The resources on this page can help you to learn about how laws are made and how the legal system functions. Some provide a historical context for the governance of Canada.
CPLEA Suggested Resources
Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.
This guide was devloped for frontline service providers in Alberta who work with vulneable individuals. It provides general legal information on Alberta law only. The booklet covers the laws of Canada (legislation, jurisdiction, and common law) as well as the court system in Alberta (Provincial, Court of Queen's Benchl, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Courts and Tribunals, and Provincial Administrative Tribunals).
This short online resource from Courthouse Libraries BC explains how a Bill becomes an Act, or Statute, in Canada.
Site developed by Canada Justice explaining the levels and types of courts in Canada: provincial/territorial courts (which handle the great majority of cases that come into the system), provincial/territorial superior courts (which deal with more serious crimes and also take appeals from provincial/territorial court judgments, the Federal Court, the provincial/territorial courts of appeal and the Federal Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada (at the highest level).
This resource is made available throught LawCentral Schools. Part 1 of this power point with audio gives an overview of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms since its beginning. It discusses what the Charter is and is not and explains in detail the meaning using examples in the specific sections of the Charter. Part 2 talks about Section 8, search and seizure. It delves more deeply into all the tests the courts do to determine if there really is a Charter infringement. There are some review questions at the end of the presentation.
This section describes in general terms the court system in Canada, that is to say, the different types and levels of courts, as well as their responsibilities. This is not a guide for people who come before the courts. For information on the justice system as a whole, we recommend consulting the section The justice system of Canada .
The federal and provincial and territorial governments are all responsible for the judicial system in Canada. Only the federal government can appoint and pay judges of the superior, or upper-level, courts in the provinces. Parliament can also establish a general court of appeal and other courts. It has created the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, as well as the Tax Court. This Justice Canada webpage provides an outline of Canada's court system.
Created by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta and made available on LawCentral Schools, the first part of this narrated powerpoint focused on Canadian law presents information on how the legal structure of Canada is organized, the history of our laws and an explanation of the Rule of Law. The second part discusses legislation including who makes it, how it is made and how it is enforced. It discusses the 3 levels of government that make laws, with the laws being made according to each government's responsibilities. The last part of the presentation focuses on Common Law and what it is, how it is made and how it is enforced.