Legal Citations – Statute Citations (McGill Guide, 2.1)

A proper statute citation should include the following:

  • Italicize the official short title of the statute, then put a comma. If there is no official short title, use the title as it appears at the beginning of the statute.
Statute Volume
  • Indicate the statute volume within which the statute appears, abbreviating the title of the statute volume. It is always preferable to cite to the "Revised Statutes” volumes (e.g. RSO) where possible. Only cite to a sessional or annual volume (e.g. SO) if the statute was enacted after the last statutory consolidation. The last consolidation at the federal level was 1985, and the last one in Ontario was 1990.
  • Place the jurisdiction, in abbreviated form, directly following the statute volume (e.g. put NS for "Nova Scotia”). Abbreviate the jurisdictions in accordance with Chapter 2.1.7 and APPENDIX A of the McGill Guide.
  • Indicate the year of publication of the sessional or revised statutes volume, followed by a comma, unless a session or a supplement is to be included.
  • Indicate the chapter number assigned to the statute in the statute volume, followed by a period, unless you are pinpointing, in which case it is followed by a comma. Note that chapter numbers vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some provinces employ a numeric system, while others use an alphanumeric system. Moreover, in some jurisdictions, the chapters within the Revised Statutes volumes are alphanumerically numbered, while the chapters in the Statutes volumes are simply numeric.
(Session or Supplement),
  • Include any session or supplement information within parentheses, abbreviating the word "Session” to "Sess” and the word "Supplement” to "Supp”. Then put a comma. Usually a session or supplement is only listed for revised statute volumes.
  • Use a pinpoint whenever you are referring to a specific section of a statute, abbreviating the word "section” to "s” and the plural "sections” to "ss”. Do not use the word "at” as you would when pinpointing a passage from a secondary source. If you are pinpointing consecutive sections, then separate the numbers with a hyphen (e.g. ss 7-15). If you are pinpointing non-consecutive sections, then separate the numbers with a comma (e.g. ss 15, 28).


Title, Statute Volume Jurisdiction Year, Chapter, (Session or Supplement) Pinpoint.
Endangered Species Act, S O 2007, c 6,   s 9(1)(a).

Endangered Species Act, SO 2007, c 6, s 9(1)(a).

When citing a statute in a footnote, if you have already included the title of the statute in the text, do not repeat it in the citation.

EXAMPLE 1: According to the Endangered Species Act, it is an offence to kill an animal that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an extirpated, endangered or threatened species.5

5 SO 2007, c 6, s 9(1)(a).

EXAMPLE 2: …in Ontario, damaging or destroying the habitat of an animal listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species is prohibited.6

6 Endangered Species Act, SO 2007, c 6, s 9(1)(a).

NOTE: Constitutional statutes are cited differently from regular statutes. Consult 2.2 of the McGill Guide for examples and further information.