Petition to Reinstate the Ontario E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables – RESPONSE RECEIVED!

Good news colleagues!

I have received a response from the Attorney General for Ontario to our petition to re-instate the E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables.

Please see her response below, which includes full details of the new approach
that the E-Laws team is working on.

We are encouraged to send our feedback to them.

Thanks to everyone for participating in this petition!

All the best

From: JUS-G-MAG-Webmaster []
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2015 3:39 PM
To: Annette Demers
Cc: Spakowski, Mark (MAG); Merdzan, Susan (MAG)
Subject: Ministry of the Attorney General Response – MC-2015-5161

Our Reference #: MC-2015-5161

Ms. Annette Demers
Associate Dean, Law Library and Legal Research Services
Paul Martin Law Library
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, ON N9B 3P4


Dear Ms. Demers:

Thank you for your letter and petition dated August 19, 2015 regarding the detailed legislative history tables on the e-Laws website. I am pleased to respond and I understand that you will share my response with your colleagues.
I appreciate your interest in the e-Laws website. I also understand your concern about having access to information previously provided in the detailed legislative history tables. As you know, staff have been developing an alternative approach to providing the sort of detailed information previously provided in these tables.

I am pleased to let you know that a proposed approach has now been developed. It has been used in one consolidation (the Occupational Health and Safety Act – and posted on e-Laws as an example so users may see how it works and provide feedback. A few other consolidations using this approach will also be posted shortly.

I invite you to look at this approach and provide any comments you might have to the e-Laws team through the e-Laws website.

Here is a summary of the approach taken in the Occupational Health and Safety Act:
Act Level Amendments:
• A list of all amendments to the Act has been added at the top of the consolidation, below the line showing the last amendment.
• All 2000 and later amendments have been linked to the source amending legislation on e-Laws. (So a user can click on the citation and go directly to the actual amendment.)

We received feedback that having the full amendment history would be more useful than just the most recent amendment. As you are aware this information is also available in the table of public statutes, but making it available in the actual consolidation saves research time.
Section Level Amendments:
• Each section includes the citations for all the amendments relating to that section.
• Each amendment citation includes the commencement date for that amendment. (As you pointed out this is important information. It can be used, for example, to determine which point-in-time versions might be of interest.)
• All 2000 and later amendment citations are linked to the amending provision in the source amending legislation. (So a user can click on the citation and go directly to the actual amending provision.)

This approach with respect to section level amendments is similar, in many ways, to the alternative you proposed in your letter and it appears to address the research tasks you identified as problematic.
The ministry’s plan is to make further changes to the e-Laws website to allow users to turn legislative history on or off. This would allow users who are not interested in the detailed legislative history (which is likely the great majority of users) to see the consolidations without this additional information. The tables of contents currently have a similar feature – by clicking -/+ users can have the table of contents show or not show according to their preference.

Table of Public Statutes
Your letter also referred to the table of public statutes. The table of public statutes, which gives amendment information at the Act level, will continue to be available on the e-Laws website. Of course improvements have been made in the format of the table in the recent re-launch of e-Laws but the information that has been provided on e-Laws since 2002, and for many decades before that in paper form, will continue to be provided.

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you again for sharing your concerns with me.


[Original Signed By]

Madeleine Meilleur
Attorney General

c: Mark Spakowski, Chief Legislative Counsel
Susan Medrzan, Manager, e-Laws/Editorial Services

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