“Private acts” are acts that are passed to deal specifically with the private interests of a person, company, or organization; for example the Acme Assurance Company Incorporation Act, S.C. 1931, c. 71 is a private act. Private acts can be found both federally and provincially.
One challenge with researching private acts is that they may not be consolidated in their jurisdiction’s Revised Statutes. If this is the case, a researcher will have to pull the original act (which may be quite old) and any subsequent amendments, and produce a consolidation manually. On the plus side, private acts tend not to be frequently amended, so it is not unusual for a private act to currently read the same as it did when it came into force.
The majority of jurisdictions across Canada have produced tables of private acts which are very helpful when researching them. The following is a list of these tables:
Federal: Table of Private Acts
Alberta: the Table of Private Statutes of the Province of Alberta is available in print at the end of the annual Statutes of Alberta volumes and on QP Source (a subscription database)
British Columbia: Table of Private, Special and Local Acts and Unconsolidated Public Acts that lists all private and other unconsolidated acts along with their amendments.
Manitoba: Private Acts
New Brunswick: Index to the Private Acts of the Province of New Brunswick, 1929-2012 [produced by the Canadian Bar Association]
Newfoundland and Labrador: Table of Local, Personal, and Private Statutes
Nova Scotia: Index of Private and Local Acts (to 2016)
Saskatchewan: Table of Private Acts (up to and including February 15, 2017)