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Committee Membership

Standing Committees

The Standing Orders provide for standing committees to be composed of 10 members. Within 10 sitting days of its appointment at the beginning of a Parliament, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is required under Standing Order 104(1) to report to the House the list of standing committee members. The list of committee members must be revised within the first 10 sitting days of each session.

The membership of standing committees comes into effect upon the adoption of the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

When members of a standing or standing joint committee are unable to attend committee meetings, the Standing Orders provide for their replacement by designated substitutes. A substitute enjoys the same rights and privileges as the regular member of a committee who is being replaced. Substitutes are counted for the purposes of establishing a quorum; they may participate in debate, move motions and vote.

Legislative Committees

The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is also responsible for naming members to legislative committees, which are struck on an ad hoc basis. Within five sitting days of the commencement of debate on a motion to establish a legislative committee or to refer a bill to one, the Procedure and House Affairs Committee must meet, as required by Standing Order 113(1), to establish a membership list of up to 15 members to serve on the committee. The membership list does not include the Chair of the committee, who is named separately by the Speaker from the Panel of Chairs as per Standing Order 113(2). The report, which must be presented in the House no later than the following Thursday, is deemed adopted upon presentation.

Special Committees

Standing Order 105 provides that special committees have a maximum of 15 members. The membership of special committees may be established in several ways:

Joint Committees

Joint committees of the House and Senate, both standing and special, have memberships proportional to the relative size of both Houses as specified in Standing Order 104(3). House membership on standing joint committees is determined by the adoption of a report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. House membership on special joint committees may be included in the order of reference that establishes the committee; or it may be named later either by motion of the House or by the adoption of a report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In each case, the House must inform the Senate, by way of a message, of the Members who will represent it.

Non-Voting Members

Pursuant to Standing Order 104(5), the Chief Government Whip may appoint Parliamentary Secretaries to serve as non-voting members on any standing, special or legislative committee. Non-voting members have all of the rights and privileges of a committee member, but may neither vote, nor move any motion, nor be counted for the purposes of a quorum. A Parliamentary Secretary cannot be appointed to any standing, legislative or special committee except as a non-voting member.


The main committee usually determines the membership of its subcommittees. Members of subcommittees may be named directly as part of the order of reference adopted by the main committee or by the Chair of the main committee following consultations with the party Whips. They can be selected either from the list of regular members of the committee or from the list of associate members established by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs pursuant to Standing Order 108(1)(c).

The subcommittee on agenda and procedure (steering committee) typically consists of the Chair of the committee, the Vice-Chairs, and representatives of each of the other recognized parties.

The membership of a subcommittee need not necessarily reflect the proportions of party membership either on the main committee or in the House itself.

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