When the Legislative Assembly is in session, it sits from Monday to Thursday of each week. It does not sit on Wednesday mornings or on Fridays.
The Legislative Assembly typically meets between 5.5 to 7 hours per day when the House is sitting. Groups can observe debates at any time that the House is sitting.
Please consult the Parliamentary Calendar on the Legislative Assembly’s website for the most up-to-date schedule and hours of the Legislative Assembly.
When is Question Period?
Question Period occurs Monday - Thursday.
For the current session of Parliament, Question Period is scheduled as:
Only groups that have reserved tours at the following times will observe parts of Question Period from the Public Gallery:
What is Question Period?
Question Period takes place each day and lasts for 30 minutes. The purpose of Question Period is to provide Opposition MLAs with the opportunity to question the Premier and Members of Cabinet about the plans and activities of government.
Question Period is often lively, with MLAs intervening on each other's speeches to support or challenge what is being said. It is a dynamic style of discussion, in which MLAs generally respond to the points made by other Members rather than speaking from prepared notes.
While the rules may be different from those in your classroom, rules do apply during Question Period. For example, MLAs have a right to be heard without overwhelming background noise and unparliamentary language is not permitted. It is the Speaker’s responsibility to oversee the proceedings and to enforce the rules found in the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly.
What will be discussed in the Legislative Assembly at the time of our visit?
Outside of the scheduled daily business of the House (such as Question Period) and Private Members’ Time (Monday mornings), the major part of the day’s sitting is spent debating legislation (bills) proposed by the government or motions. It is the responsibility of government to determine what will be discussed at each sitting.
Visit the Legislation section of our website to see what bills have been introduced during the current session of the Legislative Assembly.
All bills must pass through three readings and a Committee stage before they can be presented to the Lieutenant Governor for Royal Assent. In addition to debating bills, other business that may be discussed at the time of your visit includes: Throne Speech Debate, Budget Debate, and Committee of Supply debates.
What are the rules of the Public Gallery?
All visitors must pass through a security scanning station (similar to those at an airport) before entering the Public Gallery.
Backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils, cameras, cell phones and all other electronic devices are not permitted and must be left at the security station.
Visitors must refrain from talking, reading, applauding, or taking notes while in the Public Gallery.
Photography is not permitted in the Public Gallery.
Visitors must rise during the Speaker’s Procession and the reading of prayers.
When is the Parliamentary Calendar released?
The Parliamentary Calendar for the year is typically released in early January.
Please be aware that the Parliamentary Calendar can be changed at any time. The Calendar that appears on the main page of Legislative Assembly’s website is the most up-to-date listing for sittings of the Legislative Assembly.
Please note that staff of the Parliamentary Tour Program do not have any information about future sittings of the Legislative Assembly until the calendar is released and it appears on the website.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)
Will our class be able to meet with an MLA?
The Parliamentary Tour Program notifies your school's MLA and invites them to meet with your class. We will use your school's postal code to determine which MLA to contact.
As the Members have very busy schedules, we cannot guarantee that they will be available to meet with your class.
The Parliamentary Tour Program is pleased to take a digital photograph of your group with your MLA. Please complete the Photo Consent Form and bring it with you on the day of your visit. Should your MLA not be available, a group photo is still available to you should you desire so.
Who is my school's MLA?
The Parliamentary Tour Program uses your school's postal code to determine which MLA to contact.
Use the MLA Finder to determine your school's MLA and to learn more about them.
Are there any resources to help my class prepare for their visit?
Visit our Information for Teachers page for a variety of educational resources, including lesson plans, classroom activities, fact sheets, posters, and videos.
Visit our Discover Your Legislature page for an interactive program on the Legislative Assembly, the legislative process, and the history of the Parliament Buildings.
Full transcripts and video of debates (including special events such as the Speech from the Throne and visits from distinguished guests) can be viewed on the Hansard Services section of our website.
See what bills have been introduced during the current or past sessions of the Legislative Assembly.
Visit the MLA Finder to learn more about your school's MLA.
View the MLA Seating Plan to find out where your MLA sits.
Chamber Poster (French - Chamber Poster) to see inside the Legislative Assembly.
Find out more about the rules of the Legislative Assembly in the Related Sites page for links to a multitude of great educational links from Canada and around the world.
Are there any programs for teachers offered by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia?
Yes. The Legislative Assembly offers an annual British Columbia Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy for teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
The Teachers' Institute is an intensive professional development opportunity for teachers of social studies and related subjects for grades K through 12. Teachers are invited to come to the Parliament Buildings in October and learn about parliamentary democracy and the political process.
How long does it take to get from the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay to the Parliament Buildings?
The drive to downtown can take as long as 1 hour from the time of your arrival at Swartz Bay.
Is there public parking at the Parliament Buildings?
No. Street parking and pay-parking lots are located nearby. For more information, please visit our Visitor Parking page.
What should we do when we arrive for our tour?
Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your tour and check in at the School Group Entrance at the back of the Parliament Buildings, on the East side of the Legislative Library.
Please bring your Tour Confirmation Letter and signed copy of the Photo Consent Form.
Are the Parliament Buildings wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Parliament Buildings are accessible for visitors in wheelchairs and those with limited mobility or young children in strollers. Please follow the ramp on the west side of the Main Entrance steps and ring the buzzer for assistance.
Is there a place for our students to leave their belongings during the tour?
No, the Parliamentary Tour Program is not able to store bags and backpacks. Students are encouraged to leave their belongings on the bus, or will have to carry them while on tour. If your group has seats in the Public Galleries, a backpack storage area is available upon entrance.
Is there a place for our students to eat lunch at the Parliament Buildings?
There is not a place for groups to eat inside the Parliament Buildings, however groups are welcome to order lunches from the Parliamentary Dining Room to enjoy outside. Please visit the Dining Room's website for more information.
Is there a lost and found at the Parliament Buildings?
Yes. Please contact Legislative Assembly Protective Services at
250-387-5516 if anyone in your group has lost anything.
Are there items that should not be brought to the Parliament Buildings?
Yes. The following items are prohibited in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia: aerosol containers; non-aerosol sprays (prescriptions for medical needs are permitted); any pointed object, i.e., knitting needles and letter openers (pens and pencils are permitted); electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices; guns, replica guns, ammunition and fireworks; knives of any size; mace and pepper spray; and razors and box cutters.
The Legislative Assembly Protective Services are authorized to make exceptions if a prohibited item is determined to be necessary and required to serve child care, medical or other special needs. If you have questions, please call the British Columbia Legislative Assembly Protective Services at 250-387-5555.