Terminology

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Some terms you may come across while researching bills and statutes:

Bill
A legislative proposal tabled (introduced) in the federal House of Commons or Senate, or in the provincial legislature. If it passes all stages, the bill will eventually become law. 

Debates
The printed verbatim record (transcript) of the proceedings of a legislative body (eg, the Debates of the House of Commons). Sometimes referred to as "Hansard". Can be useful in helping to determine legislative intent or government policy.

Regulations
Rules made under the authority of a statute. Regulations are delegated legislation; ie, the power to make certain, specific rules under a law is delegated to a particular minister/department.

Revised Statutes of Canada (RSC)
Latest revised and consolidated (updated) statutes of the federal government. The last print revision of the RSC was done in 1985. For up-to-date versions of legislation since then, look online.

Revised Statutes of Ontario (RSO)
Latest revised and consolidated (updated) statutes of the government of Ontario. The last print revision of the RSO was done in 1990. For up-to-date versions of legislation since then, look online.

Statute
Also referred to as a "law", an "act", or a "code". These terms are mostly interchangeable, and refer to the final, official version of a law as adopted (passed) by the federal Parliament or provincial legislature.

Statute Citator
A statute citator is used to check legislative changes made to a statute since the last revision. Useful if you are trying to track the history of changes made to a law over time. Also sometimes called a "Table of Public Statutes".

Content last updated: November 11, 2019