The current Page Program was introduced in 1978. When the Honourable James A. Jerome became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1974, he asked the Clerk of the House to look into and prepare a report on a new Page Program.
The report of the Standing Committee on Management and Members’ Services concluded that the Canadian Page Program was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. The report went further and recommended that an adequate Program should achieve the following objectives:
It was then decided that the Program would be open to graduating high school and CEGEP students from across Canada, both male and female, entering studies at one of the universities in the National Capital Region. It was hoped that there would be broad regional representation, that students would receive financial assistance, and that the other objectives outlined by the Committee would be achieved.
In introducing the Program, Speaker James Jerome said, “We will now be able to secure, in addition to this cross-Canada participation, young people for a year of university, for which they will work as Pages and receive a full salary which will enable them to finance their education.” (Debates, March 22, 1978, p. 4026)
When the new Program was implemented, Speaker James Jerome stated that, “in future years the entire country will benefit from having these citizens back in the country, better equipped through education and through their exposure here to a practical knowledge of the Canadian House of Commons.” (Debates, October 10, 1978, p. 6953)
The Pages work in the House of Commons Chamber under the direction of a group of Page Supervisors and a Coordinator. The Pages provide various services to the Members of Parliament, Chair Occupants and Table Officers. Presently, 40 Pages are employed annually by the House of Commons.
To learn more about the history of the House of Commons Page Program, read the following article, “The Commons Then and Now: Pages” written by former Page and current Deputy Clerk, Mr. Marc Bosc, for the Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer, 1989.