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Reality Check

RC-17: How Are Laws Made in Manitoba?

Date Posted: July 9, 2011

Manitoba laws start as a Bill, sponsored by a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. In order to become law a Bill must pass three readings in the Legislature, be reported to Committee at least once, and receive Royal Assent.

Most Bills that pass into law are government Bills. The sponsor of the bill is often the Cabinet Minister responsible for the area the proposed bill concerns. Occasionally private members Bills become law. Private members Bills are often introduced by an opposition member of the Legislative Assembly. A Manitoba Laws glossary is attached below.

The steps for a Bill to become Law are:

  1. Introduction - Notice of a Bill's intended introduction must appear one day prior.
  2. First Reading - The sponsor of the Bill moves the Bill be read. This is known as first reading. The motion is not debatable, but a brief explanation may be provided. The motion requires a majority of votes within the Legislature. Virtually all Bills pass first reading unanimously, as it is common practice and courtesy to pass all Bills introduced for first reading.
  3. Second Reading - Next a Bill is re-introduced for second reading. During this stage, the Bill is debated and either accepted or rejected. This is the most important stage, since adoption of a second reading motion means the Legislative Assembly approves the principle of the Bill.
  4. Committee - When a Bill receives a majority of votes on second reading within the Legislature it is sent to a Standing, or Special Committee (made up of Members selected from both sides of the House) or to Committee of the Whole House (made up of all Members). Members of the public may present oral and written submissions to the Committee concerning a Bill. The Committee then does a clause-by-clause review of the Bill. At this time, amendments may be proposed and considered.
  5. Report Stage - The results of the Committee review are reported to the Legislature - with or without amendments. Members of the Legislature may propose amendments to specific clauses.
  6. Third Reading - Next the sponsor of the Bill moves the Bill "be now concurred in and read a third time and passed." At this point, the Bill is debatable and amendments may be proposed or the Bill may be referred back to Committee. The Bill requires a majority of votes within the Legislature to pass third reading.
  7. Royal Assent - To become law, a Bill that passes all stages must receive Royal Assent. This involves the Lieutenant Governor signing a bill. In the Lieutenant Governor's absence, the Administrator of the Province (The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, or another Judge of that Court) performs this task.
  8. Coming Into Force / Proclamation - When a Bill receives Royal Assent, it may not come into effect immediately. It may come into effect on: i) the date of Royal Assent; ii) 60 days after Royal Assent; iv) on a specific date named in the Bill as set out in the coming into force provision of the Bill; or v) on a date to be set by proclamation (an order by Cabinet as to when a statute comes into force).
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