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Procedural Reference Material

Chamber Reference Material

Rules of the Senate of Canada

The seventh report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, presented to the Senate on October 27, 2009, and adopted by the Senate on November 4, 2009, authorized the Clerk “to update the on-line version of the Rules of the Senate from the time any change is approved by the Senate.” Additional information on the Rules of the Senate and Senate procedure can be found in the Companion to the Rules of the Senate.

Senate Procedural Notes

These procedural notes have been prepared to provide information on how the Senate conducts its business. They are intended to provide a clear and simple explanation of some aspects of Senate procedure. This, in turn, can promote a better understanding of the functioning of the Senate. They do not in any way replace the Rules of the Senate, Speaker's rulings on points of order and questions of privilege raised by senators, and the decisions of the Senate itself. All of these must be taken into account, and works on parliamentary procedure also consulted, for detailed guidance on the issues covered here. Additional information on the Rules of the Senate and Senate procedure can be found in the Companion to the Rules of the Senate.

Standing Orders of the House of Commons

The permanent written rules under which the House regulates its proceedings are known as the Standing Orders. The continuing or “standing” nature of rules means that they do not lapse at the end of a session or parliament.

Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons, 2005 Edition

The Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons of Canada focuses on the written rules and includes a concise commentary and brief history of each Standing Order.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, 2009

The key procedural authority used by Members of the House of Commons, this book provides a complete description of the rules, practices and precedents in the House of Commons. Published in 2009, this Second Edition is sometimes referred to as O’Brien and Bosc.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, published in 2000, examines the many procedural forms, customs and practices which have been developed and established since Confederation in 1867. It provides a distinctive Canadian perspective in describing procedure in the House of Commons up to the end of the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament in September 1999. The material is presented with full commentary on the historical circumstances which have shaped the current approach to parliamentary business. Key Speakers’ rulings and statements are also documented and the considerable body of practice, interpretation and precedents unique to the House of Commons of Canada is amply illustrated.

Daily Order of Business

The daily business of the House of Commons is taken up according to a predetermined sequence outlined in the rules of the House. This document shows, in table form, the recurring sequence of business for each sitting day.

Time Limits on Debates and Length of Speeches

This document displays, in table form, the rules of the House of Commons pertaining to the time limits on debates and the length of speeches. Information is found under the following headings: proceeding, time limit on debate, notes on the debate, Member speaking, and length of speech.

Committee Reference Material

Fundamentals of Senate Committees

This document outlines how committees function and describes the role and work of both committee members and committee staff. This document is intended for use as a reference tool for parliamentarians, their staff and interested members of the public.

A Guide for Witnesses Appearing before Senate Committees

This guide provides basic information to witnesses appearing for the first time before committees of the Senate.

Guide for Witnesses Appearing Before House of Commons Committees

This guide provides basic information to witnesses appearing for the first time before committees of the House of Commons.

Guide for Submitting Briefs to House of Commons Committees

This guide provides information about how to submit a brief to a House of Commons committee.

Committees Practical Guide

This guide offers basic information regarding the operation of committees of the House of Commons and is for the use of Members of Parliament and the public. It is not intended to be a procedural authority.

Reference Material for Bills

Private Members' Business: A Practical Guide

This handbook explains both the rules governing Private Members' Business and the process behind those rules.

Petitions: A Practical Guide

This document contains the practical information for those wishing to submit a petition, and includes descriptions of the form and content of petitions, the procedures for presenting petitions, and government responses to petitions. Sample petition forms are also included.

Amending Bills at Committee and Report Stages

This document contains a summary of the basic procedures for Members and their staff on how to amend bills at committee and report stages.

General Reference Material

Glossary of Parliamentary Procedure

This document contains basic explanations and definitions of parliamentary terms in a readily accessible format. Cross references under the headings “compare”, ”distinguish”, ”see”, and “synonym” provide users with additional information for each of these terms.

Compendium of House of Commons Procedure

As a single online source of up-to-date procedural information, the Compendium includes a collection of both general and detailed articles on a variety of procedural topics.


For more information, please consult the How Parliament Works section of the About Parliament page.