Regulations Repealing the Publication of Statutes Regulations: SOR/2019-175
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 12
SOR/2019-175 June 3, 2019
PUBLICATION OF STATUTES ACT
P.C. 2019-610 May 31, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, pursuant to section 11 of the Publication of Statutes Act footnote a, makes the annexed Regulations Repealing the Publication of Statutes Regulations.
Regulations Repealing the Publication of Statutes Regulations
1 The Publication of Statutes Regulations footnote 1 are repealed.
Coming into Force
2 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Pursuant to the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act, the Department of Justice (Justice Canada) has adopted on its laws website a new layout for the print and PDF versions of federal legislation in order to make them more user-friendly and easier to read. However, the new layout is incompatible with the printed publication of the Annual Statutes, as governed by the Publication of Statutes Regulations (the Regulations), which are very prescriptive and out of step with modern communication practices. Reformatting the federal acts of a given year for publication in the Annual Statutes, in compliance with the Regulations, would be labour-intensive and increase the production cost of the Annual Statutes.
The Annual Statutes
The Annual Statutes are a collection of the Public General Acts in the form in which they were originally enacted by Parliament in a given calendar year. The Annual Statutes include new acts as well as acts and provisions that amend existing acts. When a bill becomes an act, a chapter number is assigned. Once printed and bound, these acts become the Annual Statutes.
Publication of the Annual Statutes is governed by the Publication of Statutes Act and the Regulations made under it, which predate and are out of step with modern communications. The Regulations, which are unchanged since 1971, are unnecessarily prescriptive. They specify the use of unusual page dimensions (8⅛ inches in width by 9¾ inches in length), the weight of the paper to be used, and the colours of pages and volume covers, requirements that no longer serve a useful purpose.
New Justice Canada layout
As of January 2016, Justice Canada adopted a new layout for its print and PDF versions of the federal acts and regulations. The changes were intended to improve access to justice for Canadians by making the layout of federal acts and regulations more user-friendly and easier to read. Some of the changes include
- longer lines in the French and English columns, with more space between the columns;
- different styles and sizes of fonts, to give greater prominence to certain elements and help direct readers’ eyes more easily through the text;
- modified structure of the legislative text (headings, sections, subsections, paragraphs, etc.) to improve readability; and
- information appearing in the headers of the new format to help readers orient themselves within the text. Headers contain the title of the text, subtitles, and the provisions found on the page in question.
In developing the new layout, Justice Canada officials referred to best practices and consulted with experts in the field of document design to ensure that the end result would be as user-friendly as possible.
The objectives of the Regulations Repealing the Publication of Statutes Regulations are to enable the Department of Public Works and Government Services to
- modernize the layout of the printed Annual Statues in order to ensure greater accessibility; and
- make the printing of the Annual Statutes more efficient and cost-effective.
The amendments repeal the Regulations.
The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply, as there is no change to administrative costs assumed by business.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply, as there is no change to costs assumed by small business.
New Justice Canada layout
The new layout for the electronic publication of the consolidated acts and regulations of Canada was established in January 2016 after several years of analysis, design and consultation by Justice Canada officials. The Department consulted experts in the field of document design to ensure that the new layout would be as user-friendly as possible. In 2010, Justice Canada launched an online pilot project using a proposed new layout based on some of the most accessed acts (10) and regulations (7), seeking public input. Justice Canada also consulted with the Canada Gazette Directorate and the Law Clerk’s Office of both the House of Commons and the Senate, which in turn consulted Members of Parliament and Senators. Comments received on the new format during the consultation process were positive.
Application of the new format to print
The Queen’s Printer, under the Department of Public Works and Government Services, reached out to 44 libraries on its Annual Statues distribution list in November 2017, including two international libraries. Stakeholders were informed of the intent to repeal the Regulations and reformat the Annual Statutes, and invited to provide feedback. Six responses were received. Two libraries indicated their continuing interest in receiving the published Annual Statutes. All respondents signalled their agreement with the use of the new layout, with no opposition.
Since 1971, the specifications applicable to the printed publication of the Annual Statutes have been prescribed under the Regulations; however, these requirements are overly prescriptive and not compatible with the new layout of the electronic publication of the consolidated acts and regulations of Canada. In 2016–2017, the printing and distribution of the 2015 Annual Statutes cost $38,000. In the absence of the repeal, these costs are expected to increase, given incremental formatting costs to produce the electronic versions of federal acts in compliance with the Regulations. Projected costs following the repeal are anticipated to be lower, given that prescriptive printing requirements will no longer be assumed. In addition, standard sizes of paper (e.g. 8½ inches in width by 11 inches in length) could be used, eliminating the need for specialty paper.
With the repeal of the Regulations, decisions regarding the form, paper, font and binding will be made by the Department of Public Works and Government Services. Publication of the Annual Statutes will remain subject to the Publication of Statutes Act and to the requirements to print and distribute the Annual Statutes, in English and French, every calendar year. The Department will have the flexibility to print the Annual Statutes in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Publishing and Depository Services
Department of Public Works and Government Services
Constitution Square, Tower II
350 Albert Street, 5th Floor