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Law and Legislation: Top Resources

Legislation Basics

Some Definitions

Legislation = Written and approved laws. Also known as statutes, or acts.

Bill = A proposed statute, not yet approved.

Act = A bill which has passed through the various legislative steps required for it and which has become law. Also known as a statute.

Statutes = Statutes are laws that are passed by the legislature - federal or provincial/territorial.

Regulations = Rules made pursuant to a statute and known as subordinate legislation. Regulations always have an enabling statute; that is, a statute under which the regulations were made and operate.

Legal Databases

Article databases allow you to search for articles from many different magazines, newspapers and journals at the same time.

You will find many of these articles through the SEARCH ME! box; however, if you wish to search article databases separately, here are the ones to get you started!

A-Z Database List more databases to choose from ... 

Database Search Tips

1. Use the * [asterisk] at the end of a word to find all endings: 


2. Use OR when you're not sure what terms to use: 


3. Use AND for fewer, but more precise, hits.  For best results, use the separate search boxes and the drop-down AND in ADVANCED SEARCH

  • e.g. First Search Box:  STATISTIC* AND
  • Second Search Box:  POLICE* OR LAW ENFORCEMENT
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Public or Private?

Laws or statutes (and bills) are considered "public" if the law is a law that applies to everyone, i.e. the Criminal Code.

Laws can also be "private", meaning they apply to a specific person, place, or corporation, i.e. in some provinces, a hospital or a university may have its own piece of legislation.

Generally, legislation passed in a year is published in a statute volume, with the acts being numbered sequentially 1,2,3 as chapters. The public statutes are typically first, and any private statute is later in the volume.