Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
About Primary Legal Research Sources
Primary sources of law are the laws and regulations themselves. These include: constitutions, statutes/acts and their amendments, regulations, legal cases and judicial decisions.
There are many sources of law/regulations at various political levels and in various locations/areas. This is called
When consulting primary legal sources it's important to be clear on the jurisdiction of interest. Consider whether the legislation is at the federal, provincial or municipal level.
Be aware that law
changes over time through amendments and new case law. Make sure the resource you are consulting is appropriate to the point in time you are researching.
Constitution - Canada
In Canada the Constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 1867 and the Constitution Act of 1982.
CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867
Establishes Canada's system of federalism and addresses the rights and responsibilities of both federal and provincial level governments.
CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982
Offers an amendment to the 1867 constitution, establishes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, and more.
Transfers the constitutional amending process to the Canadian Parliament from the British Parliament.
Statutes - Relevant to Aboriginal Law
Cases/Law Digests - Relevant to Aboriginal Law
Legal Research Tip
Start by consulting
secondary sources (e.g, books, journal articles, encyclopedias). These sources contain broad overviews or explanations of the law and will direct you to specific primary sources (e.g, legislation, case law, etc.).
What is a Treaty?
A treaty is a compact made between two or more independent nations. Treaties between the Dominion of Canada and First Nations peoples have been framed by the exchange of certain rights. Comprehensive Claims and Specific Claims are considered contemporary forms of treaties.