Sunday, January 17, 2010

Library of Parliament Explanation of the Coming Into Force of Federal Legislation

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications features a very useful explanation of the Coming Into Force of Federal Legislation (dated May 15, 2009).

Every reference librarian knows how frequently our users have trouble figuring out when a particular Act or section of an Act comes into force, so this text by the Library of Parliament is very handy:
"Once a bill has been adopted by the Senate and the House of Commons, and has been given Royal Assent by the Governor General, it becomes an Act of Parliament and, as such, part of the Laws of Canada. An Act, however, is not binding unless it has commenced. There is a distinction between the enactment of an Act and its commencement. The former relates to the time it receives Royal Assent, and the latter to the time when it becomes binding and capable of producing legal effects."

"The Constitution of Canada is silent as to the commencement of an Act of Parliament. Pursuant to the common law rule, inherited from the United Kingdom, an Act is deemed to have commenced on the first day of the session in which it was enacted. That rule was, however, changed in the United Kingdom in 1793, and all Canadian jurisdictions now have statutory provisions prescribing rules applicable for the commencement of legislation. The purpose of this text is to provide an overview of these rules for the legislation enacted by the Parliament of Canada."

"Rules pertaining to the commencement of federal legislation originate from multiple sources. While the Canada Interpretation Act provides for default and general rules, an Act may itself provide for its own coming into force mechanism. Acts of Parliament may come into force on Royal Assent, on a day fixed by the Act itself, or by order of the Governor in Council. Before studying the rules pertaining to each mechanism, this paper will review provisions that authorize preliminary proceedings pursuant to an Act, but before its coming into force."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:07 pm


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