Bills are legislative texts introduced in the National Assembly. They are considered in several stages by MNAs, both in the Assembly and in parliamentary committee. Bills become law once they have been passed in the Assembly and the Lieutenant-Governor has assented to them.
In keeping with the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Charter of the French language, bills introduced in the National Assembly are published in both French and English.
There are two types of bills:
- public bills, both government bills and private Members’ bills
- private bills
Citizens are welcome to comment on the bills considered by the Assembly. Consult the Voice Your Opinion section for more information.
Government Public Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills
Public bills are concerned with matters of public policy (as opposed to private bills, which represent private interests). They apply to all or most members of the public and deal with things such as minimum wage, occupational health and safety and the business hours of commercial establishments.
Any Member can introduce a public bill, so long as it does not entail State spending or create new taxes or duties. Only ministers can propose bills with a financial impact.
The MNA or minister who introduces a bill is known as its sponsor.
Most public bills are prepared and introduced by ministers and reflect the Government’s legislative agenda.
- Government bills are sponsored by a minister.
- Private Members' bills are sponsored by an MNA.
Stages in the Consideration of a Public Bill
The following stages normally take place in separate sittings of the Assembly:
- Introduction: The bill’s sponsor (an MNA or minister) presents it to the Assembly for consideration. The bill can usually be consulted online in the list of bills under consideration within one hour of its introduction.
- Referral for consultation: This optional stage allows MNAs to learn the needs and opinions of the persons or bodies affected by a bill. To this end, the Government House Leader moves that the bill be referred to a committee for consultation.
- Passage in principle: At this stage, MNAs debate the spirit and principle of the bill before the Assembly.
- Committee stage: The bill is studied in a parliamentary committee or a committee of the whole (which includes all 125 MNAs). The committee is chosen according to its areas of competence and its members examine each of the bill’s clauses.
- Report stage: The Assembly votes on the committee’s report, which must be adopted for the process to continue.
- Passage: This is the final stage before a bill is given assent.
The bill can be amended in stages 4, 5 and 6; its sponsor (an MNA or a minister) or another Member may propose amendments to the bill. However, in the final stage (passage), only the bill’s sponsor can propose amendments.
Assent by the Lieutenant-Governor
After a bill is passed, it is given assent and becomes a law. The law may take effect the same day it is assented to or on another date mentioned in the bill or to be set by the Government.
Assent is given during a ceremony held at the Lieutenant-Governor’s office in the presence of
- a representative of the President of the National Assembly
- a representative of the Secretary General of the National Assembly
- MNAs (all are invited)
- other persons invited by the Lieutenant-Governor or a Member.
Assent is usually given in the days following the passage of a bill.
Private bills deal with individual or local interests and thus concern only a municipality, a corporation or a private person, for instance. Anyone can submit a private bill to the Assembly.
Private bills are introduced in the Assembly via a Member, known as the bill’s sponsor.
For more on introducing a private bill
Stages in the Consideration of a Private Bill
Private bills go through a slightly different process from public bills.
After being introduced in the Assembly, a private bill is immediately referred to the appropriate parliamentary committee. The committee holds a public hearing to hear anyone interested in or concerned by the bill before proceeding to its detailed consideration.
After considering the bill in detail, the committee lays its report before the Assembly. There is no report stage for a private bill: the report is put to the vote immediately after being submitted.
Unless at least five Members voice their disapproval, the passage in principle and final passage of a private bill can take place in the same sitting, unlike public bills, whose final passage is set for a future sitting day.
Bills in the National Assembly are numbered as follows:
|Type of bill||Numbers
||1 to 189, 400 to 489, 500 to 589, etc.
|Private Member’s bills
||190 to 199, 390 to 399, 490 to 499, etc.
||200 to 389
Draft bills are proposed legislative texts that are submitted to Parliament by the Government. They are usually referred to a parliamentary committee, where they are subject to public consultation with a view to preparing a bill.
Draft bills are laid before the Assembly. They are published and can be consulted online.
To view draft bills, visit the bills section. If no draft bills are displayed for the chosen session, then none were tabled during that session.
Obtaining a Bill
To obtain a copy of a bill that was introduced or assented to, contact Publications du Québec.
- Telephone: 1-800-463-2100 (toll-free) or 418-643-5150 (Québec City area)
- Fax: 1-800-561-3479 (toll-free) or 418-643-6177 (Québec City area)