Pursuant to Standing Order 108(1) of the House of Commons, the committee has the same powers as other House of Commons Standing Committees, including the powers to make reports and to send for persons, papers and records.
In addition, the Committee studies and reports on all matters relating to the mandate, management and operation of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). Such matters include:
In July 2013, responsibility for certain areas of Passport Canada’s activities were transferred from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The committee has been empowered to undertake studies on these matters since that date.
Standing Order 108(3)(b) of the House of Commons mandates the committee to monitor implementation of the principles of the federal multiculturalism policy throughout the Government of Canada. However, implementation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, which had been the responsibility of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration since 2008, was moved to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in 2015. Since then, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has examined issues related to the federal multiculturalism policy.
Immigration matters were once the responsibility of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Labour, Employment and Immigration. In June 1994, however, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act established the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, now more commonly known as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration was established to oversee the new department’s activities.
In 2003, the Canada Border Services Agency was created and certain responsibilities of IRCC concerning enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act were transferred to this new body. The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security is responsible for oversight of this Agency.
In the execution of its functions, each committee is normally assisted by a committee clerk, one or more analysts and a committee assistant. Occasional assistance is also provided by legislative clerks and lawyers from the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel. These individuals are non-partisan and serve all members of the committee and representatives of all parties equally.
The clerk performs their duties and responsibilities under the direction of the committee and its Chair. As an expert in the rules of the House of Commons, the clerk may be requested to give advice to the Chair and members of the committee should a question of procedure arise. The clerk is the coordinator, organizer and liaison officer for the committee, and as such, will be in frequent contact with members’ staff. They are also responsible for inviting witnesses and dealing with all the details regarding their appearance before the committee.
The committee assistant provides a wide range of specialized administrative services for the organization of committee meetings and the publishing of documents on the committee’s Website. The committee assistant works with the clerk to meet the needs of the committee.
The Library of Parliament’s analysts, who are subject-matter experts, provide authoritative, substantive, and timely research, analysis and information to all members of the committee. They are part of the committee’s institutional memory and are a unique resource for parliamentarians. Supported by research librarians, the analysts work individually or in multidisciplinary teams.
Analysts can prepare: briefing notes on the subjects being examined; detailed study plans; lists of proposed witnesses; analyses of an issue with a list of suggested questions; background papers; draft reports; news releases; and/or formal correspondence. Analysts with legal training can assist the committee regarding any substantive issues that may arise during the consideration of bills.
OTHER RESOURCES AVAILABLE AS REQUIRED
Within the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, parliamentary counsel (Legislation) are available to assist members who are not in Cabinet with the preparation of private members’ bills or of amendments to government bills or others.
At various stages of the legislative process, members may propose amendments to bills. Amendments may first be proposed at the committee stage, during a committee’s clause-by-clause review of a bill. Amendments may also be proposed at the report stage, once a bill returns to the House.
Once a bill is sent to committee, the clerk of the committee provides the name of the parliamentary counsel (Legislation) responsible for the drafting of the amendments for a particular bill to the members.
The legislative clerk serves all members of the committee as a specialist of the process by which a bill becomes law. They are available to give, upon request from members and their staff, advice on the admissibility of amendments when bills are referred to committee. The legislative clerk organizes the amendments into packages for committee stage, reviews all the committee amendments for procedural admissibility and prepares draft rulings for the Chair. During clause-by-clause consideration of bills in committee, a legislative clerk is in attendance to assist the committee with any procedural issues that may arise. The legislative clerk can also provide members with advice regarding the procedural admissibility of report stage amendments. When a bill is sent to committee, the clerk of the committee provides to the members the name of the legislative clerk assigned to the bill.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO)
The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) is an officer of Parliament created by the Parliament of Canada Act who supports Parliament by providing analysis, including analysis of macroeconomic and fiscal policy, for the purposes of raising the quality of parliamentary debate and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability.
The Parliament of Canada Act also provides the PBO with a mandate to, if requested by a committee, estimate the financial cost of any proposal over which Parliament has jurisdiction. Certain committees can also request research and analyses of the nation’s finances or economy, or of the estimates.
Further information on the PBO may be found at: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/
In addition to studying Estimates and Order-in-Council appointments, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration considered a government bill and released substantive reports on various issues during the 42nd Parliament.
(Please consult LEGISinfo for additional information regarding this bill.)