The clerk of a committee is the procedural advisor to the Chair and all members of the committee and also acts as its administrative officer. The role of the committee clerk is analogous to that of the Clerk of the House with respect to the Speaker and Members of the House of Commons.
As a non-partisan and independent officer, the clerk serves all members of the committee and representatives of all parties equally; clerks discharge their duties and responsibilities with respect to the committee in consultation with the Chair. The clerk also acts as the committee’s liaison with other branches and services of the House of Commons. Administrative support staff are assigned to assist the committee work under the direction of the committee clerk.
The Library of Parliament provides research analysts to all committees on request. The analysts provide briefing material and other background material to committee members. They may identify potential witnesses for the committee as well as possible lines of questioning during committee hearings and assist the committee in the drafting of reports to the House.
On occasion, pursuant to Standing Order 120, committees may hire consultants on contract to assist them in a study requiring a particular expertise. They may also hire additional support staff as the need arises. Hiring staff on a contract basis requires the adoption of a motion by the committee, which must specify the mandate and duration of the contract and a maximum rate or amount of remuneration.
Outside staff hired by a committee is paid from the committee’s budget, in conformity with the guidelines set out by the Board of Internal Economy.