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

… there is nothing wrong in trying to improve the life style of parliamentarians, many of whom are men and women with family responsibilities… . The fact that Members of Parliament would not have to sit in the evening will upgrade their role in the sense that … they would be free to come and go as they please, to look after the interests of their constituents, to sit on the standing committees of the House, to participate actively in the special caucuses of their respective parties, [and] to go and address the Canadian people in many communities located within a reasonable distance from Ottawa.

Yvon Pinard, President of the Privy Council
(Debates, November 29, 1982, p. 21070)


meeting, or “sitting”, of the House begins when the Speaker takes the Chair and, seeing that a quorum is present, calls the House to order. A sitting ends upon the adjournment of the House. On days when the House meets, it does so in accordance with a predetermined daily schedule or timetable. [1] Within this context, the House retains a large measure of flexibility in the timing and duration of its sittings, and departures from the usual daily timetable do occur.

This chapter provides an outline of the manner in which a sitting commences, the requirements for quorum, and the way that the hours of sitting are set or altered, as well as an examination of unusual or special types of sittings of the House.

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