Adjournment Proceedings

The final category of business conducted on a sitting day is the Adjournment Proceedings. This period enables Members to seek further information from the government on questions raised in Question Period or on a question on the Order Paper for which no answer has been given within the 45 calendar days allowed.387

At the start of this 30-minute period, scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, a motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been moved and seconded.388 The Adjournment Proceedings allow for brief exchanges on no more than three predetermined topics.389 Each of these topics may be debated for at most 10 minutes of the 30-minute period set aside for Adjournment Proceedings.390 No later than 5:00 p.m., the Speaker must announce to the House which matter or matters are to be raised that day.391 At the outset of each 10-minute period, the Member raising the matter and the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary replying may each speak for not more than four minutes. Each may then make a subsequent one-minute intervention.392 Since 2001, Members have not been required to speak from their assigned seat during the Adjournment Proceedings.393

Points of order and questions of privilege may not be raised during this period, although the Speaker may read any messages from the Senate.394 After 30 minutes or on completion of debate, whichever comes first, the motion to adjourn is deemed to have been adopted, and the House is adjourned to the next sitting day.395 If a Member scheduled to raise a question during Adjournment Proceedings is absent when his or her question is to be debated, the adjournment notice shall be deemed withdrawn and the Member loses the opportunity to raise the question.396 On Fridays and on days when there are no questions scheduled for debate during the Adjournment Proceedings, the Speaker adjourns the House at the conclusion of the sitting.

Suspension or Delay of the Adjournment Proceedings

Occasionally, the Adjournment Proceedings are suspended because of other House orders specifying the completion or continuation of other business on a given sitting day. Adjournment Proceedings are suspended primarily when the sitting has been extended for an emergency debate397 or a take-note debate;398 when closure has been moved on an item;399 during proceedings for the election of the Speaker, over the course of a session, if the proceedings continue beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment;400 when proceedings under the rubric “Introduction of Government Bills” have not been completed before the hour of daily adjournment;401 and on the day designated for the presentation of the budget.402 When the House adopts a motion to adjourn early during a sitting, Adjournment Proceedings do not take place.

The Adjournment Proceedings may be delayed when a sitting is extended by a ceremony of Royal Assent, a ministerial statement,403 a question period on a time allocation motion,404 the resumption of debate on concurrence in a committee report,405 the extension of Private Members’ Business on the second sitting day set aside for the consideration of the report and third reading stages of a bill,406 and a recorded division that takes place during a sitting.407 The Adjournment Proceedings may also be delayed on the last allotted day in the supply periods ending December 10, March 26 and June 23.408 Finally, on days when Private Members’ Business has been deferred because of a delay or interruption, the Adjournment Proceedings are deferred by a period of time corresponding to the delay or interruption.409

If a motion is adopted to extend the hours of sitting during the last 10 sitting days in June, the Adjournment Proceedings are delayed until the agreed-upon hour of adjournment.410 If a motion has been adopted to continue a sitting pursuant to Standing Order 26, the Adjournment Proceedings take place at the conclusion of the sitting.411 On occasion, the Adjournment Proceedings have been interrupted by Royal Assent and resumed upon the return of the House from the Senate following the ceremony.412 On other occasions, when the sitting of the House has been extended for the consideration of legislation or for a special debate, the House sometimes opts to preserve the adjournment debate at its normal time; after the Adjournment Proceedings have concluded, instead of being automatically adopted, the motion to adjourn the House is deemed withdrawn.413 The same applies to the provision that the Adjournment Proceedings must have been held before the House resolves into Committee of the Whole to consider the estimates designated by the Leader of the Opposition.414 Lastly, the Speaker occasionally interrupts the Adjournment Proceedings to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate.415