Finding Laws, Regulations and Court or Government Decisions

Quebec law is made up of laws, regulations, decisions by Quebec and Canadian courts and decisions of the federal and provincial governments.

Legislation

(laws and regulations)

 

The word "legislation" means laws and regulations.

The legislation that applies in Quebec includes federal and provincial laws and regulations as well as municipal bylaws. 

Regulations are specific rules. Laws tend to be more general. Bylaws are a kind of law made by municipalities.

1.     Federal Laws and Regulations

  • The Canadian Parliament makes federal laws and regulations.
  • For official, up-to-date laws and regulations, visit the website of Canada’s  Department of Justice.
  • The Parliament of Canada website has links to federal bills. A bill is the name for a law during the time it is being analyzed and before it actually becomes a law.

 2.     Provincial Laws and Regulations

  • The National Assembly of Quebec makes the Quebec's laws and regulations.
  • For official, up-to-date laws and regulations, visit the website of Publications du Québec, which is the Quebec government’s official publisher.
  • The website of the National Assembly of Quebec provides links to the province’s bills.

 3.     Municipal Bylaws

  • The elected members of councils of cities make municipal bylaws. They are different for each city.
  • For official, up-to-date bylaws, contact your city or borough hall. 

For free access to federal, provincial and territorial laws and regulations, visit the website of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). CanLII is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

The Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ ­– legal information access centre) gives free access to federal and Quebec laws and regulations, and to some annotated laws. An annotated law includes extra information on how to interpret the law. The CAIJ is a non-profit organization. It is associated with the Barreau du Québec (Quebec bar association). Its mission is to help Quebec lawyers and judges get legal information.

Jurisprudence

(court decisions)

The word “jurisprudence” is a legal term for all decisions made by the courts. It can also refer to all court decisions made in a specific area of the law, for example, “family law jurisprudence.”

1.     To find decisions of Quebec courts:

  • The Société Québécoise d’Information Juridique (SOQUIJ - the Quebec society for legal information) publishes decisions of Quebec courts. Its website gives free access to recent decisions of Quebec courts and of the Supreme Court of Canada. SOQUIJ is under the responsibility of the minister of justice of Quebec.

    SOQUIJ also offers legal professionals paid access to its databases (Web pages in French only). Students and teachers can access the databases too (Web pages in French only).

 2.    To find decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada:

The Supreme Court of Canada provides free access to its decisions. Some of them date back to the 1800s.

 3.    To find decisions from all Canadian provinces and territories:

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)  and the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ) provide access to court decisions from all Canadian provinces.

Government Decisions

The website of the Government of Canada gives free access to the Canada Gazette. The Publications du Québec website gives free access to the Gazette officielle du Québec (Quebec official gazette). The federal and provincial governments use these documents, called “gazettes,” to let people know about their decisions, orders, bills and legal opinions.