Ontario has now proclaimed the Legislation Act in force. It repeals the Interpretation Act (which is replaced by Part VI of the Legislation Act), the Statutes Act, the Regulations Act and the Statute and Regulation Revision Act. There are several aspects of the new Legislation Act that are noteworthy.
The Legislation Act established the E-Laws website as an official source of Ontario law. As a result, anyone may access E-Laws ( http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca) and obtain an official version of either a statute or a regulation. Regulations are now effective immediately upon publication on E-Laws.
In addition, a regulation is effective against a person (which includes a corporation) before it is published on E-Laws or the Ontario Gazette if such person has actual notice of the regulation. This would seem to prevent such a person from taking steps to avoid or undermine the intended effect of a regulation before it is published in an official reporter. Previously, a regulation was not effective until it was published in the Ontario Gazette. This created the opportunity for mischief.
The Legislation Act contains a potentially important distinction from its federal counterpart, the federal Interpretation Act. The federal Interpretation Act applies to instruments, such as by-laws and resolutions, that are made in the execution of a power granted by a federal statute. This raises the question of whether by-laws or resolutions passed or approved by directors or shareholders pursuant to powers granted by the Canada Business Corporations Act, for example, would come under the purview of the federal Interpretation Act and its interpretative provisions. The Legislation Act narrows its application to instruments of a "legislative nature," and thus avoids any possible ambiguity with respect to its application to corporate instruments.
Finally, in conformity with its predecessor, the Ontario Interpretation Act, the general rules of construction (number, gender, English and French version equality, the meaning of "holiday" and "mentally incompetent," and rules regarding the computation of time) encoded in the Legislation Act apply to the meaning of certain terms used in legislative or regulatory enactments, and not to the same words or concepts as they appear in private contracts.