Parliamentary committees were created to deal with a considerable amount of parliamentary business and thus increase the efficiency of the National Assembly.
A committee is a work group composed of a set number of MNAs who examine issues within the committee’s particular area of competence. For example, the members of the Committee on Institutions are concerned primarily with questions of justice and public security.
The Standing Orders of the National Assembly provide for 11 standing committees. These committees allow Members to fully carry out their role as legislators and overseers of government action.
To visit the websites of the standing committees:
The members of a parliamentary committee are appointed by the Committee on the National Assembly at the beginning of a new parliamentary session or, if need be, during a session. Each committee is composed of 10 MNAs:
- 6 from the parliamentary group forming the Government
- 4 from the Official Opposition
An independent MNA or an MNA from another parliamentary group may be appointed to a committee, in which case, the committee will be composed of 12 MNAs:
- 7 from the parliamentary group forming the Government
- 4 from the Official Opposition
- 1 independent MNA or an MNA from another parliamentary group
Members of a committee serve for 2 years. The sponsor or promoter of a bill also sits on the committee considering it.
Office of Chair and Vice-chair
At the opening of each session or, if need be, during a session, the Committee on the National Assembly meets to decide which committees will be chaired by an MNA from the group forming the Government and which will be chaired by an MNA from the Opposition.
The chair and vice-chair of a committee must not belong to the same parliamentary group, and they must be elected by a majority of the members from each parliamentary group. In the absence of the chair and vice-chair, an MNA is named temporary chair of the committee.
A committee clerk is a member of the Assembly's administrative staff who, in addition to acting as clerk, manages and coordinates a committee’s activities and serves as its main adviser on parliamentary procedure, i.e. on the set of rules that govern parliamentary proceedings.
A steering committee is responsible for organizing the proceedings of a parliamentary committee. A committee’s chair, vice-chair and clerk make up its steering committee.
The composition of the steering committee of the Committee on the National Assembly is different. It is made up of the President of the National Assembly, the House Leaders of the parliamentary groups and the committee clerk.
In general, parliamentary committees meet in public sittings to carry out their orders. They may also hold deliberative meetings or in camera sittings.
More on committee sittings and timetables and on attending a sitting
The committee calendar may be affected by the prorogation or dissolution of the Assembly.
Transcripts and Broadcasts
All committee proceedings except deliberative meetings and in camera sittings are systematically recorded and transcribed in their entirety in the Journal des débats (Hansard). Numerous sittings are broadcast on the National Assembly Channel in real time or later on and are available from the Audio and Video section of the National Assembly website.
There are 9 sectorial committees, whose areas of competence correspond to an area of activity of the State or society.
|Name||Areas of competence||Email
|Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy and Natural Resources
- Natural resources
|Committee on Planning and the Public Domain
- Land use planning and development
- Municipal affairs
- Sports and recreation
- Local and regional community development
|Committee on Culture and Education
- Vocational training
- Higher education
|Committee on Labour and the Economy
- Income security
|Committee on Public Finance
- Government administration
- Public service
- Pension plans
|Committee on Institutions
- Chairmanship of the Conseil exécutif
- Public security
- International and intergovernmental affairs
- Aboriginal affairs
|Committee on Citizen Relations
- Citizen relations
- Cultural communities
- Status of women
- Consumer protection
|Committee on Health and Social Services
- Social and community services
|Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Characteristics of Sectorial Committees
- They are multifunctional, fulfilling all the parliamentary functions in their areas of competence, namely:
- the consideration of bills
- oversight of government departments and public bodies
- the examination of the Government’s budget estimates
- They have a permanent membership and their members are appointed for 2 years, which guarantees stability and fosters expertise.
- They have the power to initiate public consultations, studies or research on any issue stemming from their areas of competence.
- They must examine the policy directions, management and activities of at least one public body per year that falls within their areas of competence. For example, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment could choose to investigate the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec.
- They must also hear the administrators of the bodies within their areas of competence at least once every 4 years in order to discuss their administrative management.
- They may not have a cabinet minister among their ranks, except:
- when considering a bill introduced by a cabinet minister
- when the Assembly has appointed a minister to a committee for the duration of a particular order
- during the Debate on the Budget Speech before the Committee on Public Finance
Orders of the Sectorial Committees
The sectorial committees have three types of orders.
Orders of the Sectorial Committees
|Order of reference
||The Assembly refers bills, the Government’s estimates of expenditure and other matters to committee for examination.
||Committees have the power to examine draft regulations and regulations, the policy directions, activities and management of departments and public bodies, petitions and any other matter of public interest without special reference from the Assembly.
||An Act or regulation may require a committee to study annual or periodical reports, the implementation or application of an Act or a regulation, for example.
Citizens are invited to comment on the work of the parliamentary committees. Go to the Voice Your Opinion section of the website to learn more.
For more on the orders carried out in the previous year, see the Activity Report of the National Assembly.
Committee on the National Assembly
The Committee on the National Assembly is the only committee whose members are appointed because of the parliamentary office they hold.
- It is always chaired by the President of the National Assembly.
- The Vice-presidents of the National Assembly, the House Leaders, the Whips and the chairs of the standing committees also sit on the Committee.
More on the people who hold these offices
The Committee must
- establish the Standing Orders of the National Assembly and the rules for the conduct of its proceedings and those of the committees
- coordinate the work of the other committees
- authorize the committees to travel or meet outside of the Assembly buildings
- hear office holders who, by law, are appointed by the Assembly
- deal with any issue not specifically referred to another committee
- examine questions of parliamentary reform via the standing Subcommittee on Parliamentary Reform
Committee on Public Administration
The Committee on Public Administration is composed of 10 permanent members to whom 8 temporary members may be added. Temporary members do not have the right to vote. It is always chaired by a Member of the Official Opposition.
The Committee must
- examine any financial commitments of $25,000 or more made by the Government
- hear the Auditor General with respect to his or her annual management report
- hear the deputy ministers and the chief executive officers of Québec’s public bodies at least once a year to see that public administrators render an account of their management
- examine the annual report on the implementation of the Public Administration Act
- examine any matter that the Assembly may refer to it
The Committee has no legislative duties, such as the detailed examination of bills.
Select committee are temporary committees created by the Assembly or under an Act to examine a particular matter.
Consult the list of parliamentary committees to see if any select committees are currently sitting.
Any committee can appoint a subcommittee of some of its members to examine a matter referred to it or which it has undertaken on its own initiative. Subcommittees are subject to the same rules as committees.
There is only one standing subcommittee in the National Assembly: the standing Subcommittee on Parliamentary Reform.