160 Years of the Canada Gazette — page 12

IV. The Canada Gazette: 1869-

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The Canada Gazette continued to be published every Saturday in the first half of the 20th twentieth century with very few changes. It affords an interesting glimpse into a Canada still very much under the British flag. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 was mourned with black borders on each page of the issues dated from January 26 to March 16, 1901. An "extra," published on January 30, 1901, announced that court mourning would continue until January 24, 1902, and directed the public to wear deep mourning until March 6, 1901, and half mourning until April 17, 1901. Further, there would be no receptions at Government House in Ottawa until the cessation of court mourning the following year.

Canada Gazette Part I

The Canada GazetteFollowing the creation of Part II in 1947 to publish the text of statutory instruments and regulations, this part of the Canada Gazette became Part I, publishing material of a general nature. It is still published every Saturday with the occasional extra issue as required. The Canada Gazette Directorate is responsible for coordination of notices from both the public and private sectors as well as all steps of production, publishing and distribution. The habit of separating the English and French sections continued until 1970 when it was replaced by English and French text in parallel columns, thus making the Canada Gazette a completely bilingual publication.

Today's Canada Gazette Part I contains a mixture of government and parliamentary information as prescribed by section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations (see footnote 15). Among the more important types of material to be found therein are:

  • - Orders in council and statutory instruments other than regulations, as required to be published in Part I (see footnote 16)
  • - Proposed regulations
  • - Parliamentary notices
  • - Commissions notices: announcements of appeals, decisions, public notices, public hearings, and commencement of inquiries covering such bodies as the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the National Energy Board, the Competition Tribunal, the Copyright Board, the Public Service Commission and the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board
  • - Government notices: weekly statement of assets and liabilities of the Bank of Canada, appointments, various notices made pursuant to statutes, consolidated return of revenue, expenses and changes in capital and reserves of both Canadian and foreign banks
  • - Government House notices: awards to Canadians, recipients of the Order of Canada, Canadian bravery decorations
  • - Miscellaneous notices from provincial and municipal governments; banks, mortgage, loan, investment and insurance companies; railway companies; as well as other private sector agents

Composing stickThere has been an increase in private sector notices since the enactment of the Navigable Waters Protection Act which requires approval of plans and site work by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans before building any road or bridge over a body of water. Even more recent are requests for sinking of old ships to create underwater reefs for scuba diving. Many private entrepreneurs in the business of snowmobile and scuba-diving expeditions are required to publish in Part I of the Canada Gazette.

Supplements are published as required to accommodate large items such as documents from the Copyright Board and lists of insurance companies and fraternal benefit societies registered to do business in Canada under the Insurance Companies Act. These are usually documents that must be published at regular intervals. One of the most interesting supplements is the list of unclaimed balances over $100, arranged by name of chartered bank and showing the name of the depositor and the amount left in accounts for nine years. If this money is not claimed by the tenth year it reverts to the Government of Canada. Extra editions are published as necessary before the regular Saturday edition of the Canada Gazette Part I in order to accommodate a statutory deadline for certain notices. A short notice of the extra edition and its publication date is published in the next regular issue of Part I.

Each issue of the Canada Gazette Part I has its own non-cumulating index, a practice begun with volume 14 in 1880. The indexes are now prepared by the Canada Gazette Directorate. The early indexes were very brief and covered very little of the actual content, while those of today are much more detailed. (see footnote 17)

In 1986, prepublication of proposed regulations in Part I became the rule instead of the exception. The Government of Canada Regulatory Policy includes the requirement that Canadians be consulted about regulatory activities and be given an opportunity to participate in the regulatory process. Before a proposed regulation is enacted, Canadians have an opportunity to comment on it within a specified number of days, which varies depending on the act. This is an important function of the Canada Gazette Part I.

Canada Gazette Part II

The antecedents of the Canada Gazette Part II can be traced back to the early days of World War II and a publication entitled Proclamations and Orders in Council Relating to the War. It was followed in October 1942, by Canadian War Orders and Regulations, a weekly publication of the Statutory Orders and Regulations Division of the Privy Council Office, and contained war-related orders and regulations. In 1945 it was renamed Statutory Orders and Regulations. The purpose of these three publications was to recognize the growing importance of subordinate legislation in Canada and to accord it special treatment by virtue of a separate publication. (see footnote 18)

Growth in the amount of delegated legislation - orders in council, rules, regulations and proclamations - greatly expanded during the war years and never returned to its pre-1939 level. Between 1932 and 1938, the federal government approved 23,139 orders in council; between 1939 and 1945 the number soared to 60,655; in the years immediately following the end of the war, 1946 to 1952, there were 40,953. (see footnote 19) No specific statute pertaining to the publication of delegated legislation yet existed and would not be created until the passage of the Regulations Act, 1950. Those orders which required publication could be found in the Canada Gazette.

This rapid expansion in the number of regulations made in Canada, and the Government's recognition that regulations would become a fixture of Canadian life, resulted in the creation of a permanent series to publish regulations. The Canada Gazette Part II was authorized by P.C. 1946-4876, The Statutory Orders and Regulations Order, 1947, which was made on November 26, 1946. It ordered that after January 1, 1947, the Canada Gazette be published in two parts. Part I was to be called "General" and would contain "the matter which prior to the said date was published in the Canada Gazette excepting the matter to be published in Part II as hereinafter set out." Part II was entitled "Statutory Orders and Regulations" and was to contain "proclamations, orders, rules and regulations" as set out in section 4 of the order. Section 6 stated that "Part II of the Canada Gazette, entitled 'Statutory Orders and Regulations', shall be published regularly by the King's Printer, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month."

This order was subsequently revoked and replaced by P.C. 1946-5355 of December 30, 1946. Section 6(a) directed the Clerk of the Privy Council to prepare a consolidation of "all such orders, minutes, rules or regulations" that were in force as of December 31, 1947. This consolidation was eventually published in 1950 under the title Statutory Orders and Regulations, Consolidation, 1949 and was followed by similar editions in 1955 and 1978, with the Canada Gazette Part II functioning as the updating tool. (see footnote 20)

Part II of the Canada Gazette was published for the first time on Wednesday, January 8, 1947. It continued the numbering sequence begun in 1867, so that the initial issue was volume 81, number 1. The text of each instrument was printed in full, together with its registration number and date. Two non-cumulating tables were printed at the back of each issue. The "Table of Contents" was arranged by instrument number and provided the title, name of administering body and page reference, while the "Index to Statutory Orders and Regulations" had a topical arrangement, also with page references.

In 1950 Parliament passed the Regulations Act. (see footnote 21) This new statute required the Clerk of the Privy Council to keep a record of regulations transmitted to him by regulation-making authorities, the Governor in Council and the Treasury Board. It also required that all regulations be published in the Canada Gazette, in English and in French, within 30 days of being made. Publication in the Canada Gazette was to be considered proof of a regulation's existence. (see footnote 22) Ink rollerThe Act further provided that regulations be cited as "Statutory Orders and Regulations" or "SOR" followed by the number. SOR/50-572, which took effect January 1, 1951, pursuant to the new Act, continued the Canada Gazette in two parts and prescribed that Part II was to contain regulations as defined in section 2(a) of the Regulations Act, thus tightening the requirements set out in The Statutory Orders and Regulations Order, 1947. The passage of the Regulations Act demonstrated the growing importance of regulations in Canada and the importance of the Canada Gazette in disseminating the text of regulations to the public.

At the same time, SOR/50-572 directed the Clerk of the Privy Council to publish every three months a consolidated index and a table of all regulations made since the last consolidation, together with all amendments, revocations or other modifications. This index commenced January 1, 1950, and took up where the 1949 Statutory Orders and Regulations consolidation left off. Its main feature was a "Table of Statutory Orders and Regulations" which listed new regulations and amendments to existing ones, giving the name of the enabling Act, name of the regulation, volume and page reference to the 1949 consolidation (where applicable) and amendments with page references to Part II, making the task of updating regulations very easy.

In 1972 the Regulations Act was repealed and replaced by the Statutory Instruments Act. (see footnote 23) Section 10 continued the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada. The status of the Canada Gazette had been in doubt since its parent statute, the Public Printing and Stationery Act, was repealed in 1969 by the Government Organization Act which made no mention at all of the Canada Gazette. The issue of the Canada Gazette's status was taken up by Parliament. In his appearance on February 16, 1971, before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, which was examining the statutory instruments bill, the Honourable John Turner, Minister of Justice stated that "the Canada Gazette is recognized as the official gazette of Canada but this recognition has no statutory basis . . . we are not creating the Canada Gazette by statute. We are just saying . . . 'The Queen's Printer shall continue to publish the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada.'" (see footnote 24)

The question of the Canada Gazette's status was the subject of a lively debate in the House of Commons on March 8, 1971, shortly after the Minister's appearance before the Standing Committee. The Opposition raised the matter of the Canada Inking ballsGazette, claiming that since the repeal of the Public Printing and Stationery Act it had no statutory authority. According to one honourable member, the repeal of this statute had "abolished" the Canada Gazette; while the Government Organization Act, 1969 continued the office of Queen's Printer, it did not authorize the printing and publishing of an official gazette. "I suggest, and the [M]inister himself confirmed this, that in the course of the preparation of the government reorganization bill of April 1969, something was inadvertently done which removed the statutory authority which gave the Canada Gazette its status as the official gazette of Canada." (see footnote 25)

An examination of Hansard reveals the niceties of the issue. The Minister of Justice told the House that "This clause [section 10] does not provide that the Queen's Printer shall continue to publish the Canada Gazette as the official gazette of Canada; it simply provides it shall be continued as the official gazette of Canada. At the present time, the Canada Gazette is recognized as being the official gazette, but this recognition needs a statutory basis, one which the clause in question will give to it. There has been no interruption in the authority for the publication of the gazette." (see footnote 26) Later in the same debate he said: "The Canada Gazette retains its status as a journal in which documents needing publicity for validation must be published. . . . Authority for the Canada Gazette lies in the fact that it is the Canada Gazette, not that it is designated as the official gazette. All the statutes to which the honourable member refers speak of the Canada Gazette. The legal power is not changed by designating it the official gazette." (see footnote 27) This debate was not resumed as the House moved on to consider other sections of the bill.

The Statutory Instruments Act was duly passed and remains the governing statute for the Canada Gazette. The Canada Gazette's official status is continued by section 10, and section 12 permits the Governor in Council to "direct that any statutory instrument or other document, or any class thereof, be published in the Canada Gazette" and further directs that the Clerk of the Privy Council, under the authorization of the Governor in Council, "may direct or authorize the publication in the Canada Gazette of any statutory instrument or other document, the publication of which, in his opinion, is in the public interest."

Wooden lettersBecause the number of regulations made by the federal government continues to increase, the importance of the Canada Gazette Part II has not diminished. Its contents now encompass "all 'regulations' as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act and certain other classes of statutory instruments and documents required to be published therein" (see footnote 28) including the proclamation of new acts. These proclamations are designated as SIs or "Statutory Instruments and Other Documents (Other than Regulations)" to distinguish them from SORs or "Statutory Orders and Regulations." Since January 1984, it has been published every second Wednesday, and instead of separate English and French editions there is one edition with English and French in parallel columns. The Privy Council Office is responsible for the registration of all regulations and the coordination for publication in Part II of theCanada Gazette.

The quarterly cumulative index is now called the "Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments" and is perhaps the most valuable index produced by the federal government after the "Table of Public Statutes." (see footnote 29) It cumulates from January 1, 1955, and contains only those instruments still in force. Table II, "Table of Regulations, Statutory Instruments (Other than Regulations) and Other Documents Arranged by Statute" lists all amendments in force under the short title of regulations which in turn are arranged alphabetically by name of the enabling act. Instruments made by other than statutory authority can be found at the end of this table. Table I is an alphabetical list of regulations, giving the name of the enabling statute so that the researcher can then refer to Table II for amendments. Table III lists those regulations which are exempt from registration and publication in the Canada Gazette. Fortunately there are very few and the table takes up no more than one or two pages. Anyone doing retrospective research should consult back copies of the "Consolidated Index" for those instruments which were made after January 1, 1955, but are no longer in force.

Special issues are published as required. The most important to date is "Special Issue 1978," which was published in two volumes on December 31, 1978, in conjunction with the release of the Consolidated Regulations of Canada 1978, the first revision and consolidation of federal regulations since 1955. The "Special Issue" republished those regulations made in 1978 which amended or revoked regulations in the new consolidation, with the section numbers now corresponding to the Consolidated Regulations of Canada 1978. Extra editions are published to accommodate deadlines which occur before the next publication date. A short notice of the extra edition and its publication date is published in the next regular issue of Part II.

The Canada Gazette

Canada Gazette Part III

The next major change to the Canada Gazette was the creation of Part III, which was published for the first time on December 13, 1974, in order to publish public acts as quickly as possible after Royal Assent, thus eliminating the long wait between publication of the bill copies and the sessional volumes of statutes. (see footnote 30) The authority for Part III was SOR/74-652, which amended the Statutory Instruments Regulations. (see footnote 31) Unlike the rest of the Canada Gazette, Part III has always been published irregularly, usually when there are enough new acts to warrant another issue. It supersedes the bill copies as the source for new statutes until the official volume of acts for the calendar year is published. Responsibility for the content of the Canada Gazette Part III lies with the Department of Justice. The Canada Gazette Directorate is responsible for the publication and distribution of Part III.

Publication in Part III does not necessarily signify that an act is in force, since proclamation is frequently required in addition to Royal Assent. Therefore each issue also contains a non-cumulating "Table of Proclamations" covering acts which have been proclaimed in force during the time period covered by that specific issue.

Until 1993 the Canada Gazette Part III included two other very useful tables which were published under separate cover. The "Table of Public Statutes" is an alphabetical listing of acts in force since 1907 together with section by section amendments to those acts and notes about coming into force. The "Table of Acts and the Ministers Responsible for their Administration" allows for easy identification of administering departments and was published with the "Table of Public Statutes."

The Canada Gazette Part III dated August 25, 1993, carried the announcement that both these tables would cease to be published with Part III, citing the high cost of printing as the reason. This decision has not resulted in the demise of the tables, which are of great value to the researcher. Instead, they are now published independent of Part III by the Department of Justice. The "Table of Public Statutes" is also published with the annual bound volume of statutes. There has been talk of discontinuing Part III because the statutes are now published annually and "assented to" acts were introduced in 1990; the original reason for creating Part III no longer exists. So far this has not happened and Part III continues to be published.


  • Footnote 15
    C.R.C. 1978, c. 1509.
  • Footnote 16
    The distinction between statutory instruments that are regulations and those that are not is cloudy. Section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations, C.R.C. 1978, c. 1509, specifies that "every statutory instrument, other than a regulation . . . shall be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette." The terms "regulation" and "statutory instrument" are defined under section 2 of the Statutory Instruments Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-22.
  • Footnote 17
    Section 14(2) of the Statutory Instruments Act authorizes the Queen's Printer to prepare and publish a quarterly index of all documents, other than regulations, that have been published in the Canada Gazette. Requirements for the contents of the quarterly indexes are set out in section 17 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations.
  • Footnote 18
    Michel LeClerc, “History of the Canada Gazette Part II” (Ottawa, 1991) [unpublished]. The author gratefully acknowledges Mr. LeClerc's assistance with this section.
  • Footnote 19
    LeClerc, “History of the Canada Gazette Part II” at 2.
  • Footnote 20
    There were two previous consolidations of orders in council, in 1874 and 1889.
  • Footnote 21
    S.C. 1950, c. 50. The Act was proclaimed in force on January 1, 1951.
  • Footnote 22
    Section 16(2) of the Statutory Instruments Regulations states that "evidence of the existence or contents of a statutory instrument may be given by the production of a copy of the Canada Gazette purporting to contain the text of the statutory instrument." Similarly section 21(a) of the Canada Evidence Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-5, states that production of the Canada Gazette constitutes proof of a regulation. Section 32(2) of the same Act says that "all copies of official or other notices, advertisements and documents printed in the Canada Gazette are admissible in evidence . . ."
  • Footnote 23
    S.C. 1970-71-72, c. 38. The Act received Royal Assent on May 19, 1971 and came into force on January 1, 1972. It is now cited as R.S.C. 1985, c. S-22.
  • Footnote 24
    Canada, House of Commons, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, No. 7 (February 16, 1971) at 7:17.
  • Footnote 25
    House of Commons Debates (March 8, 1971) at 4046.
  • Footnote 26
    House of Commons Debates (March 8, 1971) at 4046-7.
  • Footnote 27
    House of Commons Debates (March 8, 1971) at 4047.
  • Footnote 28
    Canada Gazette Part II, cover statement.
  • Footnote 29
    Section 14(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act sets out the requirements for the "Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments." The Clerk of the Privy Council is responsible for its preparation.
  • Footnote 30
    Prior to 1984, federal statutes were not published until the end of a parliamentary session. Since some sessions ran on for years, the wait between bill copies and statute volumes could be lengthy. Since 1984 the Statutes of Canada have been published annually.
  • Footnote 31
    Section 12 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations sets out the content of the Canada Gazette Part III.

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