An issue of the Journals contains the minutes of a sitting of the House of Commons. As such, it is the authoritative record of the decisions and work undertaken by the House during that sitting. The Journals Branch prepares the Journals based on the formal notes and record, the Scroll, kept by the Clerk of the House during the course of a day’s sitting. An unedited version of the Journals is published on the House of Commons website each weekday morning following a sitting.
The Journals follows the proceedings of the House in the order that the Speaker calls out the headings in the Order of Business for that day. The entries in the Journals are succinct and formal descriptions of the business conducted by the House under those headings. The Journals do not include the words spoken in debate, nor when questions are asked or answered, nor when statements are made. These are reported in the Debates.
The Journals include the following information:
Any reports or documents (other than bills) formally presented in the House or filed with the Clerk are called sessional papers and are assigned sessional paper numbers by the Journals Branch. The sessional paper number is shown in the Journals along with a brief description of the document. These papers may be obtained from the Library of Parliament.
The Government may table in the House the following types of documents:
In addition the Government may table, either in the House or with the Office of Clerk of the House the following documents:
The day after each sitting day, the unedited Journals are revised, with any corrections or changes being incorporated into the text.
At the end of a session of Parliament, the revised text of the Journals is printed in bound volumes as the Journals of the House of Commons. The sessional Journals also contain lists and other information of general interest such as:
A comprehensive index to the Journals of the House is kept up to date throughout the session and is available on the House of Commons website. With the Publication Search tool, searches can be performed using keywords relating to House business, such as the tabling of parliamentary documents, the introduction of bills, motions, the presentation of committee reports and petitions, parliamentary procedure, and vote results. Journals indexes are also printed in bound volumes at the end of each session.
For more information on the indexes to the Journals, please contact the Information Management Unit (Parliamentary Publications) at the following coordinates:
(See the Journals of the House of Commons on the House of Commons website.)