Federal Law--Civil Law Harmonization Act No. 1

A First Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of the Province of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

November 21st, 2013 / 9:15 a.m.
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Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Thank you for the question, Mr. Goguen. You are right: Justice Décary's decisions are clear. He said that the civil code is part of the legal system in Quebec.

He's very definitive in that particular decision. Our government recognizes that there is a crucial role of the civil law at every level of the court system, particularly at the Supreme Court itself, so these interpretative amendments that we're presenting are intended, as I've stated a few times, to clarify the existing law. They will ensure, in my view, the right of Quebec judges at the Federal Court level to sit on the Supreme Court and bring their expansive experience, which also involves dealing with the civil law, and which also involves, of course, being inclusive of the province of Quebec.

It's necessary, in my view, that we ensure there is a positive evolution and influence of bijuridisme at every court level. In fact, Mr. Justice Décary illustrates this: that growing the place of bijuridisme is already happening in our courts.

He affirms that. He wrote a letter, as you're probably aware and as you've alluded to, in La Presse, about these two declaratory provisions. He wrote, “I was a civil law practitioner when I was appointed and I have continued to be one.” So whether you're appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada or whether you're a federal jurist or an appeal court jurist, it doesn't somehow cease your attachment to the civil law, because the civil law is still under contemplation by both of those courts.

That principle that Justice Décary established in this case of

St-Hilaire v. Canada (Attorney General)

was very much recognized by Parliament in the Federal Law--Civil Law Harmonization Act No. 1, so I would suggest to you that your assertion is correct.