What We Do

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada operates in three sections: the Criminal Section, the Civil Section and the Drafting Section. Its work is done by delegates, sometimes called commissioners, appointed by the member governments. The Conference meets annually in August in each member jurisdiction in turn.

The Criminal Section unites lawyers from federal, provincial and territorial governments with defence counsel and judges to consider proposals to amend criminal laws, which are mainly under federal authority in Canada. The administration of criminal justice is however largely provincial and territorial. The meetings of the Section give the provinces and territories a chance to ask the federal government to make the system better reflect the challenges they face in performing that administration.

The Civil Section assembles government policy lawyers and analysts, private lawyers and law reformers to consider areas in which provincial and territorial laws would benefit from harmonization. Sometimes the federal government has related responsibilities, and it participates in the appropriate discussions in such cases. The main work of the Civil Section is reflected in "uniform statutes", which the Section adopts and recommends for enactment by all relevant governments in Canada. On occasion the Section adopts a "model statute", on which it expresses no opinion as a matter of policy, but which it offers as a method of harmonization where member governments want to use it.

In 2000 the Conference launched its Commercial Law Strategy, which aimed to modernize and harmonize Canadian commercial law, much of which, especially in common law Canada, has not been updated in a very long time. This work has now been integrated into the general work of the Civil Section.

The Drafting Section of the ULCC deals with drafting matters that are referred to it by the Civil or Criminal Sections. Also, it has prepared bilingual Uniform Drafting Conventions to harmonize drafting across the country. The chair of the Drafting Section is also a member of the Canadian Association of Legislative Counsel and, through the Association, arranges for professional drafters, known as Legislative Counsel, for the ULCC projects. Several drafters attend the annual meetings as well. All uniform statutes since 1990 have been adopted in English and French.