Subcommittees are working groups that report to existing committees. The establishment of subcommittees is usually designed to relieve parliamentary committees or planning and administrative tasks, or to address important issues relating to their mandate. In practice, most standing committees create a subcommittee on agenda and procedure, commonly referred to as a “steering committee”, to help them plan their work. Committees that have a subcommittee on agenda and procedure adopt a routine motion establishing the subcommittee and specifying its composition.
Once established, subcommittees carry out their own work within the mandate entrusted to them. They are free to adopt rules to govern their activities, provided these are consistent with the framework established by the main committee. Subcommittees report to their main committee with respect to resolutions, motions or reports they wish the main committee to concur in. Proposals by a steering committee as to how the main committee’s work is to be organized must be approved by the committee itself by having the subcommittee adopt a report for presentation to the main committee.