Series GR-0113 - Orders-in-council

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  • textual record
  • microform
  • cartographic material
  • multiple media

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Dates of creation area


  • 1872-2009 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

Physical description area

Physical description

238 microfilm reels [B06398-B06635], 62 maps, 8.9 m textual records

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Biographical history

The Attorney-General’s Department was established in 1871 by authority of the Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, from 1863 to 1866, the origins of the ministry were in the offices of the Attorney-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island and for the Colony of British Columbia. In 1866, the colonies united to form one colony, with one Attorney-General, who remained in place until British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada in 1871. The Attorney-General was the official legal advisor of the Lieutenant-Governor and of the Executive Council. He was responsible for the settlement and approval of all documents issued under the public seal of the province and for the supervision of magistrates, police, and the constabulary.

In 1899, the department was reconstituted by the Attorney-General’s Act (SBC 1899, c. 5), which expanded the duties and powers of the Attorney-General to include: management and direction of correctional institutions, the British Columbia Provincial Police, and the administration of public affairs; provision of legislative and legal advice to the representative of the Crown and the heads of government departments; administration of justice within the Province; and regulation of all litigation for and against the Crown and public departments within the jurisdiction of the Legislature.

At various times several different agencies have been under the direction of the Attorney-General, such as the Industrial Schools for Boys and for Girls, Factories Inspection Branch, Electrical Energy Inspection Branch, Mothers’ Pension Board, Municipal Branch, Provincial Board of Health, Prohibition Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent of Neglected Children. In most instances these agencies have later been placed under the management of other departments, absorbed into new organizations, or abolished altogether.

In 1976, the Dept. of the Attorney-General was renamed the Ministry of the Attorney General (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of orders-in-council arranged numerically by year and then by OIC number. The series also includes some maps and text attachments which were transferred in 1974 from the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary. The records were created between 1872 and 2009. Orders-in-council can be issued for a variety of reasons, including creating simple legislation and granting political appointments. OICs are issued in the name of the Lieutenant-Governor.

Containers 941119-0002, 941119-0004, and 941119-0006 contain proclamations. These ledgers include a copy of the order-in-council relating to the proclamation, and a copy of the proclamation. Each book contains an index listing both the OIC number and the subject of the proclamation.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Containers 910472-0752 to 0818 and 941119-0002, 0003, 0004, and 0006 were transferred from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General in October 2016.


Some files post 1995 may reference attachments as removed and "filed separately". However, in some instances the attachments remain filed with the OIC itself and won't be found in GR-1664.

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Availability of other formats

Digitized copies of Orders in Council from 1872 to the present are available on the BC Laws website:

Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Associated materials

For related records see:
GR-1664 Oversize attachments for Orders-in-council, 1874-1991
GR-1955 Indexes to Orders-in-council, 1872-1984

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): 76-G-043; 91-0472; M856048, 91-0472, 94-1119


For preservation purposes, records in boxes 910472-0752 to 0818 were reboxed when they were received by the Archives. As a result, records were re-packed. Researchers are encouraged to use the Archives' file list rather than any produced by the creating agency as the records may now be in different boxes.

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