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Important Canadian Laws
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Important Canadian Laws

The following is a list of some of the major laws of Canada. Though not compressive, these are the key pieces of legislation, passed by Canada’s national parliament that are widely recognized as having had a major effect on Canadian society. It is through the enforcement of these laws that an important part of Canada’s national character is defined.

Note that the basic human rights of all Canadians are spelled out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Canadian Constitution. The major criminal laws of Canada can be found in the Criminal Code of Canada.

The dates listed beside the acts notes the date of their original passage into law. Note that almost all have been revised since then, sometimes substantially.

Laws About the Canadian System of Government

Law setting up the legal system that governs Canada’s indigenous communities, including the system of Indian reservations.

The law that describes the basic operations of the House of Commons and Senate of Canada, including the powers of parliament’s various officials.

An act describing the procedures through which Canadians can request to see specific information, documents, or data held by the Government of Canada.

The law outlining the procedures the government uses for managing Canadian federal elections, as well as the limitations placed on candidates regarding things like spending and advertising.

An act outlining the standards politicians and other government employees are expected to follow in regards to government ethics and conflicts of interest.

Laws About Social Policy in Canada

Canada’s current system of old-age pensions.

The legal framework protecting the specific rights and protections enjoyed by Canadians in the workplace, as well as the rights enjoyed by labour unions.

The act that protects Canadians from discrimination or hate speech on the basis of race, sex, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as creating a process for adjudicating human rights complaints.

An Act that outlines the process through which Canada admits legal immigrants.

Law describing Canada’s public healthcare system and how it operates in conjunction with the provinces’ delivery of healthcare.

Act that establishes the modern marriage regime in Canada, which includes same-sex marriage.

Public Safety Laws in Canada

Act outlining Canada’s system of gun control.

The Act that bans various drugs and narcotics in Canada.

An act outlining Canada’s regulations against pollution of the land, sea, and air.

Act giving the government unique powers to combat violent extremism.