Legislation Tips and Tools

Government Relations Tip Sheet

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The tips below were developed for National Volunteer week but can be adapted and applied to any topic you want to discus with various levels of government officials.

Communicating with elected officials


  • Reach out to municipal, provincial, or federal elected representatives months in advance.
  • Make sure what you’re asking for is clear.
  • When meeting with an elected official, make sure a board member or senior volunteer is present.


  • To inform the official about National Volunteer Week and your community’s planned activities.
  • To inform them about the work that volunteers perform in your community and its impact.
  • To ensure they understand the value of volunteer work.
  • To make them aware of the impact of their policies on volunteers and the organizations they work for in your community.
  • To develop a good working relationship so that your organization can be a source of information about issues related to volunteerism in your community.

Provide elected officials the information they need to make good decisions that affect volunteers.

• Know what issues they make policy on or can influence.
• Make yourself aware of elected officials’ positions on issues that affect volunteers in your area.
• Be flexible if you are meeting with an elected official. Their schedule may change on short notice.
• Prepare a concise one-page handout summarizing your main points.
• Explain the impact of their government’s policies and programs on your organization.


Download NVW Tip Sheet


Legislation - Fall 2020 Memo

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DATE: October 9, 2020
FROM: Betty Colaneri, national chairperson of legislation
TO: Parish chairpersons of legislation

In the midst of an unexpected pandemic, the prime minister prorogued parliament for the first time during his term. He stated, “As much as this pandemic is an unexpected challenge, it is also an unprecedented opportunity. This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better. We can’t afford to miss it, because this window of opportunity won’t be open for long”.

Read entire memo

Sample Letters to Federal Government re Medical Assistance in Dying

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Here are sample letters that you can use for reference when addressing the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Minister of Health, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and your MP. Add a "handwritten" comment or question to attract attention and elicit a reply. 

Note: The members of the House of Commons who are members of the Queen's Privy Council retain the title "Honourable" for life and use the initials "P.C." after their name. M.P.: Member of the House of Commons P.C., M.P.: Member of the Privy Council and Member of the House of Commons (Source: Styles of address Federal Dignitaries)

So, if the MP you are writing to is a former Cabinet Minister, address the letter to "The Honourable _________, P.C., M.P." rather than to Mr. or Ms. ___________ as shown below.



(Your address and date)


Mr./Ms. ____________
Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr./Ms. ____________:

Re:   Medical Assistance in Dying vs Palliative Care

I am writing to express my concern about the revision of Bill C-7 and the extension of MAiD eligibility to Canadians with mental illness as the sole condition underlying their request after March 2024.

Since the legalization of Medical Assistance in Dying in 2016, the number of Canadians accessing MAiD has increased significantly.  Normalizing euthanasia will reinforce the hopelessness inherent in mental illness and erode the support offered them by the community. To be human is to be vulnerable. To be a citizen of Canada with a mental disorder or disability will be dangerous if Bill C-7 amendment is passed. 

Loneliness, vulnerability, and the fear of being a burden are just some of the issues that have been brought forward regarding people facing end of life decisions. If those are the reasons a person might no longer want to live, that may be more a reflection on how our disabled persons are treated than the real desire to end their lives. Euthanasia is not a cure for pain, disabilities, mental anguish, or loneliness: It is a death sentence.

As a member of the Catholic Women’s League, I support sanctity of life from birth to natural death. It is imperative that the fears and concerns of all Canadians be considered before expanding MAiD.

Please reconsider Bill C-7’s extension of MAiD eligibility to Canadians whose sole eligibility arises from mental illness.

As your constituent, I appreciate all the work you do on behalf of our country.

Yours respectfully,





Bill 21 Sample letter

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For the Prime Minister:


Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.  

Prime Minister of Canada 

Langevin Block 

Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A2 


Dear Prime Minister: 


For a Member of Parliament:


Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. ____ ____, MP 

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON 

K1A 0A6


Dear Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. ____:

I am concerned with how our national government is planning to respond to Quebec’s Bill 21 on Secularism.

The wearing of religious symbols does not hinder anyone from carrying out their government tasks in a professional unbiased manner nor does it infringe on the rights of others who may have official government interactions with them. People who wear religious symbols do so to mark themselves as committed followers of their faith and to honor it in traditional ways. They believe they have the freedom, granted by our laws, to live their faith peacefully and respectfully in society. Although I live in Alberta, I try to live out my Catholic faith daily and would feel constrained in a province where Bill 21 would be in effect.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 15.1 states “Every individual is equal before and under the law to equal benefit without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion…” Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is particularly concerned that Bill 21 “tells municipalities who they can and cannot hire.” Other city councils have also condemned Bill 21. Also, Section 32 of the Charter states that the Charter applies to the legislature and government of all provinces.

I urge you to work together with the other national parties to help strike down Bill 21 for the good of all those who have come to our country to seek a life free to practice their faith in peace.

When do you plan to take steps to rectify this infringement on religious freedom in Canada?


Respectfully yours,


Parish Legislation memo Fall 2019

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TO: Provincial Chairpersons of Legislation
CC: National Executive (for information)
FROM: Betty Colaneri, National Chairperson of Legislation

My sisters in the League,
The summer has gone by so quickly! With the first of the harvest being brought in, it is a sure sign fall is upon us.

Welcome to new chairpersons of legislation! You have been given the gift of working on a committee with the responsibility of monitoring and studying federal government legislation. To seasoned chairpersons of legislation, thank you for your continuing work. I look forward to receiving communiques featuring the work accomplished throughout the provinces.

It was very interesting and fulfilling to be part of the national resolution committee that worked on resolutions gifted to national council from provincial councils. Two resolutions were brought to the floor of the national convention and adopted. Resolution 2019.02 Canadian Support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons falls under the legislation standing committee.

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Parish Legislation memo Fall 2018

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“Legislative activity is always best based on care for the people” (Pope Francis).

Greetings to my Sisters in the League!
I am thrilled to be elected once again to the national executive and look forward to my new position as chairperson of legislation.

According to the federal government website www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/corporate/abouthealth-canada/legislation-guidelines/legislation.html, legislation is defined as:

“Legislation, also known as the acts, are forms of law that can provide the authority to make regulations. Generally, legislation begins as a bill (draft form), and can originate either in the House of Commons or in the Senate. For a bill to become law, it must be approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate, and by the Governor General of Canada (the Crown). Bills are discussed by members of both Houses during what is formally known as First Reading, Second Reading and Third Reading, and are also submitted to a Parliamentary Committee for review. The Committee usually seeks out the views of interested parties, including the public. The final stage of the enactment of a bill is when it receives Royal Assent. The timing of Royal Assent is determined by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons in consultation with the Leader of the Government in the Senate. An Act has the force of law upon Royal Assent, unless it is provided in the Act that it will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council (Cabinet).”

The “C” of the “CWL” stands for Catholic, but could also stand for compassionate, concerned or conscientious women aware of issues in communities, prepared to spring to action. One way to do this is by monitoring and studying federal government legislation.

It all begins with a concern or issue a member, or someone they know, may have or had to deal with. One such serious issue, which falls under the legislation standing committee, had a resolution adopted at the 98th annual national convention. Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying.

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Legislation Updates

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Downlaod memo from Linda VandenBerg, Provincial Chairperson of Legislation

National Palliative Care: Private member’s Bill C-277 Framework on Palliative Care Act in Canada received royal assent December 12, 2017. This bill in part states, ‘The Minister of Health must, in consultation with the representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for health, as well as with palliative care providers, develop a framework designed to support improved access for Canadians to palliative care - provided through hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities and residential hospices …’

Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals : On January 31, 2018 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) upheld the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policies regarding the requirement that physicians who have ethical objections to certain acts, including euthanasia and abortion, must refer patients to healthcare professionals who will provide the act, even though the court recognized that this violates the physicians’ rights to religious freedom. If this can happen in Ontario, it can happen in all provinces.”

Bill C-38 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons):
This bill is in second reading in the House of Commons (1st reading February 9, 2017) This enactment amends An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) so that certain sections of that act can come into force on different days. The act received royal assent on June 18, 2015 yet has not come into force since presently the act states that it will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. If Bill C-38 passes, it would allow the act to come into force on the day of receiving royal assent, thereby expediting the justice system for those who have exploited and trafficked persons.”

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2017 Legislation memo - Nancy Simms, national chairperson of legislation:

I send you greetings from British Columbia. As the days get shorter and the fall rains begin to spill out over our country, I would like to thank all of you for your prayers for those affected by wildfires. It has been quite the summer!

Along with the wildfires, over 900 members and guests were once again lit on fire through the Holy Spirit, and with the love of the League at the 97th annual national convention in beautiful Prince Edward Island. Four resolutions were adopted at the convention and two of them fall under the standing committee of legislation. They are Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals and Resolution 2017.03 Zero-Rated Status Under the Goods and Services Tax Provisions of the Excise Tax Act for Child Safety Products. Also, three motions related to Bill C-16 An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, which adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, were carried under the standing committee of legislation. All of these were printed in the fall 2017 magazine.

It is now time to reacquaint ourselves with the days that the House of Commons will be sitting and to research what parliamentary business will be happening this fall. The calendar for the House of Commons can be found at ourcommons.ca/en/sitting-calendar. This website also shows what bills are before parliament and what stage they have reached. It also shows how members of parliament (MPs) voted on a bill. Just click “Parliamentary Business” at the top and you will find all this and more.

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