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Guidelines for Written Questions

In general, written questions are lengthy, often containing two or more subsections. They seek detailed or technical information from one or more government departments or agencies. Restrictions governing the form and content of written questions are found both within the Standing Orders and in custom, usage and tradition.

Forty-eight hours’ notice is required before a question may be placed on the Order Paper.

A written question is acceptable if:

Acting on the Speaker’s behalf, the Clerk has full authority to ensure that questions placed on the Order Paper conform to the rules and practices of the House. It is incumbent on a Member submitting a question for the Order Paper to ensure that it is formulated so as to elicit the precise information sought.

The Clerk may split a single question into two or more questions if it is too broad. If there are any irregularities in a question, the Clerk communicates this case to the Member who then has the opportunity to amend the question.

Withdrawal of a Written Question

A Member may withdraw a written question from the Order Paper by advising the Clerk in writing. A Member may also rise in the House to request that the Speaker withdraw the question.

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