Interpretation Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. I-21)

Act current to 2017-09-27 and last amended on 2015-02-26. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Construction of “telegraph”

 The expression “telegraph” and its derivatives, in an enactment or in an Act of the legislature of any province enacted before that province became part of Canada on any subject that is within the legislative powers of Parliament, are deemed not to include the word “telephone” or its derivatives.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 29.
Marginal note:Construction of “year”
  •  (1) The expression “year” means any period of twelve consecutive months, except that a reference

    • (a) to a “calendar year” means a period of twelve consecutive months commencing on January 1;

    • (b) to a “financial year” or “fiscal year” means, in relation to money provided by Parliament, or the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or the accounts, taxes or finances of Canada, the period beginning on April 1 in one calendar year and ending on March 31 in the next calendar year; and

    • (c) by number to a Dominical year means the period of twelve consecutive months commencing on January 1 of that Dominical year.

  • Marginal note:Governor in Council may define year

    (2) Where in an enactment relating to the affairs of Parliament or the Government of Canada there is a reference to a period of a year without anything in the context to indicate beyond doubt whether a financial or fiscal year, any period of twelve consecutive months or a period of twelve consecutive months commencing on January 1 is intended, the Governor in Council may prescribe which of those periods of twelve consecutive months shall constitute a year for the purposes of the enactment.

  • R.S., c. I-23, ss. 28, 31.
Marginal note:Common names

 The name commonly applied to any country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party or thing means the country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party or thing to which the name is commonly applied, although the name is not the formal or extended designation thereof.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 30.
Marginal note:Affirmative and negative resolutions
  •  (1) In every Act,

    • (a) the expression “subject to affirmative resolution of Parliament”, when used in relation to any regulation, means that the regulation shall be laid before Parliament within fifteen days after it is made or, if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that Parliament is sitting and shall not come into force unless and until it is affirmed by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament introduced and passed in accordance with the rules of those Houses;

    • (b) the expression “subject to affirmative resolution of the House of Commons”, when used in relation to any regulation, means that the regulation shall be laid before the House of Commons within fifteen days after it is made or, if the House is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that the House is sitting and shall not come into force unless and until it is affirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons introduced and passed in accordance with the rules of that House;

    • (c) the expression “subject to negative resolution of Parliament”, when used in relation to any regulation, means that the regulation shall be laid before Parliament within fifteen days after it is made or, if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that Parliament is sitting and may be annulled by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament introduced and passed in accordance with the rules of those Houses; and

    • (d) the expression “subject to negative resolution of the House of Commons”, when used in relation to any regulation, means that the regulation shall be laid before the House of Commons within fifteen days after it is made or, if the House is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that the House is sitting and may be annulled by a resolution of the House of Commons introduced and passed in accordance with the rules of that House.

  • Marginal note:Effect of negative resolution

    (2) Where a regulation is annulled by a resolution of Parliament or of the House of Commons, it is deemed to have been revoked on the day the resolution is passed and any law that was revoked or amended by the making of that regulation is deemed to be revived on the day the resolution is passed, but the validity of any action taken or not taken in compliance with a regulation so deemed to have been revoked shall not be affected by the resolution.

  • R.S., c. 29(2nd Supp.), s. 1.

References and Citations

Marginal note:Citation of enactment
  •  (1) In an enactment or document,

    • (a) an Act may be cited by reference to its chapter number in the Revised Statutes, by reference to its chapter number in the volume of Acts for the year or regnal year in which it was enacted or by reference to its long title or short title, with or without reference to its chapter number; and

    • (b) a regulation may be cited by reference to its long title or short title, by reference to the Act under which it was made or by reference to the number or designation under which it was registered by the Clerk of the Privy Council.

  • Marginal note:Citation includes amendment

    (2) A citation of or reference to an enactment is deemed to be a citation of or reference to the enactment as amended.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 32.
Marginal note:Reference to two or more parts, etc.
  •  (1) A reference in an enactment by number or letter to two or more parts, divisions, sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, clauses, subclauses, schedules, appendices or forms shall be read as including the number or letter first mentioned and the number or letter last mentioned.

  • Marginal note:Reference in enactments to parts, etc.

    (2) A reference in an enactment to a part, division, section, schedule, appendix or form shall be read as a reference to a part, division, section, schedule, appendix or form of the enactment in which the reference occurs.

  • Marginal note:Reference in enactment to subsections, etc.

    (3) A reference in an enactment to a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or subclause shall be read as a reference to a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or subclause of the section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph or clause, as the case may be, in which the reference occurs.

  • Marginal note:Reference to regulations

    (4) A reference in an enactment to regulations shall be read as a reference to regulations made under the enactment in which the reference occurs.

  • Marginal note:Reference to another enactment

    (5) A reference in an enactment by number or letter to any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause, subclause or other division or line of another enactment shall be read as a reference to the section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause, subclause or other division or line of such other enactment as printed by authority of law.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 33.

Repeal and Amendment

Marginal note:Power of repeal or amendment reserved
  •  (1) Every Act shall be so construed as to reserve to Parliament the power of repealing or amending it, and of revoking, restricting or modifying any power, privilege or advantage thereby vested in or granted to any person.

  • Marginal note:Amendment or repeal at same session

    (2) An Act may be amended or repealed by an Act passed in the same session of Parliament.

  • Marginal note:Amendment part of enactment

    (3) An amending enactment, as far as consistent with the tenor thereof, shall be construed as part of the enactment that it amends.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 34.
Marginal note:Effect of repeal

 Where an enactment is repealed in whole or in part, the repeal does not

  • (a) revive any enactment or anything not in force or existing at the time when the repeal takes effect,

  • (b) affect the previous operation of the enactment so repealed or anything duly done or suffered thereunder,

  • (c) affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued, accruing or incurred under the enactment so repealed,

  • (d) affect any offence committed against or contravention of the provisions of the enactment so repealed, or any punishment, penalty or forfeiture incurred under the enactment so repealed, or

  • (e) affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any right, privilege, obligation or liability referred to in paragraph (c) or in respect of any punishment, penalty or forfeiture referred to in paragraph (d),

and an investigation, legal proceeding or remedy as described in paragraph (e) may be instituted, continued or enforced, and the punishment, penalty or forfeiture may be imposed as if the enactment had not been so repealed.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 35.
Marginal note:Repeal and substitution

 Where an enactment, in this section called the “former enactment”, is repealed and another enactment, in this section called the “new enactment”, is substituted therefor,

  • (a) every person acting under the former enactment shall continue to act, as if appointed under the new enactment, until another person is appointed in the stead of that person;

  • (b) every bond and security given by a person appointed under the former enactment remains in force, and all books, papers, forms and things made or used under the former enactment shall continue to be used as before the repeal in so far as they are consistent with the new enactment;

  • (c) every proceeding taken under the former enactment shall be taken up and continued under and in conformity with the new enactment in so far as it may be done consistently with the new enactment;

  • (d) the procedure established by the new enactment shall be followed as far as it can be adapted thereto

    • (i) in the recovery or enforcement of fines, penalties and forfeitures imposed under the former enactment,

    • (ii) in the enforcement of rights, existing or accruing under the former enactment, and

    • (iii) in a proceeding in relation to matters that have happened before the repeal;

  • (e) when any punishment, penalty or forfeiture is reduced or mitigated by the new enactment, the punishment, penalty or forfeiture if imposed or adjudged after the repeal shall be reduced or mitigated accordingly;

  • (f) except to the extent that the provisions of the new enactment are not in substance the same as those of the former enactment, the new enactment shall not be held to operate as new law, but shall be construed and have effect as a consolidation and as declaratory of the law as contained in the former enactment;

  • (g) all regulations made under the repealed enactment remain in force and are deemed to have been made under the new enactment, in so far as they are not inconsistent with the new enactment, until they are repealed or others made in their stead; and

  • (h) any reference in an unrepealed enactment to the former enactment shall, with respect to a subsequent transaction, matter or thing, be read and construed as a reference to the provisions of the new enactment relating to the same subject-matter as the former enactment, but where there are no provisions in the new enactment relating to the same subject-matter, the former enactment shall be read as unrepealed in so far as is necessary to maintain or give effect to the unrepealed enactment.

  • R.S., c. I-23, s. 36.
 
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