At your Fingertips: Proclamations and Annotations

Four annotated volumes of the statutes of Ontario with a background of the Great Library

When conducting legislative research, it’s important to remember that just because a statute has received royal assent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of its sections have come into force. This is why it is so important to look through the commencement provisions of the statute in question to discern when the statute will be “fully operational” so to speak.

Unfortunately, deciphering coming into force dates isn’t always as straightforward as looking at these commencement provisions. While these provisions will sometimes neatly list the specific coming into force dates, other times they simply indicate that the statute will come into force “on a date to be determined by Proclamation”.

Proclamations are published in most jurisdiction’s official Gazettes. But luckily you don’t have to sift through piles of weekly Gazettes issues to find the proclamation you need. There are more efficient alternatives:

For Ontario, you can check the Table of Proclamations found on e-Laws, and for federal statutes you can check the coming into force dates in the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers on the Justice Laws website.

Another source which covers proclamations for all Canadian jurisdictions going back many years is the Great Library’s annotated statute volumes. We annotate our legislative volumes with coming into force information. This means we will actually pencil in the coming into force dates, along with the proclamation information, right next to the relevant provisions. Easy Peasy! Look for the volumes with the “Annotated” sticker on the spine to take advantage of this service, or alternatively, shoot us an email for coming into force information.

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:

Continue reading “Don’t Assume [Part 1]”

A New Year’s Resolution for Legislative Researchers – Never Assume

When conducting legislative research, it is best not to assume anything. One often-made assumption is that an Act passed by a legislative body during a specific year comes into force during that same year. In reality, many statutes come into force on a date other than the date on which they receive Royal Assent.

Continue reading “A New Year’s Resolution for Legislative Researchers – Never Assume”