Statutes, Bills, Regulations

Saskatchewan Proclamation

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The Pipelines Amendment Act, 2017, SS 2017, c 22, is proclaimed into force July 31, 2017. According to Hon. Dustin Duncan, the MLA who introduced the bill to the House, the amendments:

  • create the legal framework for the phased-in licensing of over 80,000 flow lines currently exempt from the licensing under the Act
  • provide the legal framework for building an online pipeline licensing system using the recently launched integrated resource information system, also known as IRIS
  • establish new inspection, investigation, and compliance audit powers for ministry staff
  • update and modernize the penalty provisions of the Act, including introducing administrative penalties equivalent to what exists under other provincial laws
  • provide the legal basis for creating technical directives for pipeline licensing, construction, operation, and abandonment
  • provide new regulatory authorities to require financial assurance from operators for pipelines located in high-risk locations such as water crossings
  • establish ongoing obligations related to addressing any environmental issues that might be discovered after a pipeline is abandoned


Guardians of the Book, or Throwing Snowballs at the Beast

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Ken Fox, Reference Librarian

This is an account of what I learned in a session called “Demystifying Legislation: Drafting and Research” at the 2017 CALL/ACBD Conference in Ottawa. The speakers were Aleksander Hynna and Wendy Gordon on drafting, and Emily Landriault on research. All three presented well on pertinent topics, but this post will focus on the first two presentations on legislative drafting.

Aleksander represented the Ministry of Justice’s Legislative Services Branch, the “Big Beast” of legislative drafting (according to Wendy), and the “Guardians of the Statute Book” (in Aleksander’s own words). Wendy represented Legislation Services for the House of Commons, whose role it is (in her own words) to make snowballs for private members to throw at the House.

For those who have already been demystified, this session may have had little interest. But for myself, who had hitherto remained in the dark regarding the inner workings of the creation of legislative machinery, it was enthralling.

There are 110 legislative counsel who draft federal government bills, 110 elite guardians to prepare statutes at the behest of the 30 members of Cabinet. They are functional specialists but subject-matter generalists, who consult with an army of advisors throughout the Justice Department. They work in teams of two, anglophone and francophone co-drafters.

The appointed Ministers & their staffs prepare detailed instructions which are sent to legislative counsel, who draft a bill, and send it back to the relevant officials and their corresponding agencies, who study the draft for conformity to legislative intent. There are meetings, discussions, re-draftings. Errors are corrected, language is perfected, meanings of words, in French and English, checked and cross-checked, over and over and over again. This back-and-forth relay of legalese is known as “the drafting shuttle.” Everything is done simultaneously in French and English, because Canada is bilingual and bijural, and because the cross-checking involved in bilingual drafting results in better legislation.

Wendy Gordon, on the other hand, represented a David to Aleksander’s Goliath. Private members, or back benchers, as they known colloquially, outnumber Cabinet members 10 to 1 – but they do not draft government bills, and do not have the vast resources of the justice department working for them.

And there are two Davids – a legislative services department for each of the House of Commons and Senate. Wendy works for the House of Commons, but implied that the two departments work in a similar fashion.

Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill, but only members of Cabinet can produce a government bill. So non-Cabinet members of the governing party, and all opposition members, rely on Parliamentary Legislative Services for their bill-making needs.

Where Legislative Services Branch has 110 drafters, in addition to numerous advisors, revisers and jurlinguists, the House has but five drafters, 3 translators, 2 revisers and 2 publications officers. In the 41st Parliament, this small team received over 1,000 requests for legislation, about 800 of which generated an actual bill. Of these, 34 were passed, 58 defeated, and the remaining 700-some-odd died.

With these long odds, why make a non-government bill? There are several reasons, but they can all be summarized in a single word – politics. These 300 or so members represent ridings across Canada, and often raise local concerns, and carry the weight of history – “we hear a lot of stories,” says Wendy Gordon.  Often timed with press conferences, these bills are intended to grab attention, send messages, spark debate, create a raucous. Says Wendy, “the private members throw snowballs at the house, and our role is to make those snowballs.”

Like the Legislative Services Branch, the munitions-makers of Parliament receive their instructions in writing from the members of the House – what type of snowball to make, what ingredients, how large, etc.  But they draft their snowballs in one language, and translate them after the fact, rather than composing them bilingually. Without access to the Department of Justice, Parliamentary legislative counsel rely on the Library of Parliament for research support. They are strictly confidential and non-partisan. All snowballs are checked for jurisdictional relevance, constitutional complicity, non-redundancy with other snowballs, and that they do not allocate funds (only government bills can do that).

In summary, 100 serve the 30, and 13 serve the 300, who represent the 35 million. But the 30 represent the one, which is the Crown, which is the body politic, to invoke the royal metaphor. The mist has cleared and the veil has been lifted –  and I have seen inside the belly of the beast.



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Saskatchewan Proclamations

  • The Provincial Capital Commission Act, SS 2017, c P-30.011, also known as Bill 50, was proclaimed into force June 12, 2017. According to the government’s news release, the bill aims to stabilize the funding for Wascana Centre and streamline the management and operations.
  • Sections 11, 12, and 38(1)(c) of The Education Amendment Act, 2013, SS 2013, c 9 also take effect on June 12.

Canada Proclamations

  • The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, SC 2017, c 8, except s 43 (which came into force on assent) is proclaimed into force August 1, 2017 (PC 2017-0837).
  • Sections 5, 6(3) and 6(4) of the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law), SC 2014, c 24, are proclaimed into force June 20, 2017 (PC 2017-0776).
  • Sections 47(2), 48, 101, 102 and 121 to 123 of the Environmental Enforcement Act, SC 2009, c 14, take effect on July 12, 2017 (PC 2017-0559). This amendment updates the penalties and liability provisions of the Canada Wildlife Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.



Bills Recently Introduced

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The following are some of the new bills introduced during the 1st Session of the 28th Legislature, March 6, 2017 to May 18, 2017:

Bill 47, An Act to Reduce Salaries of Members of the Legislative Assembly, 2017

Coming into force:
This Act comes into force on assent (April 13, 2017), but is retroactive and is deemed to have been in force on and from April 1, 2017.

Bill 48, The Education Property Tax Act

Coming into force:
This Act comes into force on January 1, 2018

Bill 50, The Provincial Capital Commission Act

Coming into force:
This Act comes into force on Proclamation
Subsection 11-1(2) comes into force on assent (May 17, 2017), but is retroactive and is deemed to have been in force on and from April 1, 2017.

Bill 53, The Provincial Health Authority Act

Coming into force:
This Act comes into force on Proclamation

Bill 61, The Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive (Patent Box) Act

Coming into force:
This Act comes into force on Proclamation

Saskatchewan Legislative Update

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The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 113 No. 20, May 19, 2017:

  • SR 39/2017 The Parks Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 40/2017 The Traffic Safety (Speed Monitoring) Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 41/2017 The Vehicle Classification and Registration (Miscellaneous) Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 42/2017 The Vehicle Equipment (Miscellaneous) Amendment
  • Regulations, 2017

The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 113 No. 21, May 26, 2017:

  • L-10.2 Reg 1 The Legal Profession Regulations
  • SR 43/2017 The Pooled Registered Pension Plans (Saskatchewan) Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 44/2017 The Queen’s Bench (Canadian Free Trade Agreement) Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • Règlement modificatif de 2017 sur la Cour du Banc de la Reine (Accord de libre-échange canadien)
  • SR 45/2017 The Seizure of Criminal Property Amendment Regulations, 2017

Saskatchewan Legislative Update

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The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 113 No. 18, May 5, 2017:

  • E-0.011 Reg 2 The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program Application Fee Regulations
  • SR 35/2017 The Coroners Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 36/2017/ The Jury Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • RS 36/2017 Règlement modificatif de 2017 sur le jury
  • SR 37/2017 The Driver Licensing and Suspension (Miscellaneous) Amendment Regulations, 2017
  • SR 38/2017 The Vehicle Impoundment (General) Amendment Regulations, 2017

Law Reform Commission Reports

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From the Law Reform Commission

Final reports recently released by the Law Reform Commission:

The Intestate Succession Act, 1996 (April 2017)

The Intestate Succession Act, 1996 determines how an estate is divided when there is not a valid will, or if there is a portion of an estate remaining after a will has been completely applied. The Commission has undertaken a comprehensive review of The Intestate Succession Act, 1996. This Final Report makes several recommendations for reform based on current estate planning practices that will ensure Saskatchewan’s intestate estate distribution system remains relatively simple, certain, and efficient.

The Homesteads Act, 1989 (April 2017)

The Homesteads Act, 1989 protects spouses who do not own their homes against the sale, mortgaging or other disposition of the homestead by requiring the non-owning spouse to sign a consent and be examined separately from the owning spouse before such action can be taken. This Final Report considers two distinct issues: (1) whether an attorney acting under a power of attorney should be able to consent to a disposition of the homestead, and (2) whether a homestead should include mines and minerals. This Final Report recommends allowing an attorney to consent to a disposition of the homestead in place of a non-owning spouse, subject to the condition that where the attorney is the spouse of the non-owning spouse, the attorney only be able to consent to a disposition of the homestead where the non-owning spouse lacks capacity. This Final Report also recommends that The Homesteads Act, 1989 be amended to specifically exclude mines and minerals from the definition of the homestead.