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Legislation Glossary

Short definitions of terms you'll find on our Legislation Tracker

The law can be complicated and it is often described in technical terminology that many people might find unfamiliar. This glossary provides short definitions of terms you will find on our Legislation Tracker.

ActA bill which has been given first, second and third reading by the legislation. It becomes law upon the signature of the Lieutenat Governor signifying Royal Assent.
AmendmentA proposal by a member that seeks to modify a motion, or section of a bill, in order to increase its acceptability or to present a different proposal. All amendments are in the form of a motion altering the text of the original motion.
BillProposed law. Bills must go through three readings, usually a committee process and Royal Assent before they become law.
CommitteeThe purpose of the committee is to consider the details of the Bill and propose any amendments to its various sections. After comprehensive consideration of the Bill, it is ordered for Third Reading.
ConsultationsA regulatory process by which the public's input on matters affecting them is sought by the government. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in laws and policies.
First ReadingBills are introduced for the first time in the House of Commons or Queens Park. Members are invited to provide a brief introduction for their public bills. Private Members usually present the bill’s explanatory note.
In ForceThe statute is in force at a particular date which can occur:

  • Upon Royal Assent, or
  • When it is proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor, or
  • On a day specified in the Act, and
  • Different sections may come into force at different time
Lieutenant GovernorThe person who is the provincial representative of the Queen and the ceremonial head of state. This person is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Lieutenant Governor opens, suspends and dissolves the Legislative Assembly and gives or withholds Royal assent to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly.
ParliamentThe legislature, or legislative assembly. It is also the period from the opening of the first session immediately following a general election to the end of a government's term and the calling of another election. each parliament consists of one or more sessions.
Private BillA bill which confers particular powers, benefits or exemptions from general law, on a specific person or body of persons, including individuals, local authorities, and statutory and private corporation.
Private Member's BillA public bill which is introduced by a private member instead of by the government.
Public BillA bill which relates to matters of public policy. It usually has a general application over the entire province.
ReadingsThe stages through which a bill passes; that is: first reading, second reading and third reading. A bill is introduced during first reading and debated during the second and third readings.
Royal AssentThe Lieutenant Governor assents to the Bill in the Queen's name. When the Bill is given Royal Assent it becomes an Act, is given a statute number, is reprinted, and is posted on the Internet and on e-Laws.
Second ReadingMembers are given an opportunity to debate and vote on the principle of the bill. Time for debate is set out in the Standing Orders and may be referred to a specific Committee.
Third ReadingThe final stage of a bill’s consideration in the House, when members decide whether the bill will pass. Debate at this stage focuses on the final form of the bill.