Can legislation be written in the present tense?

British Columbia, Canada

The following excerpt is from Ballard Power Systems Inc. v British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 1335 (CanLII):

The fact that legislation is written in the present tense does not form a basis for determining the temporal scope of the law: Godbout v. Pagé, 2017 SCC 18 at para. 26. However, the interpretive issue in this case is not the temporal applicability of the law, but rather the ordinary grammatical meaning of words used in a statute when certain words are expressed in different tenses. In these circumstances, I find it is appropriate to look at the different tenses used to discern the meaning of the words, notwithstanding the legislative drafting convention of using the present tense.

Other Questions

Can the BC government adopt the same or similar legislation or legislation in respect of a future election or referendum? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for interpreting legislation in the context of municipal legislation in Whistler? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the legislative history of usury legislation in Canada and in England? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the difference between cases under the current legislation and those under the earlier legislation? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for admissible evidence that contradicts the terms of a written contract? (British Columbia, Canada)
What are the principles of interpretation regarding a written contract? (British Columbia, Canada)
Are policy and legislative decisions immune from liability in negligence? (British Columbia, Canada)
Does a plaintiff have to be "already manifest and presently disabling" in order to be considered an "inevitable" cause of injury? (British Columbia, Canada)
In a personal injury action, can a plaintiff bring an application to have all lay and medical witnesses present their evidence by teleconference? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for making an adjournment application at the opening of a trial on the grounds that a party cannot be present? (British Columbia, Canada)

Alexi white

"The most advanced legal research software ever built."

Trusted by top litigators from across North America.