Fellow Slaw contributor Kim Nayer wrote about QPLegalEze’s imminent dismantlement back in April 2014. Her post, titled “Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law“, heralded an end to an era of embargoed legal information, and hinted at the promise of a more democratic trend—one where the government lets the law become knowable even in the absence of our wallets.
Some goodbyes take longer than others. 20-odd months later, however, it really does feel like the house has cleared out. The repository of BC’s laws (various enactments, historical tables, ministerial orders archives, and that sort of thing) which was once kept on the fee-based website QPLegalEze is now housed on BCLaws.ca. It’s quite a sizable score for open data. Here is a list of the new inventory courtesy of the “BC Laws Buzz” blog:
Queen’s Printer is pleased to announce the addition of the following content collections:
- Act and Ministry Responsibilities Listing
- Archived Consolidations of Statutes – Includes Pre-1996 and Post-1996 Consolidations
- Archived Consolidations of Regulations – Includes Consolidations from April 2003 to present
- Bills – Includes Progress of Bills tables with links to Bills and Hansard Debates
- Consolidated Provisions in Force – A list of Statutes enacted, amended or repealed between the 1997 and January 2012 sessions
- Defunct Regulations – Full text of Repealed Regulations from August 1, 2003 to present
- Minister of Finance Directives – Issued under Section 47(1) of the Financial Administration Act and are necessary to introduce or changes fees when there is no other legislation available; considered as a temporary measure; authorized for cross-government purposes; or during a crisis or urgent situation.
- Ministerial Order – Includes subordinate legislation made under the authority of a minister, or an authorized official or body. Orders are generally used to handle day-to-day administrative matters. While most orders are administrative in nature, some may be classed as regulations.
- Proclamations – A provincial proclamation is a recognition by government of events or occasions held by groups on their own behalf or for the general public
- Regulation Bulletin – Includes a weekly summary of the Regulations deposited with the Registrar of Regulations under the Regulations Act. The Cumulative Bulletin lists all regulations deposited during a calendar year. Also available within the bulletin are hyperlinks to the full text Order-in-Council or Ministerial Order and BC Gazette Part II.
- Rules of Court and Related Enactments – A collection of all legislation that governs court procedures in British Columbia
- Table of Repealed, Replaced and Renamed Public Statutes – A resource for tracking outdated legislation, covering Public Statutes from 1897 to April 29, 2011
To learn more on the various content collections visit our Glossary
The institution of the Queen’s Printer still has some quintessentially Victorian traditions. In keeping with strictures of the BC Evidence Act 1881, and ultimately the UK Evidence Act 1845 before that, the only official version of a statute in BC remains the printed one issued by the QP itself.
But on the technology front, the end of QPLegalEze is a signal of progress. It pairs well with some of the other enabling tools the Queen’s Printer has deployed in recent years, such as its API (which we now have much more incentive to use) and the fairly broad QP-specific open licence that permits us to republish, distribute and even modify the medium and format of the laws that mediate our daily lives and to which we are beholden.
It’s also welcome news for reasons personal to me. Reasons like taste. QPLegalEze always struck me as an undignified brand name, and an incongruous abuse of syntax in an annoying, rather than clever, way. Sure, Flickr and Tumblr (and Rangefindr) dropped letters and got away with it. But QPLegalEze, a most hideous victim of sensational spelling, always felt more like a Froot Loops and Cheez Whiz kind of mess. Like we all know there is no “fruit” in the loops or “cheese” in the whiz. Is it just that there was never any “ease” in QP’s legal product? In any event, bon voyage QPLegalEze and a warm hello to the much-improved BCLaws.ca.
Queen Victoria would approve.