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Legislation: BC

TRU Library resources guide for students researching bills, statutes and other information about legislation and the legislative process in the Province of British Columbia.


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Michelle Terriss
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Subjects: Law

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Statutes & Regulations

Statutes or Acts are considered primary sources of law. They are enacted by the federal and provincial legislatures in order to reform the common law, to amend existing statutes, to codify the common law, or to deal with issues not addressed by the common law. They are the most formal expression of the will of the State.

Statutes are created and amended by Bills, which are introduced in the legislatures. In order for a bill to become law in British Columbia, it must be read three times in the provincial legislature and then receive Royal Assent. Many bills become law when they receive Royal Assent; others come into force on a later date specified in the statute, or when the statute is brought into force by regulation. Check for a commencement section near the end of the statute. This section gives information about when the statute is to come into force. If there is no commencement section, the statute comes into force on the date of Royal Assent pursuant to the Interpretation Act, RSBC 1996, c 238, s 3(2).

Key Resources

How a Bill Becomes an Act

How a Bill Becomes an Act

How a Bill Becomes an Act

In British Columbia, before a law is enacted, it begins as a bill.  A bill introduced by a minister in the legislature is known as a government or public bill.  Other types of bills include private bills and members bills.  

Private bills are introduced by a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the benefit of a particular person or special interest group, and members' bills are introduced by a member of the opposition or government backbencher.

1st Reading:

After a bill has been introduced into the Legislature, it is received, printed, and disseminated.  Bills are not debated at their first reading.

2nd Reading:

The bill is debated by Members of the Legislative Assembly.  At the end of the debate, a vote is taken to determine whether the bill will proceed to the committee stage or die.

Committee Stage:

The Committee of the Whole House debates the bill clause by clause.  Amendments to the bill may be proposed at this stage.

Report Stage:

The Committee reports the bill as complete, with or without amendments.

3rd Reading:

The Legislature passes the bill as it has been reported by the committee.  The bill is then printed in its final, 3rd reading form, including any amendments.  This copy is what usually becomes law.

Royal Assent:

Royal Assent completes the enactment of a bill into law.


Courthouse Libraries | B.C.  (2010).  How a bill becomes law in B.C.  Retrieved March 12, 2010 from

Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.  (2009).  How a bill becomes law.  Retrieved March 14, 2010 from

Find Hansards, Bills, Committee Reports, Statutes

Find Hansards, Bills, Committee Reports, Statutes

Hansard (Debates)

Instituted in 1970, BC's Hansard is the official record of the debates in the provincial legislature.  It also includes the transcripts of speeches and votes, and more recently, has begun to include webcasts.  Prior to 1970, the official record of motions and debates in the B.C. legislature was recorded in the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia.

    1970 - Current
    Debates of the Legislative Assembly
    Archived Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia

Legislative Assembly Documents and Proceedings  

Statutes and Regulations of BC​

Citing Statutes

Citing Statutes

The full citation of a British Columbia statute consists of:

  • The short title of the statute, as provided in the statute itself.
  • The location of the statute. Whenever possible, cite a statute as it appears in the latest revision of provincial statutes. For B.C., the latest revision is Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1996. If the act was passed after the publication of the 1996 revision, cite the sessional or annual volume for the year when the statute was enacted.
  • Chapter number, as listed at the beginning of the statute.
  • Reference to any particular section(s) mentioned.

Land Title Act, RSBC 1996, c 250, s 44.
Builders Lien Act, SBC 1997, c 45.


Legal Citation

The most recent edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (McGill Guide) is available to law students on WestlawNext Canada.

Print copies are available on reserve in the law library.

Other online guides to Legal Citation:

Online Resources

Online Resources