160 Years of the Canada Gazette — page 5

The Canada Gazette mirrors
the changing landscape of a nation

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Since before Confederation, the Canada Gazette has been used to issue official proclamations of both war and peace, to call federal elections, to publish amendments to regulations, and to open and close sessions of Parliament.

Through the years, the Canada Gazette has been an accurate yardstick in measuring the changing landscape of our country. The publication has not changed so much in appearance, but the nature of its content is strikingly different. Throughout the 1800s, the Canada Gazette published notices of appointments, proclamations and regulations but the majority of the notices filling its pages were bankruptcy notices and sales of real estate under the Insolvent Act.

During the 1900s, suppliers could find government business opportunities published in the Canada Gazette, giving them an opportunity to bid on government contracts. Today, its pages are filled with information that speaks more of people than of property; it is about Canadians. A quick study of the Canada Gazette reveals issues that revolve around the health and security of Canadians in the areas of agriculture, environment, transportation, health, justice and finance.

Information for ordinary Canadians
part of official newspaper

An official looking document, the Canada Gazette might seem, at first, to hold little interest for anyone who isn't a lawyer, a banker or someone involved in parliamentary procedure. On closer examination, however, the aspects of Canadian life that are covered in the Canada Gazette are varied and comprehensive. There is both ordinary and everyday information: the Chan family wants to fill in a bog on its property to build a house; a county snowmobile association has applied to build a bridge over a creek. For the protection of our environment, the Navigable Waters Protection Act requires that the plans for building such roads and/or bridges must first be published in the Canada Gazette.

The plans must first be approved, and written objections based on the effect of the work on marine navigation and on the environment must be sent to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans not later than one month from the date of publication of that notice. The official newspaper also publishes items of great national significance. When the Government proposes changes to the Young Offenders Act, for example, the federal Department of Justice is required to publish that information along with an invitation to Canadians to consult on the proposed amendments.

The Canada Gazette might also inform readers, for instance, that importing fresh yellow onions may adversely affect Canadian industry. The Canada Gazette indicates who has been appointed deputy minister, and who has received medals or awards from the Governor General. The annual supplement on unclaimed balances will tell if great-aunt Helen has $20,000 somewhere sitting around in a bank.

Citizens can consult the Canada Gazette to find out about the assets and liabilities of the Bank of Canada. They may note the time and place of the annual general meeting of some Canadian companies.

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