Q Laws Publications - Government

Frequently Asked Questions

On BC Laws you will find every public Act, and every regulation of general public interest, currently in force in the province of British Columbia, including new and recently amended laws that have yet to be published in official print formats. This current consolidation is an unofficial version of B.C. Statutes and Regulations.

In addition to the public Acts and Regulations, you will find the Private, Special and Local Acts from 1950 to the present.

See questions 20 and 21 for copyright information.

See also questions 3, 6 and 7.

BC Laws is updated continually as new laws and provisions come into force.

A consolidated Act or regulation is one in which the substance of any amendments has been blended into the original.

A "consolidation" refers to a collection of consolidated Acts or regulations that have been enacted or amended during a given time period, and are then published. The published consolidations are identified by a cut-off date and a consolidation number, also referred to as an amendment number (statutes) or instalment number (regulations).

Most changes to an enactment are made by legislative amendment. In the case of Acts, this means an amendment has been introduced in the Legislative Assembly, debated and enacted by the Legislature. In the case of regulations, this means an amendment has been made by a further regulation made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council or another regulation-making authority.

Certain portions of Acts and regulations may be changed editorially because, in accordance with section 11 (1) and (2) of the Interpretation Act, they are not part of the enactment.

The bold text that immediately precedes section 11 is a head note, referred to in subsection (1). The type of reference aid referred to in subsection (2)—“italicized text in square brackets”—is a cross-reference descriptor, an example of which appears in section 20 (5) of the Interpretation Act.

Head notes, both in the body of an enactment and in its table of contents, and cross-reference descriptors are provided for convenience only; they are not part of the enactment. They are therefore not changed legislatively but editorially, under the direction of the Chief Legislative Counsel.

The Table of Legislative Changes user guide is available here

The laws are listed alphabetically by Act name. Regulations are listed under the Act that authorizes them. Click on the letters of the alphabet to browse through the Acts. Click on the Act title to open the folder. Click on the document title to view the document. To return to the list of statutes or the BC Laws home page, use the browser "back" arrow or click on the breadcrumb navigation links at the top of the page, e.g. "BC Laws Home > Statutes and Regulations>.

Quick Search: To perform a quick search of all laws in the statutes and regulations collection, enter a search term in the search field; then, click on the search button (or hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard). To restrict a search to the Acts listed under a particular letter of the alphabet, select the collection, e.g. "B" collection, and perform a quick search. To restrict a search to the documents listed under a particular Act (e.g. Act, Point in Time, Table of Legislative Changes, or Regulations), select the Act folder and perform a quick search. To search the regulations under the Act, select the regulations folder and perform a quick search.

Advanced Searches: To perform an advanced search, click on the Advanced search button and select from the following search options: Advanced, Boolean or Field search. The advanced searches can be performed on the entire collection or on the level currently selected, e.g. "letter B collection" level.

The Field search can be performed on documents published in XML format and allow you to narrow your search to specific areas of a document, e.g. search by chapter number. XML collections include: Statutes and Regulations, Table of Legislative Changes, Historical Tables, Supplements, and Point in Time tables.

For additional information in navigating and searching BC Laws view the User Guide.

Recent legislative amendments to an Act and editorial changes to head notes, tables of contents and cross-reference descriptors are shown in green underlined text to make it easy to find what has changed. When the current consolidation reaches its cut-off date and is archived, a new consolidation is published in regular text format with all the amendments and editorial changes from the previous consolidation blended in. Any subsequent amendments and editorial changes are shown in green underlined text.

The official version refers to the official print versions of the statutes and regulations published by the King's Printer under the authority of the King's Printer Act and the Regulations Act. Official versions are published in these formats:

Annual Bound Statutes: a hardcover publication containing all new public and private Acts and Amendment Acts that have come into force during the calendar year.

Statute consolidations: a looseleaf publication, containing all new public Acts and amendments enacted during a legislative session.

Individual consolidated statutes and regulations: printed with any amendments blended into the original. All official versions may be relied upon for legal and other purposes. They are available from Crown Publications, King's Printer at www.crownpub.bc.ca

See also question 3 and 22

The "Assented to" date at the top of some public Acts (usually those enacted after the latest Revision) refers to the date of Royal Assent. Unless an Act contains a stated effective date, or a provision requiring that it be brought into force by regulation, it comes into force on the day Royal Assent is given.

The year of enactment appears below the Act title; for instance, S.B.C. 2003 (Statutes of British Columbia) or R.S.B.C. 1996 (Revised Statutes of British Columbia).

For more information please refer to Legislation Made Easy, 3rd Edition.

The deposit date at the top of most regulations indicates the date the regulation was filed with the Registrar of Regulations. Unless there is a stated "effective date" below the deposit date, the regulation comes into force on the date of deposit.

In regulations that have been amended since the previous consolidation was published, there is a note under the regulation title in this format: [includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 304/2008, October 31, 2008]; which provides the number of the most recent amending regulation and the effective date for the amendment.

For more information please refer to Legislation Made Easy, 3rd Edition.

When laws are repealed they are no longer in force and cease to be the law. Statutes and Regulations can be repealed; repealed and replaced by another statute or regulation with a different title; or renamed. They can also have built-in expiry provisions, or be enacted for a specific period, after which they are considered to be spent without the need for repeal. If the Act under which a regulation is authorized is no longer in force then the regulation expires, unless a replacement Act with similar authority takes its place.

Check the Table of Legislative changes pertaining to the act in question.

Check the Point in Time table for the full text of a repealed Act (from September 6. 2000 to present).

Check the Table of Legislative Changes to learn the year, chapter number and section number of the legislation that enacted the provision. With that information, go to the Bills collection to locate that legislation and the text of the provision.

On BC Laws, a Table of Legislative Changes (TLC) accompanies Acts which have been amended. The TLC lists all amendments made to an individual Act by section, including citations and the date on which an amendment comes into force. The TLC is found in the Act folder. A cumulative Table of Legislative Changes is published in the Annual Bound Statutes.

The Consolidated Provisions in Force(PIF) is an alphabetical listing of all statutes enacted, amended, or repealed , from the 1997 session of the Legislation Assembly to the 2011 sessions.

The Point in Time tables for amended Acts, keep track of the original wording of an Act prior to amendment or repeal (covers changes made from September 6, 2000 to the present).

The Point in Time tables for amended or repealed regulations, keep track of the original wording of a Regulation prior to amendment or repeal(covers changes made from September 19, 2009 to the present).

Mostly, yes. Orders in council and ministerial orders are listed chronologically by year, then by the number assigned to them, and can be browsed in the same way the statutes and regulations can be. As well, the Quick Search and Advanced Searches described in question 6 can be performed on the collections of orders in council and ministerial orders. The Field Search described in question 6 is not available for orders in council and ministerial orders, however.

Note: Orders in council and ministerial orders on BC Laws have undergone optical character recognition (OCR) to enable text to be searched. Handwriting in OCR’d documents was not recognized and is not included in search results. Although steps have been taken to improve the accuracy of the results, OCR errors do occur. If you believe you have uncovered an OCR error, please report this via email to BC.Laws@gov.bc.ca.

BC Laws contains only those forms that comprise part of a regulation. If a regulation contains forms, they will usually be found at the end of the regulation. You must print out the forms to use them. They cannot be filled in or submitted online.

In support of the British Columbia government's Open Data Policy, BC Laws delivers expanded content and open access to the data published on the site. All documents on BC Laws are now published under a permissible license, which allows commercial and non-commercial access to, and use of, the legislative materials on the site (please check the license here as some restrictions apply).

Yes, you can make copies of legislation, in whole or in part, as per the Open Data license.

See also question 19.

Open the document and use the browser print functions to print the document.

All print versions of statutes and regulations are available from Crown Publications, King's Printer at www.crownpub.bc.ca


Annual Bound Statutes: Buckram Bound hardcover. After the end of each calendar year, the King's Printer publishes an official hardcover version of all new Acts and Amendment Acts, both public and private, that were enacted during the year. In the case of private Acts, the hardcover edition is likely the final publication, since most private Acts are rarely consolidated or revised.

The hardcover version includes: all public and private Acts and Amendment Acts that have come into force during a calendar year; cumulative Tables of Legislative Changes; and cross-referencing for Bill numbers and Chapter numbers.

Statute Consolidations: After the end of each legislative session (usually twice per year), all new public Acts and amendments to existing Acts are published by the King's Printer in looseleaf format. The consolidation is assigned an "amendment" number and cut-off date for publication. Often referred to as "the looseleaf", the consolidated statutes are formatted for insertion into the binder volumes of the most recent Statute Revision, so that the statutes may be kept up-to-date.

The Statute Consolidations include: all new public Acts and amendments to existing Acts that are in force at the cut-off date, with amendments blended into the original text (consolidated); and Tables of Legislative Changes. Individual consolidated Acts: Includes the entire Act with any amendments blended in; Supplement (if applicable); and a Table of Legislative Change.

Regulation Consolidations: Annually new regulations of general public interest and amendments to existing regulations are published within the Archived Regulation Consolidations content collection on BC Laws.

Individual consolidated regulations: Includes the entire regulation with any amendments blended in; and historical notes.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS Under the Regulations Act, regulations must be published in Part II of The British Columbia Gazette, which is published in print format every two weeks, and is available from Crown Publications, King's Printer. The Gazette is also available on BC Laws.

All print publications can be purchased from Crown Publications, King's Printer at www.crownpub.bc.ca; Telephone: 1 800 663-6105 or 250 387-6409.

See also question 8.

Notices in the official version of the Gazette are not removed after they have been published as the British Columbia Gazette forms part of the complete and official public record and has legal implications under British Columbia Legislation. However, in extenuating circumstances, and at the sole discretion of the King’s Printer, information may be redacted from the Electronic Record if there is significant and demonstrable risk to the physical safety or security of an individual. Evidence of such risk may be required to be provided by the police, security services, social services, child protection services, a lawyer or a medical professional. Copies of the Printed Record cannot be redacted after the Gazette has been published.

Bills, The B.C. Gazette Part I and II, Hansard and various code books are all available from Crown Publications, King's Printer at www.crownpub.bc.ca; Telephone: 1 800 663-6105 or 250 387-6409.

Many government publications are available from the Crown Publications, King's Printer online bookstore at www.crownpub.bc.ca; Telephone: 1 800 663-6105 or 250 387-6409.

BC Laws is best viewed with Firefox version 8 or higher; Internet Explorer version 8 or higher, Chrome version 33 or higher, and Safari version 5 or higher.

Start by opening the document you wish to bookmark. Use the browser's "Bookmark" or "Favourites" feature to add the document to your bookmarks. When you use the bookmark to open a statute or regulation on BC Laws, if the content has been updated with amendments, the page will automatically be refreshed.to include the amendments.

You can try the following to ensure the cookies are enabled on your browser:

Internet Explorer version 8+

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  4. Restart Internet Explorer.

Firefox 28.0+

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Chrome version 33+ All cookies are allowed by default in Chrome. To adjust this setting:

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    If you still cannot view the site, please contact Crown Publications;

    Telephone: 1 800 663-6105 or 250 387-6409;
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The King's Printer was established in 1859 to serve as printer of government publications for the territory that has since become the province of British Columbia. Today, the King's Printer continues to publish the official versions of B.C. Statutes and Regulations, and related publications such as The B.C. Gazette. The King's Printer also provides publishing, distribution and printing services to government ministries, the public sector and publicly-funded authors and agencies. Popular electronic publications published by the King's Printer include the BC Laws website, and British Columbia Building Code.

Crown Publications, King's Printer is the provincial government online bookstore for British Columbia. Crown Publications (formerly Crown Publications, Inc.) provides public access to many print and electronic publications from the B.C. Government, public sector organizations and publicly-funded authors and agencies. Crown Publications is also the official distributor of the British Columbia Statutes and Regulations, The B.C. Gazette and other legislative materials, including some federal publications.

Publications are available through the online bookstore, at www.crownpub.bc.ca, Telephone: 1 800 663-6105 or 250 387-6409.

Sources: Legislation Made Easy, 3rd edition, 2010; Legislative Assembly website at www.leg.bc.ca; e-Laws Ontario at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.