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How a government bill becomes law



How a Government Bill becomes Law - Canada


Prepared by Inba Kehoe,
Government Documents, Stauffer Library, Queen's
University



The following guide will explain the process by which a typical government
initiated bill becomes law. This guide provides an overview of the Federal
Legislative Process. Adapted from "The Federal Legislative Process in
Canada".




NOTE:

To become law, a bill must first be introduced in either the Senate or
the House of Commons. It must then pass through various stages in each
House: first, second and third reading. Then it must receive Royal Assent.


DEFINITIONS



  • Public Bills

    These are proposals for laws that will affect the public in general. Most public bills are introduced by Government Ministers. Bills sponsored by the Government are numbered from C-1 to C-200 in order of presentation. If they are introduced first in the




    Senate, they are numbered starting S-1.


  • Private Bills

    These are limited in scope: they concern an
    individual or group of individuals only. They confer a right on some
    person or group, or relieve them of a responsibility.






POLICY PROPOSAL

Most legislation originates with the Government. Policy proposal requiring legislation is submitted to Cabinet by Minster(s).



CABINET

  • Policy proposal is considered by the appropriate Cabinet committee and recommendations are made to the Cabinet.
  • If Cabinet approves, the responsible Ministry issues drafting instructions to the Legislation Section of the Department of Justice.
  • Draft bill is prepared in two official languages and approved by the responsible Minster.
  • Draft bill is presented to Cabinet for approval.
  • If approved it is ready to be introduced in
    Parliament.






  • PARLIAMENT

      FIRST
      READING


      First reading in either the Senate or the House of Commons. Bill is
      printed.


      SECOND READING

      Second reading in the same House of Parliament. Members debate and
      vote on the principle of the bill. The House may decide to refer the
      bill to a legislative, standing or a special committee, or to Committee
      of the Whole.



        CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE

        Consideration by the appropriate parliamentary committee (clause-by-clause
        study of the bill). Committee can summon witnesses and experts to
        provide it with information and help in improving the bill.


      • REPORT STAGE

        Committee reports the bill to the House clearly
        indicating any amendments propsosed. House considers amendments and
        votes for or against them.




    • THIRD READING

      Debate and vote on bill as amended. NOTE:

      Once bill has been read 3 times in the House, it is sent to the Senate for its consideration.


    E.ROYAL
    ASSENT



    • Bill is presented to the Governor General for assent.
    • Governor General may assent to Bill in the Queen's name, withhold
      assent or reserve assent.
    • When Bill is given Royal Assent it becomes
      law.






    F.IN FORCE


    • Statute is in force:

      • upon Royal Assent, or
      • when it is proclaimed by the Governor General, or
      • on a day specified in the act



    • Different sections may come into force at different times






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