Ontario Legislation – Locating Ontario Legislation

Locating Ontario statutes or regulations

The next step is to locate the text of the statute or regulation so that you may review it in greater detail and fully assess whether it is applicable to your legal problem. There are various print and electronic resources available for locating the full text of the statute or regulation you are researching.

Statutes: Print Sources

Regardless of whether a statute is proclaimed in force, once it receives Royal Assent, it is assigned the next consecutive chapter number and printed in the Ontario Gazette. It is then published in the annual volume of the Statutes of Ontario.

The Ontario Gazette

The Ontario Gazette is a weekly publication that lists recently enacted statutes and regulations. While it is useful for researching brand-new legislation or amendments, you are better off consulting the Statutes of Ontario or Revised Statutes of Ontario for other statutes.

Fig 1.3 Ontario Gazette

A photograph of several volumes of the Onatrio Gazette.

The Statutes of Ontario (S.O.)

All of the statutes that are enacted each year are assembled and published in these "annual" or "sessional" volumes.

Statutes are arranged within the S.O. by the consecutive chapter number assigned to it upon receiving Royal Assent.

The S.O. volumes are issued annually in hardbound format and are not updated by supplements. As such, until the latest S.O. volume is published and released, you must refer to the Ontario Gazette for the official versions of recently enacted legislation.

Fig 1.4 Statutes of Ontario (S.O.)

A photograph of several Statues of Ontario volumes.

The Revised Statutes of Ontario (R.S.O.):

From time to time, the Ontario government consolidates and publishes a "revised" set of all the statutes currently in force. This is often the only print source where you will find a statute, printed in its entirety. New alphanumeric chapter numbers are assigned to the statutes and the statutes are reordered based on the newly assigned chapter numbers.

The last consolidation took place in 1990, which explains why you often see this year in Ontario statutory citations.

You may still need to consult pre-1990 volumes of the Statutes of Ontario if you require the original version of a particular statute.

Fig 1.5 Revised Statutes of Ontario (R.S.O.)

A photograph of the several Revised Statutes of Ontario volumes.

Regulations: Print Sources

The publication process for Ontario regulations is similar to that of Ontario statutes:
Regulations are first published in the Ontario Gazette and then re-printed in the annual volumes of the Regulations of Ontario.

EXAMPLE: A regulation's citation is "O. Reg. 290/98". The ordinal number is 290 and the year is 98. So you know it was the 290th regulation of the year 1998. To locate the regulation in its print source, you would consult the 1998 volumes of the Regulations of Ontario.

Locate the statute or regulation

Statutes: Electronic Sources

Statutes are also published electronically on the web and are usually more up-to-date than the most recent Statutes of Ontario volumes. The entire text of a statute can also be scanned for words and phrases, instead of leafing through printed volumes of the Statutes of Ontario.


The Government of Ontario publishes all Ontario statutes and regulations on its e-Laws website. The e-Laws database is fully searchable and considered to be an official source of legislation.

Fig 1.6 Navigating the e-Laws Website

A screenshot of Ontario's e-Laws website.


Fig 1.7 The e-Laws Search Template

A screenshot of Ontario's e-Laws search page.

Regulations: Electronic Sources

The best way to locate Ontario regulations is by using the e-Laws website. See Fig 1.6 for instructions on how to do so. Please note that you must be viewing the alphabetical list by title of statutes in e-Laws in order to access the associated regulations in this manner (i.e. do not search for the statute by keyword).

Fig 1.8 Browsing Current Consolidated Law

A screenshot of Ontario's e-Laws website.

You may also obtain a more interactive demonstration of the above by viewing the online tutorial "Working with Current Consolidated Law", created and made available by The Great Library of the Law Society of Upper Canada. The link to this tutorial is located in the Research Step Five section of this module.

CanLII, Quicklaw, and Westlaw

You can also locate a statute or regulation using other online service providers such as CanLII, Quicklaw, and Westlaw.

But remember, the only electronic official source for Ontario statute and regulations is the e-Laws government website!