Skip to main content Start of content

Deferred Votes

A recorded vote (division) on a debatable motion, if demanded, need not be held immediately; it may be deferred to a later time pursuant to various provisions in the Standing Orders or by a special order of the House.

A recorded division on a debatable motion may be deferred to a designated time at the request of the Chief Government Whip or the Chief Opposition Whip, either of whom may act alone. One of the Whips may approach the Speaker, after the question has been put and while the division bells are ringing, to ask that the vote be deferred. The Speaker stops the ringing of the bells and then informs the House that the recorded vote is deferred until the time requested by the Whip—later in the same sitting or at a specific time not later than the ordinary hour of adjournment on the next sitting day that is not a Friday. If both Whips request that a vote be deferred but do not agree until when, the Speaker makes the final decision on the time.

Alternatively, after a recorded division has been demanded and the division bells have begun to ring, the Chief Government Whip may, with the agreement of the Whips of all the recognized parties, approach the Chair and ask the Speaker to defer the division to an agreed-upon date and time, which can extend beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on the next sitting day. On supply days, a recorded division on a votable opposition motion by a party other than the Official Opposition may also be deferred at the request of the Whip of that party.

Recorded divisions on debatable motions demanded on a Friday are automatically deferred until the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on the next sitting day. Similarly, when on Thursday a recorded division is deferred to Friday, it is automatically further deferred to the next sitting day—usually the following Monday—at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

When the time arrives to take one or more deferred divisions, the Speaker interrupts the proceedings at the time set down in the Standing Orders or ordered by the House, informs the House that the deferred vote or votes will now be held, and orders that Members be called in. The division bells are rung for not more than 15 minutes. Once the Whips have appeared, the Speaker proceeds immediately to put the question. When there are several votes to be taken, the House may first agree to the sequence in which they will be taken; otherwise, the questions are put in the order in which they came before the House and were deferred.

When a recorded division is deferred until the end of Question Period, the time for Government Orders is extended by an amount equivalent to that required for the taking of the division.

Deferred Divisions on Private Members’ Business

Once consideration of a votable item of Private Members’ Business ends and a recorded division is requested, the vote is deferred to the next Wednesday, pursuant to Standing Order 98(4).

Top of page