Ontario Beta-Tests New Legislation Web Site

The Ontario government is harmonizing the look and feel of all its websites. One of the sites being renovated is the e-Laws site, home of Ontario’s official statutes and regulations.

The Ministry of the AG has just tweeted a general invitation to try out the new site in beta, and to comment.

Here is the English language law site

Here is the French language law site

There is a ‘contact us’ button in the text at the top of the page. Please use it to comment on the beta version (though you may feel free as well to say what you think of it here.).

It will be very important for people like the members of Slaw, i.e. sophisticated users of legal information systems, to comment. Be direct, be frank, because that is what will help the testing.

(Note that the site won’t work very well on Internet Explorer 8 or other older browsers.)


  1. I’d be happy to share the informal usability tasks we’ve created at the Ontario Legislature to help you work with the beta. It’s really important that we give the design team useful and specific feedback.

  2. Just to be clear, I am not working on the beta at all. Service Ontario has creaed it, aiming at consistency with the look and feel of other Ontario sites.

    Users of e-laws should carefully consider usability and functionality: does the new site do everything the current one does and as easily, or if not, does it matter?

    Consider preservation of current functionality and then possible added functionality that would make the site better.

    So yes, please give the design team the feedback via the link on the beta site page. Feel free to share impressions here, to stimulate others’ thoughts.

  3. Elizabeth Dingman

    The new ontario.ca/laws site was made official on August 18th by OReg 169/14. This is sad as the new site is truly awful – it looks like a grade 10 computer science project (as do all the new ontario.ca sites), and the terrific immediacy of information and overall functionality of the e-laws site are gone. For people who do legislative research on a regular basis, the loss of many of the legislation tables is particularly sad. Shame on the Ontario government for tinkering with a site that is widely considered to be one of the best government legislation sites anywhere in the world.

  4. Oscar Strawczynski

    This looks like change for the sake of change. User experience is less important than the new shiny.

    Browsing for the Rules of Civil Procedure? Click “C” for Courts of Justice Act, click “more results” TWICE, then click the “15 more regulations … ” and there it is. Great. You could have searched for it, but the input box is hidden in a separate tab. And even if you did, a search for “Rules of Civil Procedure” doesn’t bring the Rules up in the results – you have to (again) click the “more” button under the CJA. I believe kids these days call this “epic fail.”

    Want to jump straight to a section of the Rules? Sorry, the Table of Contents still isn’t hyperlinked. And don’t even think about trying to read the site on a small-screen mobile device.

    Most disturbing to me is that the source HTML is presentation oriented and not semantic. There’s still no way I know of to get Ontario legislation or regulations in a form that is easily machine readable.

    I’ll leave it to others to comment on whether the site works properly with screen readers and other accessibility technology, but reading the source HTML doesn’t leave me optimistic.

  5. The new site is not official yet. The regulation was filed so that when it becomes official (probably with modifications from the way it was launched in beta – that’s why they were inviting comments), texts taken from it will qualify as official copies of Ontario law under the Legislation Act.

    Please do submit all your comments to the official comments site as indicated on the site and above.