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Legal research and writing

BC legislation

This page explains how to find and use British Columbia statutes and regulations.

The process is comparable but not identical for other provincial and territorial legislation.

About B.C. legislation

British Columbia statutes cover matters that fall under this provincial legislature's s. 92 exclusive constitutional jurisdiction. Other provinces have their own exclusive powers under s. 92.

Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research contains a useful summary of the BC provincial statute process.

Federal regulations and other subordinate legislation like orders and directives are created at the ministerial or departmental level, not by the BC Legislature.

Best Guide also summarizes how BC regulations are created.

Finding B.C. legislation

Often you will know the name of the statute you are looking for. In other situations you need to find out if there is an applicable statute and then discover its name. Once you find the statute, you will also need to determine whether any regulations apply to the issue you're researching.

Resources you will find helpful include

  • Secondary Materials (in this guide)
  • CanLII -- Includes statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions. Contains consolidations and some point-in-time information. Coverage and currency varies with the jurisdiction.
  • BC Laws -- Freely available database of consolidated BC statutes and regulations since 1996, with point-in-time features, historical tables, tables of legislative changes. Published by the BC Queen's Printer and regularly updated. All content is in open data format and, subject to the terms of the Queen's Printer Licence, available for reuse and repurposing. A major upgrade of this database is as absorbed all the content in QP LegalEze.
  • Quickscribe -- Subscription database of fully searchable current and historical BC legislation.
  • QP LegalEze -- Former subscription database of the BC Queen's Printer, containing recent BC statute consolidations, point-in-time tables, and regulations. Content and functionality is migrated to BC Laws, though QP LegalEze currently remains active.

Updating B.C. legislation

Statutes and regulations change by amendment, so it is important to know the applicable time for which you need the legislation. Often you will want the current version. Other times you'll want legislation as it read at a particular time. For both situations, you can use tools to help you search for amendments and update legislation.

When you have the statute or regulation you need, you must note it up for judicial consideration in case law to understand its current common law meaning and application.

Key books

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