Pay Attention to the Privy Council Office

The Privy Council Office, among many other responsibilities, prepares Orders-in-Council and other statutory instruments to give effect to Government decisions.

The PCO website is the first place to look for proclamation dates of federal legislation – proclamations are published in Canada Gazette Part II, but the Gazette publication is sometimes far later than the Order in Council that brings a federal Act in to force.  The PCO maintains the .

For example, on October 6, the PCO published Privy Council Order Number: 2011-1164. this is the instrument that says:

Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry, pursuant to section 372 of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, chapter 23 of the Statutes of Canada, 2009, hereby fixes October 17, 2011, as the day on which sections 1 to 296, subsections 297(1) and (5), sections 298, 299, 303, 305 to 307 and 309, subsections 311(2) and (5), section 312, paragraphs 313(z.4) and (z.6), sections 314 to 316, subsection 317(1) and sections 318 to 340 of that Act come into force.

That proclamation was published in the October 26, 2011 Canada Gazette

Order Fixing October 17, 2011 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of that Act Come into Force
Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act


If you were only watching the Gazette for federal in force dates, you would be weeks behind the news.  

This week’s research tip: Pay attention to the Privy Council Office


  1. The Privy Council Office (PCO)is, indeed, very important. It is one of a very few “central agencies” (in public service and policy theory jargon) along with Justice and Finance. PCO coordinates policy development among several departments that may be engaged in a particular policy development. It is also widely thought that, in some spheres, policy is developed more in PCO than in the line departments. Since PCO tends to be a bit secretive it is difficult to test this notion.

    Mickey Posluns.

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