Dalhousie Law Journal


Fourth branch of government, social security, central regulation, governmental enterprise, curtailment of individual liberty, common good, administrative agencies


The Fourth Branch of Government Government is growing at a rapid rate and its growth will continue in the foreseeable future. The quest for more and more social security, the growing awareness of the necessity for central regulation, particularly of our environment and natural resources, the inevitable decelerating of a economic activity, all call for increased governmental enterprise. This increase in governmental functions means a consequent curtailment of individual liberty and this curtailment must be carefully weighed in the light of the common good. In this uncertain day and age of rapid change, it is most imperative that our politico-legal processes be kept under constant review. Boards, commissions and other administrative agencies' called by various names now regulate nearly every phase of the individual's social and economic conduct. Federally, administrative agencies have considerable powers of control over such wideranging enterprises as broadcasting, telecommunications, tariffs, transportation and energy. Provincially, a host of conciliators, assessors, examiners, referees and trustees operate under provincial statutory authority to regulate such areas as labour relations, education and the use of property. Municipally, an assortment of fire marshalls, engineers, inspectors and registrars, to name a few, operate under municipal ordinances to require individuals to maintain their property in a certain way, to regulate how, when and where they build and, in many circumstances, how, when and where they carry on their businesses.