The Monarch's Royal Assent Turns Bills into Laws in Canada

Royal Assent. Google Images

In Canada, "royal assent" is the symbolic final stage of the legislative process by which a bill becomes law. 

History of Royal Assent

The Constitution Act of 1867 established that the approval of the Crown, signified by royal assent, is required for any bill to become law after passage by both the Senate and the House of Commons, which are the two chambers of Parliament. Royal assent is the final stage of the legislative process, and it is this assent that transforms a bill passed by both Houses of Parliament into law. Once royal assent has been given to a bill, it becomes an Act of Parliament and part of the law of Canada.

In addition to being a required part of the legislative process, royal assent has strong symbolic significance in Canada. This is because royal assent signifies the coming together of the three constitutional elements of Parliament: the House of Commons, the Senate and the Crown. 

The Royal Assent Process

Royal assent may be given through a written procedure or through a traditional ceremony, in which Members of the House of Commons join their colleagues in the Senate chamber.

In the traditional royal assent ceremony, a representative of the  Crown, either the governor-general of Canada or a Supreme Court justice, enters the Senate chamber, where the senators are in their seats. The Usher of the Black Rod summons members of the House of Commons to the Senate chamber, and members of both houses of Parliament witness that Canadians wish the bill to become law. This traditional ceremony must be used at least two times per year.

The representative of the sovereign consents to the enactment of a bill by nodding his or her head. Once this royal assent is officially given, the bill has the force of law, unless it contains another date on which it will go into effect. The bill itself is sent to Government House to be signed. Once signed, the original bill is returned to the Senate, where it is put into the archives.

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Munroe, Susan. "The Monarch's Royal Assent Turns Bills into Laws in Canada." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Munroe, Susan. (2021, February 16). The Monarch's Royal Assent Turns Bills into Laws in Canada. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "The Monarch's Royal Assent Turns Bills into Laws in Canada." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 6, 2022).