FYI: Liberals urged to scrap 19th century rule that requires laws be printed in books

Government yet to decide on proposal to wean Parliament from costly paper-based publishing
By Dean Beeby, CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017 5:10 AM ET

An obscure statute dating from Confederation has Parliament frozen in time, forcing the government to print every new law on old-fashioned paper.

Bureaucrats want to ditch those rules, end the costly printing and make digital versions the new standard — but the Liberal government has yet to decide whether to break with tradition.

At issue is the Publication of Statutes Act, conceived in the 19th century, which requires the Queen's Printer to publish new laws passed by Parliament in an annual compendium that must be printed on quality paper.

The legislation has never been overhauled. Although Justice Canada publishes the laws online as well, the digital versions aren't considered official.

Each year, the Queen's Printer — now part of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) — must print and distribute about 250 hardcover copies of the annual statutes, destined for a select group of judges, legal libraries and other locations.

The total cost is estimated at about $100,000, including $40,000 worth of printing and distribution through a private firm. [...]