Parliamentary committees are appointed by the Legislative Assembly to undertake business on behalf of the Assembly. They are comprised of small groups of MLAs from all parties and, on occasion,
Independent Members. Committees derive their powers from the Legislative Assembly and must report their findings back to the Assembly.
The committee system allows for a more detailed examination of policy and other matters than is possible in the larger Assembly. At times, the committee system provides members of the public with an opportunity to have direct input into the parliamentary process by participating in a public consultation. Committees may travel throughout B.C. to fulfill their mandate.
A Special Committee of Selection usually determines the composition of all parliamentary committees at the start of a
new session and presents a report on membership to the Assembly. Once MLAs have been appointed to a committee, a chair and deputy chair are elected at its first meeting. The chair is often a member of the
governing party and the deputy chair is often a member of the
Official Opposition, although this may vary by committee (for example, the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts is traditionally chaired by an Official Opposition MLA).
There are two types of parliamentary committees: select standing committees and special committees.
Select Standing Committees
Select standing committees are permanent committees that consider issues of importance to British Columbians as authorized by the Assembly. The
Standing Orders set out 10 select standing committees:
Agriculture, Fish and Food
Children and Youth
Finance and Government Services
Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills
Special committees are temporary committees that may be created by the Legislative Assembly to examine a single, specific issue. These committees cease to exist after they have completed their work and have presented a final report to the Assembly. Special committees are also involved in recommending candidates for
statutory officer positions.
For more information of parliamentary committees, visit the
Legislative Assembly website.