How Laws Are Made

 

Every law begins as a “bill.” The bill officially becomes a law and applies to all members of the public only after a long process.  
The Quebec national assembly creates laws in Quebec. The national assembly is made up of members who are elected by the people of Quebec during provincial elections.

This is how a public law is made in Quebec:

1

Introduction of a Bill

A minister or a member of the national assembly (an MNA) prepares the bill.

The minister or MNA presents the bill to the national assembly and explains its purpose.

2

Public Consultation (optional)

If a bill is likely to affect people’s lives in an important way, the MNAs can consult the public or the groups of people who will be affected by the bill.

This helps the MNAs understand their opinions and their needs.

Public consultations are sometimes called “general consultations.”

3

Passage in Principle

The national assembly debates the advantages and disadvantages of the bill. They also discuss the purpose of the bill and how it will achieve its purpose.

Next, the MNAs vote on the spirit and principle of the bill. If the majority votes against it, the bill is rejected. If the majority votes in favour of it, we say it has been “passed in principle.”  The bill then continues to the next stage.

4

Detailed Consideration or Committee Stage

The bill is examined in detail by a parliamentary committee or, in rare cases, a plenary committee.

A parliamentary committee is made up of about a dozen MNAs from different political parties. There are several parliamentary committees, each one dealing with a specific area of interest (e.g., labour and the economy, health and social services).

A plenary committee is made up of all 125 MNAs of the national assembly.

The committee studies every clause of the bill to make sure it’s clear and complete. Committee members discuss the bill, suggest changes and write a report.

To help with its work, the committee can ask for the opinion of the public or of organizations with special knowledge of the subject covered by the bill. This is called holding “special consultations.”

5

Tabling the Report
and
Passage of the Bill

Once the committee has completed its work , it sends its report to the national assembly. This is called “tabling the report.”

The MNAs read the report. They can suggest changes they think are necessary and then vote on whether to accept the changes. Next, they vote on whether to accept the committee’s report.

If the MNAs accept the report, they go on to debate whether the bill should become law. They take a final vote on whether the final version of the bill should become law. Voting to accept or adopt a bill is called “passage of the bill.”

6

Assent

After the bill is passed, it must be approved or “assented to” by  the lieutenant-governor, who is the Queen’s representative in Quebec. A bill is assented to during a ceremony where the lieutenant-governor signs the bill.

This is when the bill officially becomes a law.

7

Comming into force

Before a law begins to apply to the public , it must “come into force.”

A law can come into force on different dates:

  • the day it receives assent from the lieutenant-governor
  • a date stated in the law
  • another date chosen by the government

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.