Have a Copy of the Bill to Refer to When Searching Hansard

Hansard is a very useful tool when trying to determine the intent of an act. Researchers often look at a specific section of an act and what it was intended to achieve. 

However, section numbers can change from when the bill receives First Reading to when it receives Royal Assent, so it is good to confirm what the number was for the section of interest when it was in bill form. This is especially true when reading Hansard for a very long bill. In order to do that, researchers will require a copy of how the bill read for that particular stage.

For researchers looking for federal bills, LegisINFO carries them back to 1997 and Canadiana carries them to 1974. (This does leave an unfortunate gap.)

For other jurisdictions coverage varies greatly; for example, Alberta’s bills are available online back to 1906, whereas for other jurisdictions online copies of bills are only available for the last twenty years. 

Susannah Tredwell

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