Country Profile: Canada

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of Canada, based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Canada’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.

Country Background

Canada is located in Northern North America bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north. It is bordered only by one other country, the United States. The capital of Canada is Ottawa. The official languages are English and French. The country’s population in 2016 was approximately 35 million. Canada is a predominantly Christian country, with a little over 3% of the population Muslim.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Canada is referred to as a constitutional monarchy with a federal parliament. The Constitution is not found in only one document but comprises a series of British and Canadian legislation. The federal Parliament of Canada is modeled after the British Parliament with two chambers: the House of Commons, comprising 338 elected politicians, and the Senate, comprising 105 Senators appointed by the Prime Minister. The legal system is common law except in Quebec, where civil law based on the French civil code is in place. Canada consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Canada.

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Canada.

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Canada has no official school of Islamic law. 

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

 Unofficial Databases


For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide, and for a narrative review, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law Research Guide (most updated version, where available). The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English and Arabic translation. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].