While the rules of the House do not oblige the Government to reply to a written question within 45 calendar days, pursuant to Standing Order 39(5)(b), the matter of the failure to reply is automatically referred to a standing committee. The individual Member asking the question is responsible for determining to which standing committee the matter will be referred.
The Chair of the committee must convene a meeting within five sitting days of the referral so that the committee can address the issue of the Government’s failure to respond to the question. The committee decides how it will proceed. It may:
Alternatively, Members may rise in the House during Routine Proceedings under the rubric “Questions on the Order Paper” to give notice of their intention to have the subject matter of the question transferred to the Adjournment Proceedings. The order referring to a committee the matter of the failure of the Government to respond is then dropped.