On occasion, a committee may decide to hold an in camera meeting to deal with administrative matters, to consider a draft report or to receive a background briefing. Committees also meet in camera to deal with subject matters requiring confidentiality, such as national security. Often, a committee that has several items on its agenda will hold part of a meeting in public and part in camera.
At in camera meetings, neither the public nor the media is permitted, and there is no broadcasting of any kind. The committee decides, either on a case-by-case basis or as a matter of general policy, whether a transcript of in camera proceedings are to be kept. Minutes of in camera meetings are publicly available, but certain information usually found in the minutes of committee meetings is not included.
Members of the House who are not members of the committee or properly designated substitutes are expected to withdraw when a committee is meeting in camera. However, at the discretion of the committee, non-members may remain during in camera sessions.
Divulging any part of the proceedings of an in camera committee meeting has been ruled by the Speaker to constitute a prima facie breach of privilege.