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APA Citation Style

Citing Statutes

The citation for an act or statute tells you the name of the act, the jurisdiction where it was passed (federal or a province/territory), the year it was passed, and the volume and chapter number where it is found. Example:

Administration of Estates Act, R.S.A. 2000, c A-2

This means that the Administration of Estates Act of Alberta will be chapter A-2 in 
the 2000 Revised Statutes of Alberta.

There are a minimum of five elements in statute citation. (This is true for provincial and federal statutes.)

1. The name of the act

2. The type of statute volume. Two possibilities: the volume is part of a set of Revised Statutes - indicated by R.S.; the volume is an annual (also called sessional) volume that follows the most recent set of Revised Statutes - indicated by S.

3. The abbreviation for the jurisdiction, which, combined with type of statute volume, is indicated as follows:

R.S.C. means Revised Statutes of Canada

S.C. means Statutes of Canada

R.S.A. means Revised Statues of Alberta

S.A. means Statutes of Alberta

R.S.O. means Revised Statutes of Ontario

S.O means Statutes of Ontario

(and likewise for each other province and territory)

4. The year or session. If using a print version, the spine of the volume and the title page will indicate the year/session. If using an online version, year/session will be part of full citation of act at beginning of online version. There is often more then one volume per session, especially if the session resulted in a lot of new legislation and/or lengthy new acts.

Example 1: S.A. 1999 or R.S.A. 1980

If a session of Parliament/Legislature spanned more than one year, the full span will be indicated on each volume and must be included in the citation, e.g. S.C. 1980-81-82-83 (This is an extreme example and seldom occurs now - the Federal Government has switched to publishing their statutes as annual rather than sessional volumes.)

Sometimes a legislature holds more than one session in a year. When this happens, the chapter numbers begin  again at 1 for the second session, and may require publication of a second volume of legislation for the second session. In such cases, the citation to an act must include a reference to the session in which it was passed order to be clear which act you are citing:

 Example: S.N.S. 1973, c.1 and S.N.S. 1973 (2d Sess.), c.1 refers to two different statutes.

5. The chapter number. Each act passed in a particular session of parliament/legislature is assigned a unique chapter number that serves as its identifier for all finding and citation purposes. This can be a simple number, e.g. c 8, or a more complicated alphanumeric designation, e.g.
c L-16.2, c A.1, etc.

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