How new laws and regulations are created

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How new laws and regulations are created
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The Legislative Process

Legislation is a written law that provides rules of conduct. To become law, legislation must be approved by Parliament. Proposed legislation is introduced in Parliament in the form of a bill which provides the basis to amend or repeal existing laws or put new ones in place.

Canada’s legislative process involves all three parts of Parliament: the House of Commons (elected, lower Chamber), the Senate (appointed, upper Chamber), and the Monarch (Head of State, who is represented by the Governor General in Canada). These three parts work together to create new laws.

  1. A Memorandum to Cabinet is prepared to seek policy approval and authority to draft new legislation.
    Cabinet is the Prime Minister’s forum for creating consensus among the Government’s Ministers.
  2. Following Cabinet decision, the Department of Justice drafts a bill with proposed new legislation. This is done in collaboration between a government department’s or a relevant organization's policy development and legal services teams.
  3. The bill with proposed new legislation is introduced in either the House of Commons or the Senate.
  4. Parliamentarians then debate the principle of the bill and vote to decide whether it should be studied further.
  5. If the bill passes, it is sent to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which studies it in depth, holds public hearings to hear views and may suggest changes.
  6. When a Committee has fi­nished its study, it reports the bill back to the House. The entire House can then debate it. During the report stage debate, Parliamentarians can suggest other amendments to the bill.

    The bill then goes back to Parliamentarians for a ­final debate and vote, based on the Committee’s report.
  7. If the bill passes the vote, it is then sent to the other Chamber, where it goes through the same process.
  8. Once the bill has been passed by both the lower and upper Chambers, it goes to the Governor General for Royal Assent and then becomes Canadian law, which is also known as coming into force or effect.

The Regulatory Process

Regulations provide support to the new laws and are enforceable by law.

Unlike legislation, regulations are not made by Parliament but rather by persons or bodies that Parliament has given the authority to make them in an Act, such as the Governor in Council or a Minister. This is why regulations are developed under a separate process from Acts.

  1. The relevant organizations conduct an analysis for the development of regulatory proposals.
  2. The relevant organizations conduct stakeholder engagement to seek views on possible policy approaches.
  3. After consideration of comments received, the regulatory proposals are further re­fined. Stakeholders are invited to provide further comments.
  4. Draft regulations are then developed by the Department of Justice in accordance with the written instructions provided by the relevant organizations.
  5. The Minister for Ministerial regulations or the Treasury Board for Governor in Council regulations, reviews and approves the draft regulations with or without changes.
  6. The approved draft regulations are published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The Canada Gazette is the offi­cial newspaper of the Government of Canada. It contains information such as formal public notices, of­ficial appointments, proposed regulations, and more. It is also a consultative tool, providing Canadians with the opportunity to provide their comments on the proposed regulations.
  7. Comments are taken into consideration and the draft regulations are updated and ­finalized.
  8. The Minister or the Treasury Board, as appropriate, reviews and approves the ­final regulations. Once approved, it goes to the Governor General to sign an Order in Council to make the regulations. The ­final regulations are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, at which time the regulations take effect.

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