Population: 34.88 million (2012)
Government: Federal monarchy,
Currency - Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
The Canadian legal system has its foundation in the British
common law system, inherited from being a former colony of
the UK and later a member of the Commonwealth of
Canada is governed by a system of laws. These
laws are created by governments that are chosen
by the people. Laws in Canada apply to all
people, including the police, judges, political
leaders and those who work for the government.
The main reason Canada has laws is to keep
society well ordered, to make sure there is a
peaceful way to settle disputes and to express the
values and beliefs of Canadian society.
In Canada, you are presumed innocent until
All provinces and territories within Canada, excluding Quebec,
follow the common law legal tradition.
Lower courts must follow the decisions of higher courts by which
they are bound.
Decisions from Commonwealth nations, aside from England, are
also often treated as persuasive sources of law in Canada.
Criminal offences are found only within the Criminal Code of
Canada and other federal statutes; an exception is that contempt
of court is the only remaining common law offence in Canada
Canadian Aboriginal law is the body of Canadian
law that concerns a variety of issues related to
aboriginal peoples in Canada. Aboriginal law
provides certain rights to land and traditional
practices. It enforces and interprets certain treaties
between the government and Aboriginal people,
and manages much of their interaction.
Canadian administrative law is the body
of law that addresses the actions and
operations of governments and
That is, the law concerns the manner in
which courts can review the decisions of
administrative decision-makers such as a
board, tribunal, commission, agency or
Since signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the
Canadian government has attempted to make universal human rights a
part of Canadian law.
For example, in 2005, Canada became the fourth country in
the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with
the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act.
Quebec, being a civil law jurisdiction, does not have contract law, but rather has
its own law of obligations that is codified in the Quebec Civil Code.
Criminal Law in Canada falls under the exclusive legislative
jurisdiction of the federal government. The power to enact criminal
law is derived from section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867.
Most criminal laws have been codified in the Criminal Code
of Canada, as well as the Controlled Drugs and Substances
Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, and several other
Canadian immigration and
refugee law' concerns the area of
law related to the admission of
foreign nationals into Canada,
their rights and responsibilities
once admitted, and the conditions
of their removal. The primary law
on these matters is in the
Immigration and Refugee
Protection Act, which goals
include economic growth, family
reunification, and compliance with
Inheritance law in Canada is
constitutionally a provincial matter.
Therefore, the laws governing inheritance in
Canada is legislated by each individual
Property law in Canada is the body of law concerning the rights of
individuals over land, objects, and expression within Canada. It encompasses
personal property, real property, and intellectual property.
Canada passed its first colonial copyright statute in
1832 but was subject to imperial copyright law
established by Britain until 1921.
The court system of Canada is made up of many courts
differing in levels of legal superiority and separated by
jurisdiction. Some of the courts are federal in nature while
others are provincial or territorial.