Canadian Laws That Have Changed Over Time

Canada has seen many changes in its laws over the years. Many of the laws that we take for granted today were not always part of Canadian law. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the major Canadian laws that have changed over time.

Criminal Code of Canada

Perhaps one of the most well-known changes to Canadian law in recent times has been the changes made to the Criminal Code of Canada. The Criminal Code outlines the laws governing criminal behaviour and the punishments for violations of those laws. Changes made to the Criminal Code over the years have included the decriminalization of homosexuality, the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences, and the legalization of cannabis.


Abortion has been a contentious issue in Canada for many years. Until 1988, abortion was illegal in Canada unless it was performed to save the life of the mother. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion law, ruling that it violated a woman’s right to life, liberty, and security of the person. Since then, there have been several attempts to restrict or limit access to abortion, but these attempts have been largely unsuccessful.

Same-Sex Marriage

Until 2005, same-sex marriage was not recognized by Canadian law. In 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. This ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, and in 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Indigenous Rights

The rights of Canada’s Indigenous peoples have been a major issue throughout the country’s history. Over the years, many laws and policies have been enacted that have had a negative impact on Indigenous communities. In recent years, there has been a movement towards recognizing and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples. This has included the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada officially adopted in 2016, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established in 2008 to address the legacy of residential schools.


Canada’s laws have evolved and changed over time, reflecting the changing values and beliefs of Canadian society. While some of these changes have been controversial, many have been seen as positive steps towards a more just and equitable society. It is important to continue to monitor and evaluate Canadian laws to ensure that they continue to promote fairness and equality for all.

Similar Posts