After a bill is examined in committee, the House considers it at report stage. At report stage, a bill is examined as a whole and not clause by clause as was done in committee. Members may, after giving written notice, propose motions in amendment to the text of the bill. These motions are then debated. If no notice of amendment has been given at report stage, no debate is held.
In order for a motion to amend a bill to be considered at report stage, notice must be given in writing at least one sitting day prior to the commencement of report stage, if the bill was referred to committee after second reading. If the bill was referred to committee before second reading, notice must be given two sitting days before report stage begins. Most notices are filed as soon as possible following the presentation of the report of the committee since report stage can begin as soon as two days after the presentation of the report. No notice may be given on the day on which consideration of the report stage of a bill commences, or on the days following.
In the case of an amendment containing financial implications that require a royal recommendation, the Standing Orders provide that notice of the royal recommendation must be given no later than the sitting day before report stage is to commence. The notice must be printed on the Notice Paper along with the amendment to which it pertains.
Generally, the rules relating to the admissibility of amendments presented at committee stage also apply to motions in amendment at report stage, although there are several exceptions. For instance, a motion in amendment to delete a clause is admissible and a motion to amend a number of clauses of a bill together is inadmissible.
Only amendments deemed to be admissible are printed on the Notice Paper.
When the House first takes up the order for report stage of a bill, the Speaker makes a ruling setting out which of the admissible amendments will be debated. The selection of amendments for debate is based on criteria established in the Standing Orders, which give strong preference to amendments that could not be moved in committee. The Speaker’s decision addresses the grouping of amendments for debate and the voting pattern.
After ruling on the selection and grouping of motions for debate and establishing the voting pattern, the Speaker reads the motion(s) in the first group. The movers of the motions must be present in the House in order to have them put forward. The motions that have been moved and seconded are then debated. Once a motion has been moved, it may be withdrawn only with unanimous consent.
If a bill has been sent to committee before second reading, or during debate at report stage, the first Member from each of the recognized parties speaks for not more than 20 minutes on the first amendment proposed at report stage. No other Member may speak more than once or for longer than 10 minutes on any motion or group of motions in amendment, and Members’ speeches are not followed by questions and comments periods. Debate at report stage is subject to the general rules of debate, such as the rule of relevance.
When a recorded division is demanded on any motion in amendment proposed during report stage of a bill, the Speaker may defer the vote until some or all subsequent motions in amendment to the bill have been debated. Usually, the Speaker defers all recorded divisions until the consideration at report stage is completed.
The report stage of a bill that was sent to committee before second reading is an integral part of the second reading stage of the bill. At the end of report stage, a motion “That the bill be concurred in at report stage and be read a second time” is moved. The text of the concurrence motion can be modified if the bill is amended at committee or report stage. The question is then put on the motion, and the House must dispose of it without amendment or debate.
At the end of report stage of a bill that has already been read a second time, the motion for concurrence is also put immediately, without amendment or debate. The wording of the concurrence motion will vary depending on whether the bill has been amended or not and depending on the stage at which the amendments were made.
If no motion in amendment is moved at report stage of a bill that has already been read a second time, no debate takes place and the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage is put immediately. In these circumstances, the House may proceed to third reading the same day.
A bill that is reported from a Committee of the Whole, with or without amendments, may not be debated or amended at report stage. The House must dispose of the bill at report stage as soon as it is received from a Committee of the Whole.