How to Find Out if a Federal Statute has Been Amended
Last revised September 01, 2022

Fairly often, we get asked "how can I find out if a federal statute has been amended?"

Our go-to resource for this question is the Justice Laws Website. It's an excellent source for finding out if a statute has been amended between 1985 and the present.

On the left hand side of the home page, there is a link to the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers, which is also found at the back of the printed and bound Statues of Canada (available in resource and regional libraries).  It's a table of legislative changes, showing all of the chapters of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, with their amendments, as well as other public Acts made since the revision, and their amendments.

How Does It Work?

Within the Table, statutes are listed alphabetically, as shown below. 

access to individual statutes

Immediately under the title of each Act is the French title, printed in italics.  The name of the minister who has responsibility for the administration of the Act is also listed under the title of the Act. 

I'll use the Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c.23 as an example.

Employment insurance act table

Under the title of the Act, sections listed in bold indicate the provisions of that Act that have been added, repealed or amended. If a section is not listed, no changes have been made since the Act came into force.

 Amended sections of employment insurance

As you can see, there is no entry for section 5, therefore it has not been amended or repealed.

Section 2, on the other hand, has been amended multiple times - in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, & 2012. But when exactly did those amendments come into force?

At the bottom of the list of amendments for the statute, there is a coming into force (CIF) entry for each amendment listed, organized chronologically by year.  The CIF dates are written in day, month and year order (e.g. 05.01.06 is 5 January, 2006).

So, the first amendment to section 2 took place in the Statutes of Canada 1996, chapter 23, section 189(f) and (g).  The CIF entry for 1996, c.23 reads:

employment insurance cif

Similarly, the first amendment to section 3 took place in the Statutes of Canada 2001, chapter 5, section 2.  The CIF entry for 2001, c. 5 reads:

CIF employment insurance

In Summary

The Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers lists the amendments to all public Acts. 

Where no minister has been specifically designated as responsible for administering the Act, the name of the minister who introduced the bill in Parliament is given.

Please note that the Table does not necessarily reflect changes in ministerial responsibilities resulting from orders made under the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, RSC 1985, c. P-34.

At the end of the list of amendments for each act, CIF refers to the coming into force date. An (E) indicates an amendment to the English version only and (F) indicates an amendment to the French version only.

The terms SOR and SI are references to Statutory Orders and Regulations or Statutory Instruments as published in the Canada Gazette, part II.

The Table also provides a list of statutes that were repealed between 1985 and 2010. These statutes were removed from the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers one year after the date of repeal.