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RSNL1990 CHAPTER I-19
1992 c48 s16; 1994 c28 s11; 1999 c22 s14; 2001 cN-3.1 s2;
AN ACT RESPECTING THE INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES
1. This Act may be cited as the Interpretation Act.
2. (1) In this Act
(a) "public officer" includes a person in the public service of the province
(i) who is authorized to do or enforce the doing of an act or thing or to exercise a power, or
(ii) upon whom a duty is imposed by or under a public statute;
(b) "regulation" includes a rule, rule of court, order prescribing regulations, tariff of costs or fees, form, by-law, resolution, or order made in the execution of a power given by statute; and
(c) "repeal" includes revoke or cancel.
(2) For the purpose of this Act, an Act or a regulation that has expired or lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect shall be considered to be repealed.
Application of Act
3. (1) This Act extends and applies to every Act and every regulation enacted or made, except where a provision of this Act
(a) is inconsistent with the intent or object of the Act or regulation;
(b) would give to a word, expression, or clause of the Act or regulation an interpretation inconsistent with the context or the interpretation section of the Act or regulation; or
(c) is by the Act or regulation declared not applicable to it.
(2) The omission in an Act of a declaration that this Act applies to that Act shall not be construed to prevent it so applying, although the express declaration may be inserted in some other Act of the same session.
(3) Nothing in this Act excludes the application to an Act of a rule of construction applicable to that Act and not inconsistent with this Act.
(4) Where an Act or regulation contains an interpretation section or provision, it shall be read and construed as subject to the same exceptions as those contained in subsection (l).
Act applies to itself
4. The provisions of this Act apply to the interpretation of this Act.
Acts to be considered public
5. (1) Every Act shall, unless by express provision it is declared to be a private Act, be considered to be a public Act and may be declared on and given in evidence without being specially pleaded.
(2) Every proclamation shall be judicially noticed by all judges, justices, and others, without being specially pleaded.
Rep. by 2010 c30 s4
6. [Rep. by 2010 c30 s4]
Date of operation
7. Where an Act or an order in council, order, warrant, scheme, letters patent, rule, regulation or by-law made, granted or issued under a power conferred by an Act is expressed to come into operation on a particular day or on a date fixed by proclamation or otherwise, it shall be construed as coming into operation immediately on the expiration of the previous day, and where it is expressed to expire, lapse or otherwise cease to have effect on a particular day it shall be construed as ceasing to have effect immediately on the commencement of the following day.
Powers before commencement
8. Where an Act or a provision of the Act is not to come into force immediately on its being passed and confers power to
(a) make appointments;
(b) hold elections;
(c) make regulations;
(d) make, grant, or issue instruments;
(e) give notices;
(f) prescribe forms; or
(g) do any other thing,
that power may, for the purpose of making the Act or provision effective at the date of its coming into force, be exercised at a time after the passing of the Act, subject to the restriction that a regulation made under the power shall not, unless the contrary is necessary for making the Act or provision effective from its commencement, come into force until the Act or provision comes into force.
9. (1) Where a Bill is introduced in a session of the Legislature for the continuance of an Act that would expire in that session, and the Act expires before the Bill for continuing it receives the assent of the Lieutenant-Governor, the continuing Act shall be considered to take effect from the date of the expiration of the Act intended to be continued, as fully and effectually, as if the continuing Act had actually passed before the expiration of the Act intended to be continued, unless it is otherwise especially provided in the continuing Act.
(2) Nothing in this section shall extend, or be construed to extend, to affect a person with a punishment, penalty or forfeiture, by reason of anything done or omitted to be done by that person contrary to the Act so continued, between the expiration of it and the date on which the continuing Act receives the assent of the Lieutenant-Governor.
Law always speaking
10. The law shall be considered as always speaking and whenever a matter or thing is expressed in the present tense the provision shall be applied to the circumstances as they arise so that effect may be given to each Act and every part of the Act according to its true meaning.
Interpretation of certain words
11. (1) The words "now" and "next" shall be interpreted as having reference to the time when the Act or the part of the Act containing the words or any of them came into force.
(2) The word "shall" shall be construed as imperative and the word "may" as permissive and empowering.
Binding of Crown
12. No provision in an Act is binding on the Crown or affects the Crown or the Crown's rights or prerogatives unless it is expressly stated in it that the Crown is bound by it.
13. Where an Act is of the nature of a private Act no provision of the Act affects the rights of a person save only as mentioned or referred to in the Act.
14. The preamble of an Act shall be considered a part of the Act intended to assist in explaining the purport and object of the Act.
Marginal notes and headings
15. The marginal notes and headings in the body of an Act and the reference to former enactments do not form part of the Act and shall be considered to be inserted for convenience of reference only.
Rule of construction
16. Every Act and every regulation and every provision of an Act or regulation shall be considered remedial and shall receive the liberal construction and interpretation that best ensures the attainment of the objects of the Act, regulation, or provision according to its true meaning.
Words in regulations
17. Where an Act confers power to make regulations or to grant, make, or issue an order in council, proclamation, order, writ, warrant, scheme, or letters patent, expressions used in them have the same respective meanings as in the Act conferring the power.
18. Where the Lieutenant-Governor is authorized to do an act by proclamation, the proclamation means a proclamation issued under an order of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council but it is not necessary to mention in the proclamation that it is issued under such an order.
Powers of corporation
19. Words in an Act establishing a corporation
(a) vest in the corporation power to sue and be sued, to contract and be contracted with by its corporate name, to have a common seal and to alter or change it at pleasure, to have perpetual succession, to acquire and hold property for the purposes for which the corporation is constituted and to alienate all or part of the property at pleasure;
(b) vest in a majority of the members of the corporation the power to bind the others by their acts; and
(c) exempt from personal liability for its debts, obligations, or acts the individual members of the corporation who do not contravene the Act incorporating them.
Term of office
20. Every public officer and functionary appointed by or under the authority of an Act or otherwise shall remain in office during pleasure only, unless it is otherwise expressed in the Act or in his or her commission or appointment.
21. (1) Words authorizing the appointment of a public officer or functionary include the power of
(a) removing or suspending him or her;
(b) reappointing or reinstating him or her;
(c) appointing another in his or her stead or to act in his or her stead; and
(d) fixing his or her remuneration and varying or terminating it,
in the discretion of the authority in whom power of appointment is vested.
(2) Words directing or empowering a public officer or functionary to do an act or thing, or otherwise applying to the public officer or functionary by his or her name of office, include his or her successor in the office and his, her or their deputy.
(3) Words directing or empowering a minister of the Crown to do an act or thing, or otherwise applying to the minister of the Crown by his or her name of office, include a minister acting for him or her, where the office is vacant, a minister designated to act in the office by or under the authority of an order in council, and also his or her successors in the office and his, her or their deputy.
(4) Where by an Act or regulation the signature of a minister is required to a document the document may be signed or countersigned,
(a) by a minister acting for or, where the office is vacant, in the place of the minister; or
(b) by his or her lawful deputy
with the same force and effect as if signed by the minister.
(5) Where a power is conferred or a duty imposed on the holder of an office as such, the power may be exercised and the duty shall be performed by the person for the time being charged with the execution of the powers and duties of the office.
22. In an Act or regulation
(a) where anything is directed to be done by or before a public officer, a judge or a justice of the peace, it shall be done by or before one whose jurisdiction or power extends to the place where the thing is to be done;
(b) where power is given to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council or a public officer to do or enforce the doing of an act or thing, all those powers shall be considered to be also given as are necessary to enable him or her to do or enforce the doing of the act or thing;
(c) where an act or thing is required to be done by more than 2 persons, a majority may do it;
(d) where a power is conferred or a duty imposed, the power may be exercised and the duty shall be performed from time to time as occasion requires;
(e) where power is conferred to make regulations, the power shall be construed as including power, exercisable in like manner and subject to like consent and conditions, to rescind, revoke, amend, or vary the regulations and to make others;
(f) where a form is prescribed, deviations from the form not affecting the substance nor calculated to mislead, do not invalidate the form used;
(g) words importing the masculine gender or the feminine gender include corporations and other words of neuter gender;
(h) words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular;
(i) where a word is defined, other parts of speech and tenses of the same word have corresponding meanings;
(j) where the time limited for the doing of anything expires or falls upon a holiday, the time so limited shall be extended to and the thing may be done on the following day that is not a holiday;
(k) where a number of days not expressed to be "clear days" is prescribed the days shall be counted exclusively of the 1st day and inclusively of the last and where the days are expressed to be "clear days" or where the term "at least" is used both the 1st day and the last shall be excluded;
(l) where in an Act the future tense or words implying futurity are used, and there are already existing appointments or facts corresponding with what is provided for by the future tense or the words implying futurity, the appointments and facts shall be held to be intended by and to satisfy the requirements of the Act until new appointments or other proceedings are necessary;
(m) when bonds are required to be given by a public officer, they shall, unless otherwise stated, be taken in the name of the Crown.
Quorum and vacancy
23. (1) Where a board, commission or other body, in this section called a "board", is constituted under an Act, a majority of the board is a quorum and the chairperson of the board has an equal vote with the other members.
(2) A vacancy in the membership of a board does not invalidate the constitution of a board or impair the right of the members in office to act, where the number of members in office is not less than a quorum.
Public Inquiries Act
24. Where in an Act a person, board, commission or other body is given the powers that are or may be conferred on a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act, or those powers are conferred by a form of words in an Act, the Public Inquiries Act applies in respect of an inquiry, investigation or hearing carried out by that person, board, commission or body in like manner and with like effect as though that inquiry, investigation or hearing were an inquiry held by commissioners appointed under the Public Inquiries Act and vested with all powers that can be conferred upon commissioners under that Act.
Reference includes amendment
25. A citation of or reference to an Act or regulation of the province or of another province or territory of Canada or of Canada shall be considered to be a citation of or reference to the Act or regulation as amended whether the amendment was made before or after the passing of the Act or regulation in which the citation or reference is made.
26. (1) Reference by number or letter to a section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause, subclause or line of another Act shall be considered to be a reference to the section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause, subclause, or line of the other Act as printed by authority of law.
(2) Where reference is made by number or letter to 2 or more parts, divisions, sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, clauses, subclauses, schedules or forms in an Act or regulation, the number or letter 1st mentioned and the number or letter last mentioned shall both be considered to be included in the reference.
(3) Where in an Act or regulation reference is made to a part, division, section, schedule, or form and there is nothing in the context to indicate that a part, division, section, schedule or form of some other Act is intended to be referred to, the reference shall be considered to be a reference to a part, division, section, schedule, or form of the Act or regulation in which the reference is made.
(4) Where in a section of an Act or regulation reference is made to a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause, or subclause and there is nothing in the context to indicate that a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or subclause of some other section is intended to be referred to, the reference shall be considered to be a reference to a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or subclause of the section in which the reference is made.
(5) Where in an Act reference is made to regulations and there is nothing in the context to indicate that regulations made under some other Act are intended to be referred to, the reference shall be considered to be a reference to regulations made under the Act in which the reference is made.
27. (1) In an Act or regulation the expression
(a) "Act" or "statute" means an Act or statute of the Legislature of the province unless the context otherwise requires;
"bank" or "chartered bank" means a bank to which the Bank Act
(c) "Court of Appeal" means the Appeal Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador referred to in section 3 and Part I of the Judicature Act;
(d) "Criminal Code" means the Criminal Code of Canada ;
(d.1) "Crown" means the Crown in right of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
(e) "Gazette" means the Newfoundland and Labrador Gazette;
(f) "goods" means personal property;
(g) "Governor General" means the Governor General of Canada or other chief executive officer or administrator carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the name of the Sovereign, by whatever title he or she is designated;
(h) "Governor General in Council" means the Governor General or person administrating the Government of Canada, acting by and with the advice of, or by and with the advice and consent of, or in conjunction with the Queen's Privy Council for Canada;
(i) "grantor" includes every person from whom a freehold estate or interest passes by instrument in writing and "grantee" includes every person to whom the estate or interest passes in like manner;
(j) "Great Seal" means the Great Seal of the province;
(k) "Her Majesty", "His Majesty", "the Queen", "the King" or "the Crown" means the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada and His or Her other Realms and Territories, and Head of the Commonwealth;
(l) "holiday" means
(i) every Sunday,
(ii) New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Memorial Day or Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day,
(iii) the birthday or the day fixed by proclamation for the celebration of the birth of the reigning Sovereign,
(iv) a day appointed by an Act of the Parliament of Canada or by proclamation of the Governor General or of the Lieutenant-Governor for day of a general prayer or mourning or day of public rejoicing or thanksgiving or a public holiday,
(v) in a particular municipality, other than the City of St. John's and the Town of Harbour Grace, 1 day in each year, which the council of that municipality may fix as a public holiday,
(vi) in the City of St. John's, the day in each year ultimately determined, in the manner prescribed by custom, for the St. John's Annual Regatta, and
(vii) in the Town of Harbour Grace, the day in each year ultimately determined, in the manner prescribed by custom, for the Harbour Grace Annual Regatta;
(m) "justice" means a justice of the peace and includes 2 or more justices if 2 or more justices act or have jurisdiction;
(n) "Legislature" means the Lieutenant-Governor acting by and with the advice and consent of the House of Assembly of the province;
(o) "Lieutenant-Governor" means the Lieutenant-Governor of the province or other chief executive officer or administrator carrying on the Government of the province on behalf and in the name of the Sovereign, by whatever title he or she is designated;
(p) "Lieutenant-Governor in Council" means the Lieutenant-Governor or person administering the Government of the province acting by and with the advice of, or by and with the advice and consent of, or in conjunction with the Executive Council of the province;
(q) "month" means a calendar month;
(r) "Newfoundland and Labrador" means, unless the context otherwise requires, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
(s) "oath" or "affidavit" includes affirmation and declaration and "swear" includes "affirm" and "declare";
(t) "person" includes a corporation and the heirs, executors, administrators or other legal representatives of a person;
(u) "proclamation" means a proclamation under the Great Seal;
(v) "province" means the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador except when used in reference to a part of Canada other than the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in which case "province" includes the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
(w) "Provincial Court judge" means a Provincial Court judge appointed under theProvincial Court Act, and includes the Chief Provincial Court judge;
(w.1) "public trustee" means the public trustee appointed under the Public Trustee Act, 2009 ;
(x) "registered mail" includes certified mail;
(y) "representatives" means executors and administrators;
(z) "security" means sufficient security;
(aa) "Supreme Court" means the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and, where the subject or context requires, the Court of Appeal or the Trial Division referred to in the Judicature Act;
(bb) "surety" means a sufficient surety;
(cc) "Trial Division" means the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador referred to in section 3 and Part II of the Judicature Act;
(ee) "United States" means the United States of America;
(ff) "warrant" means warrant which is signed and sealed;
(gg) "will" includes codicil;
(hh) "writing", "written" or a term of like import includes words printed, painted, engraved, lithographed, photographed, or represented or reproduced by a mode of representing or reproducing words in a visible form; and
(ii) "year" means a calendar year.
(1.1) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(l), where a holiday, other than a holiday referenced in subparagraph (1)(l)(i), falls on a Sunday the term "holiday" includes the following day.
(2) The words and phrases contained in Column 2 which appear in the Revised Statutes of Newfoundland and Labrador 1990 shall be interpreted as having the same meaning as the word or phrase contained in Column 1 which appeared in the Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1970:
(3) In an Act or regulation a name commonly applied to a country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party, or thing means the country, place, body, corporation, society, officer, functionary, person, party, or thing to which the name is commonly applied although the name is not its formal or extended designation.
RSN1970 c182 s26; 1974 No38 s2; 1974 No77 s36; 1975-76 No57 s4; 1979 c5 s2; 1979 c38 s6; 1982 c9 s4; 1986 c42 Sch B; RSN1990 cI-19 s27; 1992 c48 s16; 1999 c22 s14; 2001 cN-3.1 s2; 2009 cR-10.01 s42; 2013 c16 s25; 2019 c11 s1
Repeal and amendment
28. (1) An Act shall be construed as reserving to the Legislature the power of repealing or amending it and revoking, restricting, or modifying a power, privilege, or advantage vested in or granted to a person by that Act.
(2) An Act may be amended or repealed by an Act passed in the same session.
(3) An amending Act, so far as consistent with the tenor of the Act, shall be construed as part of the Act which it amends.
Effect of repeal
29. (1) Where an Act or enactment is repealed in whole or in part or a regulation is revoked in whole or in part the repeal or revocation shall not
(a) revive an Act, enactment, regulation, or thing not in force or existing at the time at which the repeal or revocation takes place;
(b) affect the previous operation of an Act, enactment, or regulation so repealed or revoked or anything done or suffered under the Act, enactment or regulation;
(c) affect a right, privilege, obligation, or liability acquired, accrued, accruing or incurred under the Act, enactment, or regulation repealed or revoked;
(d) affect an offence committed against or a violation of the Act, enactment, or regulation repealed or revoked, or a penalty, forfeiture, or punishment which has been incurred;
(e) affect an investigation, legal proceedings, or remedy in respect of the right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture, or punishment,
and the investigation, legal proceedings, or remedy may be instituted, continued, or enforced and the penalty, forfeiture, or punishment imposed as if the Act, enactment, or regulation had not been repealed or revoked.
(2) Where an Act or enactment is repealed in whole or in part or a regulation is revoked in whole or in part and other provisions are substituted
(a) a person acting under the Act, enactment, or regulation repealed or revoked shall continue to act as if appointed under the provisions so substituted until another is appointed in his or her stead;
(b) a bond and security given by a person appointed under the Act, enactment or regulation repealed or revoked shall remain in force, and all offices, books, papers and things made or used under the repealed or revoked Act, enactment, or regulation shall continue as before the repeal or revocation so far as consistent with the substituted provisions;
(c) a proceeding taken under the Act, enactment, or regulation repealed or revoked shall be taken up and continued under and in conformity with the provisions substituted, so far as it consistently may be;
(d) in the recovery or enforcement of penalties and forfeitures incurred and in the enforcement of rights existing or accruing under the Act, enactment, or regulations repealed or revoked or in proceedings in relation to matters which have happened before the repeal or revocation, the procedure established by the substituted provisions shall be followed so far as it can be adapted;
(e) where a penalty, forfeiture, or punishment is reduced or mitigated by a provision substituted, the penalty, forfeiture, or punishment, where imposed or adjudged after the repeal or revocation, shall be reduced or mitigated accordingly.
Regulations and references
30. (1) Where an Act or enactment is repealed in whole or in part and other provisions are substituted by way of amendment, revision, or consolidation
(a) all regulations made under the repealed Act or enactment shall remain in force in so far as they are not inconsistent with the substituted Act or enactment until they are annulled or others made in their stead; and
(b) a reference in an unrepealed Act or enactment or in a regulation to the repealed Act or enactment, shall, as regards a subsequent transaction, matter or thing, be construed to be a reference to the provisions of the substituted Act or enactment relating to the same subject matter as the repealed Act or enactment, and, where there are no provisions in the substituted Act or enactment relating to the same subject matter, the repealed Act or enactment shall be effective and be read and construed as unrepealed, but only so far as is necessary to maintain or give effect to the unrepealed Act, enactment, or regulation.
(2) Where an Act or enactment of another province or territory of Canada or of Canada is repealed in whole or in part and other provisions are substituted by way of amendment, revision or consolidation, a reference in an Act or enactment of the province or in a regulation to the repealed enactment shall, as regards a subsequent transaction, matter, or thing be construed to be a reference to the provisions of the substituted Act or enactment relating to the same subject matter as the repealed Act or enactment.
Effect of repeal
31. (1) The repeal of an Act or enactment in whole or in part shall not be considered to be or to involve a declaration that the Act or enactment was or was considered by the Legislature to have been previously in force.
(2) The amendment of an Act or enactment shall not be considered to be or to involve a declaration that the law under the Act or enactment was or was considered by the Legislature to have been different from the law as it is under the Act or enactment as amended.
(3) The repeal of an Act or enactment in whole or in part or the amendment of an Act or enactment shall not be considered to be or to involve a declaration as to the previous state of the law.
(4) The Legislature shall not, by re-enacting an Act or enactment, or by revising, consolidating or amending an Act or enactment, be considered to have adopted the construction which has by judicial decision or otherwise been placed upon the language used in the Act or enactment, or upon similar language.
32. Where a part of an Act is repealed and a provision which has been substituted is incorporated in the Act, the substituted provision shall, unless the contrary is expressly declared, take effect from the date of the commencement of the repealing Act.
Application of penalties
33. A penalty, fine or sum of money or the proceeds of a forfeiture under a law of the province shall, where no other provision is made respecting it, belong to the Crown for the use of the province and form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Administration of oaths
34. Where by an Act or by an order, regulation, or commission made or issued by the Lieutenant-Governor or Lieutenant-Governor in Council under a law authorizing him or her to require the taking of evidence under oath, an oath is authorized or directed to be made, taken or administered, the oath may be administered and a certificate of its having been made, taken or administered may be given by a person named in the Act, order, regulation, or commission or by a judge of a court, a notary public, justice of the peace or a commissioner of the Supreme Court having authority or jurisdiction in the place where the oath is administered.
Effect of penalty
35. The imposition of a penalty does not relieve a person from liability to answer for damages to the person injured.
Offence under 2 Acts
36. Where an act or omission constitutes an offence under 2 or more Acts, the offender is, unless the contrary intention appears, liable to be prosecuted and punished under either or any of those Acts but is not liable to be punished twice for the same offence.
RSN1970 c182 s35