Royal Commissions
Last revised September 12, 2018

A royal commission is an advisory organization of one or more commissioners appointed by cabinet to investigate, study and report upon a specified subject.  They may also make recommendations to the government.  The term "royal" is applied to commissions to reflect the executive nature of the appointment, however, not all commissions use it.

The federal cabinet issues an Order-in-Council under the Inquiries Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-11, to create a commission.  The Order-in-Council will include the terms of reference for the commission, the powers of the commission and the names of the commissioners.

Provincially, the mechanism for creating commissions varies, but usually it is done by an Order-in-Council issued by the provincial cabinet under the province’s Inquiries Act.  For BC's current act see the Public Inquiry Act, S.B.C 2007, c. 9 (repeals the Inquiry Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 224).  A commission may also be created by a special act

Locating Commission Reports

Courthouse Libraries BC has some reports in print. Check the library catalogue to find out what is available. The Library also has some reports on microfiche along with print indexes, which are listed below:

Canada

Canadian Federal Royal Commission Reports, 1868-1978 is a collection of reports on microfiche.

The Index to Federal Royal Commissions is available on the Library and Archives Canada website. The index is searchable by keywords, commission or chairperson.

Federal Royal Commissions in Canada, 1867-1966: A Checklist is a print list of commissions and includes a subject index.  There is a supplement which covers 1967 to 1980.

Records of Federal Royal Commissions is a two volume set.   Volume 1 contains an excellent explanation of Royal Commissions, departmental investigations and other inquiries.  Volume 2 includes a detailed name index, a subject index and a chronological list of commissions from 1873-1986. The text itself contains detailed descriptions of the commissions.

Provincial

BC Royal Commissions is a microfiche collection of most BC commission reports from 1872 to 1985

Provincial Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, 1867-1982: a Selective Bibliography is a chronological list of commissions organized by province. Includes a subject index.

Royal Commissions and Commission of Inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act in British Columbia, 1872-1942: a Checklist  is a chronological list of commissions. Includes a subject index.

Royal Commissions and Commission of Inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act in British Columbia, 1943-1980: a Checklist  is a chronological list of commissions. Includes a subject index.

Search the catalogue of the Legislative Library of B.C. Some of the library's catalogue records include links to the full text of reports.

 

References

Courthouse Libraries BC - catalogue

Canadian Federal Royal Commission Reports, 1868-1978available in the Vancouver Courthouse Library

Library and Archives Canada - Index to Federal Royal Commissions

Federal Royal Commissions in Canada, 1867-1966: A Checklist - available in the Vancouver Courthouse Library

Records of Federal Royal Commissionsavailable in the Vancouver Courthouse Library

BC Royal Commissions - available in the Vancouver and Victoria courthouse libraries

Provincial Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, 1867-1982: a Selective Bibliographyavailable in the Vancouver Courthouse Library

Royal Commissions and Commission of Inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act in British Columbia, 1872-1942: a Checklist - available in the Vancouver and Victoria courthouse libraries

Royal Commissions and Commission of Inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act in British Columbia, 1943-1980: a Checklist - available in the Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria courthouse libraries

Legislative Library of B.C.