Linguistic History of Canada

Historical Documents

In these pages, you will find legal documents of great historic value, some of which helped shape language laws in Canada and, consequently, the status of English and French. Except for the Manitoba Act, 1870, all of these texts are now obsolete or repealed, but they are worth consulting because they reflect a key period in Canadian history.

For each of the following documents, you can view remarks, the linguistic significancelinguistic provisions, and the full text.

Year Title Affected Legal Entities
1763 Treaty of Paris [†] France and Great Britain
1763 Royal Proclamation [†] Great Britain and Province of Quebec
1774 Quebec Act [†] Great Britain and Province of Quebec
1791 Constitution Act, 1791 [†] Great Britain and Upper Canada/Lower Canada
1840 Union Act [†] Great Britain and United Canada

Amendment to the 1840 Union Act [†]

Great Britain and United Canada
1870 Manitoba Act (in force) Canada and Manitoba
1877 Northwest Territories Act [†] Canada and NWT
1890 Official Language Act [†] Manitoba
1896 Laurier-Greenway Compromise [†] Manitoba
1910 Lavergne Law [†] Quebec
1912 Regulation 17 [†] Ontario
1969 Official Languages Act [†] Canadian federal government
1969 Official Languages of New Brunswick Act [†] New Brunswick
1969 Act to Promote the French Language in Quebec [†] Quebec
1974 Official Language Act [†] Quebec
Back to top