Members may give notice of a motion requesting that certain papers or documents be compiled or produced by the government and tabled in the House of Commons. “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers” resemble written questions in that they are requests for information from the government. All such motions are worded in the form of either an Order of the House (“That an Order of the House do issue ...”) or an Address to the Crown, a formal message requesting the production of documents in the Crown’s possession (“That a humble Address be presented to His/Her Excellency praying that he/she will cause to be laid before the House of Commons ...”).
A motion of this type, if adopted, becomes either an order that the government table certain documents in the House or an Address to the Governor General requesting that certain papers be sent to the House.
An Order of the House is used for papers concerning matters directly related to federal departments or the business of the House.
An Address to the Governor General is required for:
It is the responsibility of the Speaker to ensure that the motion proposed is appropriately worded so that it can achieve its purpose. When the House takes up motions for the production of papers, the debate is restricted to whether or not the papers should be produced rather than the subject matter of the papers.
Members must give 48 hours’ written notice of a motion for the production of papers, after which it is transferred from the Notice Paper to the Order Paper where it appears under the rubric “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers” on the following Wednesday, which is the only day of the week such notices of motions can be presented.
Standing Order 97(1) states that when a motion for the production of papers is called on a Wednesday following Routine Proceedings, it must either be dealt with immediately, without debate or amendment, or transferred for debate at the request of the sponsoring Member or a Minister.
If the motion is transferred for debate, the motion is placed on the Order Paper under the heading “Notices of Motions (Papers)” on the list of Items outside the Order of Precedence. It may be subject to debate at a subsequent time if it is selected by the sponsoring Member when his or her name is placed in the Order of Precedence.