Current Status: First Reading Carried
Bill 57 2012
An Act to proclaim Constitution Day
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada and Ontario. The Constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions, which outlines Canada’s system of government and protects the civil rights of all Canadians. The British North America Act, 1867 – later patriated as the Constitution Act, 1867 – and the CanadaAct, 1982 form the basis of the Constitution and our constitutional law.
The British North America Act, 1867 was the Act that created the modern country of Canada. The “one dominion under the name of Canada”, as the Act states, united the modern-day provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The British North America Act, 1867 established the system of Canadian federalism, the houses of Parliament of Canada, the distribution of powers between the federal government and the provinces, and laid down the basis of Canadian criminal law. The Act received Royal Assent from Her Majesty Queen Victoria on March 29, 1867 and came into force on July 1, 1867.
The CanadaAct, 1982 was Canada’s final step in becoming an independent democratic country. The Act patriated Canada’s Constitution, meaning that the British Parliament was no longer required to make amendments to the Constitution. Schedule B to the Act introduced Canada’s first constitutionally protected bill of rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Act formally ended the “request and consent” provisions of the Statute of Westminster, 1931. The CanadaAct, 1982 received Royal Assent from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second on March 29, 1982.
March 29, 2012 is the 145th anniversary of the Royal Assent of the British North America Act, 1867 and the 30th anniversary of the Royal Assent of the CanadaAct, 1982.
It is important to recognize the legal and political importance of Canada’s written constitution. Additionally, we should not forget the historical and global importance that the Canadian Constitution has served. The full patriation of powers to Canada as provided through the CanadaAct, 1982 served as a model for the AustraliaAct, 1986 and the New ZealandAct, 1986, which patriated powers in those countries. The Constitution of Canada has also been a benchmark and an example for non-Commonwealth countries throughout the world adopting their own constitutional documents. Accordingly, it is appropriate to recognize March 29 formally as Constitution Day, to celebrate it, our heritage and our natural rights of life, liberty and property.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. March 29 in each year is proclaimed as Constitution Day.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Constitution Day Act, 2012.
The Bill proclaims March 29 in each year as Constitution Day.