Guide to fostering the readability of legislative texts

Annex 1 – Examples of preambles

Preamble to an Act

Canada has a commitment to environmental reform and thus to better control over the emission of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, and of other air pollutants;

The emission of air pollutants by internal combustion engines using conventional fuels is harmful to the environment;

The federal public administration is a major user of such engines;

The federal public administration can lead the conversion to less harmful fuels by progressively replacing its motor vehicles with others using alternative fuels, in that way promoting the replacement of petroleum-based fuels for transportation;

THEREFORE Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows: [the Alternative Fuels Act]

Preamble to a regulation

In accordance with subsection 48(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Minister of the Environment published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 5, 1999, a copy of the proposed Gasoline and Gasoline Blend Dispensing Flow Rate Regulations, substantially in the annexed form, and persons were given an opportunity to file comments with respect to the Regulations or to file a notice of objection requesting that a board of review be established and stating the reasons for the objection;

In accordance with subsection 34(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the federal-provincial advisory committee has been given an opportunity to provide its advice under section 6 of that Act;

For the purposes of subsection 34(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, it is the opinion of the Governor in Council that the proposed Regulations do not regulate an aspect of a substance that is regulated by or under any other Act of Parliament;

Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health, under subsection 34(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, makes the annexed Gasoline and Gasoline Blend Dispensing Flow Rate Regulations.

Annex 2 – Conventional order for legislative provisions

The following is the conventional order for provisions in federal legislation7 :

  • Preliminary matters
    • Long title (in Acts)
    • Preamble
    • Enacting formula
  • The Act or regulation itself
    • Short title (in Acts), long title (in regulations)
    • Interpretation provisions, including definitions
    • Application provisions
    • Purpose provisions
    • The core substantive rules
      • The first group of sections expressing the theme of the text
      • Administration provisions, or provisions to carry out the theme
      • Regulation-making provisions (in the case of Acts)
      • Offence provisions (except in purely criminal Acts)
      • Special evidentiary or legal procedure provisions
    • Temporary and transitional provisions
    • Consequential amendments
    • Coordinating provisions
    • Repeals
    • Coming- into- force provisions

7 The description of the conventional order borrows heavily from Driedger, The Composition of Legislation, 2nd ed. (Ottawa: Department of Justice, 1976), p. 81

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