Acts & Statutes | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Access to Information Act

    The Access to Information Act was enacted by Parliament in 1982 and took effect in July of 1983. This federal Act entitles an individual to examine information concerning the conduct of government, including information in connection with the formulation of federal government policy.

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  • Article

    Alien Question

    The earliest settlers of Upper Canada were normally American immigrants, free to take up land and enjoy the privileges of British subjects upon giving an oath of allegiance to the Crown.

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  • Article

    Anti-terrorism Act

    The Anti-terrorism Act was passed by Parliament in response to the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, on 11 September 2001.

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  • Article

    Assisted Suicide in Canada

    Assisted suicide is the intentional termination of one’s life, assisted by someone who provides the means or knowledge, or both. (See also Suicide.) Between 1892 and 2016, assisted suicide was illegal in Canada under section 241(b) of the Criminal Code. In 2015, after decades of various legal challenges, the Supreme Court of Canada decided unanimously to allow physician-assisted suicide. In June 2016, the federal government passed the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Act, which established the eligibility criteria and procedural safeguards for medically assisted suicide. In March 2021, new legislation was passed that expanded eligibility for MAID. This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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  • Article

    Autonomy Bills

    The Autonomy Bills were the 1905 laws that created the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta out of the North-West Territories (1870–1905). Despite strong support for provincehood, frustrations were evident. The Bills’ most fiercely contested elements revolved around boundaries, the federal government’s ongoing control over public lands and resources and the educational clauses in the Bills.

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  • Article

    Bait Acts

    During the early 1880s the Newfoundland salt-fish trade was in trouble as the product's market value declined. A principal cause was increased competition from Norwegian and French fishermen, the latter heavily subsidized by the French government.

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  • Article

    Bank Act

    The Bank Act is the law passed by Parliament to regulate Canada's chartered banks. The Act has 3 main goals: protecting depositors' funds; insuring the maintenance of cash reserves (see Monetary Policy); and promoting the efficiency of the financial system through competition.

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  • Article

    Bank of Canada Act

    Bank of Canada Act, 3 July 1934, created the Bank of Canada 1935 in response to the 1933 Royal Commission on Banking and Currency. The Bank of Canada was at first privately owned, but was nationalized by 1938.

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  • Article


    Bourgeois, according to an 18th-century writer, were not nobles, ecclesiastics or magistrates, but city dwellers who "nevertheless by their properties, by their riches, by the honorable employments which adorn them and by their commerce are above the artisans and what is called the people.

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  • Article

    Constitution Act, 1867 (document)

    Selected Text of the British North America Act: An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith: Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom: And...

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  • Article

    Canada Corn Act

    Canada Corn Act, passed in 1843 by the British Parliament and applying to all grains, allowed Canadian wheat to enter the British market at a nominal duty, and flour manufactured in Canada at a proportionate rate.

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  • Article

    Canadian Bill of Rights

    The Canadian Bill of Rights was the country’s first federal law to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. It was considered groundbreaking when it was enacted by the government of John Diefenbaker in 1960. But it proved too limited and ineffective, mainly because it applies only to federal statutes and not provincial ones. Many judges regarded it as a mere interpretive aid. The bill was cited in 35 cases between 1960 and 1982; thirty were rejected by the courts. Though it is still in effect, the Bill of Rights was superseded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.

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    Canadian Free Trade Agreement

    The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is an inter-governmental trade agreement regulating trade within Canada. It took effect on 1 July 2017. The goal of the agreement was to reduce or eliminate regulations against the free movement of goods, services, and investments within Canada. The officials who framed the new deal said they wanted to ensure that Canadian firms got the same access to the Canadian market as firms from the country’s international trading partners. CFTA also more closely matches the terms of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), which began taking effect in 2017.

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  • Article

    Capital Punishment in Canada

    In pre-Confederation Canada, hundreds of criminal offences were punishable by death. By 1865, only murder, treason and rape were still considered capital offences. In 1962, Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were the last of 710 prisoners to be executed in Canada since 1859. After 1976, the death penalty was permitted only for members of the Armed Forces found guilty of cowardice, desertion, unlawful surrender, or spying for the enemy. The federal government completely abolished state executions in 1998.

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    Charlottetown Accord: Document

    This is a product of a series of meetings on constitutional reform involving the federal, provincial and territorial governments and representatives of Aboriginal peoples.

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