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Ways and Means Motions

Before taxation legislation can be introduced and read a first time, a notice of a ways and means motion must first be tabled in the House by a Minister; this may be done at any time during a sitting.

On the day the notice is tabled or at some other time during the session, a Minister of the Crown may request that the Speaker designate an Order of the Day for the consideration of the ways and means motion and thereby cause the motion to be placed on the Order Paper.

A ways and means motion cannot be moved during the same sitting in which it is tabled, or before the ways and means proceedings regarding the budget have been completed.

When the Order of the Day is called, a Minister moves that the motion be concurred in. The motion for concurrence must then be decided immediately, without debate or amendment.

The adoption of a ways and means motion stands as an order of the House, either to bring in a bill or bills based on the provisions of that motion or to propose an amendment or amendments to a bill then before the House.

Ways and means motions can be expressed in general terms or can use very specific language, such as that found in draft legislation. In either case, they establish limits on the scope of the legislative measures they propose.

The provisions of a ways and means bill and any amendment proposed to it may not exceed the limits imposed in the ways and means motion. In particular, they may not increase the amount of a tax or extend the incidence of a tax or the applicable tax base. Amendments to decrease the amount of a tax or limit its incidence are admissible. There are essentially no other procedural restrictions on the motion’s wording or content.

Should a bill be found not to conform to the provisions of a ways and means motion, a new ways and means motion is required in order for the non-conforming provision to be considered and a decision to be made.

A bill requiring a royal recommendation and a ways and means motion must comply with the rules applying to both aspects of financial procedure.

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