Betty Deavy is a former Government
and Law specialist with the National Library of Canada. This article is based
on her presentation at a seminar on Canadian Official Publications. It was
updated by Norma Gauld a Government and Law specialist with the National
By law the government is
required to publish certain types of information. The Canada Gazette is the
official news medium where such information must be published. It is published
in three parts by the Queen's Printer under the authority of the Statutory
Instruments Act. This article discusses the history, contents, and organization
of this unique and sometimes complicated source of information.
The Canada Gazette began before
Confederation, on October 2, 1841. It has been published in two series, the
first series being the Canada Gazette, 1841-1869, Volumes 1-28, which
superseded the Upper Canada Gazette and the Lower Canada Gazette. (These were
not strictly official publications although they carried government notices).
The second series began in July 1867. Between 1867 and 1869 the two series
overlapped but from July 1, 1867, the first series contained only material on
Quebec while the second series covered the rest of Canada.
Anyone who has used the Canada
Gazette will know that you read it for facts not for entertainment, although
stories of drama can be found in the Governor General's awards for bravery. For
example, the issue of January 17, 1987, contains the story of a woman in
Brockville who sprayed gas on herself while filling her car at a self service
gas station. The car burst into flames when she started it and began rolling
toward a busy street. The woman was pulled from the burning car by a gas
station employee and a customer who just drove in and had a fire extinguisher
in his van. However, the information about the Governor General's awards are an
exception to what usually appears.
More often one reads the Canada
Gazette to find new acts, regulations and proclamations. It also contains
information on a company's charter, officers, the date and place of its annual
meeting. Up until October 1991, it also contained information on bankrupcy. It
indicates who has received an Order of Canada award, been appointed to a high
civil service post, who has been made a member of the National Library Advisory
Board or the Canada Council. For all except the acts, regulations and
proclamations you will look in Part I of the Canada Gazette.
Canada Gazette Part I
Part I continues the numbering of
the 2nd series which began July 1, 1867 and is published weekly, every Saturday
morning. Since April 1986, Part I has carried, on its cover, a brief description
of the contents of all three parts, purchasing information and the fact that it
is available in most public libraries for consultation. Part I contains
information of a general nature with a very broad subject range. The following
is a list with annotated headings from a typical table of contents.
Part I - Table of Contents
Sometimes but not always in the
Table of Contents. Some are under Government Notices or Commissions e.g. Public
Notices published by commissions,
agencies and boards other than departments.
Departmental as opposed to
commissions, agencies, etc.
Those directed by the Clerk of the
Privy Council to be published but not required by regulations under the Statutory
Instruments Act to be in Part II.
Rules of parliament, bills assented
Detailed information about proposed
Among the wide variety of items
that appear in Part I one can find the Income Tax Act Interpretation Bulletins,
detailed proposals for changing electoral boundaries, advance notice of time,
place and subject of public hearings of various boards, commissions and
tribunals. Chartered Banks Unclaimed Bank Balances is a very popular item since
it reports any amount of $50 or more unclaimed for 9 years. All will be paid to
the Bank of Canada if not claimed within six months of publication.
Anyone doing a study of banking in
Canada would have to consult the Canada Gazette because, since 1841, it has reported
detailed monthly statements from all the chartered banks as well as a weekly
statement of assets and liabilities from the Bank of Canada from its beginning.
One can find the exchange rate for dollars and pounds sterling in the 1850s in
the Canada Gazette.
Extras, Supplements, and Indexes
to Part I
Extras may appear on any day of the
week. They are issued for announcements such as the death of a sovereign or
governor-general, the recall of members of parliament, or notice of public
hearings of the CRTC. They are usually reprinted in a regular issue and are
indexed in the Quarterly Index. Supplements usually bear the same date as a
regular issue, but are published separately because of their bulk or nature.
Some, such as the Chartered Banks Statements, and Unclaimed Bank Balances,
appear on a regular basis. All can be found in the index under the department
and act under which they are issued.
Although the Canada Gazette has a
wealth of information useful to historical researchers as well as current users,
a major drawback is that you cannot access it through a long term cumulated
index. Each issue is indexed and there were annual indexes up to 1971. From
then on there have been quarterly indexes which are very slow in appearing.
Proposed Regulations and RIAS
These now appear in Part I and
interested persons have 60 days to make representation to the Minister
involved. The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement or RIAS is published with
the proposed regulation. These began to appear in the fall of 1986 and now
appear with every regulation and proposed regulation. The RIAS describes
clearly, in non legal language, the intent of the regulation, what other
alternatives were considered, its consistency with Regulatory Policy and with
the Citizens Code of Regulatory Fairness, benefits and costs and the
anticipated impact of the regulation. This RIAS also describes what
consultation has taken place and finally, whom to contact for further
information. The addition of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement is a part
of the Regulatory Reform package.
Almost all citizens are affected in
some way by the information contained in the Canada Gazette.
A recent addition, initiated by
former Prime Minister Campbell, is the publishing of Notices of Vacancies for
high level positions which are Order-in-Council appointments. The first such
notices appeared in the issue of September 18, 1993, for positions on various
boards and citizenship judges.
Canada Gazette Part II
The Canada Gazette, Part II
appeared first as a separate publication January 1947 and came out every 2nd
and 4th Wednesday. This changed slightly on January 11, 1984 and it has since
been published at least every other Wednesday. Part II contains all regulations
as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act, all orders, rules, regulations and
proclamations of a legislative power conferred under an act or imposing a
penalty under an Act. Before 1947 regulations were published in the Canada
Gazette but not consistently.
Regulations are drawn up within a
department and made under the authority of an act for which that minister is
responsible. Then they must be submitted for approval to the Governor in
Council, in essence, the Cabinet. When approved they become orders-in-council
and receive a Privy Council or PC number. They are then submitted to the Clerk
of the Privy Council for registration and to receive a second number, an SOR
number; or, if they are statutory instruments other than regulations, such as a
proclamation, they receive an SI number. The Clerk of the Privy Council may
decide to publish in Part I or Part II any document which in her opinion, is in
the public interest unless, by law, it is exempt from publication. If an
order-in-council is given an SOR or an SI number it will appear in Part II.
Proclamations of treaties and acts
in force appear since March 29, 1986 in Part II instead of Part I. Other
proclamations still appear in Part I and the change was made to correct
inconsistencies in following the regulations of the Statutory Instruments Act.
Certain classes of regulations are
exempt from publication in the Canada Gazette. Basically they are of four
types. Those that are:
1. Exempt from both publication and
registration because their large numbers make this impractical.
2. Exempt from publication because
a limited number of persons are affected.
3. Exempt from publication and
inspection in the interest of international relations, national defense or
4. Exempt from publication and
inspection because if inspected or copied they would be likely to result in
injustice or hardship to any person or body. Such items are paroles and pardons
and in recent years certificates of citizenship are included here.
More detailed information is
contained in the Statutory Instruments Regulations of the Statutory Instruments
Act, Ch. 1509, Consolidated Regulations of Canada, 1978.
Information on where to inspect and
obtain copies of types 1 and 2 appears in the Consolidated Index of Statutory
Instruments, Canada Gazette Part II.
Indexes - Part II
Each issue has an index by name of
the regulation and also a table of contents arranged by SOR and SI number. This
table gives the corresponding P.C. number which is not cumulated anywhere. The
Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments appears quarterly and is a
cumulated index to any statutory instrument passed since January 1, 1955 and
still in force during the current calendar year.
There are three tables. Table I
lists the regulations by title alphabetically and gives the act under which
each was made. If you already know the act and title you can go directly to
table II. There the statutes are listed alphabetically and under each are the
corresponding regulations. This table tells you when the regulation was made,
its registration number and date, and the date and page on which it can be
found. Occasionally there is a blank under Canada Gazette column indicating the
document is exempt from publication. However, the introduction to Table 2
explains where copies of such documents can be inspected or obtained. The
introduction also explains the abbreviations used in the final column -
"Comments". Here important details of the regulation - new, revokes,
spent- are shown. Table III lists all statutes (4 as of December) under which
there are regulations exempt from both registration and publication but which
are available for inspection and sale of copies. The regulations under each act
are given along with the regulation making authority and the address where they
can be obtained or seen.
Consolidations of Regulations
Between 1872 and 1939 certain
orders-in-council including regulations and proclamations were published in the
preliminary section of the Statutes of Canada. There have been five general
consolidations in 1874, 1889, 1949, 1955 and 1978, and two wartime publications
of selected regulations; Defense of Canada Regulations and Canadian War Orders
and Regulations (1939-1945, 4 vols.). The latter was continued by Statutory
Orders and Regulations (1946-1947, 4 vols.).
Canada Gazette Part III
This is the most recent part and
the easiest to use and understand. Volume 1, Number 1 was published December
13, 1974. Its stated purpose is "to publish Public Acts as soon as is
reasonably practicable after they have received Royal Assent in order to
expedite their distribution." Issues appear irregularly and contain the
acts passed during the dates given on the cover, arranged by chapter number.
The bill number is given in the table of contents. There is also a list of
Proclamations of acts or parts of acts which have come into force during the
Until August 1993 two Tables were
included in Part III. From time to time a Table of Public Statutes from 1907 to
the date shown on the front, was published as an issue of Part III. It listed
all statutes of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, earlier statutes that
were not consolidated but still in force, and new acts passed until the date of
publication and gave any amendments to all of these to date of publication. The
Table of Acts and Responsible Ministers was usually published as part of the
A Notice to Subscribers, dated
August 25, 1993, announced that these two Tables would no longer be included in
Part III of the Canada Gazette and explained that "alternative methods of
publishing and distributing these Tables that would make them available to
subscribers on a cost recovery basis are being considered".
On March 4, 1994, Justice Canada
listed (in the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications) a separate
publication containing these two Tables, at a cost of $49.95 per copy.