Finding Legislative Histories on eLaws: A Refresher

Looking for legislative history and amendment information for Ontario statutes but find yourself unsure how to begin? Here’s a quick refresher on using e-Laws to get the information you need.

If you click into any piece of current consolidated legislation on e-Laws – I’ve used the Ambulance Act as an example –  you can find three spots that contain legislative history information:

  1. under the “Versions” tab,
  2. in the “Legislative History” note,
  3. and through the Source Notes under each section of the act.

1. “Versions”

versions

The “Versions” tool of the e-Laws website is a great way to view historical versions of consolidated legislation. Simply click one of the listed hyperlinked date ranges to view a snapshot of how that act read during that period of time. e-Laws provides historical versions of consolidated legislation going back until January 2, 2004.

2. “Legislative History”

legislative history

Near the top of every consolidated act you will find a section that reads “Legislative History”. Here, you can find a list of cites to acts that have affected the current act in some way (whether through amendment, repeal or enactment) since the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. This is helpful when looking to trace an act back to before the “Versions” cut-off date of 2004.

3. Source Notes

source notes

When looking for legislative history information for specific provisions, look to the citations provided at the end of each section of the act. Unlike the information provided in the “Legislative History” section, these source notes highlight only those acts that have affected the specific section in some way. These source notes go back until the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. For more on how to read and utilize source notes, see our blog post here.

Tables on e-Laws

And of course, e-Laws has plenty of tables that can be helpful when conducting legislative research. The “main” table to use when tracing back legislation may well be the “Public Statutes and Ministers Responsible” table. This table provides info concerning minister(s) responsible, legislative history and repeal information going back until the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. Here is a full list of e-Laws legislative tables.

Need legislative history information going back before the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990? HeinOnline has got you covered. You can find tables of public statutes at the end of volumes of the digitized Ontario annual statutes up to 2001. These tables provide information on statutes such as: their citation within the most recent revision as well as amendment and repeal information. And don’t forget — Law Society of Ontario licensees have free remote access to HeinOnline through the Great Library.

Organize and monitor your online legal research

Legal research can get messy fast. The process of finding and understanding the relevant law is rarely linear. It can also take time, cover many sources, both print and electronic, and produce a large volume of results, from commentary to cases. Having a research plan, documenting your process and keeping your results organized are key. Lexbox is a free Google Chrome extension which presents one option for organizing and monitoring your online legal research. Continue reading “Organize and monitor your online legal research”

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”