Finding Unconsolidated Legislation

One challenge with legislative research is when you need to find an older act that, although still in force, has not been included in the last statute revision. The most obvious examples of this are private acts, but there are other pieces of legislation that fall into this category.

If you are looking for an older federal act and cannot find it in the 1985 revision you should check the Table of Private Acts and the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers. The Table of Public Statutes includes “a certain number of public Acts, passed before January 1, 1985, that were not consolidated in the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1927, 1952, 1970 or 1985.” For example, you can see that the Canada Shipping Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. S-9 is listed in the Table of Public Statutes, despite not having been consolidated since 1970.

British Columbia produces a Table of Private, Special and Local Acts and Unconsolidated Public Acts that lists all private and other unconsolidated acts along with their amendments. Most other provinces produce similar tables, e.g. Ontario’s table of Private Statutes.

The next step is to find the full text of the act as it currently reads. In some cases you may find you have to consolidate the act yourself using the original act and its amendments. In others you may find the jurisdiction already provides a consolidated version. For example British Columbia provides consolidations of a number of private acts.

Susannah Tredwell

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