A Working Group on Parliamentary Culture was established in May 2023 comprised of Hon. Raj. Chouhan, Speaker, MLA and Convener, Mable Elmore, MLA, Elenore Sturko, MLA, Sonia Furstenau, MLA, and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Kate Ryan-Lloyd (ex officio).
The Working Group serves as a forum to examine Legislative Assembly programs, procedures and practices and identify potential ways to strengthen respect and support for Members from all parties, backgrounds and identities. The scope of the Working Group does not extend to political matters or the role of political parties and caucuses.
The Working Group is gathering information and seeking input from current and former Members about their lived experiences and suggestions for strengthening the parliamentary and workplace culture at the Legislative Assembly. Current and former Members are invited to contact the Office of the Clerk by email or phone using the contact information below for more information.
The Working Group will carefully consider all information and intends to release a report with unanimous recommendations for changes in the current and future Parliaments by February 29, 2024.
Further information on the role and mandate of the Working Group is included in its Terms of Reference (see below).
Working Group on Parliamentary Culture
c/o Office of the Clerk
Room 221, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Terms of Reference
The Working Group on Parliamentary Culture shall examine the effectiveness of existing programs, procedures, practices and other tools relating to parliamentary culture which support Members of the Legislative Assembly and unanimously recommend:
- To the Legislative Assembly Management Committee: improvements regarding administrative, organizational or financial matters within the Committee's areas of responsibility;
- To the House Leaders: changes in matters of parliamentary procedure and practice;
- To the Speaker: matters relating to the Speaker's role as Presiding Officer;
- To the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly: enhanced supports or services to be provided by the Legislative Assembly Administration, Member orientation programs, professional development or cultural training opportunities for Members or staff.
The Working Group shall be empowered to:
- Examine existing tools to deal with matters relating to the state of parliamentary culture, including parliamentary procedures, practices, Standing Orders, policies, and other instruments that may be employed to help address unparliamentary behaviour and help improve the functions of the Legislative Assembly and its Members;
- Identify good practices and opportunities to foster a parliamentary culture that ensures a safe and respectful workplace for each Member in an inherently political environment, in terms of gender as well as other identities, including Indigeneity, race and ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, religion and age;
- Review infrastructure and institutional supports to address and promote reconciliation, gender equity, anti-racism, intersectionality, diversity, equity and inclusion and to be responsive to the lived realities of Members;
- Identify gaps to be addressed in parliamentary practices, procedures and programs to strengthen the parliamentary culture of the Legislative Assembly; and
- Develop possible improvements to procedures, practices, programs and other measures to remove barriers, better support the work of Members and strengthen the parliamentary culture of the Legislative Assembly, which could be implemented in the current and future Parliaments.
The Working Group shall seek input from current and former Members of the Legislative Assembly from all parties and a diversity of backgrounds about their experiences as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, including their experiences with procedures and practices, accessibility and safety on the Legislative Precinct; caucus, Legislative Assembly Administration and other supports, including support for their transition as newly elected Members and their ongoing work as Members, and other programs for Members administered by the Legislative Assembly Administration.
The Working Group shall complete its report including its unanimous recommendations by February 29, 2024 and shall request that the Chair submit its report to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, the House Leaders and the Speaker with all convenient speed and make the report publicly available at the earliest possible opportunity thereafter.