Last week the Attorney General of Ontario introduced the Access to Justice Act, Bill 14. Schedule F to that Act is a new statute, the Legislation Act. Part IV (sections 28 – 35) of the Legislation Act is called Proof of Legislation. It makes the text of statutes and regulations on the e-Laws website an “official copy” of the law (s. 29(1)(b)) and an official copy is presumed to be an accurate statement of the law, unless the contrary is proved (s. 32).
There are rules about the period during which this accuracy is presumed.
33. Unless the contrary is proved, an official copy of a consolidated law is an accurate statement of that law,
(b) in the case of an official copy accessed from the e-Laws website in a form or format prescribed under clause 35 (1) (b), during the period indicated on the e-Laws website in respect of the copy when the copy is accessed
The e-Laws website has historical versions of the law, as well as the current version, which state the period of validity – from one amendment to the next – for the past few years. These historical versions are included in the presumed accuracy rule.
These rules accompany rather than replace similar statements about laws purporting to be printed by the Queen’s Printer. Electronic law will not replace printed versions of the law.