British North America Act, 1867
British North America Act, 1867 (BNA Act, 1867) was passed by
the British Parliament in 1867. It is the law that created the Canadian
Confederation. Many other Acts called British North America Act
were later passed, amending the 1867 Act, or adding to it.
federation usually consists of at least two main levels of government
- local states or provinces, and a federal government. Canada is no
different. However, these levels can't share the same powers, as that
would lead to direct competition and chaos.
BNA Act was passed to set the legal ground rules for Canada, and divvy
up the powers between the provinces and the federal government.
91 of the BNA Act lists the powers the federal Parliament can exercise.
Section 92 lists the powers of the Provincial Legislatures. Unless the
parties agree otherwise, the federal government must not make laws dealing
with matters of provincial jurisdiction, and vice versa. If one party
does pass a law that intrudes on the jurisdiction of the other, the
courts will strike it down.
of the key areas of federal and provincial responsibility are:
Taxation within the Province in order to the raising of a Revenue
for Provincial Purposes.
Management and Sale of the Public Lands belonging to the Province
and of the Timber and Wood thereon.
Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Hospitals, Asylums,
Saloon, Tavern, Auctioneer, and other Licences in order to the raising
of a Revenue for Provincial, Local, or Municipal Purposes.
Works and Undertakings.
Solemnization of Marriage in the Province.
and Civil Rights within the Province.
The Administration of Justice in the Province.
all Matters of a merely local or private Nature in the Province.
1982, the power to amend Canada's Constitution is repatriated - brought
home to Canada from Britain - and the new Act is called the Constitution
BNA Act is not repealed, just re-named. It becomes part of the new Constitution
as the Constitution Act, 1867.
Expands to Nationhood
the American Revolution two new provinces were created; Ontario and
New Brunswick, to accommodate the United Empire Loyalists who were
moving out of the United States.