The Status of House Business provides a concise history of each item of business that has been considered by the House or that has appeared on the Order Paper and Notice Paper. The Status is published electronically by the Journals Branch daily when the House is sitting. A printed version is published at the end of each parliamentary session.
The document is divided into five parts:
Part I of the Status of House Business outlines the legislative history of all bills in the House, including Government Bills introduced in the House of Commons or the Senate, as well as all motions under Government Orders. An entry for a bill contains such information as:
Motions under Government Orders are motions dealing with supply, ways and means and other Government business. Each entry includes:
Part II of the Status of House Business provides the history of public bills sponsored by private Members originating in the House or Senate, private bills and Private Members’ motions (including motions for the production of papers).
Each entry includes an indication of the subject matter of the item, the dates on which notice was given and the item was considered, the sponsor, the disposition of the motion, and any other useful information about the motion’s history.
Part III of the Status of House Business concerns written questions. Once a written question has been placed on notice, answered, made an order for return (which calls for the answer to be tabled as a sessional paper), withdrawn, or transferred to the Adjournment Proceedings for debate, an entry appears in the Status of House Business. If the question was answered, the entry gives the reference in the Debates. If the question was made an order for return, the sessional paper number of the return (the document tabled in response) is given.
The failure of the Government to respond to a written question within the requested 45 days is automatically referred to a standing committee, which must consider the lack of a government response within five sitting days.
Part IV of the Status of House Business provides information about motions for concurrence in committee reports and other motions regarding standing and special committees.
Motions relating to the business respecting standing committees deal with striking committee reports, membership changes, concurrence in committee reports, orders of reference relating to travel and other business. The information is grouped by standing committee as listed in the Standing Orders.
Information relating to the business respecting special committees deals with orders of reference, concurrence in committee reports and other business. The information in this section is grouped by special committee.
This section of the Status of House Business contains information on motions that deal with other business of the House, such as the times of sitting of the House and its order of business, amendments to the Standing Orders, resolutions, questions of privilege, and emergency debates. The information in this section is grouped and numbered for reference only.
As of the Forty-Second Parliament, there is no longer an index updated daily throughout the session and published at the end of the session with the final version of the Status of House Business. However, all Status of House Business documents published before the Forty-Second Parliament include a subject-based alphabetical index in both official languages. These indexes are still available to the public at the Library of Parliament or electronically and in print format on the House of Commons website.
The references in these indexes are not to page numbers but rather to items of business and sections of the Status: “C-” for Commons bills, “S-” for Senate bills, “M-” for most motions, “P-” for motions for the production of papers, “Q-” for Questions, “Other Business No. ” for items in the Other Business section, “Supply Proceedings No.” for items in the Business of Supply, and so forth. In addition to the subject-based entries, these indexes provide lists under certain headings, such as allotted days, individual names of Members, and supply motions.
(See the Status of House Business on the House of Commons website.)