Canadian Legal Research

This guide details researching Canadian law at the federal and provincial level.

Federal & Provincial Regulations

Background Information

Canadians use the term statutory orders and regulations, often abbreviated as SORs, to describe what are known as administrative regulations in the U.S.  SORs are issued at both the federal and the provincial levels by government agencies or by government officials, under authority delegated to them by enabling legislation.

The secondary sources listed below provide helpful background information on how to understand and interpret Canadian regulations and how to update them: 

  • How to Understand Statutes and Regulations (2d ed.) KE482.S84 G53 2017
  • Updating Statutes and Regulations for All Canadian Jurisdictions (5th ed.) REF KE250 .S54 2012

The Georgetown Law Library does not collect Canadian regulations in print.  However, they are readily accessible online from federal and provincial websites, from the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), and on subscription research platforms, such as Lexis and Westlaw.

Federal Regulations

  • Consolidated Regulations (official site). 
    Browse alphabetically (by default) or search by keyword.  (Be sure to select "Search in Regulations" from the menu.)  Note that consolidated regulations are those currently in force, incorporating any subsequent amendments made to the original regulations.
  • Lexis (All Canada Statutes & Legislation)
    This gateway page provides access to both federal and provincial statutes and regulations.  Scroll down through the alphabetical list to access the following databases of federal regulations:  Canada Regulations (consolidated regulations currently in force) and Canada Repealed Regulations.
  • Westlaw (Canada Federal Legislation)
    This gateway page provides access to federal statutes and regulations.  Consolidated federal regulations (currently in force) are available in English and in French.
  • Canada Gazette. INTL Media KE116 1867 Micro (Canceled in 2013)
    Like its U.S. counterpart, The Federal Register, the Canada Gazette publishes federal regulations as enacted in chronological order.  (See Part II for regulations.)  The Georgetown Law Library has the Canada Gazette on microfiche through 2012.  It is still useful for historical research, particularly if you want to retrieve a regulation as originally enacted prior to any subsequent amendments.
  • Canada Regulations Index. INTL KE119 1978 Suppl (Canceled in 2013)
    Although this index to regulations published in the Canada Gazette is no longer being updated, it can still be used for historical research, particularly if you need to search by subject and by date for a regulation as originally enacted.
  • How Regulators Regulate: A Guide to Regulatory Processes in Canada INTL KE5019.H68 1992
    This treatise provides a detailed explanation of the regulatory process in Canada.

Provincial Regulations

Listed below are electronic and print sources for accessing Canadian provincial regulations.  For those without access to Lexis and Westlaw, the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) provides free online access to provincial regulations, as do provincial websites.