New Tools and Insights into Canada’s Regulatory Landscape

Introducing RegData Canada 2.3

The QuantGov team at the Mercatus Center has released an updated version of RegData Canada, version 2.3, that now includes data and documents for the year 2022. First created to quantify the number of regulatory restrictions in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, RegData is the first project of its kind and the most comprehensive count of regulatory restrictions. It has become a go-to resource for many experts in many fields from academia to government to media.

RegData Canada was created to provide this same level of information and give experts a detailed look into Canada’s regulatory landscape. RegData Canada 2.3 provides policymakers, researchers and data scientists alike with an abundance of unique data series. These data series provide information about regulations and statutes at both the federal and provincial levels and can be found on the new portal. On RegHub, users can choose to bulk download complete sets of machine-readable documents for their own research and machine learning algorithms. Users can also search complete sets of documents for keywords and download document metadata.

As part of this 2022 update, 27,574 documents were collected, representing a 0.47% increase over 2021 where 27,445 documents were collected. Some of the more popular data series from RegHub are the number of words and regulatory restrictions. The regulatory restriction count is simply the number of times that the legally binding terms shall, must, may not, required and prohibited occur in the legal documents being examined. The total number of words for both the federal government and the provinces increased by 1.47% from 124.7 million to 126.6 million and the number of regulatory restrictions increased by 0.80% from 997,389 to 1.0 million.

At the federal level, regulatory restrictions in Canada’s regulatory code decreased by 4.34% from 89,569 to 85,678. This movement is significant as Canada’s regulatory code has typically increased or slightly decreased. Approximately 50% of this decrease is due to Canada’s federal website no longer publishing rules made by provincial and territorial courts. These regulations are no longer housed on the federal website and are instead maintained on the websites of the individual courts that establish those regulations, which means they were not collected this year as they were in previous years. For Canada’s statutory code, restrictions increased 1.08% from 74,851 to 75,676, a moderate increase.

Similar data exists for all provinces and territories. The greatest increase year-over-year in regulatory restrictions was by 16.69% in Yukon. This is mainly due to the addition of several appendices to the Occupational Health and Safety regulation under the Worker’s Health and Safety Act. All other increases or decreases in the provinces were smaller and in line with previous years.

We hope that this new dataset will inspire new research and exploration for regulatory reform options. For any questions regarding this release or the RegData project overall, please contact us at [email protected] or view our User's Guide.