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Parliament of the Province of Canada

The Parliament of the Province of Canada was the legislature for the United Province of Canada, made up the two regions of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada, later Ontario) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada, later Quebec).

Parliament of the Province of Canada

Parlement de la Province du Canada
HousesLegislative Council
Legislative Assembly
FoundedFebruary 10, 1841 (1841-02-10)
DisbandedJuly 1, 1867 (1867-07-01)
Preceded bySpecial Council of Lower Canada
Parliament of Upper Canada
Succeeded byParliament of Canada (federally)
Parliament of Ontario
Legislature of Quebec


It was established by the Act of Union 1840 and replaced the two separate legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada, following the Rebellions of 1837 and Lord Durham's 1839 Report to the British Government recommending a legislative union between the two colonies.

As in other Westminster-style legislatures, it consisted of three components:

This legislature was convened eight times in its history:

Following the Province of Canada's entry into Canadian Confederation on 1 July 1867, the Parliament of the Province of Canada ceased to exist. Because the new country of Canada was a federation, the Parliament's powers were divided between levels of government. Its section 91 powers were assigned to the current Parliament of Canada, while its section 92 powers were assigned to the current Parliament of Ontario (for Canada West) and the Legislature of Quebec (for Canada East).


The Parliament is noteworthy for its efforts in codifying the law, generally with respect to the statute law in 1859, with the enactment of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, the Consolidated Statutes for Lower Canada, and the Consolidated Statutes for Upper Canada; and especially for the passage of the Civil Code of Lower Canada in 1866.

Several effects of actions taken by the Parliament can still be felt to the present day. Under s. 129 of the Constitution Act, 1867, limits have been placed on the ability of the legislatures of Ontario and Quebec to amend or repeal Acts of the former Province of Canada. Where such an Act created a body corporate operating in the former Province, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that such bodies cannot have "provincial objects" and only the Parliament of Canada had power to deal with such acts.[1] It has been held that this restriction exists for any Act applying equally to Upper and Lower Canada,[a] which became problematic when the Civil Code of Lower Canada was replaced by the Civil Code of Quebec.[6]


  1. ^ Ex parte O'Neill, RJQ 24 SC 304,[2] where it was held that the Legislative Assembly of Quebec was unable to repeal the Temperance Act, 1864,[3] but it could pass a concurrent statute for regulating liquor traffic within the Province.[4] However, it has also been held that the Parliament of Canada could not repeal that Act with respect only to Ontario.[5]


  1. ^ Rev. Robert Dobie v The Board for Management of the Presbyterian Church of Canada [1882] UKPC 4, 7 App Cas 136 (21 January 1882), P.C. (on appeal from Quebec)
  2. ^ Lefroy, Augustus Henry Frazer (1918). A short treatise on Canadian constitutional law. Toronto: The Carswell Company. p. 189.
  3. ^ An Act to amend the laws in force respecting the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors and the issue of Licenses therefor, and otherwise for repression of abuses resulting from such sale, S.C. 1864, c. 18
  4. ^ Lefroy, Augustus Henry Frazer (1913). Canada's Federal System. Toronto: The Carswell Company. pp. 162–163.
  5. ^ The Attorney General for Ontario v The Attorney General for the Dominion of Canada, and the Distillers and Brewers’ Association of Ontario (The "Local Prohibition Case") [1896] UKPC 20, [1896] AC 348 (9 May 1896), P.C. (on appeal from Canada)
  6. ^ Leclair, Jean (1999). "Thoughts on the Constitutional Problems Raised by the Repeal of the Civil Code of Lower Canada". The Harmonization of Federal Legislation with the Civil Law of the Province of Quebec and Canadian Bijuralism. Ottawa: Department of Justice. pp. 347–394.