British Columbia laws and legislative documents, once available only in the content-rich and highly functional but subscription-based service called QP LegalEze, is now available to everyone free on the web in a new service called BC Laws. We congratulate the BC Queen’s Printer on this exciting development, another landmark example of Canadian leadership in the open law and open data movements.
BC Laws has been upgraded to provide enhanced searching and more content including historical legislation and related publications. All content is delivered in an “open data format” and restrictions on commercial and non-commercial use of the data have been changed (read more). Contents, all full-text searchable, include:
- Statutes and Regullations – complete, consolidated and current, and including Tables of Legislative Changes
- Orders in Council – Complete, from January 1999 to current
- Hansard (Debates of the Legislative Assembly) and Indexes – from January 1970 (29th Parliament, 1st Session) to present
- Bills – First and Third Reading Bills, from 1992 (35 Parliament, 1st Session) to present; includes Progress of Bills Tables and hypertext-linked List of Bills with Hansard Debates
- Journals – from 1851 to present
- Regulation Bulletins — from January 1998 to present
Access to the BC Gazette, Parts 1 & 2, as well as Point-in-Time tables for all statutes, are coming soon.
If freer access to primary law were not good enough, the content on BC Laws – all of it – is delivered as open data, under a Queen’s Printer License. The license enables, among other activities, full and partial content reuse and publication for commercial and non-commercial purposes, subject to appropriate conditions. To this end, the Queen’s Printer has also released access to the API underlying BC Laws.
Thanks to our colleague Kim Nayyer at the University of Victoria, Diana M. Priestly Law Library, for bringing this to our attention.