Uniform Law Conference of Canada

Next week marks the 95th annual meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in. Founded in 1918, the ULCC is Canada’s oldest and longest serving law reform agency. As set out in its Constitution:

The mandate of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada is to facilitate and promote the harmonization of laws throughout Canada by developing, at the request of the constituent jurisdictions, Uniform Acts, Model Acts, Statements of Legal Principles and other documents deemed appropriate to meet the demands that are presented to it by the constituent jurisdictions from time to time.

The constituent jurisdictions are all provinces and territories and the federal government. Each jurisdiction determines the number of delegates it will send and which delegate will be the official jurisdictional representative for formal voting purposes. As noted on the ULCC’s policy statement delegates are selected to represent a “variety of government lawyers, including legal advisors, legislative policy advisors, legislative drafters and public prosecutors, as well as law reformers, members of the private Bar, both civil and criminal, and members of the academic community.” Participation by judges is also encouraged. In addition, the ULCC is attended by representatives of the American Uniform Law Commission and the Mexican Centre for Uniform Law.

The ULCC meets in two sections – civil & criminal. The work of the sections and various committees is supported by the drafting section. Areas of law under review by the civil section this year include:

  • Interprovincial Subpoena Act
  • Model Election Amendment Act
  • Uniform Commercial Tenancies Act
  • Uniform Interpretation Act
  • Uniform Vital Statistics Act
  • Uniform Wills Act

The civil section will also be discussing the implementation of several international conventions and treaties:

  • Convention on the Law Applicable to Certain Rights in Respect of Securities held with an Intermediary
  • Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters
  • UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit
  • Uniform Drafting Conventions for the Implementation of International Conventions
  • Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act

Areas of law under review by the criminal section this year include:

  • Contradictory Evidence – Recanted Statements
  • Mandatory Minimum
  • Penalty Exemptions
  • Modernisation of Notice Provisions
  • Search Warrants

The civil and criminal sections will also meet jointly to discuss the law of missing persons. Most of the topics are likely to result in uniform or model acts that can then be considered for implementation by the constituent jurisdictions. To date the ULCC has adopted over 120 uniform or model acts. Their implementation status is recorded in the ULCC website.

The ULCC’s French website can be accessed in French at http://www.ulcc.ca/fr/accueil .


  1. The ULCC web site is a rich source of information about law reform in Canada, as Sandra notes. It has over 4000 unique visitors a month. While the documents for this year’s meeting will not be public until after the meeting, documents from previous years (right back to 1918) are on the web site, sorted by year (see the list of annual meetings on the right side of the page) and also searchable by subject or title. (Unfortunately the current search function allows very limited text in the search box. The Conference is working on improving that.)

    Several of the Civil Section’s topics mentioned above were the subject of review last year as well (and some for longer than that), so if you are interested, check out the 2012 meeting minutes, resolutions and documents, and perhaps 2011.

  2. Sandra Petersson

    Thanks for highlighting the content on the ULCC website, John. There’s also some great content on the old ULCC website (eg. full history of uniform acts and implementation status) that hasn’t been moved to the new website yet. But as you note, the new website remains a work in progress. Still, checking out the ULCC website should be an essential step for anyone compiling a legislative history.
    There hasn’t been a formal announcement of an official hashtag for those who want to comment and follow on this year’s conference yet.

  3. I think that as of the last couple of weeks, there is nothing on the old site that is not on the new one, except perhaps the implementation charts for Uniform Acts adopted before 2000 – and I will move them over today, since you remind me!

    I haven’t been at the meeting for a few years, except for a one-day stand in 2011, so I didn’t know that delegates were tweeting from the rooms. The meetings are not open to the public, and the documents aren’t public till after the meetings. Are any limits requested of the delegates?

    Was there a hashtag for last year? Given that Twitter never deletes anything, maybe the live (or subsequent) tweets should be linked to on the main web site as further legislative history of a sort.