Know the Difference Between Consolidated Acts and Annual Acts

One question that comes up on a regular basis is “why can’t I find a copy of this act on CanLII?” 

One possibility is that the act is an annual statute that only amends another act (or acts), e.g. the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2018, S.B.C. 2018, c. 48. Not all amendment acts appear on CanLII; it depends on the jurisdiction.

If you’re not having any luck finding an act on CanLII, and its citation does not begin with “R.S.” (for Revised Statutes), you will probably want to look at the annual statutes for that jurisdiction on the appropriate Queen’s Printer or legislature’s website.

Note that CanLII does include a number of annual statutes, e.g. Canada (back to 2001), Alberta (back to 1906!), New Brunswick (back to 1974), Quebec (back to 1996) and Saskatchewan (back to 1996).

Susannah Tredwell

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