House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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Routine Proceedings are an essential part of the House business and if they are not protected the interests of the House and the public it serves are likely to suffer.

Speaker John A. Fraser
(Debates, April 14, 1987, p. 5120)


hile Chapters 8 and 9 describe the parliamentary calendar and the hours of sitting of the House respectively, this chapter provides an outline of the recurring sequence of business for each sitting day, that is, the daily order of business, and gives details of the major categories of daily business.

The daily business of the House is taken up according to a predetermined sequence outlined in the rules of the House. [1]  In 1867, the program of the House varied according to the days of the week. [2]  Afterwards, almost every time major rule revisions took place, the order of business was affected. The majority of alterations came about as a result of the changing nature of the business coming before the House, the growing volume of government business to be transacted and changes to the hours of sitting.

All items of business that can be dealt with on a given day are listed on the daily Order Paper, the official agenda of the House. See Figure 10.1 which depicts the day by day order of business. The daily activities of the House are generally grouped into five categories:

  • Daily Proceedings;
  • Routine Proceedings;
  • Government Orders;
  • Private Members’ Business;
  • Adjournment Proceedings.
Figure 10.1 – Daily Order of Busines
Image showing, in a table, the weekly calendar of the House of Commons. The first and last columns list, by row, the times of day. The remaining columns in the middle correspond to the days of the week. In the body of the table, users can find the items of business dealt with on particular days at particular times.

The Daily Proceedings include three events in the daily schedule: Prayers (followed by the National Anthem on Wednesdays), Statements by Members and Oral Questions. The Daily Routine of Business, or Routine Proceedings as it is more commonly known, consists of separate categories of business usually referred to as rubrics and includes, among other items, tabling of documents, statements by Ministers and the introduction of bills sponsored by either the government or private Members. Government Orders include any item of business proposed by a Minister which the House has ordered for consideration. Each day one hour of House time is set aside for Private Members’ Business during which bills and motions sponsored by Members who are not Ministers are considered. The Adjournment Proceedings are the final category of business considered on a sitting day (Fridays excepted).

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