Rule by Regulation: Revitalizing Parliament’s Supervisory Role in the Making of Subordinate Legislation

Rule by Regulation: Revitalizing Parliament’s Supervisory Role in the Making of Subordinate Legislation

This article highlights the increasing use of regulations, or subordinate legislation, as a source of federal law. Notably, the Supreme Court of Canada has observed the importance of regulations in ascertaining a legislature’s intent with regard to a certain matter even though it is the executive and not Parliament that makes regulations. The author explains the current process in place to provide parliamentary oversight to regulations and suggests that Canada may want to adapt the UK model by dividing the existing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations into two separate committees. Methodologically screening new regulations under the proposed committee system would play an important role in supporting transparency in government by helping to publicize the exercise of legislative power by the executive, alleviating concern over governments using the regulation-making process to shield important public policy choices from public scrutiny.