Interpretation Act (Canada, 1867)

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31 Victoria, c. 1
Interpretation Act
This text is the Act as originally passed. The Act was later modified by the following:

Source: Early Canada Online

Contents[edit]

An Act respecting the Statutes of Canada.

Preamble.
FORM OF ENACTING.
1. Form of enacting clause.
2. Other clauses to follow in concise form.
INTERPRETATION.
3. The interpretation clauses to apply to all Acts hereafter passed.
4. Date of Royal assent to be endorsed on every Act.
Effect of such endorsement.
5. Every Act may be amended during session in which it passes.
6. How enactments shall be construed.
1. To apply to the whole Dominion.
2. Application of expressions in present tense.
3. "Shall" and "may."
4. "Herein."
7. Interpretation of certain words.
Firstly. "Her Majesty," &c.
Secondly. "Governor," &c.
Thirdly. "Governor in Council, &c."
Fourthly. "Lieutenant Governor, &c."
Fifthly. "Lieutenant Governor in Council, &c."
Sixthly. "United Kingdom" "United States," names of places, &c.
Seventhly. Proclamation.
Eighthly. Governor acting by Proclamation.
Ninthly. County.
Tenthly. Number and Gender.
Eleventhly. "Person."
Twelfly. "Writing," "written."
Thirteenthly. "Now" or "next."
Fourteenthly. "Month."
Fifteenthly. "Holiday."
Sixteenthly. "Oath," "Sworn," "Affirmed."
Perjury.
Seventeenthly. "Sureties," "Security."
Eighteenthly. "Superior Courts."
Ninteenthly. "Registrar," "Register."
Twentiethly. Contravention of Acts.
Twenty-Firstly. Punishment for contravention.
Twenty-Secondly. Recovery of penalties when no other mode is prescribed.
Appropriation.
Twenty-Thirdly. Crown's share when not otherwise appropriated to form part of Con. Rev. Fund.
Twenty-Fourthly. Paying and accounting for moneys appropriated by statute.
Twenty-Fifthly. "Magistrate," "Two Justices."
Power to do anything to include all necessary powers for doing it.
Twenty-Sixthly. Imprisonment where to be when no special place is mentioned.
Twenty-Seventhly. Words giving power to appoint include power to remove.
Twenty-Eightly. Directions to public officer, to apply to his successors and his Deputy.
Twenty-Ninthly. Appointments by Governor to be during pleasure.
Thirtiethly. Words constituting a corporation to vest certain powers in it.
Thirty-Firstly. Slight deviation from forms not to invalidate.
Thirty-Secondly. Power to make by laws, what included by.
Thirty-Thirdly. Acts not to affect the Crown, unless specially declared to do so.
As to Acts of private nature.
Thirty-Fourthly. Power always reserved to Parliament to repeal or amend any Act.
As to Bank Charters.
Thirty-Fifthly. Effect of repeal of Act on persons acting under it.
Not to effect certain proceedings.
Thirty-Sixthly. As to acts, &c., done before repeal.
Thirty-Seventhly. Offenses committed and penalties incurred not affected by repeal.
Thirty-Eigthly. All Acts to be deemed Public Acts, as regards pleading.
Proof of Acts.
Thirty-Ninthly. Preamble to be a part of Act.
All Acts remedial, and to be construed as such.
Fortiethly. Applicable Rules of construction not excluded.
Forty-Firstly. Provisions herein to apply to this Act.
8. Acts to be done by more than two.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE PRINTED STATUTES.
9. Certified copy of every Act to be furnished to Queen's Printer.
10. Printer to distribute printed copies of Acts.
Who shall receive such copies.
As to bills assented to during and before the end of the session.
11. List to be furnished of persons to receive copies.
12. If any copies remain, &c.
13. How Statutes shall be printed and bound.
Classification of Statutes.
14. Report by Printer as to number of copies distributed.
And as to expenses incurred by him.
15. Obligations of parties obtaining private Acts.
SHORT TITLE.
16. Short title.




31 Victoria, c. 1 (Canada)


An Act respecting the Statutes of Canada


[Assented to 21st December, 1867.]


Preamble.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows :



Form of Enacting.

Form of enacting clause.
1. The following words, may be inserted in the Preambles of Statutes and shall indicate the authority by virtue of which they are passed : "Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows :"
Other clauses to follow in concise form.
2. After the insertion of the words aforesaid, which shall follow the setting forth of the considerations or reasons upon which the law is grounded, and which shall with these considerations or reasons constitute the entire Preamble, the various clauses of the Statute shall follow in a concise and enunciative form.

Interpretation.

The interpretation clauses to apply to all Acts hereafter passed.
3. This section and the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth sections of this Act, and each provision thereof, shall extend and apply to every Act passed in the Session held in this thirtieth Year of Her Majesty's Reign, and in any future Session of the Parliament of Canada, except in so far as the provision is inconsistent with the intent and object of such Act, or the interpretation which such provision would give to any word, expression or clause is inconsistent with the context,—and except in so far as any provision thereof is in any such Act declared not applicable thereto ;—Nor shall the omission in any Act of a declaration that the "Interpretation Act" shall apply thereto, be construed to prevent its so applying, although such express declaration may be inserted in some other Act or Acts of the same Session.
Date of Royal assent to be endorsed on every Act.
4. The Clerk of the Senate shall endorse on every Act of the Parliament of Canada, immediately after the title of such Act, the day, month and year when the same was by the Governor General assented to in Her Majesty's name, or reserved by him for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon,—and in the latter case, the Clerk of the Senate shall also endorse thereon the day, month and year when the Governor General has signified either by speech or message to the Senate and House of Commons, or by Proclamation, that the same was laid before Her Majesty in Council, and that Her Majesty was pleased to assent to the same ;—
Effect of such endorsement.
And such indorsement shall be taken to be a part of such Act, and the date of such Assent or Signification, as the case may be, shall be the date of the commencement of the Act, if no later commencement be therein provided.
Every Act may be amended during session in which it passes.
5. Any Act of the Parliament of Canada may be amended, altered or repealed by any Act to be passed in the same Session thereof.
How enactments shall be construed.
6. In construing this or any Act of the Parliament of Canada, unless it is otherwise provided, or there be some thing in the context or other provisions thereof indicating a different meaning or calling for a different construction :
To apply to the whole Dominion.
(1) The enactments in any Act apply to the whole Dominion of Canada ;
Application of expressions in present tense.
(2) The Law is to be considered as always speaking, and whenever any matter or thing is expressed in the present tense, the same is to be applied to the circumstances as they arise, so that effect may be given to each Act and every part thereof according to its spirit, true intent and meaning ;
"Shall" and "may."
(3) The word "shall" is to be construed as imperative, and the word "may" as permissive ;
Herein.
(4) Whenever the word "herein" is used in any section of an Act, it is to be understood to relate to the whole Act and not to that section only ;
Interpretation of certain words.
7. Subject to the limitations aforesaid,—in every Act of the Parliament of Canada, to which this section applies:—
"Her Majesty," &c.
First. The words "Her Majesty," "the Queen," or "the Crown," shall mean—Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, Sovereigns of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ;
"Governor," &c.
Secondly. The words "Governor," "Governor of Canada," "Governor General," or "Governor in Chief," shall mean—the Governor General for the time being of Canada, or other the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the time being carrying on the Government of Canada, on behalf and in the name of the Queen by whatever title he is designated
Governor in Council, &c.
Thirdly. The words "Governor in Council," or "Governor General in Council," shall mean—the Governor General of Canada, or person administering the government of Canada for the time being, acting by and with the advice of, or by and with the advice and consent of, or in conjunction with, the Queen's Privy Council for Canada ;
Lieutenant Governor, &c.
Fourthly. The words "Lieutenant-Governor" shall mean the Lieutenant-Governor for the time being, or other chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the time being, carrying on the Government of the Province or Provinces of the Dominion indicated by the Act, by whatever title he is designated.
"Lieutenant Governor in Council, &c."
Fifthly. The words "Lieutenant-Governor in Council" shall mean the Lieutenant-Governor or person administering the Government of the Province indicated by the Act, for the time being, acting by and with the advice of, or by and with the advice and consent of, or in conjunction with the Executive Council of the said Province.
"United Kingdom" "United States," names of places, &c.
Sixthly. The words "the United Kingdom," shall mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ;—and the words "the United States," shall mean the United States of America ;—And generally, the name commonly applied to any country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party or thing, shall mean such country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party or thing, although such name is not the formal and extended designation thereof ;
Proclamation.
Seventhly. The word "Proclamation" means a Proclamation under the Great Seal, and the expression "Great Seal" means the Great Seal of Canada ;
Governor acting by Proclamation.
Eighthly. When the Governor is authorized to do any act by Proclamation, such Proclamation is understood to be a Proclamation issued under an order of the Governor in Council, but it shall not be necessary that it be mentioned in the Proclamation that it is issued under such order ;
County.
Ninthly. The word "County" includes two or more Counties united for purposes to which the enactment relates ;
Number and Gender.
Tenthly. Words importing the singular number or the masculine gender only, shall include more persons, parties or things of the same kind than one, and females as well as males, and the converse ;
"Person."
Eleventhly. The word "person," shall include any body corporate and politic, or party, and the heirs, executors, administrators or other legal representatives of such person, to whom the context can apply according to the law of that part of Canada to which such context extends ;
"Writing," "written."
Twelfthly. The words " writing," "written," or any term of like import, shall include words printed, painted, engraved, lithographed, or otherwise traced or copied ;
"Now" or "next."
Thirteenthly. The word "now" or "next," shall be construed as having reference to the time when the Act was presented for the Royal Assent ;
"Month."
Fourteenthly. The word "month" shall mean a calendar month ;
"Holiday."
Fifteenthly. The word "holiday " shall include Sundays, New Year's Day, the Epiphany, the Annunciation, Good Friday, the Ascension, Corpus Christi, St. Peter and St. Paul's Day, all Saints Day, Conception Day, Easter Monday, Ash Wednesday, Christmas Day, the Birth day of the reigning Sovereign, and any day appointed by Proclamation for a General Fast or Thanksgiving ;
"Oath," "Sworn," "Affirmed."
Sixteenthly. The word "oath" shall be construed as meaning a solemn affirmation whenever the context applies to any person and case by whom and in which a solemn affirmation may be made instead of an oath, and in like cases the word " sworn" shall include the word "affirmed" :—And in every case where an oath or affirmation is directed to be made before any person or officer, such person or officer shall have full power and authority to administer the same and to certify its having been made ;—
Perjury.
And the wilful making of any false statement in any such oath or affirmation, shall be wilful and corrupt perjury,—and the wilful making of any false statement in any declaration required or authorized by any Act, shall be a misdemeanor punishable as wilful and corrupt perjury ;
"Sureties," "Security."
Seventeenthly. The word "sureties" shall mean sufficient sureties, and the word "security" shall mean sufficient security, and where these words are used, one person shall be sufficient therefor unless otherwise expressly required.
"Superior Courts."
Eighteenthly. The words " Superior Courts" shall denote in the Province of Ontario, the Court of Queens Bench, the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Chancery in the said Province ; in the Province of Quebec the said words shall denote the Court of Queens Bench and the Superior Court in and for the said Province ; and in the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the said words shall denote the Supreme Court in and for each of the said Provinces respectively.
"Registrar," "Register."
Nineteenthly. The words "Registrar" or Register" in any Act, applying to the whole Dominion, shall mean and include indifferently Registrars and Registers in the several Provinces constituting the Dominion, and their Deputies, respectively ;
Contravention of Acts.
Twentiethly. Any wilful contravention of any Act, which is not made any offence of some other kind, shall be a misdemeanor, and punishable accordingly ;
Punishment for contravention.
Twenty-firstly. Whenever any wilful contravention of any Act is made an offence of any particular kind or name, the person guilty of such contravention shall, on conviction thereof, be punishable in the manner in which such offence is by law punishable ;
Recovery of penalties when no other mode is prescribed.
Twenty-secondly. Whenever any pecuniary penalty or any forfeiture is imposed for any contravention of any Act,—then, if no other mode be prescribed for the recovery thereof, such penalty or forfeiture shall be recoverable with costs by civil action or proceeding at the suit of the Crown only, or of any private party suing as well for the Crown as for himself,—in any form allowed in such case by the law of that Province where it is brought,—before any Court having jurisdiction to the amount of the penalty in cases of simple contract,—upon the evidence of any one credible witness other than the Plaintif or party interested ;
Appropriation.
And if no other provision be made for the appropriation of such penalty or forfeiture, one half thereof shall belong to the Crown, and the other half shall belong to the private plaintiff, if any there be, and if there be none, the whole shall belong to the Crown.
Crown's share when not otherwise appropriated to form part of Con. Rev. Fund.
Twenty-thirdly. Any duty, penalty or sum of money, or the proceeds of any forfeiture, which is by any Act given to the Crown, shall, if no other provision be made respecting it, form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada and be accounted for and otherwise dealt with accordingly ;
Paying and accounting for moneys appropriated by statute.
Twenty-fourthly. If any sum of the public money be, by any Act appropriated for any purpose or directed to be paid by the Governor General,—then, if no other provision be made respecting it, such sum shall be payable under Warrant of the Governor General directed to the Receiver General, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada ; And all persons entrusted with the expenditure of any such sum or any part thereof shall account for the same in such manner and form, with such vouchers, at such periods and to such Officer, as the Governor General may direct ;
"Magistrate," "Two Justices."
Twenty-fifthly. The word "Magistrate" shall mean a Justice of the Peace ;--the words " two Justices," shall mean two or more Justices of the Peace, assembled or acting together ;—And if any thing is directed to be done by or before a Magistrate or a Justice of the Peace, or other Public Functionary or Officer, it shall be done by or before one whose jurisdiction or powers extend to the place where such thing is to be done :—
Power to do anything to include all necessary powers for doing it.
And whenever power is given to any person, officer or functionary to do or to enforce the doing of any act or thing, all such powers shall be understood to be also given as are necessary to enable such person, officer or functionary to do or enforce the doing of such act or thing ;
Imprisonment where to be when no special place is mentioned.
Twenty-sixthly. If in any Act, any party is directed to be imprisoned or committed to prison, such imprisonment or committal shall, if no other place be mentioned or provided by law, be in or to the common gaol of the locality in which the order for such imprisonment is made, or if there be no common gaol there, then in or to that common gaol which is nearest to such locality ; and the keeper of any such common gaol shall receive such person, and him safely keep and detain in such common gaol under his custody until discharged in due course of Law, or bailed in cases in which bail may by Law be taken ;
Words giving power to appoint include power to remove.
Twenty-seventhly. Words authorizing the appointment of any public officer or functionary, or any deputy, shall include the power of removing him, re-appointing him or appointing another in his stead, in the discretion of the authority in whom the power of appointment is vested ;
Directions to public officer, to apply to his successors and his Deputy.
Twenty-eighthly. Words directing or empowering a public officer or functionary to do any act or thing, or otherwise applying to him by his Name of Office, shall include his successors in such Office, and his or their lawful Deputy ;
Appointments by Governor to be during pleasure.
Twenty-ninthly. All officers now appointed or hereafter to be appointed by the Governor General whether by Commission or otherwise shall remain in office during pleasure only, unless otherwise expressed in their Commissions or appointments.
Words constituting a corporation to vest certain powers in it.
Thirtiethly. Words making any association or number of persons a corporation or body politic and corporate, shall vest in such corporation, power to sue and be sued, contract and be contracted with, by their corporate name, to have a common seal, and to alter or change the same at their pleasure, and to have perpetual succession, and power to acquire and hold personal property or moveables for the purposes for which the corporation is constituted, and to alienate the same at pleasure ; and shall also vest in any majority of the members of the Corporation the power to bind the others by their acts ; and shall exempt the individual members of the Corporation from personal liability for its debts or obligations or acts, provided they do not contravene the provisions of the Act incorporating them ;—But no Corporation shall carry on the business of banking unless when such power is expressly conferred on them by the Act creating such Corporation ;
Slight deviation from forms not to invalidate.
Thirty-firstly. Where forms are prescribed slight deviations therefrom not affecting the substance or calculated to mislead shall not vitiate them.
Power to make by laws, what included by.
Thirty-secondly. Where power to make by-laws, regulations rules or orders is conferred, it shall include the power to alter or revoke the same and make others.
Acts not to affect the Crown, unless specially declared to do so.
Thirty-thirdly. No provision or enactment in any Act, shall affect in any manner or way whatsoever, the rights of Her Majesty, Her Heirs or Successors, unless it is expressly stated therein that Her Majesty shall be bound thereby ;
As to Acts of private nature.
nor if such Act be of the nature of a private Act, shall it affect the rights of any person or of any body politic, corporate or collegiate, such only excepted as are therein mentioned or referred to.
Power always reserved to Parliament to repeal or amend any Act.
Thirty-fourthly. Every Act shall be so construed as to reserve to Parliament the power of repealing or amending it, and of revoking, restricting or modifying any power, privilege or advantage thereby vested in or granted to any person or party, whenever such repeal, amendment, revocation, restriction or modification is deemed by Parliament to be required for the public good ;
As to Bank Charters.
And unless it is otherwise expressly provided in any Act passed for chartering any Bank, it shall be in the discretion of the Parliament at any time thereafter to make such provisions and impose such restrictions with respect to the amount and description of notes which may be issued by such Bank, as to Parliament appears expedient.
Effect of repeal of Act on persons acting under it.
Thirty-fifthly. Where any Act is repealed wholly or in part and other provisions substituted, all officers, persons, bodies politic or corporate acting under the old law shall continue to act as if appointed under the new law, until others are appointed in their stead ; and all proceedings taken under the old law shall be taken up and continued under the new law when not inconsistent therewith ;
Not to effect certain proceedings.
and all penalties and forfeitures may be recovered and all proceedings had in relation to matters which have happened before the repeal in the same manner as if the law were still in force, pursuing the new provisions as far as they can be adapted to the old law.
As to acts, &c., done before repeal.
Thirty-sixthly. The repeal of an Act at any time shall not affect any act done or any right or right of action existing, accruing, accrued or established or any proceedings commenced, in a civil cause, before the time when such repeal shall take effect ; but the proceedings in such case shall be conformable when necessary to the repealing Act.
Offences committed and penalties incurred not affected by repeal.
Thirty-seventhly. No offence committed and no penalty or forfeiture incurred and no proceeding pending under any Act at any time repealed shall be affected by the repeal, except that the proceedings shall be conformable when necessary to the repealing Act, and that where any penalty, forfeiture or punishment shall have been mitigated by any of the provisions of the repealing Act, such provisions shall be extended and applied to any judgment to be pronounced after such repeal.
All Acts to be deemed Public Acts, as regards pleading.
Thirty-eigthly. Every Act shall, unless by express provision it is declared to be a Private Act, be deemed to be a Public Act, and shall be judicially noticed by all Judges, Justices of the Peace and others without being specially pleaded ;—
Proof of Acts.
And all copies of Acts, public or private, printed by the Queen's Printer, shall be evidence of such Acts and of their contents, and every copy purporting to be printed by the Queen's Printer shall be deemed to be so printed, unless the contrary be shewn ;
Preamble to be a part of Act.
Thirty-ninthly. The Preamble of every such Act as aforesaid shall be deemed a part thereof intended to assist in explaining the purport and object of the Act ;—
All Acts remedial, and to be construed as such.
And every Act and every provision or enactment thereof, shall be deemed remedial, whether its immediate purport be to direct the doing of any thing which Parliament deems to be for the public good or to prevent or punish the doing of any thing which it deems contrary to the public good, and shall accordingly receive such fair, large and liberal construction and interpretation as will best ensure the attainment of the object of the Act and of such provision or enactment according to their true intent, meaning and spirit.
Applicable Rules of construction not excluded.
Fortiethly. Nothing in this Section shall exclude the application to any Act, of any Rule of Construction applicable thereto, and not inconsistent with this Section.
Provisions herein to apply to this Act.
Forty-firstly. The provisions of this Act shall apply to the construction thereof, and to the words and expressions used therein.
Acts to be done by more than two.
8. When any act or thing is required to be done by more than two persons, a majority of them may do it.

Distribution of the Printed Statutes.

Certified copy of every Act to be furnished to Queen's Printer.
9. The Clerk of the Senate shall furnish Her Majesty's Printer with a certified copy of every Act of the Parliament, of Canada so soon as the same has received the Royal Assent, or if the Bill has been reserved, so soon as the Royal Assent thereto has been proclaimed in Canada.
Printer to distribute printed copies of Acts.
10. Her Majesty's Printer shall, immediately after the close of each Session of Parliament, or so soon after as may be practicable, deliver or transmit by Post, or otherwise, in the most economical mode, the proper number of printed copies of the Acts of Parliament, in the English language or French language, or both languages, (to be printed by him at the public expense,) to the parties hereinafter mentioned, that is to say :
Who shall receive such copies.
To the Members of the two Houses of Parliament respectively, such numbers of copies each, as may from time to time be directed by any joint Resolution of the said Houses, or in default of such Resolution, in such numbers as shall be directed by order of the Governor General in Council, and to such Public Departments, Administrative Bodies and Officers, throughout Canada, as may be specified in any order to be for that purpose made from time to time by the Governor General in Council ;
As to bills assented to during and before the end of the session.
Provided that when any Bill receives the Royal assent during and before the termination of any Session of Parliament, Her Majesty's Printer shall, on intimation to that effect from the Secretary of State of Canada, cause distribution to be made of such number of copies thereof, to the same parties, and in like manner as is hereinbefore provided, in regard to the Acts of any Session.
List to be furnished of persons to receive copies.
11. The Secretary of State of Canada shall, within fifteen days after the close of each Session of Parliament, transmit is Her Majesty's Printer a list of all the Public Departments, Administrative Bodies and Officers to whom such copies are to be transmitted as aforesaid, and shall also, from time to time, as occasion requires, furnish him with copies of all orders in Council made under the provisions of this Act.
If any copies remain, &c.
12. If after the distribution of the said printed Acts any copies remain in the hands of Her Majesty's Printer, he may deliver any number thereof to any person by order of the Governor General, on notice thereof by the Secretary of State of Canada,—or to the Members of the Senate or of the House of Commons, on the order of the Speaker of the said Houses respectively.
How Statutes shall be printed and bound.
13. The Statutes shall be printed in Royal Octavo Form, on fine paper, in Small Pica Type, thirty-two ems by fifty-five ems, including marginal notes in Minion, such notes referring to the year and chapter of previous Statutes, whenever the text amends, repeals or changes the enactments of former years ; and shall be half-bound in Cloth with backs of White Sheep skin and lettered, with the exception of a certain number to be named by the Standing Committee on Printing which shall be bound in half-calf and gilt-lettered,
Classification of Statutes.
and they shall be arranged for distribution in such manner either by the binding of the Public General Acts, and Acts of a local or private character in separate volumes, or by binding them together in the same volumes with separate indexes or otherwise as the Governor in Council may deem expedient.
Report by Printer as to number of copies distributed.
14. Her Majesty's Printer shall, before the opening of each Session of Parliament, make a Report in triplicate to the Governor General, (to be by him laid before each House of Parliament within fifteen days after the opening of such Session), shewing the number of copies of the Acts of each Session which have been printed and distributed by him since the then last Session, and the Departments, Administrative Bodies, Officers and persons to whom the same have been distributed, the number of copies delivered to each, and under what authority, and the numbers of copies of the Acts of each Session then remaining in his hands,—
And as to expenses incurred by him.
and containing also a detailed account of the expenses by him actually incurred in carrying this Act into effect, to the end that provision may be made for defraying the same, after such account has been duly audited and allowed.
Obligations of parties obtaining private Acts.
15. The party obtaining an Act of a private or personal character shall furnish, at his own cost, one hundred and fifty printed copies of such Act to the Government of Canada.

Short Title.

Short title.
16. This Act may be cited as The Interpretation Act.



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