Canadian Legal Research

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

Canadian Treaties

International Treaties (with Other Sovereign States)

Background Information

Canadian Treaty Practice & Procedure

The Treaty Law Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (a/k/a Global Affairs Canada) offers legal advice on treaty negotiations; oversees the drafting of treaty texts and instruments of ratification; and is responsible for the publication, registration, and safekeeping of treaty documents.  Its website provides detailed information about Canadian Treaty Practice and Procedure, including the process by which treaties are ratified.

Publication of Canada's International Treaties

Since 1928, all Canadian treaties that have entered into force have been published in the Canada Treaty Series (C.T.S.), which originally was published as a series of printed volumes.  In 2014, the series ceased publication in print and is now published electronically, with all treaties that entered into force from 2013 onward available for download in PDF format.

Citations to Canada's International Treaties

Citations to treaties to which the U.S. is not a party are governed by Rule 21.4.5 (b) of The Bluebook, KF245 .U5 2015.  According to this rule, a citation to a treaty source published by an international organization, such as the U.N. Treaty Series, is preferred, if the treaty was published therein.  If not, then cite to the Canada Treaty Series.

Electronic Access to Canada's International Treaties

Canada Treaty Series on Microfiche

The Georgetown Law Library has the Canada Treaty Series on microfiche from 1928-2007.  To the extent that there are any gaps in coverage in the electronic version of the series that is accessible online, the microfiche set can be used as a backup.  Ask a reference librarian if you need assistance in locating the microfiche or using the microfiche readers.

Treaties with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada (First Nations)

Background Information

Treaties with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada
This article from the The Canadian Encyclopedia provides a helpful historical overview, beginning with the treaties of peace and friendship concluded during the early period of British and French colonization, followed by treaties from the pre-Confederation era of British North America (1764-1866), the post-Confederation treaties (1867-1974), and modern treaties involving land claims and titles (1975-present).  It also discusses the status of these treaties, and the recognition of the rights conferred therein, under the Canadian Constitution and under international law.

Treaty Texts & Related Documentation

The Department of Crown-Indigenous Affairs and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) provides online access to the treaty texts and related documentation described below.

  • Treaties & Agreements
    This introductory page provides helpful background information about treaties and treaty rights.
  • Treaty Texts
    This gateway page provides links to transcripts of treaties concluded between the mid 18th century and the early 20th century.  The transcripts are presented in HTML format for viewing in a Web browser, but they are not available for download in PDF format.  To view digitized images of the original treaty texts, use the searchable database of treaties maintained by Library and Archives Canada.
  • Summaries of Pre-1975 Treaties
    Visit this gateway page to view documents summarizing the content of groups of treaties that share common characteristics.  The summaries cover the following treaty groups:  Treaties of Peace and Neutrality (1701-1760), Treaties of Peace and Friendship (1725-1779), Upper Canada Land Surrenders and the Williams Treaties (1781-1862), the Robinson and Douglas Treaties (1850-1854), and the Numbered Treaties (1871-1921). 
  • Treaty Research Reports
    This gateway page provides access to interpretations of specific treaties and treaty provisions prepared by civil servants, researchers, and scholars.  The opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian government.

Further Reading

  • Canada’s Indigenous Constitution, Call No. KE7709 .B37 2010.
  • From Recognition to Reconciliation:  Essays on the Constitutional Entrenchment of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, Call No. KE7709 .F76 2016.
  • Keeping Promises:  The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada, Call No. KE7739.L3 K443 2015.
  • The Law of Treaties Between the Crown and Aboriginal Peoples, Call No. KE7709 .M346 2010.
  • On Being Here to Stay:  Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada, Call No. KE7709 .A97 2014.