House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

House of Commons Procedure and Practice - 10. The Daily Program - Contents and Introduction

10. The Daily Program

Photo of stone brackets from the Speakers and Clerks series in the House of Commons Chamber.

Figure 10.1  Daily Order of Business


*    Prayers

Historical Perspective

*    National Anthem

*    Statements by Members

Historical Perspective


*    Oral Questions



*    Historical Perspective

*    Tabling of Documents

Historical Perspective

Tabling of Documents by a Minister

Tabling of Documents by Private Members

Tabling of Documents by the Speaker

Tabling of Documents During Periods of Adjournment or Prorogation

Tabling of Documents After a Dissolution

*    Introduction of Government Bills

*    Statements by Ministers

Historical Perspective


*    Presenting Reports from Interparliamentary Delegations

*    Presenting Reports from Committees

*    Introduction of Private Members’ Bills

*    First Reading of Senate Public Bills

*    Motions

Historical Perspective


Motions for the Proposed Appointment of an Officer of Parliament

Motions for Concurrence in Committee Reports

Routine Motions for Which Unanimous Consent Has Been Denied

Motions Concerning Committee Travel

*    Presenting Petitions

Historical Perspective

*    Questions on the Order Paper

Historical Perspective


*    Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers

Historical Perspective

Manner in Which Notices Are Called

Responses to Orders for the Production of Papers



*    Historical Perspective

*    Orders of the Day



*    Historical Perspective

*    Suspension of Private Members’ Business



*    Historical Perspective

*    Suspension or Delay of the Adjournment Proceedings



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)

While Chapters 8 and 9 describe the calendar and the hours of sitting of the House respectively, this chapter describes 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. Figure 10.1 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; and

*       Adjournment Proceedings.

Figure 10.1 Daily Order of Business


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.

Daily Proceedings include three events in the daily schedule: Prayers (followed by the National Anthem on Wednesdays only[3]), 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 that 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. Adjournment Proceedings are the final category of business considered on a sitting day (Fridays excepted).

[1] Standing Order 30(6).

[2] Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceeding of the House of Commons of Canada, 1868, Rule No. 19.

[3] Following a 1995 decision of the House, Members sing the national anthem on Wednesdays after the prayer. For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “National Anthem”.

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