Statutes are passed by the federal government and in each provincial jurisdiction each year. Statutes passed may be new statutes or amendments of earlier statutes. The law, then, is the original act and any subsequent amendments to that act. Periodically, statutes and their amendments are gathered together and reissued as "Revised Statutes." Statutes are designated as statutes (S) or revised statutes (R.S.). There is also supporting legislation called "Regulations."
Depending on your facts, you will need to determine the jurisdiction for which you need the legislation. The jurisdictions are laid out in the Constitution Act, 1867. For instance, if you were dealing with the sea coasts or inland fisheries, that is a federal government responsibility, so you will need to find federal legislation. If you were dealing with forestry issues, this is a provincial responsibility; thus, you will need to search for provincial statutes. Some issues may appear to fall under both jurisdictions. In these cases, you should consult statutes in both jurisdictions to determine how the legislative power has been divided.
Some topics may require you to look at international treaties and conventions. For assistance in using these materials, please refer to the International Law LibGuide or Maritime Law LibGuide, or speak to a reference librarian.
You can locate Canadian statutes online using CanLII or official government websites (e.g., Government of Canada, Nova Scotia), and print versions are available in the Primary Sources Room on the second floor of the library. Statutes for US, UK, and Commonwealth countries are also available in the Primary Sources Room.