Motion Moved by a Minister Authorizing a Committee to Travel

As part of its activities, it may be necessary for a committee to meet outside the precincts of Parliament. A committee may travel only if such travel has been authorized by the House, and in the case of standing committees, only if funds for the travel have been approved by the Liaison Committee; and in the case of special and legislative committees, only if funds have been authorized by the Board of Internal Economy.

In almost all cases, authorization to travel has been granted by unanimous consent.202 It can also be granted through concurrence in a committee report requesting such authorization,203 or by using the mechanism by which a Minister moves a routine motion for which unanimous consent had previously been denied.204

There is also another option available to the House to grant a committee the power to “adjourn from place to place”, in other words, to undertake travel to assist with its various studies. First, a Minister must give written notice of a motion authorizing a committee to travel. After the 48-hour notice period has ended, the Speaker puts the question on the motion forthwith, without debate or amendment, when the House proceeds to the consideration of the rubric “Motions” during Routine Proceedings. The Speaker will ask those who object to rise in their places. If 10 or more Members then rise, the motion shall be deemed withdrawn. Otherwise, the motion is deemed adopted.205

This Standing Order was adopted in October 2001, following a recommendation in the First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons. The Committee had found it unacceptable that the procedural motions authorizing committee travel could be “derailed by one disgruntled or recalcitrant Member”.206 To date, the Standing Order has never been invoked.