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

In the execution of its functions, each committee is assisted normally by a clerk and a researcher; the clerk, in turn, receives assistance from the support services of the House.

Committee Clerk

The clerk of a committee is the procedural advisor to the Chair and all members of the committee and also acts as its administrative officer. The role of the committee clerk is analogous to that which the Clerk of the House has with respect to the Speaker and Members of the House. As a non-partisan and independent officer, the clerk serves equally all members of the committee as well as representatives of all parties; clerks discharge their duties and responsibilities with respect to the committee in consultation with the Chair. The clerk also acts as the committee’s liaison with other branches and services of the House of Commons.

Research Staff

The Library of Parliament provides research staff to all committees on request. The researchers provide briefing material and other background material to committee members. They may identify potential witnesses for the committee as well as possible lines of questioning during committee hearings and provide assistance to the committee in the drafting of reports to the House. Committees are free to seek additional or more specialized research help from outside the Library of Parliament if they require it. This is done on an ad hoc basis and the committee is required to pay for the assistance of outside researchers from its own budget.

Other Staff

On occasion, committees may engage outside consultants on contract to assist them in a study requiring a particular expertise. They may also hire additional support staff as the need arises. [280]  Engaging staff on a contract basis requires the adoption of a motion by the committee, which must specify the mandate and duration of the contract and a maximum rate or amount of remuneration. [281]  Outside staff engaged by a committee are paid from the committee’s budget, in conformity with the guidelines set out by the Board of Internal Economy. [282] 

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