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The business of the National Assembly is conducted in accordance with a calendar set out in the Assembly’s Standing Orders. This calendar comprises the following elements:

More on the conduct of a sitting of the National Assembly


A Legislature is the period comprised between two general elections.

More specifically, as defined in the Act respecting the National Assembly, a Legislature

A Legislature

The word Legislature is also used to refer to the MNAs as a body.


A parliamentary session is a variable period within a Legislature. It begins on the date for which the Lieutenant-Governor summons the Assembly at the request of the Premier of Québec.

The length of each session is determined by the Government and may last anywhere from a single day to a number of years.

Sessional Periods

In the course of a year, there are two distinct periods during which the Assembly sits to conduct parliamentary business:

  • the spring period, which begins the second Tuesday of February and comprises 16 weeks of regular hours of meeting followed by two weeks of extended hours of meeting
  • the fall period, which begins the third Tuesday in September and comprises 10 weeks of regular hours of meeting followed by 2 weeks of extended hours of meeting

The beginning of a sessional period does not mark the start of a new session, since a session also includes the time between sessional periods.

At the start of each sessional period, the weeks to be set aside for riding work are determined jointly by the President, or Speaker, of the Assembly and the House Leaders of the parliamentary groups. The Assembly cannot sit during those weeks, which number three in the spring period and one in the fall period.
Detailed Assembly calendar

Opening of a Session

The first session of a Legislature begins with the election of the President and Vice-Presidents. This is followed by the Lieutenant-Governor’s address and by the Premier’s opening speech.

In the opening speech, the Premier lays out the program he or she will be submitting to the Assembly in the course of the session. During the ensuing debate, MNAs take the floor to voice their opinions on different aspects of the speech.

Subsequent sessions in the same Legislature begin with the address by the Lieutenant-Governor and the Premier’s  opening speech. If the position of President or one of the positions of Vice-President is vacant, an election is held prior to the Lieutenant-Governor’s address.

Conclusion of a Session

On the advice of the Cabinet, the Lieutenant-Governor ends a session in one of two ways:

As a rule, the Assembly is prorogued or dissolved by proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor. Prorogation or dissolution may also take place during a sitting of the Assembly in the presence of the Lieutenant-Governor, but this practice is not common in Québec.


Prorogation is a prerogative act of the executive branch and marks the closing of a parliamentary session.

At a time determined by the Government, the Cabinet adopts an order calling for the prorogation of the Assembly and its summoning at a later date. On the basis of this order, the Lieutenant-Governor prorogues and summons the Assembly by proclamation.

Effect of Prorogation on Parliamentary Business

Prorogation brings to a close all parliamentary business, including the consideration of any motions or bills. However, the consideration of bills may continue the following session at the stage it had reached prior to prorogation, provided the Assembly so decides either before or after prorogation.

On being prorogued, the Assembly ceases to sit.

Effect of Prorogation on Committee Work

Prorogation puts an end to all orders of parliamentary committees unless, beforehand, the Assembly adopts a motion

  • to prevent the orders from lapsing
  • to have the orders taken up during the following session at the stage they had reached before prorogation

The Assembly may also adopt a motion authorizing committees to sit after prorogation, before the start of a new session.

Effect of Prorogation on the Work of Select Committees

Prorogation puts an end to the work of a select committee unless

  • before being prorogued, the Assembly adopts a motion nullifying the effect of prorogation on the committee concerned
  • the Assembly adopts such a motion during the next session, with the unanimous consent of the MNAs


Dissolution is an act by which the Government, through the Lieutenant-Governor, ends the term of office of the MNAs and brings about a general election. Dissolution brings to a close not only the session but also the Legislature.
On a decision by the Government, the Cabinet adopts 2 orders:

  • the first to order dissolution of the Assembly and summon a new Assembly
  • the second to order a general election

Accordingly, the Lieutenant-Governor issues proclamations ordering that the National Assembly be dissolved, a general election be held and a new Assembly be summoned.

The date for which the new Assembly is summoned may subsequently be changed again by means of a government order followed by a proclamation by the Lieutenant-Governor.


  • terminates all business of the Assembly, including the consideration of bills
  • is followed by a general election

No further sittings are held before the Assembly is summoned by the Lieutenant-Governor.

Effect of Dissolution on the Work of Parliamentary Committees

Dissolution terminates the orders of the committees, including the consideration of bills. Committees hold no further meetings before the start of the new Legislature.

Effect of Dissolution on MNAs

On dissolution, the Assembly ceases to exist and the MNAs cease to hold office.

However, the following persons remain in office:

  • the President and Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, until their successors are elected during the first sitting of the new Legislature
  • the Premier and his or her ministers, until the swearing in of the new Cabinet (this ceremony generally takes place in the days immediately following the general election)


A session consists of sittings, or days when the Assembly meets. Most sittings are regular sittings, which means that they take place during one of the two sessional periods provided for in the Standing Orders.

More on

Extraordinary Sittings

At the Premier’s request, the Assembly may hold an extraordinary sitting outside the period provided for in the calendar.

An extraordinary sitting may also take place during regular periods at a time (day or hour) when the Assembly does not normally meet—on a Friday, for example, or in the evening.

Extraordinary sittings may not be held between sessions, that is, when the Assembly is prorogued. An extraordinary sitting held after the end of a session marks the beginning of a new session.


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