Acts and Treaties

Acts and Treaties through Canadian history

19th Century Map of Canada

March 29, 1632

Habitation at Quebec

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

France recovered Québec from England in the Treaty of Saint-Germain, along with compensation for goods siezed when Champlain surrendered Québec.

July 21, 1667


Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Breda

The Treaty of Breda provided for French restoration of the English part of the island of St Christopher's, West Indies, in exchange for Acadia, captured from the French in 1654.

January 22, 1690

Haudenosaunee Council Discussions

Acts and Treaties 

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Peace Treaty

The Haudenosaunee concluded a peace treaty with the English and the tribes of the Great Lakes.

September 30, 1697

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, soldier

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Ryswick

The Treaty of Ryswick between England and France provided for the restoration of all Hudson's Bay Co posts seized by Pierre le Moyne d'Iberville.

April 11, 1713

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Utrecht Signed

The Treaty of Utrecht was signed, ending the War of the Spanish Succession. It recognized the claim of the Hudson's Bay Co to Rupert's Land, and Acadia became a permanent English possession.

October 18, 1748

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the War of the Austrian Succession. PEI, Cape Breton Island and Louisbourg were returned to France.

February 10, 1763

Death of Wolfe

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Paris 1763

The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Seven Years' War. France ceded to Britain all North American possessions except Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off Nfld, and Louisiana (sold in 1803). The treaty authorized freedom of religion in the colony.

October 07, 1763

Acts and Treaties 

Royal Proclamation

The Royal Proclamation was issued by King George III, setting the western boundary of British settlement following the Seven Years War. Historic, foundational, flawed, the Proclamation stated that Aboriginal title had existed and continued to exist. All land was considered Aboriginal land until ceded by treaty, which could only be annexed by the Crown.

September 03, 1783

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Paris 1783

This treaty ended the American Revolution, recognizing the independence of the American colonies. The boundary between British and American territories was set along the St. Lawrence River and through the Great Lakes. Post-war life in the United States was very difficult for British Loyalists, who endured property loss and discrimination. Many left and began to arrive in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec and Ontario. Famous migrant Loyalists include Lieutenant James Moody, Laura Secord and Richard Pierpoint.

December 26, 1791

Constitutional Act, 1791

Acts and Treaties 

Constitutional Act

The Constitutional Act, which created the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, came into effect. It had been passed 10 June and had received royal assent 19 June. The formal division of the Province of Québec had taken place 21 August.

January 11, 1794

Nootka Sound

Acts and Treaties 

Third Nootka Convention

The tug of war between Spain and Britain for control of trade and navigation along the Northwest Coast and in the Pacific Ocean ended with the signing of the third Nootka Convention. Over the course of the three conventions, both nations acknowledged their respective rights to trade at Nootka Sound, with neither permitted to claim total sovereignty or construct permanent garrisons and factories.

November 19, 1794

Acts and Treaties 

Jay's Treaty Passed

By Jay's Treaty, the British agreed to evacuate frontier posts by 1796. US shipping would have access to British possessions.

March 30, 1809

Atlantic puffins  in Newfoundland, 2013.

Acts and Treaties 

Labrador Act

The Labrador Act gave Labrador to Newfoundland.

December 24, 1814

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Ghent

Peace talks between Great Britain and the United States took place in Belgium in August and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve. The British insisted the treaty be ratified by both governments before it took effect because the Americans refused to ratify three previous treaties.

April 28, 1817

Acts and Treaties 

Rush-Bagot Agreement

This agreement demilitarized the Great Lakes and, along with the Convention of 1818, solidified the border between the United States and British North America.

October 20, 1818

Forty-Ninth Parallel

Acts and Treaties 

Boundary Set at 49th Parallel

The Convention of 1818 described the boundary between British North America and the US as a line from the farthest northwestern point of Lake of the Woods to the 49th parallel and thence west to the Rocky Mountains.

August 01, 1834

Acts and Treaties 

Emancipation Day

The Abolition of Slavery Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1833, came into force.

August 01, 1834

Richard Pierpoint

Acts and Treaties 

Abolition of Slavery Act

Black people are now considered British subjects, paving the way for property-owning Black men to vote. But racism and discrimination at polling stations mean many do not cast their ballots. (See Slavery Abolition Act, 1833.)

July 23, 1840

Act of Union

Acts and Treaties 

Act of Union Assent

The Act of Union joining Upper and Lower Canada received royal assent in England. It came into effect on 10 February 1841.

February 10, 1841

Act of Union

Acts and Treaties 

Act of Union in Effect

The Act of Union came into effect, uniting Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada, a legislative union with 84 members divided equally between Canada East and Canada West.

August 09, 1842

Acts and Treaties 

Webster-Ashburton Treaty

The frontier between Canada and the US was defined by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which was signed by the US and Britain. The treaty also provided for the surveying, mapping and marking of the agreed NB-Maine boundary, and was completed in June 1847.

June 26, 1846

Acts and Treaties 

Repeal of Corn Laws

Royal assent was given to Robert Peel's Act repealing the Corn Laws, terminating the preferential treatment of Canadian grain in Britain.

January 01, 1857

Acts and Treaties 

Gradual Civilization Act Passed in the Province of Canada

The government attempts to assimilate First Nations men by offering them the right to vote if they voluntarily enfranchise. This means giving up rights, including treaty rights. Only one person elects to do so under this Act. (See also Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Law.)

August 02, 1858

Acts and Treaties 

BC a Crown Colony

An imperial Act provided for the government of British Columbia as a Crown colony, to include the Queen Charlotte Islands but excluding Vancouver Island; Victoria was the new capital.

August 06, 1866

Acts and Treaties 

British Columbia Unites

An imperial statute established the political union of Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC as the colony of British Columbia.

May 22, 1867

Acts and Treaties 

Proclamation of Confederation

A royal proclamation declared that the Dominion of Canada would come into existence on July 1.

July 31, 1868

Prince Rupert

Acts and Treaties 

Rupert's Land Act

The Rupert's Land Act was passed, allowing the Crown to declare Rupert's Land part of the Dominion of Canada.

May 12, 1870

Acts and Treaties 

Manitoba Act

The Manitoba Act received royal assent. It created the province of Manitoba, Canada's fifth, and went into effect on 15 July.

August 03, 1871

Signing of Treaty 1

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 1

The first post-Confederation treaty was signed at Lower Fort Garry, Man. The first of many “Numbered Treaties,” Treaty 1 was signed between the Crown and the Ojibwe and Swampy Cree Nations. The treaty included the provision of livestock, agricultural equipment and the establishment of schools in exchange for ceding large tracts of Indigenous hunting grounds.

August 21, 1871

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 2

Treaty 2 was concluded with Chippewa of Manitoba, who ceded land from the mouth of Winnipeg River to the northern shores of Lake Manitoba across the Assiniboine River to the United States frontier.

October 03, 1873

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 3

Treaty 3 was signed by the Saulteaux (Chippewa) of northwestern Ontario and of Manitoba. For the surrender of a tract comprising about 55,000 sq. miles, the Dominion Government reserved not more than one square mile for each family of five and agreed to pay $12 per head and an annuity of $5 per head.

September 15, 1874

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 4

Treaty 4 was signed at Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, with Cree, Saulteaux (Chippewa) and other First Nations.

September 20, 1875

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 5

Treaty 5 was concluded at Lake Winnipeg ceding an area of approximately 100,000 sq. miles inhabited by Chippewa and Swampy Cree (Maskegon) of Manitoba and Ontario.

April 12, 1876

Indian Act

Acts and Treaties 

Indian Act

The Indian Act is introduced. The Act aims to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. The Act also reinforces that Status Indians must voluntarily give up status and treaty rights to vote federally. Status Indian women are barred from voting in band council elections.

August 23, 1876

Cree Encampment

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 6

Treaty 6 was signed at Carlton and at Fort Pitt with the Plains Cree, Woodland Cree and Assiniboine. It ceded an area of 120,000 sq. miles of the plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

September 22, 1877

Mékaisto (Red Crow)

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 7

Treaty 7 was signed at Blackfoot Crossing in southern Alberta by the Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Tsuut'ina and Stoney. Canadian officials understood that by the treaty First Nations surrendered some 35,000 sq miles of land to the Crown in return for reserves, payments and annuities.

January 01, 1885

Acts and Treaties 

Electoral Franchise Act

The original draft of the Act gave federal voting rights to some women, but under the final legislation, only men can vote. The Act gives some Reserve First Nations with property qualifications the right to vote, but bars Chinese Canadians.

March 03, 1887

Acts and Treaties 

Fisheries Retaliation Act

The US passed the Fisheries Retaliation Act, which excluded Canadian vessels from US waters and stopped the importation of Canadian goods.

June 21, 1899

Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker), Plains Cree Chief, 1885

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty 8

Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan and Slavey First Nations ceded territory south and west of Great Slave Lake in northern Alberta to the federal government in Treaty 8.

April 08, 1904

Acts and Treaties 

Lansdowne-Cambon Convention

By the Lansdowne-Cambon Convention France surrendered the right of French fishermen to land on certain coasts of Newfoundland to dry fish.

July 11, 1906

Acts and Treaties 

Lord's Day Act Passed

The Lord's Day Act, officially making Sunday a day of rest in Canada, was passed into law by the Senate. The Act restricted trade, labour and recreation on Sundays.

January 11, 1909

Acts and Treaties 

Boundary Waters Treaty Signed

The Boundary Waters Treaty was signed by the United States and Canada. Each country pledged that the boundary waters between them would not be polluted to the detriment of the health or property of the other. The treaty also created the International Joint Commission, which controlled water disputes between the signatories and prepared reports on environmental issues relevant to them. The treaty was one of the most significant international agreements of the time, and was a model for environmental dispute resolution.

August 29, 1917

Acts and Treaties 

Military Service Act

The Military Service Act was passed, making most male British subjects up to 45 years of age liable for active military service (Conscription).

September 20, 1917

Acts and Treaties 

Wartime Elections Act and Military Voters Act

Parliament passes the Wartime Elections ActThe right to vote federally now extends to women in the armed forces and female relatives of military men. However, Citizens considered of “enemy alien” birth and some pacifist communities are disenfranchised. 

June 28, 1919

Acts and Treaties 

Treaty of Versailles Signed

The Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement imposed on Germany after World War I, was signed near the French capital at Versailles. It took effect on January 10.

July 01, 1920

Acts and Treaties 

Dominion Elections Act

The Dominion Elections Act enfranchised many of those who had been disenfranchised during the First World War, such as those originating from countries with which Canada had been at war. However, the Act stated that anyone who was disenfranchised by provincial legislation because of race would remain disenfranchised from the federal vote. This included persons of Chinese origin in Saskatchewan, and those of Indigenous, Chinese, Japanese, and South Asian origins in British Columbia.

March 02, 1923

Fishing Vessels

Acts and Treaties 

Halibut Treaty

The "Halibut Treaty" with the US was the first treaty signed independently by Canada, without the participation of an Imperial delegate.

February 24, 1925

Acts and Treaties 

Lake of the Woods Treaty

Canada signed a boundary treaty with the US, providing for an International Lake of the Woods Control Board.

July 20, 1932

Acts and Treaties 

Ottawa Agreements

Canada and Commonwealth countries signed 12 bilateral trade agreements in Ottawa providing for mutual tariff concessions and certain other commitments.

January 01, 1934

Acts and Treaties 

Dominion Franchise Act

Inuit and First Nations persons living on reserves are disqualified from voting in federal elections, except for First Nations veterans who had previously received the vote.

April 20, 1941

W.L.M. King and F.D. Roosevelt

Acts and Treaties 

Hyde Park Declaration

Mackenzie King and F.D. Roosevelt signed the Hyde Park Declaration, uniting the economies of the two countries for war.

May 14, 1946

Acts and Treaties 

Canadian Citizenship Act Passed

The Canadian Citizenship Act was passed, to take effect 1 January 1947. The Act replaced British subject status with Canadian citizenship.

January 01, 1947

Acts and Treaties 

Canadian Citizenship Act and repeal of Chinese Immigration Act

Changes to federal legislation allow Chinese and South Asian Canadians to vote. However, it isn’t until 1951 that the final restrictions are lifted in provincial elections Canada-wide.

January 01, 1948

Acts and Treaties 

Amendments to Dominion Elections Act

Race is no longer grounds for exclusion from voting in federal elections. However, Status Indians still have to give up their Status in order to vote.

December 16, 1949

Acts and Treaties 

Amendment to BNA Act

The British North America Act was amended by the British Parliament so that the Canadian Parliament would have the power to amend its own constitution.

January 17, 1961

Columbia River

Acts and Treaties 

Columbia River Treaty

PM John Diefenbaker and President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Columbia River Treaty, dealing with the co-operative development of the Columbia River. It became effective in 1964.

September 16, 1964

Acts and Treaties 

Columbia River Treaty Effective

The Columbia River Treaty became effective. It was signed in 1961.

July 09, 1969

Acts and Treaties 

Official Languages Act (1969)

The Official Languages Act was given assent, to come into effect on September 7. It declared English and French the official languages of the federal administration. Federal government services — including all services related to federal elections — must now be available in both French and English. (See Official Languages Act, 1969.)

October 23, 1969

Acts and Treaties 

Bill 63 (Québec)

Jean Jacques Bertrand's government introduces Bill 63, a controversial language bill that allowed parents the freedom to choose their children's language of instruction.

June 26, 1970

Acts and Treaties 

Canada Extends Boundary

Canada extended its former three-mile limit to its territorial waters to 12 miles with the passage of the Act to Amend the Territorial Sea and Fishing Zones Act. It was proclaimed August 1, 1970.

December 02, 1971

Acts and Treaties 

Norway-Canada Agreement

Norway and Canada signed a fishing and sealing agreement. Norway agreed to cease fishing in Canadian territorial waters.

April 15, 1972

Tanker Arrow Runs Aground

Acts and Treaties 

Water Quality Agreement

Canada and the US signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

July 31, 1974

Acts and Treaties 

Bill 22 Passed

Bill 22 made French the language of civic administration and services, and of the workplace, in Québec.

April 17, 1982

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Acts and Treaties 

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms the right of every Canadian citizen 18 and older to vote and to stand as a candidate.

December 15, 1984

Acts and Treaties 

Bill 101 Challenged

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the compulsory exclusive use of French on public commercial signs, as per Bill 101, was contrary to the right of freedom of speech. The Bourassa government reacted by introducing Bill 178, reinstating the use of French-only signs.

July 21, 1988

Acts and Treaties 

War Measures Act Revoked

The War Measures Act was revoked and replaced with the Emergencies Act, which prohibits discriminatory emergency orders, permits Parliament to override the emergency orders of the government, requires an inquiry into the actions of the government after any emergency and provides for compensation to the victims of government actions.

June 28, 1991

Acts and Treaties 

BC Treaty Commission Created

Federal, provincial and First Nations representatives agreed to create a treaty commission to co-ordinate treaty negotiations in BC, marking a fundamental change in the provincial government's policy toward First Nations.

October 04, 1993

Acts and Treaties 

BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, hailed as one of the strongest in the world, was proclaimed.

March 11, 1999

Acts and Treaties 

Death of Camille Laurin

Camille Laurin, psychiatrist, politician and president of the executive committee of the Parti Québécois, died at Montreal. Author of the white paper declaring French as the only official language of government, education and business in Québec, Laurin was known as the father of Bill 101.

June 30, 1999


Acts and Treaties 

Treaty to Share Pacific Salmon

Canada and the US signed a treaty governing the conservation and sharing of Pacific salmon, which migrate between waters of the two nations.