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History of the Conference

Over 100 years ago, the Canadian Bar Association recommended that each provincial government provide for the appointment of commissioners to attend conferences organized for the purpose of promoting uniformity of legislation among the provinces.

The recommendation of the Canadian Bar Association was based upon, first, the realization that it was not organized in a way that it could prepare proposals in a legislative form that would be attractive to provincial governments, and second, observation of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, which had met annually in the United States since 1892 (and still does) to prepare model and uniform statutes. The subsequent adoption by many of the state legislatures of these Acts has resulted in a substantial degree of uniformity of legislation throughout the United States, particularly in the field of commercial law.

The Canadian Bar Association’s idea was soon implemented by most provincial governments and later by the others. The first meeting of commissioners appointed under the authority of provincial statutes, or by executive action in those provinces where no provision was made by statute, took place in MontrĂ©al, QC on September 2nd, 1918, and there the Conference of Commissioners on Uniformity of Laws throughout Canada was organized. In the following year the Conference changed its name to the Conference of Commissioners on Uniformity of Legislation in Canada and, in 1974, to the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

Although work was done on the preparation of a constitution for the Conference in 1918-19 and in 1944 and was discussed in 1960-61, 1974 and 1990, the decision on each occasion was to carry on without the strictures and limitations that would have resulted from the adoption of a formal written constitution.

Since the organizational meeting in 1918 the Conference has met, with a few exceptions, shortly before or shortly after the annual meeting of the Canadian Bar Association.