Before 1982, Canada's constitution was the British North America Act. Any changes to this constitution required the approval of the British government. For years, Canadian governments had considered patriating the constitution, but no agreement could be reached. In 1981, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau decided it was time to act upon the ideas of the Canadian people. Trudeau and the premiers of the 10 provinces of Canada met in 1980 to resolve the issue of an acceptable amendment formula. Prime Minister Trudeau wanted to reach an agreement that was reasonable fro all provinces. Quebec, at the time wanted a veto power over any changes that would be unacceptable for its own province. When the federal government acted to patriate the constitution, only Ontario and New Brunswick agreed to the decision. The Federal Minister of Justice, with the help of Trudeau introduced a solution. The Federal Government asked the British Parliament to pass legislation that would allow the constitution to be "brought home to Canada. .
Many different debates and discussions that took place in the Senate and The House Of Commons followed the introduction of the proposed resolutions. Yet there were still numerous objections. Many citizens criticized the ideas that the federal government was acting alone without involving the provinces. The Provincial Premiers questioned the legality of the decision and brought it before the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the Federal government could act alone but should consult the provinces to support the best interests of the citizens. After this point Trudeau tried to gain the consent of the provinces before moving forward. Through further discussion the premiers came to an agreement in November of 1981. .
In December 1981, the Senate and the House of Commons approved the resolution. The Act was passed in 1982 by British Parliament. On April 17, 1982, Queen Elizabeth signed the proclamation that changed the British North America Act to the Constitutional Act.