Every action of the Deputy Speaker, when acting in the Speaker’s place, has the same effect and validity as if the Speaker had acted.
The Parliament of Canada Act provides that when the Clerk announces to the House the unavoidable absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker takes the Chair.
The primary role of the Deputy Speaker and the other Chair Occupants is to support the Speaker in the Chamber as presiding officer, to take the Chair when the House sits as a Committee of the Whole and, on occasion, to chair legislative committees.
When the House forms itself into a Committee of the Whole, it is the duty of the Chair of Committees of the Whole to take the Chair if present in his or her place in the House. The Deputy Speaker also has administrative duties.
The Deputy Speaker is a member of the Panel of Chairs for legislative committees, and may be appointed by the Speaker to chair a legislative committee, or to act in place of the Speaker to appoint Members to chair legislative committees.
The Deputy Speaker generally avoids taking part in debate but maintains the right to vote when not presiding over the House.
The Deputy Speaker is not elected by secret ballot. Instead, the Speaker, after consultation with the leaders of each of the officially recognized parties, announces the name of a Member he or she considers to be qualified for the position. The motion is deemed to have been moved and seconded, and the question is put without debate or amendment.
The Deputy Speaker is selected at the start of every Parliament and holds office for the duration of the Parliament. In the event of a vacancy in the office, the House must proceed immediately to the selection of a successor.
The rules require the Deputy Speaker to be fluent in the official language that is not that of the Speaker.