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Dissolution of Parliament

Dissolution terminates a Parliament, ending all business in the Senate and the House of Commons. It is followed by a general election. Dissolution is accomplished when the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, issues a proclamation, published in the Canada Gazette, to this effect.

A second proclamation, which usually appears at the same time, calls the next Parliament, orders the issuing of election writs to ridings across the country, and fixes dates for polling and for the return of the writs. A third proclamation fixes the date on which Parliament is summoned to meet, sometime following the return of the election writs. The date of this summons may be changed by means of a further proclamation.

The Constitution limits the duration of a Parliament to five years, except in the event of “war, invasion or insurrection”. In the absence of dissolution, the Parliament would simply “expire”. In practice, Parliament has always been dissolved, even if dissolution has taken place only a few days before the five years have passed. Recent changes were made to the Canada Elections Act to provide that, subject to an earlier dissolution of Parliament, a general election must be held on the third Monday in October in the fourth year following polling day for the last general election.

Effect of Dissolution on the House

Effect of Dissolution on Committees

Effect of Dissolution on Parliamentary Associations and Exchanges

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