Frequently Asked Questions





  • What are consolidated Acts and regulations?

    When the federal government makes changes to Canadian law, often it will create "amending" Acts or regulations. These amending documents make changes to existing laws. For example, if the government wishes to add a new offence to the Criminal Code, it will not rewrite the entire document or create a new, separate Code, but will create an amending Act. The amending Act will add new sections or make changes to existing sections of the Criminal Code. A consolidated Act or regulation is one that has been updated and incorporates the amendments into the original text.

    The Justice Laws Website provides a consolidation, or updated version, of the federal Acts and regulations maintained by the Department of Justice as a convenient way for the public to view the state of the law, without having to carry out research and put together the various amended provisions.

  • Are the consolidated Acts and regulations  the official versions?

    Yes. As of June 1, 2009, all consolidated Acts and regulations on the Justice Laws Website are "official", meaning that they can be used for evidentiary purposes. This is the result of the coming into force on that date of amendments made to the Statute Revision Act, which has been renamed the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act. For more information see the Important Note page and section 31 of the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act.

  • How often is the website updated?

    The Justice Laws Website is generally updated on a weekly basis.

  • How current are the Acts and regulations?

    Each Act and regulation in the database stores its own consolidation date.  The current-to date is displayed in the header of every document.  In general, most of the Acts will be current to the same date and most of the regulations will be current to the same date, but the updating system does allow documents to be current to different dates.

  • What does the last amended date mean?

    The last amended date, displayed in the header on the Table of Contents page for Acts and regulations, shows the date on which the Act or regulation was last modified by amendment. This date differs from the current-to date and only changes when an amendment is applied.

  • In what format are dates displayed on the Justice Laws Website?

    Dates are displayed in the YYYY-MM-DD format.

  • What does the shading of provisions mean?

    A new feature has been added to the consolidated Laws on the Justice Laws Website: provisions in original enactments that are not yet in force will be shaded. As those provisions are brought into force, the shading will be removed. This will make it possible to easily identify which provisions of original enactments are or are not yet in force.

    Note that this feature is effective only as of November 25, 2009 and therefore does not apply to point-in-time searches before that date.

  • What are the citations found at the end of some sections and schedules?

    The citations indicate that the section or schedule has been amended. Each citation refers to an amending Act or regulation.  The citations represent the history of the particular provision.

  • What do the square brackets mean?

    The square brackets often indicate that the text inside is editorial and not part of the law. We will often add helpful information inside of the editorial notes such as coming in force dates.

  • What are the Amendments Not in Force?

    The Amendments Not in Force link, found in the Table of Contents page in some consolidated Acts and regulations,opens a list of provisions taken from enacted "amending" Acts or regulations.  These provisions however are not in force (eg. not yet in effect) at the current consolidation date.  Therefore the prescribed changes have not yet been made to the consolidated text.  These provisions are included for convenience of reference.

    The Amendments Not in Force link can also be accessed in the browse drop-down menu when navigating through an Act or regulation in Document View.

  • How can I see previous points in time for consolidated Acts and regulations?

    The Previous Versions link, when found on the Table of Contents page for consolidated Acts and regulations, opens a list of full documents available for previous versions. Click on the desired time frame from the range of dates to see the legislation in force for the selected period.

    To see previous versions of individual amended sections and schedules, click on the Previous Version link when found at the end of the section or schedule while viewing the current consolidation. A new page opens with the content of the previous version and the option to cycle between points in time by using the Previous Version and Next Version links. The in-force date range for that particular section or schedule can be seen at the top of the page.

  • How far back does the Point-in-time data go?

    Generally, the Point-in-time data is available from January 1, 2003 onwards for the Acts and March 22, 2006 onwards for the regulations.

    The Point-in-time data for the  Income Tax Act and Regulations is available from August 31, 2004 onwards.

  • What are the Annual Statutes?

    The Annual Statutes included on the Justice Laws Website are a unilingual collection of the Statutes in the form in which they were originally passed by Parliament in a given calendar year. Please see the Canada Gazette Part III for the official bilingual publications of the individual original Acts.

  • Where can I go to find Annual Statutes from earlier than 2001?

    The Justice Laws website does not include the Annual Statutes earlier than 2001.  Please see the Canada Gazette Part III for the Annual Statutes published from 1998 to the present.

  • Where can I go to find the texts of Appropriation Acts?

    Appropriation Acts are not included in the database of consolidated federal legislation. The texts of Appropriation Acts from 1999-2000 to the present can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website at the following address:

  • How do I print a document?

    Print the PDF version of a document by clicking on the PDF links provided.

    Print any page on the Justice Laws Website by using the Print option available in the Internet browser being used. The website automatically removes the menus and web-specific items for the purpose of printing a hard copy from the HTML version. Please see the directions outlined in the Printing Help page for detailed printing help.

  • What does the “Highlight on page” field do?

    The Highlight on page field, when found on a page, can be used to highlight entered terms and display the number of matches found on the page for those terms.

  • How do I save an XML version of the current consolidation for an Act or regulation?

    An XML (Extensible Markup Language) version of the entire consolidated Act or regulation is available in the top information area on the Table of Contents page for Acts and regulations. Right-click on the XML link and choose Save Target As to save the file on your computer.

    Clicking the XML link will open the XML file in the Internet browser.


  • How do I search the database?

    A search can be performed by using the Basic or Advanced Search pages which can be accessed on the left navigational menu. The search engine offers a variety of powerful searching techniques which are explained in the Search Help pages.

  • How do I search in a particular Act or regulation?

    Use the Title or the Chapter/Registration # fields to filter the results of your search query for a particular Act or regulation. See Search Help pages for more details.

  • How do I search previous points in time for consolidated Acts and regulations?

    Point-in-time searches can be done using the Advanced Search. Enter the point-in-time date in the Select point in time field. Using the Select point in time search field together with the other search fields will return search results for previous versions of consolidated legislation. See Search Help for more detailed information

  • What is the difference between “Hits only” and “Hits in Context”?

    The Hits Only option lists the titles, Chapter/registration number and section numbers or schedules of the documents which contain a hit for your query.

    The Hits in Context option lists the titles, Chapter/registration number and section numbers or schedules of the documents which contain a hit for your query along with the text of the provision with the search terms highlighted. Surrounding provisions that do not contain search hits are represented by “[…]” in the search results text.