Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen of England as the official head of state, although Canada’s government is actually a parliamentary one. Canada is a federation with ten provinces and three territories. The federal Parliament is bicameral, with House of Commons and Senate, and a Prime Minister as head of government. Division of powers between the federal and provincial governments is set out in the Constitution. There are a Supreme Court of Canada, a Federal Court and Tax Court, and provincial courts. The provincial courts hear federal and provincial law cases; the Federal Court has jurisdiction limited to claims against the federal government and certain specified subjects such as copyright and patents. Canada has a common law legal system, but Quebec uses civil law for provincial matters. French and English are both official national languages.
Information about the Canada’s government and legal system can be found at:
The Canadian Constitution consists of multiple documents: The Constitution Act 1867, The Constitution Act 1982, and amendments. The 1982 Act included the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Supreme Court of Canada provides a guide to the Canadian judicial system.
Print resources for Canada in the MacMillan Law Library are in ranges 372-375 in the Granger Hansell Room, but they are not current. The collection includes the Canada Supreme Court Reports, Federal Court Reports, and Dominion Law Reports (a commercial reporter which includes both provincial and federal cases).
Hein Online: Canada Supreme Court Reports in pdf (1876-most recent)
Lexis has Canadian resources including federal and provincial case reporters. From Lexis Advance, go to Research>Lexis.com>Find Laws by Country or Region.
Westlaw has Federal and Provincial caselaw, as well as caselaw searching by topic
vLex Global has reporters including the Supreme Court, Federal Court, and Federal Court of Appeal.
CANLii is a free source for searchable Canadian cases. Search document text, case name, citation, or docket, or browse by jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court of Canada has individual Supreme Court judgments beginning in 1876 on its website. The site offers searching and browsing, including by subject.
The Canada Gazette is Canada’s official publication for new statutes and regulations and other government notices. Print publication of the Canada Gazette was discontinued in April 2014, so the publication is now electronic only. The Canada Gazette consists of:
There are Annual Statutes volumes published each year with Acts in chronological order. Canadian statutes are periodically consolidated in the print publication Revised Statutes of Canada, most recently in 1985. Acts and regulations are also made available in consolidated form online, with amendments and update. The consolidated versions on Canada’s Justice Laws website are considered official as of June 1, 2009.
The MacMillan Law Library’s collection in the Granger Hansell Room includes the Revised Statutes of Canada (1985 Consolidation), Statutes of Canada, Consolidated Regulations of Canada (1978), and the Canada Gazette Part II. The library’s collection is not current, with most sets updated only until 2009.