The nature of regulations

Subordinate legislation includes regulations, orders, directives, bylaws, and proclamations.

The Regulations Act, the Regulatory Impact Statement Act, and the Interpretation Act govern regulations. Section 1 of the Regulations Act defines a regulation as made under a power in an act where the word “regulation” or “prescribe” is used in conferring the power.

A regulation is more than merely administrative. It affects the public, rather than an individual or small group.

Regulations contain such details as how much per kilogram cherry pickers are entitled to be paid under employment standards legislation, or limits on effluent discharge under pollution control legislation. By contrast, orders are used for day to day administrative matters such as permits and appointments.

The governing statute sets out the scope of the regulatory power. Section 41 of the Interpretation Act elaborates further on the scope of that power, by providing what is implied within the power. The governing statute also sets out who has the authority to make the regulation or order.

How regulations are made

  1. The ministry responsible for the governing statute produces a draft regulation.
  2. The draft regulation is inspected by legislative counsel, and then returned to the originating ministry for enactment.
  3. If the regulation is to be made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the minister brings it before Cabinet for approval.
  4. It is then signed by the minister, the presiding member of the Executive Council, and the Lieutenant Governor.

Before the regulation can come into force, it must be deposited with the Registrar of Regulations. The regulation is then published in Part II of the British Columbia Gazette, as required by the Regulations Act.

When you review an act, note whether it contains a section authorising the Lieutenant Governor in Council or another entity to make regulations, or whether it refers to certain things as prescribed. If so, you should check to find out whether any regulations have been passed.

Citing a regulation

A regulation is cited by year and number.

A sample citation is BC Reg 181/74.

“74” stands for the year 1974, and 181 is the number assigned to the regulation.

Finding regulations

Use a consolidated version of the regulations to locate the regulations enacted under a statute.

  • Consolidated versions of the BC Regulations are available electronically through, CanLII,Quickscribe, Quicklaw, and WestlawNext Canada Lawsource.
  • The Queen’s Printer publishes a consolidated looseleaf version of the BC Regulations. The regulations are organised by statute, rather than by the name of each regulation. For example, all regulations enacted pursuant to the Company Act are filed under the name of that act. Each regulation indicates the most recent amendment included in the consolidation of that regulation.
  • Commercial consolidations of legislation by topic often include regulations.

Regulations are published in Part II of the British Columbia Gazette. A new issue of the Gazette comes out every 2 weeks. Each issue has an index listing regulations by name and by statute. A cumulative index is produced at the end of each calendar year, and then the issues for the year are bound with the index.

Regulations can also be found via links in the online weekly BC Regulations Bulletins.

The Index of Current B.C. Regulations contains a list of all regulations and amendments to them, organised by statute.

Updating regulations

A consolidated regulation includes all amendments up to the date of the consolidation.

You can update a consolidated regulation using the Cumulative Regulations Bulletin for the current year, or use regulations on Quickscribe which are updated daily.

Legislative history

If you need to conduct historical research on regulations, rather than just study the consolidated version, the Index of Current B.C. Regulations will provide you with citations to all regulations and amendments since 1958. You can then find the original versions in the BC Gazette, Part II.

BCLaws publishes archived consolidations of the regulations going back to April 2003. Quickscribe also offers older consolidations of regulations.