Federal Bill Numbers

Today’s Tip is a caution about searching for federal bill numbers.  Be careful that you understand what you are looking for.

I was asked to look for “Bill C-23”. I quickly used my bookmark for LEGISinfo, the Parialment of Canada’s research tool for finding information on legislation before Parliament, both current and historical (back to April 2006), to search by bill number for  C-23.


The FAQ page reviews how bills are numbered, but it does not tell you about bills like C-23A.


My “blink” told me that there was a 2010 Bill that dealt with Pardons, but my initial search result for Bill C-23 showed only the initial 2010 bill that was replaced by C-23A.  A detailed look at the Status for Bill C-23 will tell you that:

Pursuant to Order made by the House of Commons on June 17, 2010, the Bill was divided into Bill C-23A and Bill C-23B.

This tip could be divided into A and B as well.

A. Don’t simply look at a status list without expanding it further.  Had I assumed that C-23  from the 40th Parl. 3rd. Sess. only made it to 2nd reading, my requester would have only had part of the information needed.

B. If someone asks you for a bill number, make sure you know some context.  There is a Bill C-23 in nearly every session. A search for “pardons” in the bill title does show all the information needed for this particular research.


One further caution:  A quick title search for ‘pardons’ doesn’t show bills with ‘pardon’ in its singular form. You may want to bookmark the , which offers a Title and Content option.


  1. The one I used in my instruction session last term was Bill C-11, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The ‘easy’ answer was the one that received royal assent on June 29, 2012. [S.C. 2012, c.20] However, the multiple choice answers tantalizingly did not include that date, but did include a royal assent date of December 12, 2002. [S.C. 2002, c.26]

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