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The Legislation Act- Things to Know

January 16, 2023 - Sherri Fowler, Analyst

I had formerly prepared a blog that discussed The Interpretation Act, 1995 and some things to look out for as it relates to FOIP and LA FOIP.  However, The Interpretation Act, 1995 was replaced in May 2019 by The Legislation Act (Legislation Act), so this blog has been updated to reflect those changes.

There are countless numbers of statutes in Saskatchewan governing everything from animal protection to workers compensation. But, the Legislation Act is a very unique statute that I would like to draw your attention to.   What makes the Legislation Act so special?  Well for one, it applies to every enactment in Saskatchewan (unless otherwise noted in the Legislation Act).  Secondly, the Legislation Act essentially guides us in how to interpret Saskatchewan statutes.

Let’s take a look at two areas where the Legislation Act guides us in interpreting Saskatchewan’s access and privacy laws – calculation of time and repealed statutes.

Calculation of Time

Subsections 7(2) of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) and The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LA FOIP) provide, “The head shall give written notice to the applicant within 30 days after the application is made…” [emphasis added]. Based on the Legislation Act, the following can be applied for calculating 30 days under FOIP and LA FOIP:

  • The first day the access request is received is excluded in the calculation of time [subsection 2-28(3) of the Legislation Act]
  • If the due date falls on a holiday, the time is extended to the next day that is not a holiday [subsection 2-28(5) of the Legislation Act]
  • If the due date falls on a weekend, the time is extended to the next day the office is open [subsection 2-28(6) of the Legislation Act]
  • As FOIP expresses the time in a number of days, this is interpreted as calendar days, not business days.

It’s important to note that the Legislation Act does not allow for additional time when it is your personal holiday, scheduled day off or if you were away from the office due to illness.

For more information on the calculation of time in FOIP and LA FOIP, please see Chapters 3: Access to Records of IPC Guide to FOIP and IPC Guide to LA FOIP.

Repealed Statutes

There are countless numbers of statutes referenced in FOIP, LA FOIP and The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA).  So, what happens when one of those laws is repealed and replaced by a new statute, but FOIP, LA FOIP or HIPA (or any other Saskatchewan statute for that matter) has not been amended to reflect the new statute?

Here is an example to help. In LA FOIP, subsection 2(f) outlines bodies that are local authorities, and therefore subject to LA FOIP.  Subsection 2(f)(vi) of LA FOIP includes a local authority as being, “… the board of a public library within the meaning of The Public Libraries Act, 1984.”  There is one problem – The Public Libraries Act, 1984 was repealed and replaced with The Public Libraries Act, 1996.

So does that mean library boards are caught in a loophole and not subject to LA FOIP?  Not the case.  Again, we turn to the Legislation Act to help us out.  Subsection 2-8(10) of the Legislation Act provides:

2-8(10) After an enactment is repealed and a new enactment is substituted for it, a reference in an unrepealed enactment to the former enactment is, with respect to any subsequent transaction, matter or thing, deemed to be a reference to the provisions of the new enactment relating to the same subject-matter as the former enactment, but, if there are no provisions in the new enactment relating to the same subject-matter, the former enactment is to be interpreted as being unrepealed insofar as is necessary to maintain or give effect to the unrepealed enactment.

Confused yet? A helpful way to work through this is by actually inserting the names of the statutes:

2-8(10) After an enactment is repealed [The Public Libraries Act, 1984] and a new enactment is substituted for it [The Public Libraries Act, 1996], a reference in an unrepealed enactment [The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act] to the former enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1984] is, with respect to any subsequent transaction, matter or thing, deemed to be a reference to the provisions of the new enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1996] relating to the same subject-matter as the former enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1984], but, if there are no provisions in the new enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1996] relating to the same subject-matter, the former enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1984] is to be interpreted as being unrepealed insofar as is necessary to maintain or give effect to the unrepealed enactment [The Public Libraries Act, 1996].

For the purposes of LA FOIP, even though The Public Libraries Act, 1984 was repealed and replaced in 1996, the Legislation Act takes care of that gap and public libraries are still subject to the provisions of LA FOIP because of subsection 2-8(10) of the Legislation Act.

 

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