard where your bill is mentioned. However, relying on Hansard indexes will give you a more complete and clearer picture of your research path.

Need to find Hansards online? Look to our blog posts Finding Hansard Online: Canada and Ontario and Ontario Hansard Then and Now for pointers.

And there you have it. While each bill is unique and the road to finding information on legislative intent may not always be straightforward, you can depend on the framework described above to guide you to the Hansards you need—just as you can depend on the library staff to help you along the way. Be sure to come to the Reference Office, or contact us through Ask a Law Librarian if you have any questions.