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Hon. Lois HoleAlthough all Bills become law when they have received Royal Assent, they do not necessarily come into force at that time. A Bill may specify that it comes into force on proclamation. This means that even though it has been passed, it will not become law until the Lieutenant-Governor, on the advice of the government, proclaims it.

Proclamations may be used if sections of a Bill are to come into effect at different times. If a Bill does not specify a date when it comes into force, it does so upon Royal Assent.

Sometimes it's not realistic for a Bill to come into force as soon as it is passed. For example, if the Assembly passed a Bill requiring cyclists to wear helmets, bicycle shops, police officers, the cyclists themselves, and the government department administering the law  would have dozens of details to look after to comply with the new law. Bicycle shops would have to estimate how many helmets they would need to meet the new demand, decide which brands to stock, and perhaps change their marketing strategy. Police officers would have to become familiar with the law and develop guidelines for enforcing it. Cyclists would need time just to get used to the idea, as well as to research helmets and then buy the best one.  And even before any of these things could happen, the government department in charge would have to draw up regulations, such as penalties and helmet safety standards, and then educate the public about the new law.


Reproduced from the Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature, 1993 with permission from the Legislative Assembly Office.
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