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Law Commission of Canada Act (S.C. 1996, c. 9)

Act current to 2020-03-05 and last amended on 2005-04-01. Previous Versions

Law Commission of Canada Act

S.C. 1996, c. 9

Assented to 1996-05-29

An Act respecting the Law Commission of Canada


WHEREAS, after extensive national consultations, the Government of Canada has determined that it is desirable to establish a commission to provide independent advice on improvements, modernization and reform of the law of Canada, which advice would be based on the knowledge and experience of a wide range of groups and individuals;

AND WHEREAS the Government adopted the recommendations arising from those consultations that the commission should be guided by the following principles, namely,

the commission’s work should be open to and inclusive of all Canadians and the results of that work should be accessible and understandable,

the commission should adopt a multidisciplinary approach to its work that views the law and the legal system in a broad social and economic context,

the commission should be responsive and accountable by cooperating and forging partnerships with a wide range of interested groups and individuals, including the academic community,

the commission should employ modern technology when appropriate and be innovative in its research methods, its consultation processes, its management practices and its communications in order to achieve efficiency in its operations and effectiveness in its results, and

the commission should take account of cost-effectiveness and the impact of the law on different groups and individuals in formulating its recommendations;

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 Law Commission of Canada Act.

Establishment of Commission

Marginal note:Commission established

 There is hereby established a corporation, to be called the Law Commission of Canada.

Purpose, Powers and Duties of Commission

Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of the Commission is to study and keep under systematic review, in a manner that reflects the concepts and institutions of the common law and civil law systems, the law of Canada and its effects with a view to providing independent advice on improvements, modernization and reform that will ensure a just legal system that meets the changing needs of Canadian society and of individuals in that society, including

  • (a) the development of new approaches to, and new concepts of, law;

  • (b) the development of measures to make the legal system more efficient, economical and accessible;

  • (c) the stimulation of critical debate in, and the forging of productive networks among, academic and other communities in Canada in order to ensure cooperation and coordination; and

  • (d) the elimination of obsolete laws and anomalies in the law.

Marginal note:Powers

 In furtherance of its purpose, the Commission may

  • (a) undertake, promote, initiate and evaluate studies and research;

  • (b) support, publish, sell and otherwise disseminate studies, reports and other documents;

  • (c) sponsor or support conferences, seminars and other meetings;

  • (d) facilitate and support cooperative efforts among the Commission, governments, the academic community, the legal profession and other organizations and persons interested in the Commission’s work;

  • (e) acquire any money, securities or other property by gift, bequest or otherwise and hold, expend, invest, administer or dispose of that property, subject to any terms on which it is given, bequeathed or otherwise made available to the Commission;

  • (f) generate revenues through the provision of goods or services;

  • (g) expend during a fiscal year any money provided by Parliament or received from other sources in that year through the conduct of its operations, subject to any terms on which the money was provided or received; and

  • (h) do all such things as are conducive to the furtherance of its purpose.

  • 1996, c. 9, s. 4
  • 2001, c. 4, s. 98(F)
  • 2004, c. 25, s. 143(F)

Marginal note:Duties

  •  (1) The Commission shall

    • (a) consult with the Minister of Justice with respect to the annual program of studies that it proposes to undertake;

    • (b) prepare such reports as the Minister, after consultation with the Commission and taking into consideration the workload and resources of the Commission, may require; and

    • (c) submit to the Minister any report that it has initiated itself or on the request of the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Minister’s response

    (2) The Minister of Justice shall respond to the Commission with respect to any report that the Minister receives from the Commission under this section.

Marginal note:Accountable to Parliament

 The Commission is ultimately accountable, through the Minister of Justice, to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs.


Marginal note:Commissioners

  •  (1) The Commission consists of a President and four other Commissioners, to be appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

  • Marginal note:Representation

    (2) In recommending persons for appointment as Commissioners, the Minister of Justice shall not restrict consideration to members of the legal community.

  • Marginal note:Qualifications

    (3) As a group, the Commissioners should be broadly representative of the socio-economic and cultural diversity of Canada, represent various disciplines and reflect knowledge of the common law and civil law systems.

  • Marginal note:Term and tenure of office

    (4) The Commissioners hold office during pleasure for such term, not exceeding five years, as the Governor in Council may fix so as to ensure, as far as possible, the expiration of not more than two terms of office in any year.

  • Marginal note:Full-time and part-time Commissioners

    (5) The President holds office on a full-time basis and the other Commissioners hold office on a part-time basis.

Marginal note:Reappointment

  •  (1) A Commissioner is eligible for reappointment to the Commission in the same or another capacity.

  • Marginal note:Resignation

    (2) A Commissioner who wishes to resign shall notify the Minister of Justice in writing to that effect, and the resignation becomes effective at the time the Minister receives the notice or at the time specified in the notice, whichever is the later.

Marginal note:Vice-President

 The Commissioners shall elect one of themselves as Vice-President of the Commission.

Marginal note:Functions of President

  •  (1) The President is the chief executive officer of the Commission and presides at meetings of the Commission.

  • Marginal note:Absence or incapacity

    (2) If the President is absent or unable to act or if the office of President is vacant, the Vice-President has all the powers, duties and functions of the President.

  • Marginal note:Residence of President

    (3) The President must reside in the area of the head office of the Commission.

Marginal note:Remuneration of President

  •  (1) The President shall be paid such remuneration as the Governor in Council may fix.

  • Marginal note:Fees of other Commissioners

    (2) The Commissioners, other than the President, shall be paid such fees for their work for the Commission as the Governor in Council may fix.

  • Marginal note:Expenses

    (3) A Commissioner is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred by the Commissioner while absent from the Commissioner’s ordinary place of residence in the course of performing duties under this Act.

Head Office and Meetings

Marginal note:Head office

 The head office of the Commission is in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act or in such other place in Canada as the Governor in Council may fix.

Marginal note:Meetings

  •  (1) The Commission shall meet at such times and places as the President may determine.

  • Marginal note:Participation

    (2) Subject to the by-laws of the Commission, a Commissioner may participate in a meeting of the Commission or of a committee of the Commission by means of such telephone or other communication facilities as permit all persons participating in the meeting to communicate with each other, and a Commissioner so participating in a meeting is deemed for the purposes of this Act to be present at the meeting.


Marginal note:By-laws

 The Commission may make by-laws respecting

  • (a) the constitution of committees of the Commission, including committees with members who are not Commissioners, the duties of the committees and the expenses to be paid to members who are not Commissioners;

  • (b) the quorum and procedure at meetings of the Commission or its committees; and

  • (c) generally, the conduct and management of the work of the Commission.


Marginal note:Staff

  •  (1) An executive director of the Commission, and such other officers and employees as are necessary for the proper conduct of the work of the Commission, shall be appointed in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.

  • Marginal note:Temporary assistance

    (2) For the purposes of advising and assisting the Commission in the performance of its duties and functions, the Commission may, on a temporary basis, contract for the services of any person who has specialized knowledge of any matter relating to a specific project of the Commission and may fix and pay the remuneration and expenses of that person.

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