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Welcome to the www.CanadianEnvironmental.com Newsletter.

This is a 100% opt in Newsletter that provides environmental professionals with a Canadian perspective on environmental resources that are available and other topics of interest. This month's topic is Online Environmental Legislation. The April Newsletter will cover some of the environmental software that is available.

Online Environmental Legislation
- Introduction
- Federal and Provincial Websites
- Bills and Gazettes
- Print versus Online
- Municipal By-laws
- Subscription Legislation Services



Canada is one of the most advanced Countries in the world with respect to the level of public government information that can be accessed online. The extent of legislation and related documents provided online by all levels of government in Canada has grown significantly over the last couple of years and virtually all Canadian Acts and Regulations can now be accessed for free through the internet. However, using Acts and Regulations posted online requires some care as each jurisdiction maintains their own website(s) and they are not all created equal. For example, search features and the frequency of updates vary, and some collections only include the text of documents without appendices, tables, charts, etc.

Subscription legislation services are another source of online legislation. Although these collections are not free, they provide many benefits including the convenience of having all the environmental legislation in one location, advanced search features, complete documents, and email notifications that help keep subscribers current of new and upcoming changes to environmental Acts and Regulations.

More details on both these types of collections can be found throughout this newsletter.

Note: With so many jurisdictions to cover, only an overview is provided in this newsletter. Further details and links for each jurisdiction can be accessed in the Legislation section of www.CanadianEnvironmental.com by clicking on the appropriate link below:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Federal and Provincial Websites

The federal government as well as all the provincial and territorial governments provide access to their legislation online for free (Note: Yukon and the Northwest Territories link to the legislation provided online by The Canadian Legal Informational Institute). However the search features and the frequency of updates vary. For example, federal legislation on the Department of Canada Justice website is updated quarterly, while the legislation on many of the provincial websites are updated within days of any changes.

Alberta and British Columbia also maintain fee-based legislation databases in addition to their free collections of legislation. The fee-based databases (Alberta's QP Source Internet and British Columbia's QP LegalEze) have superior search capabilities, more frequent updates, and include legislation as well as other related documents.

Key environmental Acts, Regulations, Guidelines, and other documents can also be found on the websites of the relevant Departments/Ministries (e.g., Environment, Natural Resources, Environmental Assessment, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Forests, etc.). Click here to access links for each jurisdiction.

Bills and Gazettes

The reading of bills and the text of the Canada Gazette and the Gazettes of the provinces can also be viewed online. The Gazettes are government publications used to communicate changes to the legislation and other pertinent items to the public. Click here to access links for each jurisdiction.

Print versus Online

Disclaimers on all of the government legislation websites indicate that the Acts and Regulations provided on their respective websites are not the official version and that the official bound version must be consulted for interpreting and applying the law. The Gazette websites contain similar disclaimers with the exception of the New Brunswick Royal Gazette that has been officially published online as of the beginning of 2004, and can be considered an official source. Hopefully this signals a trend of more to come.

Legislation provided online by many jurisdictions only contain the text without appendices, tables, charts, etc.

Municipal By-laws

A growing number of municipalities also provide By-laws and other key documents online. By-laws are often located in a dedicated section of the municipality's website. Otherwise, key documents are sometimes included in other relevant sections of the website (e.g, wastewater, waste, etc.) Note: check both the City/Town website as well as the Regional website for applicable By-laws.

Click here to access links to municipal websites across Canada

Subscription Legislation Services

Subscription-based legislation services that specialize in environmental legislation include:

  • Canadian EnviroOSH Legislation (CCOHS) - covers environment as well as occupational health and safety;
  • Natural.Re.Source (Medialogic) - specializes in Environment and the Natural Resource sector covering Federal, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan; and
  • Eco Log - covers environment and occupational health and safety.

click on banner for further information


click on banner for further information.

These collections are worth having a closer look at and the companies listed above will generally provide a free demonstration or trial upon request. Although each collection is unique, some of the added value that they all provide include:

  • The collections are more manageable for browsing and searching as they are specific to environment (and related fields) and don't contain hundreds of other documents that are not relevant.
  • The documents include the text as well as diagrams, tables and appendices.
  • Other types of related documents such as Guidelines and Codes of Practice are also included in the collections.
  • The documents for several jurisdictions are available in one location
  • Advanced features and search options
  • Email notifications that provide updates on upcoming legislation, amendments, repealed documents, etc.
  • Cross linking between documents - If another Act or Regulation is referred to in the document, you can click on the link to have instant access to it.

Click here to visit our Environmental Marketplace where you can browse the Environmental Publishers / Information Category of our site for links to the environmental legislation services mentioned above as well as to various newsletters, trade publications, and other information resources that are also useful for staying current with regards to new and proposed legislation, public consultations, etc. The CanadianEnvironmental.com News section is another good resource that is free

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