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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
Scope and content
This is a preliminary description, please consult the linked accessions. The fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Law Commission of Canada.
Copyright owned by the Crown. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
Biography / Administrative history
The Law Commission of Canada (LCC) was an independent institution created by Parliament in May 1996 with the passage of the Law Commission of Canada Act (1996, c. 9). The Act came into force on April 21, 1997 and the Commission started operations on July 1, 1997. In September 2006, the federal government made the decision to eliminate funding for the Commission.
The mandate of the Commission was derived from the Law Commission of Canada Act, which was "to study and keep under systematic review, in a manner that reflects the concepts and institutions of the common and civil law systems, the law of Canada and its effect." The Commission was directed to focus on four orientations: the development of new concepts of law and new approaches to law; to consider measures to make the legal system more efficient, economical and accessible; to stimulate debate about the law and how it operates in Canadian society; and to work towards the elimination of obsolescence and anomalies in the current law. Thus, the mission of the Law Commission of Canada was to "engage Canadians in the renewal of the law to ensure that it is relevant, responsive, effective, equally accessible to all, and just." The Law Commission was a departmental corporation, accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Justice. The Governor in Council appointed the President (full-time) and four part-time Commissioners on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice for terms not exceeding five years. The Commission was supported by a small Secretariat headed by an Executive Director. The Secretariat consisted of the Administration Directorate, the Communications Directorate, and the Research Directorate.
To fulfill its mandate, the Commission offered Canadians a forum to present their concerns on issues of law and justice with an Advisory Council of up to 24 volunteers who reflected Canada's socio-economic and cultural diversity, and represented a broad range of disciplines. The Council provided advice on strategic direction and research priorities, which were then established by the President and other Commissioners. The work of the Commission had four strategic themes: Personal Relationships, Social Relationships, Economic Relationships, and Governance Relationships. Study panels were appointed to provide advice on specific research projects. Each panel was headed by a Commissioner and comprised volunteer experts from multiple disciplines and members of affected communities. To support the study panels, research contracts were awarded to recognized experts in the private sector and academia. The Commission worked with many organizations to conduct research, organize and participate in fora and conferences, and publish and distribute research material.
During nine years, the Commission authored discussion papers, research studies, and joint publications. Additionally, it presented a number of reports to Parliament, each one comprising a series of recommendations in reforming the law in areas such as institutional child abuse, Indigenous/Aboriginal legal traditions, and same-sex marriage.
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