Regulatory History Material as an Extrinsic Aid to Interpretation: An Empirical Study on the Use of RIAS by the Federal Court of Canada
Since 1986, the Canadian Public Administration is required to analyze the socio-economic impact of new regulatory requirements or regulatory changes. To report on its analysis, a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) is produced and published in the Canada Gazette with the proposed regulation to which it pertains for notice to, and comments by, interested parties. After the allocated time for comments has elapsed, the regulation is adopted with a final version of the RIAS. Both documents are again published in the Canada Gazette. As a result, the RIAS acquires the status of an official public document of the Government of Canada and its content can be argued in courts as an extrinsic aid to the interpretation of a regulation. In this paper, an analysis of empirical findings on the uses of this interpretative tool by the Federal Court of Canada is made. A sample of decisions classified as unorthodox show that judges are making determinations on the basis of two distinct sets of arguments built from the information found in a RIAS and which the author calls “technocratic” and “democratic”. The author argues that these uses raise the general question of “What makes law possible in our contemporary legal systems”? for they underline enduring legal problems pertaining to the knowledge and the acceptance of the law by the governed. She concludes that this new interpretive trend of making technocratic and democratic uses of a RIAS in case law should be monitored closely as it may signal a greater change than foreseen, and perhaps an unwanted one, regarding the relationship between the government and the judiciary.
Publisher(s)Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice
HOULE France, « Regulatory History Material as an Extrinsic Aid to Interpretation: An Empirical Study on the Use of RIAS by the Federal Court of Canada », (July 2006), 19 C.J.A.L.P. 151-189.