Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary Procedure

​​​Parliamentary procedure at the Legislative Assembly is founded on constitutional and statutory provisions, the Standing Orders, parliamentary practice, and Speakers' rulings. Assembly proceedings are regulated by parliamentary rules and practices intended to expedite the business of the Assembly while ensuring the right of each Member to participate in the parliamentary process.

​Standing Orders
Standing Orders are the formal written rules adopted by the Assembly to govern its proceedings. The continuing or "standing" nature of these rules means that they remain in effect until the House itself decides to suspend, change, or replace them. Temporary sessional orders change or supplement existing rules for the session in which they were adopted, while special orders may apply to a single or special occasion.

Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia
Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia is the procedural authority of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. First authored by E. George MacMinn, O.B.C., Q.C., former Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, in 1981, the fifth and latest edition was published in 2020 under the editorship of Kate Ryan-Lloyd, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. The fifth edition publication features many user-friendly enhancements, including updated and reorganized content arranged thematically to reflect 12 years of procedural developments since the last edition was issued. 

The fifth edition of Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia serves as a useful reference for a wide variety of readers, including those with an interest in parliamentary procedure, constitutional law, and political science. For those interested in the study of parliamentary, political and democratic life in British Columbia, it also provides an understanding of the operations of the Legislative Assembly as well as expanded information on the role and work of Members of the Legislative Assembly, the foundational elements of parliamentary procedure and the legislative process, financial procedures, and parliamentary privilege. 

A softcover, perfect bound version of the fifth edition of Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia is available for purchase at the Parliamentary Gift Shop as well as through Crown Publications (external link). A free online HTML version of the publication is also available and contains a comprehensive search tool.

Petitions
A fundamental concept of parliamentary democracy is the right of the public to have access to parliament by way of petition.  A petition can be from an individual or group and can relate to the passage of a bill or the government's consideration of an important public issue. Since the Legislative Assembly is a representative institution, it considers only those matters submitted to it by its own Members and petitions are no exception.

Private Bills
A Private Bill relates to proposed legislation to address a matter of special benefit to a particular individual or group and is initiated by that individual or group. An applicant may seek a remedy to a matter which is not possible under existing laws, or might wish to obtain an exemption from the general application of public legislation that governs the laws affecting everyone else. A Private Bill will affect only one or a few persons, or a corporation, service club, or charity, but not the population as a whole.

Any person may apply for a Private Bill by filing with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly not later than 14 days after the opening of a Session. Standing Order 98 requires that the applicant publish a notice stating clearly the nature and objects of the proposed Bill and the name and address of the applicant. This advertising notice must be published in two issues of The British Columbia Gazette and once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper having a general circulation in the area where the applicant lives or in the locality most affected by the Bill.

The procedure for applying for a Private Bill is prescribed by Standing Orders 97-115.

The application deadline for the 2nd Session of the 42nd Parliament has passed. A new Session is expected to open on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. 

For further information, please contact the Office of the Clerk at OfficeoftheClerk@leg.bc.ca.

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