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Statutes - Retroactivity

Statutes - Retrospective

Burlington (City) v. Burlington Airpak Inc. (Ont CA, 2017)

In this case the Court of Appeal outlines the distinction between retroactive and retrospective legislation:
[39] There is a distinction drawn between retroactive and retrospective legislation, as explained by Iacobucci J. in Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State), 1997 CanLII 376 (SCC), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 358, at para. 39:
The terms, “retroactivity” and “retrospectivity”, while frequently used in relation to statutory construction, can be confusing. E. A. Driedger, in “Statutes: Retroactive Retrospective Reflections” (1978), 56 Can. Bar Rev. 264, at pp. 268-69, has offered these concise definitions which I find helpful:
A retroactive statute is one that operates as of a time prior to its enactment. A retrospective statute is one that operates for the future only. It is prospective, but it imposes new results in respect of a past event. A retroactive statute operates backwards. A retrospective statute operates forwards, but it looks backwards in that it attaches new consequences for the future to an event that took place before the statute was enacted. A retroactive statute changes the law from what it was; a retrospective statute changes the law from what it otherwise would be with respect to a prior event. [Emphasis in original.]

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