1. Introduction to Federal Legislation

2. Bills

3. Legislative Research

Federal Legislation – The Structure of a Bill

A bill consists of the following elements:

  1. Number
  2. Title
  3. Preamble
  4. Enacting clause
  5. Clause
  6. Interpretation provisions
  7. Coming-into-force provisions
  8. Schedule
  9. Explanatory notes
  10. Summary
  11. Marginal notes
  12. Underlining and vertical lines
  13. Headings
  14. Table of contents
  15. Royal recommendation


EXAMPLE: Bill C-47 originated in the House of Commons.


Example Title of C-47


EXAMPLE: Preamble to Bill C-6 (An Act respecting the safety of consumer products) starts with the following:

Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes the objective of protecting the public by addressing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products;

Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes that the growing number of consumer products that flow across the borders of an increasingly global marketplace make the realization of that object a challenge; . . . .

Enacting Clause

Example Enacting clause highlighted on Bill C-47


Interpretation Provisions

Example Interpretation Provisions

Coming-into-force provisions

Example Trade-marks Act Amendment - Coming into Force text highlighted


Example Schedule

Explanatory note

EXAMPLE: Bill C-47, The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, contains this explanatory note:

Example Explanatory note found in Bill C-47

which explains s. 14 in further detail:

Example Explanatory notes for s.14


Example Summary

Marginal notes

Example Marginal Notes

Underlining and vertical lines

Example Vertical Lines


Example Headings

Table of contents

Example Table of Contents

Royal recommendation

EXAMPLE: Bill C-6 contains the following "Recommendation” preceding the Summary:

Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled "An Act respecting the safety of consumer products”.