Tracing the Evolution and History of a Regulation

AuthorSusan Barker, Erica Anderson
chapter eleven
Tracing the Evolution and History of a
As noted in Chapter 10, the rules of interpretation that apply to stat-
utes also apply to regulations:
A statutory provision must be read in its entire context, taking into
consideration not only the ordinary and grammatical sense of the
words, but also the scheme and object of the statute, and the inten-
tion of the legislature. is approach to statutory interpretation must
also be foowed, with necessary adaptations, in interpreting regulations.1
Even though the concept of legislative evolution refers to textual
changes within a statute or regulation, legislative evolution is con-
sidered to be an extrinsic aid to the interpretation of regulations.2 One
example of the use of the evolution of a regulation is the Nova Scotia
case Municipal Enterprises Ltd v Nova Scotia (Attorney General),3 an
appeal case in which the “sole issue . . . is one of statutory interpret-
ation”4 — specicay the intention of regulations under the Gasoline
and Diesel Oil Tax Act. During the course of the original trial, the trial
judge “traced the evolution of the GDOTA and its Regulations from
1 Glykis v Hydro ebec 2004 SCC 60 at para 5 [emphasis added].
2 Ruth Suivan, Suivan on the Construction of Statutes, 6th ed (Markham, ON:
LexisNexis, 2014) at 661 [Suivan, Construction, 6th].
3 Municipal Enterprises Ltd v Nova Scotia (Aorney General), 2003 NSCA 10.
4 Ibid at para 2.
230 Researching Legislative Intent
1926 to 1981 to identify their original purpose and any trends reect-
ing new policies or whether they have remained constant.”5 As part
of their appeal, the appeants argued that the trial judge had given
“undue weight”6 to legislative history (including legislative evolution).
e appeal was dismissed. In her ndings, Glube CJNS explicitly
noted that in order to avoid an absurdity, “it was appropriate for the
trial judge to consider factors such as the debates from the Nova Sco-
tia House of Assembly; [and] the evolution of the act and its regulations.”7
As with tracing the evolution of a statute, we wi use Suivan’s den-
ition of legislative evolution as the basis for researching the evolution
of a regulation:
Legislative evolution is “the evolution of a legislative provision [con-
sisting] of successive enacted versions from inception to the version
in place when the relevant facts occur.”8
1) Tracing the Evolution of a Regulation
Tracing the evolution of a regulation starts with the current regula-
tion and working backward, making note of any changes of meaning
or wording in a regulation and agging when those changes occurred,
as they can be used as the basis for locating the legislative history of
the regulation.
2) The Source Reference
One important tool to be aware of when tracing legislative evolution
is the source reference. Start by locating the current regulation, either
on the government websites or on CanLII ( If the
jurisdiction you are researching uses source references, you wi see
5 Ibid at para 18.
6 Ibid at para 70.
7 Ibid at para 77 [emphasis added].
8 Suivan, Construction, 6th, above note 2 at 660.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT