Day: June 18, 2014

A Nitty Gritty Summary for Citing Canadian and Saskatchewan Statutes

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When citing a Canadian statute, you will either cite to a revised statute (RSC – Revised Statutes of Canada) or to the year/sessional volume (SC – Statutes of Canada). According to the Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research, federal statutes are revised every 15 to 30 years, with the last revision being in 1985. The title of the statute is italicized, followed by a non-italicized comma. If a year is included in the title of the statute, it should also be italicized, but again, the comma following should not be italicized. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide*) dictates that there are no periods between RSC or SC, or after the chapter abbreviation (e.g., c A-1). Be aware that not all jurisdictions have adopted the McGill Guide formatting, but for our purposes, we will omit the periods in all our examples.

Statutes that have chapters that include both a letter and a number are new acts, and the letter stands for the first letter of the name of the act. Statutes that have chapters with only a number are acts that usually amend existing acts.

Example of a revised statute:

Access to Information Act, RSC 1985, c A-1

Example of a year/sessional statute:

Farm Debt Mediation Act, SC 1997, c 21

There is a third kind of act that is not always on our radar, that of the private act. In House of Commons Procedure and Practice,2000 edition, Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit state, “Most private bills now deal with the incorporation of, or amendments to the acts of incorporation of, religious, charitable and other organizations and of insurance, trust and loan companies.”

Example of a private act:

An Act to incorporate the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregations, SC 1994, c 49


When citing a Saskatchewan statute, you will either cite to a revised statute (RSS – Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan) or to the year/sessional volume (SS – Statutes of Saskatchewan). In Saskatchewan the last revision to our statutes was in 1978. In 2008 the Saskatchewan legislature introduced and passed The Statutes and Regulations Revision Act, SS 2008, c S-59.01 (effective Nov. 1, 2008) paving the way for a revision of Saskatchewan’s Acts and Regulations to be revised in the future.

“This Act establishes a revision committee to prepare revisions of any or all Acts or regulations of Saskatchewan. It provides the committee with revision powers to update Saskatchewan legislation, for example, consolidating amendments, changing numbering, adding or changing headings, adopting gender neutral language, updating references and removing unnecessary provisions. A revision is not intended to change the meaning of the law but merely to give it a more modern expression. On the coming into force of a revision, both the printed and electronic versions will be official versions of the revised enactments.” Justice Update 2008

Note that all Saskatchewan statutes include “The” in the title of the act, unlike the federal statutes; therefore, “The” is both capped and italicized with the rest of the title. If you are unsure of the exact name of a statute, check the act under Short Title (usually section 1 of the act) and it will tell you how the name of the act is to be cited.

Example of a revised statute:

The Controverted Municipal Elections Act, RSS 1978, c C-33

Examples of year/sessional statutes:

A) The Cities Act, SS 2002, c C-11.1

B) The Cities Amendment Act, 2013, SS 2013, c 6

Example of a private act:

The Bethany College Incorporation Act, 1993, SS 1993, c 02

Parts to be included in a statute citation

  1. title; if the title includes a year in the name, make sure to include the year
    The Cities Amendment Act, 2013
  2. statute volume
    SS 2013
  3. chapter number
    c 6
  4. section number, if needed (also called pinpointing)
    s 2

Always keep in mind that people love shortcuts, and in the language of law, this means abbreviations. So when a senior lawyer asks you to find legislation pertaining to the AAIA [1], the PPSA [2] and the EMJA [3], you might begin to wonder what kind of code is this and do I need to call Bletchley Park to use their enigma machine? Well, that’s when you get in touch with us at the Law Society Library, and we’ll help you with all your deciphering needs.


* Note: McGill has just released its 8th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation. We will refer to the 7th for now, as many people may not have access to the 8th edition at the time of this post.



Best, Catherine. Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research, online <>

Government of Saskatchewan. Justice Update 2008 <>

Marleau, Robert and Camille Montpetit. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2000 edition, online <>

McGill Law Journal. Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 7th ed (Carswe



[1] The Automobile Accident Insurance Act, RRS 1978, c A-35

[2] The Personal Property Security Act, 1993, SS 1993, c P-6.2

[3] The Enforcement of Judgments Act, SS 2010, c E-9.22