About the Program

About the Job

Duties

Pages work in the House of Commons Chamber under the direction of a group of supervisors and a coordinator. They provide various services to Members of Parliament, the Speaker and Chair Occupants, and Table Officers. For example, Pages collect and distribute official documents, deliver messages to Members, serve as a link between Members and their Hill offices, answer telephone calls, and make photocopies. On occasion, Pages also meet with youth groups to speak about their duties and their experience on Parliament Hill.

Professional, impartial, and efficient service is a hallmark of the House of Commons Page Program.

Training

In late August, new Pages begin their stay in Ottawa with an intensive training program. During this training, they learn about their new work environment, their responsibilities and duties, and what they need to know in order to provide the high level of service required in the House of Commons.

Salary

Pages sign a contract with the House of Commons for a one-year term beginning in late August, and are required to work a minimum of 15 hours a week. Their university course schedules are arranged in consultation with the Page Program to ensure that there are no conflicts with their work schedules at the House.

Under the terms of their contract, Pages are paid $16,088 in 26 equal payments over a 12-month period. In addition, a sum of $1,200 is paid at the end of the employment period for successful completion of the contract.

Transportation

The House of Commons will pay for transportation between the Page’s permanent residence and Ottawa at the beginning of the term of employment and for return transportation at the end of the term of employment.

Uniform

A uniform is provided to each Page at the beginning of the employment period and must be returned at the end of the employment period. The men’s uniform consists of a three-piece black suit, white shirt and tie. The women’s uniform consists of a two-piece black suit and a white blouse. Pages also receive an allowance to purchase appropriate shoes to wear while in uniform.

Accommodation

Pages are responsible for finding their own accommodation. They must pay for their rent and all other expenses while in Ottawa, including tuition fees, books and food, etc. Pages from outside the National Capital Region often stay in one of the university residences.

Testimonials

History

Pages first began working in the House in the early years of Confederation, but their role has evolved significantly since then.

The Page Program as we know it today was introduced in 1978 by the Honourable James A. Jerome who was then the Speaker of the House. A few years earlier, in 1974, the Speaker had asked the Clerk of the House to prepare a report as part of a review of the existing program at the time.

The report, prepared by the Standing Committee on Management and Members’ Services, concluded that the Canadian Page Program was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons and that, in order to meet the demands of a modern society, it should achieve the following objectives:

  • symbolize the national character of Parliament;
  • increase the public’s knowledge of parliamentary proceedings;
  • provide high-quality service to Members; and
  • offer employment opportunities for young people, with no discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Program was then open to graduating high school and CEGEP students in Canada who were beginning their studies at one of the universities in the National Capital Region. In doing so, the goal was to recruit students from across Canada, pay them a salary, and achieve the objectives set out in the report.

When the new Program was implemented, Speaker 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)

To learn more about the history of the Page Program, you may read the article entitled “The Commons Then and Now: Pages,” written by Marc Bosc, a former Page and former Acting Clerk of the House of Commons, for the Canadian Parliamentary Review (Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 1989).