The nature of regulations

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

The Regulations Act and the Interpretation Act govern regulations. Section 1(f) of the Regulations Act defines a regulation with reference to the Interpretation Act, RSA 2000, C I-8, s 1(c), which defines it as follows:

(c) “regulation” means a regulation, order, rule, form, tariff of costs or fees, proclamation, by-law or resolution enacted

(i) in the execution of a power conferred by or under the authority of an Act,

(ii) by or under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

but does not include an order of a court made in the course of an action or an order made by a public officer or administrative tribunal in a dispute between 2 or more persons.

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 25(4) 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 Alberta Gazette, as required by section 3(1) of the Regulations Act.

When reviewing 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 from before year 2000 is Alta Reg 181/74.

“74” stands for the year 1974, and 181 is the number assigned to the regulation. Since the year 2000, the year is given in full. So the 99th regulation of 2016 would be cited:

A sample citation post year 2000 is Alta Reg 99/2000.

Finding regulations

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

  • Consolidated versions of the Alberta Regulations are available electronically through the Alberta Queen’s Printer, CanLII, Quicklaw, and QP Source Professional.
  • The Queen’s Printer publishes a consolidated looseleaf version of the Alberta 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 Alberta Gazette. A new issue of the Gazette comes out every two 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.

Updating regulations

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

You can update a consolidated regulation using the Alberta Queen’s Printer Search Function. Recent changes to regulations are highlighted on QP Source Professional. QP Source Professional also has an Index of Regulations that lists amendments to regulations.

Legislative history

If you need to conduct historical research on regulations, rather than just study the consolidated version, Our Future, Our Past includes regulations from 1905-1990. Anything after that will be available using the Alberta Queen’s Printer Search Function. You can then find the original versions in the Alberta Gazette, Part II.