Below please find some useful links to various sites for various sources of legislation for federal, provincial and international research, along with a brief description of the website and navigation tips.
This site is maintained jointly by the House of Commons, Senate and Library of Parliament and includes the debates of the Senate and House of Commons, Journals, Order Papers and Notices, and Progress of Legislation. The site includes legislative summaries for each bill going through the House.
CanLII - Canadian Legal Information Institute
CanLII continues to refine and upgrade its service. As stated on its homepage, CanLII is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Its goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. There is an advanced search function for searching across databases, and the program highlights search terms within the retrieved documents. All decisions are now provided in both html and pdf format and all documents are clearly identified using neutral citations. Best of all for researchers wanting to stay on top of the latest cases, CanLII includes RSS feeds which allow the user to be notified when new decisions are added.
This site is a collaborative effort of the Senate, House of Commons and the Library of Parliament. LEGISInfo describes itself as an essential research tool for finding information on legislation currently before Parliament. It provides electronic access to a wide range of information about individual bills, such as: the text of the bill at various stages, government press releases and backgrounders, legislative summaries, important speeches at second reading, recorded votes, and coming into force data. Furthermore, a section called FAQ on the Parliament of Canada supplies a great deal of supplementary information and answers to questions like “How does a bill become law?” and “What does Coming into Force mean?” LEGISInfo is easy to navigate and provides a good one-stop-shopping source for everything you may need to know about developing legislation.
All three parts of the Gazette are available free of charge, in bilingual PDF format, searchable using Adobe Acrobat or html format. Published every Saturday, Canada Gazette, Part I contains all formal public notices, official appointments and proposed regulations. Part II is published every second Wednesday, and contains regulations and other statutory instruments. Part III contains the Public Acts of Canada, and its purpose is to publish this new legislation as soon as possible after it receives Royal Assent. Anyone who has ever had to search this material in the good old fashioned print version will appreciate the accessibility of this digital format, with coverage starting from January 1998. However, you can now link into the Library and Archives Canada page for all Canada Gazettes back to 1841.
Consolidated Statutes and Regulations
The Department of Justice’s site is the source for official versions of all consolidated Acts and regulations and is updated on a weekly basis. The site also has a point-in-time feature that allows you to see versions of acts back to Jan 1, 2003 and regulations back to Mar 22, 2006. Although the site holds much older, consolidated law (some acts even dating back to 1870), you can access all annual statutes as passed by year back to 2001. For statutes prior to that, please see the Canada Gazette site link above. If you need to find the in force date of part or all of a Federal Act, click on the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers tab under Resources on the left hand side of the page and jump alphabetically to the Act.
The e-Laws web site offers quick, easy and comprehensive access to the consolidated laws of Ontario. This site is a major step in the Government of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to improve access to up-to-date laws. Its goal is to provide consolidated statutes and regulations that are up to date within 2 business days of enactment of a new law or amendment of an existing law.
It is easy to start a search simply by clicking on the standard search button and filling in the 3 boxes: statutes and/or regulations, contents or title, and sort by title or number of hits. Or, if you want to get fancy, you can choose any of the clear but detailed help screens which explain advanced features like browsing, specific searches, and searching within a statute or regulation.
This site also includes reference tables that will enable you to check for recent changes in the law. You may also link to the Legislative Assembly’s web site to see bills. This is now the first place we go to when looking for Ontario law.
This site links into .pdf versions of the individual issues of the Ontario Gazette and the main search template is rudimentary at best. If you know the particular gazette issue you need to access, then this site will work, but searching is problematic. A search produces a list of all gazette issues that contain those words but not a direct link to the text itself. The site carries issues from 2000 forward.
Ontario Legislative Assembly
The official site of the Ontario Legislative Assembly is the place to find information on bills currently before the legislature plus debates and committee reports. There is also excellent information on how bills become law, including the differences between public and private members bills. You can search bills by session and then by title or bill number. Each bill will also have links to the .pdf and html versions of the various readings of the bill, including changes made after committee. Other features of the site include full information on all the current members of the legislative assembly, the various committees, plus links to how to find your MPP and any web sites members may have. The page put together by the Legislative Library is, of course, excellent and has links to may other sources of information regarding the governmental system in Ontario.
AustLII - Australasian Legal Information Institute
This is the first of the global legal information institute sites and its software and expertise were used to build all the other sites that followed. Its goal was to provide free access to primary source materials from the country such as legislation and case law and selected secondary materials created for public use. Using a powerful search platform and employing embedded hyperlinks to case law references, AUSTLII allows the user to search all materials together or search within sub-categories, such as New South Wales: Supreme Court Cases.
BAILII - British and Irish Legal Information Institute
This site offers free access to primary British and Irish legal information. Developed using the same software platform as AUSTLII, it allows for cross-jurisdictional searching of case law and legislation for England, Scotland and Ireland. Cases include imbedded links to cases and legislation both within the United Kingdom and internationally, plus the site provides links to other partners such as WORLDLII, CANLII and AUSTLII to name a few.