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Prorogation of Parliament

The prorogation of Parliament ends a session. This is done by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister.  The usual practice is for proclamations to be published in the Canada Gazette when the House is adjourned. Both the Senate and the House of Commons stand prorogued until the opening of the next session.

During a period of prorogation (or recess), the Speaker, the Prime Minister, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries remain in office, and all Members of the House retain their full rights and privileges.

The principal effect of ending a session by prorogation is to end business. All government bills that have not received Royal Assent prior to prorogation cease to exist; committee activity also ceases. Thus, no committee can sit after a prorogation.

In order for government bills to be proceeded with in a new session, they must be reintroduced as new bills or they may be reinstated, if the House adopts a motion to this effect.

The Standing Orders provide for the automatic reinstatement of all items of Private Members’ Business in a new session. Committee work may also be revived either by motion in the House, or in committee, depending upon the nature of the study.

Prorogation does not affect Orders or Addresses of the House for the tabling of government reports required by statute to be tabled. Requests for responses to committee reports or petitions are still valid following a prorogation. These continue in force from one session to another but end upon dissolution of Parliament.

Following a prorogation, and within 20 sitting days after the start of a new session, the government must table a document in the House outlining the reasons for the prorogation, and the document is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs immediately after it is presented.

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