Legislative Research


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Workshop presentation delivered June 14, 2010. Focus on legislative research, with a focus on the Ontario context.

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Legislative Research

  1. 1. The Ins and Outs of Legislative Research Peter Marques, Head Librarian Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library [email_address] 416-314-3700 Located on the 7 th Floor – Please Visit for a Personal Tour Monday, June 14, 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>Overview of Online Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking New Legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Amendments to Existing Legislation </li></ul><ul><li>e-Laws Period in Time Law Search </li></ul><ul><li>e-Laws Searching Tips </li></ul>Agenda
  3. 3. Official Acts and Regulations: e-Laws [e-laws.gov.on.ca] Continually updated database of Ontario's statutes and regulations, both consolidated and source law Justice Laws [laws.justice.gc.ca] Online source of the consolidated Acts and regulations of Canada. The consolidations are generally updated every Tuesday morning. Ontario Gazette [ontariogazette.gov.on.ca] Published every Saturday, the Ontario Gazette published proclamations, government notices, regulations, and more. Canada Gazette [gazette.gc.ca] The Canada Gazette contains formal public notices, official appointments, proposed regulations, regulations and public Acts of Parliament from government departments and agencies. Overview of Online Resources
  4. 4. <ul><li>Bills, Government Docs, Legislative Proceedings and </li></ul><ul><li>Debates (ON & Fed.): </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative Assembly of Ontario [ontla.on.ca] </li></ul><ul><li>Bills : detailed information on current Bills before parliament and archived Bills from 1995 onwards. </li></ul><ul><li>Hansard : debates search engine which all sessions from 1984 onwards </li></ul><ul><li>Committees : list of standing and select Committees, plus Committee schedules, transcripts, and reports </li></ul><ul><li>Parliament of Canada [parl.gc.ca] </li></ul><ul><li>Bills : all Bills before the Senate and the House from 1994 onwards </li></ul><ul><li>Hansard : access Federal debates from 1994 onwards </li></ul><ul><li>Committees : Committee business form 1997 onwards . </li></ul>Overview of Online Resources
  5. 5. <ul><li>Bills, Government Docs, Legislative Proceedings and </li></ul><ul><li>Debates (ON & Fed.): </li></ul><ul><li>Our Ontario Government Documents [govdocs.ourontario.ca] </li></ul><ul><li>The Government Documents Collection is the result of a partnership between </li></ul><ul><li>OurOntario.ca and the Ontario Legislative Library to make available electronically </li></ul><ul><li>the government documents from the Legislative Library's collection </li></ul><ul><li>Archived Ontario Bills & Statutes Online: </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Archives [archive.org] </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet Archives has all Ontario Bills and Revised Statutes of Ontario created </li></ul><ul><li>since 1867. To search the Internet Archives for Ontario Bills or Revised Statues of </li></ul><ul><li>Ontario: </li></ul><ul><li>go to http://www.archive.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>in the search box type Bills Ontario / Statutes Ontario </li></ul><ul><li>in the “All Media Types” dropdown box select Texts </li></ul>Overview of Online Resources
  6. 6. <ul><li>Two Avenues: </li></ul><ul><li>Look at current Bills and recently enacted Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative Assembly of Ontario Bills to track Bills and new Laws </li></ul><ul><li>e-Laws to track new laws </li></ul><ul><li>Remember - New legislation is Source Law which either: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amends an existing Act, e.g. WSIA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brings into power a new law and Act </li></ul></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  7. 7. <ul><li>When tracking new legislation there are some questions </li></ul><ul><li>you should ask: </li></ul><ul><li>How do you get some background on the new Bill / Law? </li></ul><ul><li>When does Bill become law? </li></ul><ul><li>When is a Law in force? </li></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  8. 8. Digging Up Background Information on a Bill / Law
  9. 9. <ul><li>Background on Bill / Law: </li></ul><ul><li>Explanatory Note </li></ul><ul><li>A brief summary of the content of a bill, written to assist readers. It accompanies the bill through the legislative process. If a bill is enacted (i.e. becomes an Act), the Explanatory Note is dropped, because it does not form part of the law, e.g. Bill 11, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>To search for explanatory notes to older Bills, it’s best to use the Internet Archives </li></ul><ul><li>Committee Materials Related to Bills </li></ul><ul><li>Search the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Committees and Bills pages </li></ul><ul><li>Committee materials will also include exhibits presented by stakeholders, and if applicable, a legislative research report </li></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  10. 10. <ul><li>Background on Bill / Law: </li></ul><ul><li>House Debate – What MPPs said </li></ul><ul><li>Use the House Hansard Search to do a search of all debates on a Bill or topic from 1984 onwards </li></ul><ul><li>Government Documents Repository </li></ul><ul><li>Search for government documents like press releases, ministry statements, reports, and committee materials (e.g. exhibits) at Our Ontario Government Documents </li></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  11. 11. <ul><li>Background on Bill / Law: </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry Press Releases </li></ul><ul><li>Search / Track (RSS) Ministry / Government press releases, you may find detailed backgrounders and sometimes they may include a Minister’s statements, e.g. Ministry of Labour , Government News </li></ul><ul><li>News / Dailies </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes stakeholders will submit letters / articles outlining the pros and cons of a new bill, with the goal of generating public interest and support for there cause </li></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  12. 12. <ul><li>Becoming Law - 3 rd Reading and Royal Assent: </li></ul><ul><li>When a bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly after Third Reading, the Lieutenant Governor assents to the bill by signing it. The bill is thereby enacted and becomes an Act (law), e.g. Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2008, S.O. 2008, c. 20 - Bill 119 </li></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  13. 13. <ul><li>Royal Assent – It’s Law, is it In Force? </li></ul><ul><li>When a Bill passes 3 rd Reading, receives Royal Assent, and is included in e-Laws (and consolidated if an amending Act) it does not necessarily mean it’s in force, e.g. see again Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2008, S.O. 2008, c. 20 - Bill 119 </li></ul><ul><li>Always Read the Commencement section of the Act!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Always remember to check the proclamations table: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Table of Proclamations </li></ul></ul>Tracking New Legislation in Ontario
  14. 14. Once a Bill has become Law, what happens to it?
  15. 15. <ul><li>Source Law and Consolidated Law </li></ul><ul><li>Source Law may be a new Act or regulation (called the parent), an amending Act or regulation (it amends the parent) </li></ul><ul><li>Consolidated Law is a statute or regulation into which are incorporated any amendments that have been enacted by a new law (i.e. Source Law) </li></ul><ul><li>There are a few ways to check for amendments: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check the Last amended note on the “e-Laws” Consolidated Act , e.g. </li></ul></ul>Amendments to Existing Legislation
  16. 16. <ul><li>Source Law and Consolidated Law </li></ul><ul><li>To check for all the amendments to an Act (e.g. the WSIA) on e-Laws best to use </li></ul><ul><li>the Detailed Legislative History table: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidated Public Statutes - Detailed Legislative History </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provides a detailed history of all amending Acts </li></ul><ul><li>All Amendments to the Act listed by provision (section, subsection, clause, etc.), e.g. see section 43(2)(b) re-enacted in 2007, c. 7, Sch. 41, s. 2(1) </li></ul>Amendments to Existing Legislation
  17. 17. Source Law and Consolidated Law When we check 2007, c. 7, Sch. 41, s. 2(1) for section 43(2)(b), we find the following : Amendments to Existing Legislation
  18. 18. <ul><li>How do we check to see the text of what was repealed in </li></ul><ul><li>43 (2) (b)? </li></ul><ul><li>e-Laws Period in Time Law searching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A database of current and historical versions of consolidated statutes and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regulations that is searchable by date, enabling the user to find different </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consolidated versions of a law as they read during different periods in time. A </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>historical version of a consolidated statute or regulation is available on e-Laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only if the statute or regulation is amended or affected by a coming into force </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>event after January 1, 2004. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Search of period in time law by Act title – 15 items, 2 hits per item: e-Laws Period in Time Law Search
  20. 20. Search of period in time law by section and Act title – 15 items, 59+ hits per item: e-Laws Period in Time law Search
  21. 21. e-Laws Period in Time Law search will always bring up the same results when applied to a specific Act (unless a date restriction is applied), the only difference is The results’ “hits” document-level navigation which is based on your search terms: e-Laws Period in Time Law Search
  22. 22. However, if you are really determined to focus on period in time law for a specific section it’s best to search the specific section and terms: Note: Use the date option if you want to search an exact date to identify what the law was on that very day. WSIA PIT search covers 2003 onwards. e-Laws Period in Time Law Search
  23. 23. <ul><li>A Few Key Notes to Remember </li></ul><ul><li>About PIT Law Research </li></ul><ul><li>An historical version of a consolidated statute or regulation is available on e-Laws Only if the statute or regulation is amended or affected by a coming into force event after January 1, 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>PIT Law Research for amendments made prior to the most historical version available on e-Laws, e.g. for the WSIA it’s the historical version for the period March 15, 2003 to June 16, 2004 , will need to be pursued using the traditional print records …to track amendments using print resources we highly recommend you contact us. </li></ul>e-Laws Period in Time Law Search
  24. 24. A Few Tips to Help You Search e-Laws
  25. 25. <ul><li>Search within Sections : use in same text segment as, this search command, , </li></ul><ul><li>will search the segment of text between two hard returns, e.g. a section. If you want </li></ul><ul><li>to search a number of consecutive sections you can specify in the command, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43 6 disability payments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will search within 6 text segments for search terms “43” and “disability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>payments” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search within a Section or Number of Words : use within # of words, this search </li></ul><ul><li>command - /#/ - will search documents which contain specified search terms within </li></ul><ul><li>a specified # of words of each other within the same text segment, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>review /10/ payments 7 44(1) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will search for “review” within 10 words of “payments”, and within 7 text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>segments of search term (e.g. section)” 44(1)” </li></ul></ul>e-Laws Searching Tips
  26. 26. <ul><li>Exclude Terms : use except, this search command will not search for the term </li></ul><ul><li>following the operator within a single text segment, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fund &quot;except&quot; calculation 10 96 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will search for “fund” within 10 text segments of search term “96” but exclude </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the term “calculation” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wildcard Searches : use the wildcard symbol, and asterisk *, when you need to </li></ul><ul><li>replace one or more characters at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a </li></ul><ul><li>word, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>worker* 5 ***entry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will search “worker”, “workers”, “workers”, “worker’s” and “re-entry” within 5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>segments of text </li></ul></ul>e-Laws Searching Tips
  27. 27. <ul><li>Boolean Command Search : this is a do-all search structure which allows you to </li></ul><ul><li>combine different strategies using the “and”, “or”, and “parentheses” operators , e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(cease* /40/ payment*) (earning* &quot;and&quot; (age &quot;or&quot; per cent)) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will search “cease” / “ceases” within 40 words of “payment” / “payments”, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>within the 1 text segment of the terms “age” or “per cent” </li></ul></ul>e-Laws Searching Tips
  28. 28. The Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. If you have any questions or need help with your research please call our Reference Desk at 416 314-3700 or e-mail us at [email_address] . Please visit us at owtlibrary.on.ca