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Doing Legal Research in Canada - Canadian Legal Research: By Topic

By Ted Tjaden, Published on April 1, 2008

Guide: Table of Contents / Introduction / Canadian Primary Resources / Canadian Secondary Resources
Canadian Legal Organizations / Canadian Legal Publishers / Research by Topic

This section of Doing Legal Research in Canada provides Canadian law-related information on twenty-five legal topics and lists leading legal textbooks or other legal research sources for those topics:

  1. Aboriginal law - Canada
  2. Administrative law - Canada
  3. Banking law - Canada
  4. Bankruptcy and insolvency law - Canada
  5. Civil procedure - Canada
  6. Communications law - Canada
  7. Constitutional law - Canada
  8. Contract law - Canada
  9. Corporate law - Canada
  10. Criminal law - Canada
  11. Crown law - Canada
  12. Damages - Canada
  13. Debtor/creditor law - Canada
  14. Employment & labour law - Canada
  15. Environmental law - Canada
  16. Family law - Canada
  17. Immigration law - Canada
  18. Insurance law - Canada
  19. Intellectual property law - Canada
  20. Labour law - Canada
  21. Real property law - Canada
  22. Securities law - Canada
  23. Taxation law - Canada
  24. Tort law - Canada
  25. Trusts and estates law - Canada

1. Aboriginal Law - Canada

Aboriginal law in Canada is governed largely by federal legislation such as the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, an Act administered by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (whose pages also contain additional legislation affecting native people).

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Native Peoples - Canada - Legal status, laws, etc.," "Indians of North America - Canada - Legal status, laws, etc.," Indigenous peoples - Canada - Legal status, laws, etc."

Leading Canadian textbooks on aboriginal law are as follows:

2. Administrative Law - Canada

Administrative law in Canada is a well-defined area of law due to the proliferation of government regulatory bodies in the past half-decade. Much of administrative law arises in the common-law through judicial decisions, although many regulatory bodies, and the procedures they must follow, are governed by legislation. In addition, most jurisdictions have legislation specifically governing procedure before or appealing from regulatory bodies, such as the Judicial Review Procedure Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 241.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Administrative law - Canada" and "Judicial review of administrative acts - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on administrative law are as follows:

3. Banking Law - Canada

Banking law in Canada is largely governed by federal legislation under the Bank Act, S.C. 1991, c. 46 and the Trust and Loan Companies Act, S.C. 1991, c. 45. Federal banks fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, who have a number of online documents regarding Canadian financial institutions. Additional legislation can also apply, and credit unions are often governed by provincial legislation, such as the Credit Union Act, S.N.S. 1994, c. 4. A number of online documents are available on the website of the Canadian Bankers Association, an organization representing Canada's chartered banks.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Banking law - Canada" and "Banks and banking - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on banking law are as follows:

4. Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law - Canada

Bankruptcy and insolvency law is generally governed by federal legislation, including the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B-3 and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-36. Provincial law also affects issues of bankruptcy and insolvency in various corporate legislation and laws governing preferences. Additional information and documents are included at the website of the federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Bankruptcy - Canada" and "Corporate reorganizations - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on bankruptcy and insolvency law are as follows:

5. Civil Procedure - Canada

Civil procedure in Canada is generally governed by rules of court applicable to the jurisdiction in question. Thus, there are rules of court for both provincial and superior courts and for the Federal Court of Canada and Supreme Court of Canada. The following is a sample of court rules that are available online:

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Civil procedure - [jurisdiction]" and "Court rules - [jurisdiction]."

Leading Canadian textbooks on civil procedure are as follows:

6. Communications Law - Canada

Communications law in Canada tends to be heavily regulated by the federal government through such government agencies as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and by the federal Broadcasting Act, S.C. 1991, c. 11 and Telecommunications Act, R.S.C. 1993, c. 38.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Telecommunication - Law and legislation - Canada"

Leading Canadian textbooks on communications law are as follows:

7. Constitutional Law - Canada

The implementation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "Charter") in 1982 has increased the profile of constitutional law in Canada due to a number of high profile human rights cases being decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. Constitutional law involves a combination of the application of various federal legislation (including the Charter and the Constitution Act, 1867), provincial legislation and case law.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Constitutional law - Canada" and "Civil rights - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on constitutional law are as follows:

8. Contract Law - Canada

Contract law in Canada is governed largely by judge-made common-law, although there is some legislation that affects contracts, include statutes of fraud legislation, consumer protection legislation and sales of goods act legislation (usually provincial legislation). Some regard is still granted to classic English textbooks on contract law in Canada, but there is now a large body of Canadian law on point to lessen the need to consult English authorities.

The Library of Congress subject heading for this topic is "Contracts - Canada"

There are several Canadian treatises on contract law:

9. Corporate Law - Canada

Corporate law in Canada is governed by both federal legislation (such as the Canada Business Corporations Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-44) and provincial legislation (such as the Business Corporations Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 57, for British Columbia companies), depending on whether the company is incorporated or carries on business federally or provincially. Some corporate information is available online, such as the Federal Corporations Directorate Homepage, the British Columbia Corporation Registry, and the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Corporation law - Canada," "Corporations - Canada," "Stockholders - Legal status, laws, etc. - Canada," "Directors of corporations - Legal status, laws, etc. - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on corporate law are as follows:

10. Criminal Law- Canada

Criminal law in Canada is governed by federal law, most often the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 (unlike the situation in the United States where criminal law is often a matter of state - not federal - law).

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Criminal law - Canada" and "Criminal procedure - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on criminal law are as follows:

11. Crown Law - Canada

Crown law in Canada is still influenced by British law, although the law has developed on its own in Canada, partly as a result of federal legislation, such as the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-50, and various provincial legislation, such as Ontario's Public Authorities Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.38.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Government liability - Canada" and "Privileges and immunities - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on crown law are as follows:

12. Damages Law - Canada

Damages law and the law of remedies are affected by both case law and provincial (and federal) legislation too numerous to list here.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Damages - Canada" and "Remedies (law) - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on damages are as follows:

13. Debtor/creditor law - Canada

Debtor/creditor law is affected by both case law and provincial (and federal) legislation too numerous to list here. In addition, in enforcing or defending a debt, it is often useful to have a good understanding of civil procedure of credit or debt consolidation issues, discussed above.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Debtor and creditor - Canada" and "Fraudulent conveyances - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on debtor/creditor law are as follows:

14. Employment Law - Canada

Employment law in Canada is governed by both common law principles (what constitutes just cause for dismissal of a senior employee?) and legislation (both provincial and federal, depending on whether the employment is governed by federal or provincial laws). Typical of a provincial statute is the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41. The Ontario Ministry of Labour has a good online information about Ontario employment standards. Employment law tends to cover only non-unionized employees, whereas labour law (discussed below) covers unionized employees.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Employees - Dismissal of - Law and legislation - Canada," "Labor laws and legislation - Canada"

Leading Canadian textbooks on employment law are as follows:

15. Environmental Law - Canada

Environmental law is governed by federal and provincial legislation. Examples include the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, S.C. 1992, c. 37 and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, S.C. 1999, c. 33 and the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. E-12. Environmental law is heavily regulated in Canada and first-time researchers should ensure they have not overlooked any applicable statute or regulation.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Environmental law - Canada" and "Environmental policy - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on environmental law are as follows:

16. Family Law - Canada

Family law is split between federal jurisdiction over divorce law under the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3 (4th Supp.) and various provincial laws governing marriage, separation, and custody that are too numerous to list here.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Divorce - Law and legislation - Canada" and "Domestic relations - [jurisdiction]."

Leading Canadian textbooks on family law are as follows:

17. Immigration Law - Canada

Immigration law is governed by federal law, including the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 and the Citizenship Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-29. These Acts are administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, whose website has extensive information on citizenship and immigration law. The website of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada also provides additional information.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Citizenship - Canada," "Refugees - Legal status, laws, etc. - Canada" and "Emigration and immigration law - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on immigration law are as follows:

18. Insurance Law - Canada

Insurance law in Canada is governed largely by provincial legislation (such as British Columbia's Insurance Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 226), while insurance companies are governed by federal legislation (such as the Insurance Companies Act, S.C. 1991, c. 47). In Ontario, information on insurance law is provided by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Insurance law - Canada" and "Insurance, liability - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on insurance law are as follows:

19. Intellectual Property Law - Canada

Intellectual property laws in Canada generally fall under federal jurisdiction and are regulated by such Acts as the Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42, the Trade-Marks Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. T-13 and the Patent Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-4. There are a number of online sites useful for researching Canadian intellectual property law, including the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), and their Trade-Marks Database and Patents Database; and AccessCopyright (a collective licensing agency under the Copyright Act).

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Copyright - Canada," "Trademarks - Canada," "Patent laws and legislation - Canada" and "Intellectual property - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on intellectual property law are as follows:

20. Labour Law - Canada

Labour law in Canada can fall under federal jurisdiction for employees working for the federal government or in the federal sector and under provincial jurisdiction for all other unionized employees. Labour law tends to cover unionized employees, whereas employment law (discussed above) tends to cover non-unionized employees. An example of typical provincial legislation would be Ontario's Labour Relations Act, S.O. 1995, c. 1.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Grievance arbitration - Canada," "Collective labor agreements - Canada" and "Arbitration, industrial - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on labour law are as follows:

21. Real Property Law - Canada

Real property law is governed largely by provincial legislation too numerous to list here, although judicial interpretations of this legislation also impacts real estate practice.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Vendors and purchasers - Canada." "Mortgages - Canada," "Real estate business - Law and legislation - Canada," and "Condominiums - Law and legislation - [jurisdiction].

Leading Canadian textbooks on real property law are as follows:

22. Securities Law - Canada

Securities law in Canada is highly regulated by provincial and federal securities and corporate legislation too numerous to list here. SEDAR (the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) is an electronic filing system started January 1, 1997 through the Canadian Securities Administrators where it is possible to access securities-related information on Canadian companies (the Canadian equivalent of EDGAR).

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Securities - Canada," "Stock exchanges - Law and legislation - Canada," "Investments - Law and legislation - Canada," and "Mutual funds - Law and legislation - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on securities law are as follows:

23. Taxation Law - Canada

Taxation law in Canada is governed primarily by the federal Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 1 (5th Supp.), which is administered by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), whose website has a lot of information on Canadian income tax matters (the CRA is the Canadian equivalent of the American IRS).

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Income tax - Law and Legislation - Canada"

Leading Canadian textbooks on taxation law are as follows:

24. Tort Law - Canada

Tort law is traditionally governed by case law, although provinces in Canada are increasingly introducing "no fault" insurance schemes governing injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents. Tort law can also be affected by provincial negligence legislation, such as British Columbia's Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 333.

The Library of Congress subject heading for this topic is "Torts - Canada"

Leading Canadian textbooks on tort law are as follows:

25. Trusts and Estates Law - Canada

Trusts and estates law are generally a combination of case law and (largely provincial) legislation, originally strongly influenced by English law.

Library of Congress subject headings for this topic include "Trusts and trustees - Canada" and "Estate planning - Canada."

Leading Canadian textbooks on trusts and estates law are as follows:


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