Definition: The British North America Act or BNA Act created the Dominion of Canada in 1867.
The BNA Act was drafted by Canadians at the Quebec Conference on Canadian Confderation in 1864 and passed without amendment by the British Parliament in 1867. The BNA Act was signed by Queen Victoria on March 29, 1867 and came into effect on July 1, 1867.
The BNA Act serves as a base document for the Canadian constitution, which is not a single document but rather a set of documents known as Constitution Acts and just as importantly a set of unwritten laws and conventions.
The BNA Act set out the rules for the government of the new federal nation. It established a British style parliament with a House of Commons and Senate, and set out the division of powers between the federal government and provincial governments. The written text of the division of powers in the BNA Act can be misleading, however, as case law plays a significant part in the division of powers between governments in Canada.
In 1982, the BNA Act was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.
See Also: Canadian Constitutional Documents