43rd Parliament, 1st Session (December 5, 2019 - August 18, 2020) Current Session

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans ("the Committee") studies and reports on matters referred to it by the House of Commons, or on topics the Committee itself chooses to examine. It is a permanent committee established by the Standing Orders of the House of Commons (S.O. 104(2)(g)). Legislation, departmental activities and spending, and other matters related to the general subject matter of the Committee may be referred to it from time to time. For a more detailed overview of parliamentary committees, see Our Procedure.

Under Standing Order 108(1), standing committees can examine any matters referred to them by the House of Commons or as required by legislation. They can report to the House, send for persons or records, and delegate their powers to subcommittees. They can sit whether the House is sitting or adjourned, and may sit jointly with other standing committees. In general, committees can study and report on:

  • legislation relating to the department(s) under their purview;
  • program and policy objectives of the department (by reviewing the department’s annual Report on Plans and Priorities);
  • immediate, medium and long-term expenditure plans of the department, and the effectiveness of their implementation (by reviewing the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates throughout the budgetary cycle);
  • the relative success of the department, as measured by the results obtained as compared with its stated objectives (by reviewing the annual Departmental Performance Reports); and
  • other matters relating to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the department, as the committee deems fit.

Under Standing Order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans can study the policies, programs and legislation and any matter of interest, as they see fit, related to the department assigned to it, namely, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), including the Canadian Coast Guard which operates as a special operating agency of DFO. Various independent agencies and Crown corporations are also assigned to the Committee:

  • Atlantic Fisheries Licence Appeal Board; and
  • Pacific Region Licence Appeal Board.

When reviewing bills referred to it by the House of Commons, a committee may study each clause of the bill and report the bill back to the House, with or without amendment. When bills are referred to a committee after second reading, any amendments proposed must not run counter to the fundamental principle and scope of the bill. However, Standing Order 73 also allows for a bill to be referred to a committee before second reading, thus providing the committee with the opportunity to amend the draft legislation more substantially. Furthermore, committees may be asked by the House of Commons to review draft legislation before it is introduced in the House.