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Chapter Twelve: Committees

   

Committee of Selection

     
Appointment of Committee of Selection  

12-1. At the beginning of each session, the Senate shall appoint a Committee of Selection composed of nine Senators.

     
Nomination of Speaker pro tempore   12-2. (1)(a) Within the first five sitting days of each session, the Committee of Selection shall present a separate report on its nomination of the Speaker pro tempore.
     

Term of appointment of Speaker pro tempore

 

12-2. (1)(b) Once the report is adopted by the Senate, the Speaker pro tempore shall serve for the duration of the session.

     

Nomination of standing or standing joint committee members

 

12-2. (2) Except as otherwise provided, the Committee of Selection shall present a report on its nomination of Senators to serve on the standing committees and the standing joint committees.

EXCEPTION
Rule 12-27(1): Appointment of committee

     

Term of appointment of members of committees

 

12-2. (3) Except as otherwise provided, once the report is adopted by the Senate, Senators appointed to the standing committees and the standing joint committees shall serve for the duration of the session.

EXCEPTION
Rule 12-5: Membership changes

     

Powers of the Committee of Selection

 

12-2. (4) The Committee of Selection is empowered to inquire into and report on any other matter referred to it by the Senate, and also has the power to:

(a) to publish from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it; and
(b) to propose to the Senate from time to time changes in the membership of a committee.

     

Committee of Selection is neither a standing nor special committee

 

12-2. (5) For greater certainty, the Committee of Selection is neither a standing nor a special committee.

     

Quorum of Committee of Selection

 

12-2. (6) The quorum of the Committee of Selection shall be six of its members.

     
   

Membership of Committees

     

Committee membership – general

 

12-3. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), twelve members shall be appointed to each standing committee.

     
Committee membership – certain committees  

12-3. (2) The number of members appointed to the following standing committees shall be as indicated:

(a) the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, 15 Senators;
(b) the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, 15 Senators;
(c) the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, nine Senators;
(d) the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, nine Senators;
(e) the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, nine Senators; and
(f) the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators, five Senators.

     

Ex officio members

 

12-3. (3) In addition to the membership provided for in subsections (1) and (2), the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition or, in the absence of either, their respective Deputy Leaders are ex officio members of all committees except the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators and the joint committees.

     

Standing joint committees

 

12-4. The number of Senators appointed to the following standing joint committees shall be recommended by the Committee of Selection:

(a) the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament; and
(b) the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

REFERENCES
Parliament of Canada Act, sections 74 and 78
Statutory Instruments Act, sections 19 and 19.1

     

Membership changes

 

12-5. Changes in the membership of a committee, except for the ex officio members and members of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators, may be made by notice filed with the Clerk, who shall have the notice recorded in the Journals of the Senate. The notice shall be signed by:

(a) the Leader of the Government or a designate for a change of government members;
(b) the Leader of the Opposition or a designate for a change of opposition members; or
(c) the leader of any other recognized party or a designate for a change of members of that party.

     

Quorum of standing committees

 

12-6. Except as otherwise provided, the quorum of a standing committee shall be four of its members.

EXCEPTION
Rule 12-27(2): Quorum of Conflict of Interest Committee

     
   

Standing Committees of the Senate

     

Appointment and general mandates

 

12-7. The Senate shall appoint the following standing committees:

     
Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration  

12-7. (1) the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, which shall be authorized:

(a) to consider, on its own initiative, all financial and administrative matters concerning the Senate’s internal administration, and
(b) subject to the Senate Administrative Rules, to act on all financial and administrative matters concerning the internal administration of the Senate and to interpret and determine the propriety of any use of Senate resources;

     

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

 

12-7. (2) the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, which shall be authorized:

(a) to propose from time to time, on its own initiative, amendments to the Rules for the consideration of the Senate,
(b) to examine any question of privilege referred to it by the Senate, and
(c) to consider the orders and practices of the Senate and the privileges of Parliament;

     

Official Languages

 

12-7. (3) the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, to which may be referred matters relating to official languages generally;

     

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

 

12-7. (4) the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to which may be referred matters relating to foreign or Commonwealth relations generally, including:

(a) treaties and international agreements,
(b) external trade,
(c) foreign aid, and
(d) territorial and offshore matters;

     

National Finance

 

12-7. (5) the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, to which may be referred matters relating to federal estimates generally, including:

(a) the public accounts and reports of the Auditor General, and
(b) government finance;

     

Transport and Communications

 

12-7. (6) the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, to which may be referred matters relating to transport and communications generally, including:

(a) transport and communications by any means,
(b) tourist traffic,
(c) common carriers, and
(d) navigation, shipping and navigable waters;

     

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

 

12-7. (7) the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which may be referred matters relating to legal and constitutional matters generally, including:

(a) federal-provincial relations,
(b) administration of justice, law reform and any related matters,
(c) the judiciary,
(d) all essentially juridical matters, and
(e) private bills not specifically assigned to another committee, including those related to marriage and divorce;

     
Banking, Trade and Commerce  

12-7. (8) the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, to which may be referred matters relating to banking, trade and commerce generally, including:

(a) banking, insurance, trust and loan companies, credit societies, caisses populaires and small loans companies,
(b) customs and excise,
(c) taxation legislation,
(d) patents and royalties,
(e) corporate affairs, and
(f) bankruptcy;

     

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

 

12-7. (9) the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, to which may be referred matters relating to social affairs, science and technology generally, including:

(a) cultural affairs and the arts,
(b) social and labour matters,
(c) health and welfare,
(d) pensions,
(e) housing,
(f) fitness and amateur sport,
(g) employment and immigration,
(h) consumer affairs, and
(i) youth affairs;

     

Agriculture and Forestry

 

12-7. (10) the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, to which may be referred matters relating to agriculture and forestry generally, and the Canadian Wheat Board;

     

Fisheries and Oceans

 

12-7. (11) the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, to which may be referred matters relating to fisheries and oceans generally;

     

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

 

12-7. (12) the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, to which may be referred matters relating to energy, the environment and natural resources generally, including:

(a) mines and natural resources, other than fisheries and forestry,
(b) pipelines, transmission lines and energy transportation,
(c) environmental affairs, and
(d) other energy-related matters;

     

Aboriginal Peoples

 

12-7. (13) the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, to which may be referred matters relating to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;

     

Human Rights

 

12-7. (14) the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, to which may be referred matters relating to human rights generally;

     

National Security and Defence

 

12-7. (15) the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, to which may be referred matters relating to national defence and security generally, including veterans affairs; and

     

Conflict of Interest for Senators

 

12-7. (16) the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators, which shall be authorized:

(a) to exercise general direction over the Senate Ethics Officer, and
(b) to be responsible, on its own initiative, for all matters relating to the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, including all forms involving Senators that are used in its administration, subject to the general jurisdiction of the Senate.

REFERENCE (Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration)
Parliament of Canada Act, sections 19.1-19.9

REFERENCE (Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators)
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, sections 35-37

     
   

Orders of Reference to Committees

     

Referral of a matter to any committee

  12-8. (1) Any bill, message, petition, inquiry, paper or other matter may be referred to any committee as the Senate may order.
     

User fee proposals

 

12-8. (2) When the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government tables a user fee proposal, it is deemed referred to the standing or special committee designated by the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government following consultations with the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

REFERENCE
User Fees Act, subsection 4(4)

     
   

Powers of Standing Committees and Standing Joint Committees

   

 

Power to conduct inquiries and report

 

12-9. (1) Standing committees and standing joint committees are empowered to inquire into and report on such matters as may be referred to them by the Senate.

     

Power to send for persons and papers and to publish papers

 

12-9. (2) Standing committees and standing joint committees are empowered:

(a) to send for persons, papers and records; and
(b) to publish from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by them.

     
   

Special and Legislative Committees

     

Special committees

 

12-10. (1) Special committees may be appointed from time to time with such terms of reference, powers and duties as the Senate shall determine.

     

Special committees – mover of motion as member

 

12-10. (2) Except as otherwise provided, a Senator on whose motion a bill, petition or other matter is referred to a special committee may be appointed to that committee if the Senator so desires.

EXCEPTION
Rule 15-7(2): Restrictions if declaration of interest

     

Legislative committees

 

12-11. A legislative committee shall be composed of no more than 12 members.

     
   

Subcommittees

     

Appointment

 

12-12. (1) A committee may appoint from among its members one or more subcommittees.

     

Membership

 

12-12. (2) A subcommittee shall be composed of no more than half the membership of the committee.

     

Quorum

 

12-12. (3) A subcommittee shall have a quorum of three members.

     

Procedure

 

12-12. (4) The rules applicable in the committee shall apply in the subcommittee with such modifications as the circumstances require.

     

In camera meetings

 

12-12. (5) Except when considering a bill clause by clause, a subcommittee may meet in camera whenever it so determines and without public notice.

     

Reports

 

12-12. (6) A subcommittee shall report to the committee that appointed it.

     
   

Meetings

     

Organization meeting

 

12-13. Once the Senate has agreed to the membership of a committee, the Clerk of the Senate shall, as soon as practicable, call an organization meeting of the committee at which it shall elect a chair.

     

Participation of non-members

 

12-14. Except as otherwise provided, a Senator who is not a member of a committee may attend and participate in its deliberations, but shall not vote.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 12-28(2): Participation of non-members
Rule 15-7(2): Restrictions if declaration of interest
Rule 16-3(6): Speaking at conferences

     

Notice of meetings

 

12-15. (1) A public notice shall be posted of every committee meeting.

     

Meetings public

 

12-15. (2) Except as otherwise provided, all meetings shall be held in public. Unless otherwise ordered, the public may attend a public meeting of a committee or a subcommittee.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 12-16(1): In camera meetings
Rule 12-16(2): In camera meetings of joint committees
Rule 12-28(1): In camera meetings

     

In camera meetings

 

12-16. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) and elsewhere in these Rules, a committee may meet in camera only for the purpose of discussing:

(a) wages, salaries and other employee benefits;
(b) contracts and contract negotiations;
(c) labour relations and personnel matters; and

(d) a draft agenda or draft report.

EXCEPTION
Rule 12-28(1): In camera meetings

     

In camera meetings of joint committees

 

12-16. (2) A joint committee may meet in camera whenever the joint committee so determines.

     

Meetings without quorum

 

12-17. A quorum is required whenever a committee makes a decision. However, a Senate committee may authorize the chair to hold meetings without a quorum for the purpose of receiving and publishing evidence.

     

Meetings on days Senate sits

 

12-18. (1) Except as otherwise ordered by the Senate, a Senate committee may meet on days the Senate sits, but it shall not meet during a sitting of the Senate.

     

Meetings on days the Senate is adjourned

 

12-18. (2) Except as otherwise provided, a Senate committee may meet when the Senate is adjourned:

(a) for more than a day but less than a week, provided that notice was given to the members of the committee one day before the Senate adjourned; or
(b) for more than a week, provided that the meeting was either:

  (i) by order of the Senate, or

(ii) with the signed consent of the Leaders of the Government and Opposition, or their designates, in response to a written request from the chair and deputy chair.


EXCEPTION
Rule 12-29: Adjournment of the Senate

     

Power to adjourn

 

12-19. (1) A committee may adjourn from time to time.

     

Meetings outside the parliamentary precinct

 

12-19. (2) A committee may travel and adjourn from place to place outside the parliamentary precinct if authorized to do so by the Senate.

     
   

Committee Procedures

     

Proceedings in committee

 

12-20. (1) In Senate committees:

     
Addressing chair   (a) Senators wishing to speak shall address the chair;
Seconder not required   (b) a motion does not require a seconder;

Motion defeated when votes equal

  (c) all motions shall be decided by majority vote, including the vote of the chair, and when the votes are equal, the motion is defeated; and

Notice not required

 

(d) notice of a motion or an amendment shall not be required.

     

Before recorded vote

 

12-20. (2) Before a recorded vote in committee, the chair shall announce the names of Senators present who have made and not retracted a declaration of private interest on the matter to be voted on, and their names shall not be called except to abstain.

     

Clause-by-clause consideration of bills

 

12-20. (3) Except with leave of its members present, a committee shall not dispense with clause-by-clause consideration of a bill.

     

Inconsistency with the Rules and practices of the Senate

 

12-20. (4) No Senate committee shall adopt procedures inconsistent with the Rules or practices of the Senate.

     

Smoking prohibited

 

12-21. Smoking is prohibited at meetings of all committees and subcommittees.

     
   

Committee Reports

     

Majority conclusions

 

12-22. (1) A report of a Senate committee shall contain the conclusions agreed to by majority.

     

Presentation or tabling

 

12-22. (2) Except as otherwise provided, a committee report shall be presented or tabled in the Senate by the chair or by a Senator designated by the chair.

EXCEPTION
Rule 12-31: Report deposited with the Clerk

     

Tabled for information only

 

12-22. (3) A committee report that is only for the purpose of information shall be tabled in the Senate. A tabled report may, by motion,be placed on the Orders of the Day for future consideration.

     

No debate when report presented or tabled

 

12-22. (4) No debate is allowed when a committee report is presented or tabled in the Senate.

     
Reports on user fees   12-22. (5) If a user fee proposal has been referred to a properly appointed and constituted committee, and that committee does not report within 20 sitting days following the day it received the order of reference, it shall be deemed to have recommended approval of the user fee.

REFERENCE
User Fees Act, subsection 6(2)

     

Debate on a tabled report

 

12-22. (6) If a motion to adopt a tabled report is moved only after consideration of the report has started, any Senator who spoke on the consideration of the report before the motion was moved may speak to the motion, but only for a maximum of five minutes.

     
   

Report on Bills

     

Obligation to report bill

 

12-23. (1) A committee to which a bill has been referred shall report the bill to the Senate. The report shall set out any amendments that the committee is recommending.

     

Report on bill without amendment

 

12-23. (2) A report on a bill without amendment shall be considered adopted upon presentation, and a Senator shall move that the bill be read a third time on a future day.

     

Reporting bill with amendments

 

12-23. (3) When a committee report recommends amendments to a bill, or makes proposals that require the approval of the Senate, the report shall, by motion, be placed on the Orders of the Day for future consideration.

     

Amendments to be explained

 

12-23. (4) The Senator presenting a committee report recommending amendments to a bill shall explain the purpose and effect of each amendment.

     

Reporting against bill

 

12-23. (5) When a committee report recommends that the Senate not proceed further with a bill, the report must state the reasons for this. If the report is adopted, the Senate shall not proceed further with the bill.

     
Signing of amended bill  

12-23. (6) A committee report recommending amendments to a bill shall have attached to it a printed copy of the bill on which the amendments are clearly written. The chair or deputy chair shall sign or initial this copy of the bill as well as all the amendments.

     
   

Government Responses to Reports

     

Request for government response

 

12-24. (1) The Senate may request a complete and detailed response from the Government to a report of a standing or special committee that has been adopted by the Senate. This request may be:

(a) contained in the report itself;
(b) contained in the motion to adopt the report; or
(c) made by a separate motion moved after the report has been adopted.

     

Communication of request

 

12-24. (2) When the Senate requests a Government response, the Clerk shall communicate the request and send a copy of the report to the Leader of the Government and to each minister expressly identified in the request.

     

Tabling response

 

12-24. (3) The Leader of the Government shall table the Government’s response no later than 150 calendar days after the request was adopted, or provide an explanation why the response has not been provided.

     

Response or explanation deemed referred to committee

 

12-24. (4) The report and either the Government’s response or the explanation why there is no response shall be deemed referred to the relevant committee when either is tabled or provided.

     

Absence of response and explanation deemed referred to committee

 

12-24. (5) If, 150 calendar days after the request was adopted, the Government has neither tabled its response nor provided an explanation why there is no response, then the report and the absence of a response or an explanation shall be deemed referred to the relevant committee.

     
   

Committee Expenditures

     

Payment of witnesses’ expenses

 

12-25. The Clerk is authorized to pay witnesses invited or summoned before a Senate committee a reasonable sum for their living and travelling expenses, upon the certificate of the clerk of the committee.

     

Financial operations

 

12-26. (1) The financial operations of Senate committees shall be governed by the Senate Administrative Rules.

     

Report of expenses

 

12-26. (2) A committee shall table a report within 15 sitting days of the commencement of each session on any special expenses incurred during the previous session. This report shall state the expenses that have been accounted for as well as an estimate of expenditures not yet accounted for.

     

When committee not reconstituted

 

12-26. (3) When the final or interim report of expenditures involves a committee that is not reconstituted, the report shall be tabled by, or on behalf of, the Senator who was most recently the chair of that committee.

     

Printing of report

 

12-26. (4) Each final or interim report on special expenditures shall be printed in the Journals of the Senate.

     
   

Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators

     

Appointment of Committee

 

12-27. (1) As soon as practicable at the beginning of each session, the Leader of the Government shall move a motion, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, on the membership of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators. This motion shall be deemed adopted without debate or vote, and a similar motion shall be moved for any substitutions in the membership of the Committee.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsections 35(4) and (5)

     

Quorum of Conflict of Interest Committee

 

12-27. (2) The quorum of the committee is three.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 35(2)

     

In camera meetings

 

12-28. (1) Meetings of the committee shall be in camera unless the committee accepts the request of the Senator who is the subject of an inquiry or investigation that the meetings be public.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsections 36(1) and (2)

     

Participation of non-members

 

12-28. (2) When the committee is meeting in camera, only members of the committee or, by decision of the committee, a Senator who is the subject of its inquiry or investigation may attend and participate in deliberations.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsections 36(3) and (4)

     

Adjournment of the Senate

 

12-29. The committee may sit during any adjournment of the Senate.

     

Motion deemed made

 

12-30. (1) A motion to adopt a report of the committee on the conduct of an individual Senator shall be deemed moved on the fifth sitting day following its presentation, if the motion is not moved earlier.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 48(2)

     

Minimum period for consideration of report

 

12-30. (2) No vote on a motion to adopt a report under this rule shall be taken until the earlier of the following:

(a) the fifth sitting day following the motion to adopt the report; or
(b) the Senator who is the subject of the report has spoken.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 48(3)

     

Maximum period for consideration of report

 

12-30. (3) The Speaker shall put all questions necessary to dispose of a report under this rule when it is called no later than the fifteenth sitting day after a motion for adoption was moved.

REFERENCE
Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 48(5)

     

Deferred vote on report

 

12-30. (4) Except as otherwise provided, when the questions to dispose of a report are put under subsection (3):

(a) if a standing vote is requested at or before 5:15 p.m., the vote shall be deferred until 5:30 p.m. on the same day, and the vote shall not be further deferred;
(b) if a standing vote is requested after 5:15 p.m. and before 5:30 p.m., it shall be deferred to the time that would allow for a 15 minute bell, and the vote shall not be further deferred; and
(c) if a standing vote is requested at 5:30 p.m. or later, it shall be deferred until 5:30 p.m. on the next sitting day, and the vote shall not be further deferred.

EXCEPTION
Rule 16-1(6): Standing vote may be postponed if in conflict with message

     

Report deposited with the Clerk

 

12-31. A report of the committee may be deposited with the Clerk at any time the Senate stands adjourned and the report shall be deemed to have been presented to the Senate at the next sitting.

     
   

Committee of the Whole

     

No notice required for Committee of the Whole

 

12-32. (1) A motion to resolve the Senate into a Committee of the Whole may be moved without notice.

     

Proceedings recorded

 

12-32. (2) The proceedings of a Committee of the Whole shall be entered in the Journals of the Senate.

     

Procedure in Committee of the Whole

 

12-32. (3) The Rules and practices of the Senate shall apply in a Committee of the Whole with the following exceptions:

(a) Senators wishing to speak shall address the chair;
(b) Senators need not stand or be in their assigned place to speak;
(c) a Senator may speak any number of times;
(d) no Senator shall speak in debate for more than ten minutes at a time;
(e) any standing vote shall be taken immediately without the bells to call in the Senators;
(f) arguments against the principle of a bill shall not be admitted;
(g) no motion for the previous question or for adjournment shall be received; and
(h) except as otherwise provided, notice is not required for a motion or an amendment.

EXCEPTION
Rule 11-16: Notice of substantive amendments to private bills

     

Participation of ministers in Committee of the Whole

 

12-32. (4) When a bill or other matter relating to the administrative responsibility of the government is being considered by a Committee of the Whole, a minister who is not a Senator may, on invitation of the committee, enter the chamber and take part in debate.

     

Witnesses in Committee of the Whole

 

12-32. (5) Persons other than ministers may be invited to attend as witnesses before a Committee of the Whole.

     

Motion to leave chair or report progress

 

12-33. (1) In a Committee of the Whole, a Senator may at any time move “That the chair do now leave the chair” or “That the chair do now report progress and ask leave to sit again”. When either motion is moved, the following conditions shall apply:

(a) the motion shall be decided immediately without debate or amendment; and

(b) if the motion is rejected, another motion to the same effect shall not be received unless an intermediate proceeding has taken place.

     

Adoption of motion to leave chair

  12-33. (2) If the motion “That the chair do now leave the chair” is adopted, the committee shall immediately rise. The chair shall make no report to the Senate, and the bill or other matter before the Committee of the Whole shall be dropped from the Orders of the Day.
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