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LAW - Starting Points - Beginning Your Canadian Legal Research

This guide is intended to assist students and members of the public locate materials for their legal research projects.

Finding legislation

Research in Canadian legislation includes finding bills, statutes and regulations. It may be in federal, provincial or territorial jurisdictions. Some materials can be located on line - other materials may only be available on paper in the law library collection.

As well as the primary legislative materials the law library has some annotated acts that add explanatory notes and case law summaries. Annotated acts may also contain concordances between different jursidictions.

Legislative synonyms

When dealing with legislative materials you may find that an item is also known by a different name:

  • Statutes = Acts = Laws
  • Regulations = Rules = Statutory Instruments = subordinate legislation
  • Hansard = Debates

A quick guide to researching Canadian statutes

Federal statutes and regulations

Federal bills, statutes and regulations, including some historical materials, are available on government websites.  The text of and background information regarding bills are available on LEGISinfo, and statutes and regulations can be found on the Justice Laws Website.  Federal statutes and regulations are freely available through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII).

Alberta statutes and regulations web resources

Provincial bills, statutes and regulations are available on government websites.  The text of and background information regarding bills are available on the Legislative Assembly’s website.  Free pdf versions of statutes and regulations are available on the Alberta Queen’s Printer website.  Historical bills and statutes, along with legislative intent document such as debates and journals, are available from our online Alberta Law Collection.  Statutes and regulations are also freely available on CanLII.

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