•ex. speeding (private trafﬁc act), polluting (environmental protection act)
Origins of Canadian Law:
1. English Common Law
•Courts of Common Law and Courts of Equity merged in 1865
•People found that courts of common law were too rigid, you couldn’t get the remedy that
you were seeking. When we sue, we sue for money (damages). So when the remedy
didn’t ﬁt the damages… we had a problem! So they created courts of equity, with a remedy
of speciﬁc performance (eg. do your end of the bargain).
•Now we have one court, called the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which is a court of
common law and equity.
2. French Civil Law/Code
•Quebec Civil Code - non-criminal law is unique in Quebec, like a master-plan. It has
disadvantages (might not answer everything) and advantages (precedent)
3. Aboriginal Law
Common Law: A combination of all judges ruling over time. A collection of all decisions over-
time since 1200 AD. Every new decision becomes part of this, we rely on it.
•Magna Carta - Rule of Law originated from this document
•Precedent - Past court decisions that become referral for future courts. Following
precedent is called “Stare Decisis" in latin. There is some ﬂexibility though, if they can
distinguish their case they can not follow precedent.
•You must follow precedents that are from courts above yours, but if it is from a court at
your level, you don’t have to follow it.
•Advantage - provides uniform procedures, you know what you can rely on.
Who Makes Law?:
3. Administrative Tribunals/Boards/Bodies
•like courts, but are created by gov’t and usually only have one purpose
•ex. immigration board
Government: Legislation, act, code, bill, statute, can all be used as terms for gov’t laws
•Acts create the framework of law, but how it actually works on the law is elsewhere
•Regulations relate to the acts, that ﬂush out how the laws will work.
•The Constitution Act of 1867 — document that created Canada’s Nation. Constitution
reﬂects the morals and values that we wish to have to govern ourselves. Reﬂects the
values of the society through the document. Constitution is entrenched, meaning it is
rooted and can’t be easily changed. Municipal Government and territorial governments did
not exist when this was created, so provincial governments create them.
•There is a division of powers, federally and provincially
•Provincial - property, civil rights, health care etc. (section 92 & 93)
•Federal - criminal, military, immigration etc. (section 91)