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Appointment of the Clerk of the House of Commons

The Clerk of the House of Commons is appointed by the Governor-in-Council under the provisions of the Public Service Employment Act , though neither the Clerk nor any staff of the House of Commons are technically part of the federal public service. The Clerk is required under the Parliament of Canada Act to swear an oath of allegiance administered by the Speaker of the House.

In 2001, the House agreed to a recommendation contained in the First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons that provided for a committee review of any proposed appointment of a Clerk of the House of Commons and a subsequent ratification vote by the House.

As a result of this recommendation, the Standing Orders were amended to provide that when the Government intends to appoint a person to the position of Clerk of the House of Commons, the name of the proposed appointee is referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The Committee may consider the appointment during a period of not more than thirty days and may report its views to the House.

Following this, a motion to ratify the appointment is put to the House during Routine Proceedings, and is decided without debate or amendment.

This procedure was used for the first time in 2005 when the proposed appointment of Audrey O'Brien was reviewed and recommended by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs , and was subsequently ratified by the House.

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