About Reporting Services
Hansard Reporting Services publishes the Official Report of Debates for the Legislative Assembly and the Report of Proceedings for Parliamentary Committees. Before publishing these final reports, draft transcripts (known as "Blues") are posted to the Internet. The entire draft transcript is usually available about an hour after the adjournment of a sitting. Parliamentary committee Blues are typically posted on the committee's website within a few hours of the adjournment of the committee. Reporting Services also produces comprehensive on-line indexes for all proceedings.
About Broadcasting Services
Hansard Broadcasting Services produces the live television broadcast of Legislative Assembly sittings. The proceedings of the Committee of Supply are recorded and rebroadcast in the evening after adjournment. The audio of Parliamentary Committees is also broadcast on the legislative television channel. Additionally, these broadcasts are streamed as live and on-demand webcasts.
Hansard in British Columbia
The Official Report
Like most jurisdictions in the British Commonwealth, the official report of debates in B.C. is called "Hansard." The name comes from Thomas Curson Hansard, who in the early 19th century began publishing the debates of the British House of Commons under the title Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. Although the association with the Hansard family ended in 1889, the term "Hansard" had become synonymous with parliamentary reporting.
B.C.'s Hansard was first instituted in 1970 when a limited report of House debates was prepared. It became a full report in 1972 when the debates of budget estimates (Committee of Supply) and clause-by-clause debate of bills (Committee of the Whole) were included in the transcript.
Hansard is typically described as a "substantially verbatim report," a phrase coined in 1907 by a British parliamentary committee that had been tasked to investigate the creation of a publicly funded Hansard office for the Westminster parliament. The B.C. Hansard report is very close to a verbatim account. Hansard editors do make minor edits to the text to aid readability; however, every effort is made to retain the character and manner of individual speakers.
Legislative Broadcasting and Webcasting
Hansard Broadcasting Services began in 1991 with live television coverage of all proceedings in the Legislative Chamber. The broadcast signal is distributed via satellite and is available free of charge to all cable providers in the province. As a result, the televised proceedings can be received in nearly every community in the province. In 2005, Hansard was mandated to televise the proceedings of Section A of the Committee of Supply, which meets in the Douglas Fir Room. The debates of "Committee A" are recorded and rebroadcast each evening after the House broadcast.
Webcasting services were introduced in 2003, providing access to the broadcast signal over the Internet. In 2005, live streaming of the proceedings of Committee A in the Douglas Fir Room was added. At the same time, webstreaming was extended to audio webcasts of the public proceedings of special and select standing committees of the Legislature. Live and archived webcasts are available on each committee's website for all public meetings, whether they are held on the legislative precincts in Victoria or in any other community a committee chooses to travel to — from Vancouver to Vernon, Vanderhoof or beyond.