Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1 (S.C. 2001, c. 4)

Assented to 2001-05-10

Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1

S.C. 2001, c. 4

Assented to 2001-05-10

A First Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of the Province of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law

SUMMARY

This enactment repeals the pre-Confederation provisions of the 1866 Civil Code of Lower Canada that fall within federal jurisdiction and replaces certain provisions with appropriate provisions on marriage applicable only in the Province of Quebec.

This enactment also amends the Interpretation Act to recognize Canadian bijuralism and to provide that provincial law relating to property and civil rights applies to federal legislation on a suppletive basis. It also amends that Act to include interpretation rules relating to bijural provisions in federal enactments.

It harmonizes provisions of the Federal Real Property Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act with the civil law of the Province of Quebec.

It also harmonizes certain provisions of other Acts of Parliament with the civil law of the Province of Quebec insofar as those provisions relate to the property law, civil liability law or security law of that Province.

Generally, in provisions that describe a legal concept by using a common law term and a civil law term, the common law term appears first in the English version and the civil law term appears first in the French version. Examples of this are “real property and immovables” in the English version and immeuble et bien réels in the French version.

Preamble

WHEREAS all Canadians are entitled to access to federal legislation in keeping with the common law and civil law traditions;

WHEREAS the civil law tradition of the Province of Quebec, which finds its principal expression in the Civil Code of Québec, reflects the unique character of Quebec society;

WHEREAS the harmonious interaction of federal legislation and provincial legislation is essential and lies in an interpretation of federal legislation that is compatible with the common law or civil law traditions, as the case may be;

WHEREAS the full development of our two major legal traditions gives Canadians enhanced opportunities worldwide and facilitates exchanges with the vast majority of other countries;

WHEREAS the provincial law, in relation to property and civil rights, is the law that completes federal legislation when applied in a province, unless otherwise provided by law;

WHEREAS the objective of the Government of Canada is to facilitate access to federal legislation that takes into account the common law and civil law traditions, in its English and French versions;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has established a harmonization program of federal legislation with the civil law of the Province of Quebec to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and civil law traditions;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1.

PART 1FEDERAL LAW AND CIVIL LAW OF THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC

Title

Marginal note:Title

 This Part may be cited as the Federal Law and Civil Law of the Province of Quebec Act.

Civil Code of Lower Canada

Marginal note:Provisions repealed
  •  (1) The provisions of the Civil Code of Lower Canada, adopted by chapter 41 of the Acts of 1865 of the legislature of the Province of Canada, entitled An Act respecting the Civil Code of Lower Canada, are repealed in so far as they relate to subjects that fall within the legislative competence of Parliament and have not been expressly repealed.

  • Marginal note:Interpretation Act

    (2) The Interpretation Act applies to the repeal referred to in subsection (1).

Marriage

Marginal note:Substitution

 Sections 5 to 7, which apply solely in the Province of Quebec, are to be interpreted as though they formed part of the Civil Code of Québec.

Marginal note:Consent required

 Marriage requires the free and enlightened consent of a man and a woman to be the spouse of the other.

Marginal note:Minimum age

 No person who is under the age of sixteen years may contract marriage.

Marginal note:Monogamy

 No person may contract a new marriage until every previous marriage has been dissolved by death or by divorce or declared null.

PART 2R.S., c. I-21AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERPRETATION ACT

 The Interpretation Act is amended by adding the following after the heading “RULES OF CONSTRUCTION” before section 9:

Property and Civil Rights

Marginal note:Duality of legal traditions and application of provincial law

8.1 Both the common law and the civil law are equally authoritative and recognized sources of the law of property and civil rights in Canada and, unless otherwise provided by law, if in interpreting an enactment it is necessary to refer to a province’s rules, principles or concepts forming part of the law of property and civil rights, reference must be made to the rules, principles and concepts in force in the province at the time the enactment is being applied.

Marginal note:Terminology

8.2 Unless otherwise provided by law, when an enactment contains both civil law and common law terminology, or terminology that has a different meaning in the civil law and the common law, the civil law terminology or meaning is to be adopted in the Province of Quebec and the common law terminology or meaning is to be adopted in the other provinces.