House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …

19. Committees of the Whole House

Consideration of Motions in a Committee of the Whole

Although the House now resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole primarily for the consideration of legislation, other matters such as motions, resolutions and addresses have been considered in a Committee of the Whole. [184] Indeed, the potential mandate of a Committee of the Whole is virtually unlimited as it may consider any substantive motion which the House chooses to refer to it. [185]  In the past, the consideration of matters other than legislation was largely limited to resolutions preceding bills involving the expenditure of public funds, resolutions relating to trade, and resolutions providing for the grant of public money [186]  or for the imposition of a public tax; from time to time, other matters have also been debated in a Committee of the Whole. [187] 

When a motion or resolution is referred to a Committee of the Whole for consideration, the Chairman proposes the motion or resolution and asks the Committee if it wishes to adopt it. [188]  The sponsor of the resolution or motion opens the debate and other Members then rise to participate in the debate and to ask questions. The normal rules for debate in a Committee of the Whole apply. Amendments and subamendments may be proposed. At the conclusion of debate, the Chairman will put the question on the resolution or motion. If agreed to, the Chairman requests leave to report the resolution or motion to the House. If leave is granted, the Chairman rises, the Mace is put back in place on the Table, the Speaker resumes the Chair, and the Chairman reports the resolution or motion. [189] 

Should a Committee of the Whole report a resolution, the Speaker immediately puts the motion to concur in the resolution, without debate or amendment. [190]  Given that the House declares its own opinions and purposes by resolution, [191]  if the House agrees with the concurrence motion, it expresses its support for the content of the resolution; if not, the House withholds its support.

Please note —

As the rules and practices of the House of Commons are subject to change, users should remember that this edition of Procedure and Practice was published in January 2000. Standing Order changes adopted since then, as well as other changes in practice, are not reflected in the text. The Appendices to the book, however, have been updated and now include information up to the end of the 38th Parliament in November 2005.

To confirm current rules and practice, please consult the latest version of the Standing Orders on the Parliament of Canada Web site.

For further information about the procedures of the House of Commons, please contact the Table Research Branch at (613) 996-3611 or by e-mail at