Browse "Politics & Law"

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Official Secrets Act

Official Secrets Act, the most important statute relating to national security, is designed to prohibit and control access to and the disclosure of sensitive government information; offences cover espionage and leakage of government information.

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Youth Criminal Justice Act

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, which was proclaimed in force on 1 April 2003, replaces the Young Offenders Act. It applies to a young person, or youth, who is or who appears to be 12 years old or older, but who is less than 18 years old and who is alleged to have committed an offence as a youth.

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Chinese Immigration Act

The Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, known also as the Chinese Exclusion Act, banned the entry of virtually all Chinese immigrants for 24 years. Although migration into Canada from most countries was controlled or restricted in some way, only Chinese people were singled out completely from entering on the basis of race. The four exceptions to the exclusion were students, merchants (excluding laundry, restaurant and retail operators), diplomats and Canadian-born Chinese returning from education in China. The limit on absence from Canada was two years, and the consequence for not returning on time was being barred re-entry. Additionally, every person of Chinese descent, whether Canadian-born or naturalized, was required to register for an identity card within 12 months. The penalty for noncompliance was imprisonment or a fine of up to $500. Though the Act was repealed in 1947, immigration restrictions on the basis of race and national origin were not fully scrubbed until 1967.

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Gradual Civilization Act

An Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes in the Province was passed by the fifth Parliament of the Province of Canada (formally Upper Canada and Lower Canada) in 1857. The Gradual Civilization Act, as it came to be known, was part of a state effort to use government policy to assimilate Indigenous peoples to the economic and social customs of European settler society.

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Official Language Act (New Brunswick)

New Brunswick, the province with the highest level of linguistic duality in Canada, adopted the Official Languages of New Brunswick Act (OLNBA) in 1969, a few months before the federal government enacted its own Official Languages Act. New Brunswick’s recognition of two linguistic communities (1981), mechanisms for enforcement of the law and redress for infractions (2002), and regulations on bilingual commercial signage (2009) have been the boldest measures in support of bilingualism of any province in the country. Francophones in New Brunswick represented 32.4 per cent of the population in 2016.

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Dominion Lands Act

The Dominion Lands Act was a federal law under which lands in Western Canada were granted to individuals, colonization companies, the Hudson’s Bay Company, railway construction, municipalities and religious groups. It received royal assent on 14 April 1872. The Act set aside land for First Nations reserves. Métis lands were organized by the government outside the Dominion Lands Act, using the scrip system. The Act also set aside lands for what would become National Parks (1883). The Dominion Lands Act devised specific homestead policies to encourage settlement in the West, covering eligibility and settlers’ responsibilities, and outlined a standard measure for surveying and subdividing land. Some 1.25 million homesteads were made available over an expanse of some 80 million hectares, the largest survey grid in the world. The Act was repealed in 1930, when lands and resources were transferred from the federal government to the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. From 1870 to 1930, roughly 625,000 land patents were issued to homesteaders, and hundreds of thousands of settlers poured into the region.

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Indian Act

The Indian Act is the principal statute through which the federal government administers Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land and communal monies. It was first introduced in 1876 as a consolidation of previous colonial ordinances that aimed to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. The Act has been amended several times, most significantly in 1951 and 1985, with changes mainly focusing on the removal of particularly discriminatory sections. The Indian Act pertains only to First Nations peoples, not to the Métis or Inuit. It is an evolving, paradoxical document that has enabled trauma, human rights violations and social and cultural disruption for generations of First Nations peoples. The Act also outlines governmental obligations to First Nations peoples, and determines “status” — a legal recognition of a person’s First Nations heritage, which affords certain rights such as the right to live on reserve land.

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Militia Acts

Militia Acts provided manpower for defence. Until the 1850s, such Acts in Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick usually imposed compulsory service on males between 16 and 50 or 60, with annual or more frequent enrolment musters.

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Newfoundland Acts

In 1699 the first legislation regarding NEWFOUNDLAND was passed in the British Parliament. Formally An Act to Encourage the Trade to Newfoundland, it is better known in Newfoundland as King William's Act or The Newfoundland Act.

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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.