Assembly Branches

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Legislative Assembly branches and staff provide professional non-partisan services to support the democratic institution of Parliament and its members through procedural advice, administrative support, and information services.



Office of the Speaker

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As the Legislative Assembly's most senior official, the Speaker serves as the impartial presiding officer. The provincial Constitution Act provides for the election of the Speaker, and describes certain other duties and roles of the position. The Speaker fulfils procedural, administrative, and representative responsibilities related to the Legislative Assembly.

Procedural Responsibilities

In the Legislative Assembly, the Speaker presides over debates, maintains order, and ensures that Members abide by the Standing Orders which govern conduct and procedures in the House.

Administrative Responsibilities

The Speaker chairs the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, the statutory all-party committee that reviews and approves operating policy for the Legislative Assembly and governs the Assembly's financial affairs, including the review and approval of Vote 1.

Representative Responsibilities

As the head of the legislative branch of government, the Speaker represents the Legislative Assembly in all relations with external organizations and individuals, and serves as the President of the British Columbia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The Office coordinates protocol duties required of the Speaker and/or Members for visiting delegations, official visitors and consular representatives from other jurisdictions, and provides support to the Speaker in the fulfillment of these duties. The Office also assists Members with a wide range of issues and concerns.




Office of the Clerk

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Members are supported in their parliamentary functions by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly who reports to the Speaker and the Legislative Assembly. In addition to procedural responsibilities, the Clerk is also responsible for the overall direction and administration of the Legislative Assembly.

Procedural Responsibilities

The Clerk provides non-partisan procedural advice to the Speaker and all Members of the House and may be consulted at any time regarding procedural and House matters. The Clerk also administers the Oath of Allegiance to duly elected Members and presides over the election of the Speaker.

The Office of the Clerk maintains the records of all parliamentary proceedings, and oversees the preparation of the Orders of the Day and Votes and Proceedings as well as the Journals of the House. The Office also assists with protocol arrangements for legislative functions and ceremonies, and parliamentary visits.

Administrative Responsibilities

The Clerk is responsible for management and administrative services within the Assembly and serves as Clerk to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC). In this capacity, the Office of the Clerk is responsible for arranging LAMC meetings, preparing and distributing agendas and supporting materials, and preparing and distributing minutes and responding to inquiries by the Committee and others.




Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms

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The Sergeant-at-Arms is a permanent officer of the House, responsible for the security of the Parliament Buildings and legislative grounds to ensure the House, its committees, and Members are able to conduct their business without disturbance or interruption. The Office provides Chamber services, as well as protective and facility maintenance services.

Chamber Services

The Sergeant-at-Arms has a ceremonial role, which includes carrying the mace into and out of the Chamber during daily sittings, and the black rod when accompanying the Lieutenant Governor.

Related functions of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms include custody of the Chamber and its furnishings, custody of bills prior to introduction, the distribution of legislative documents, and providing Chamber attendants and gallery staff during House sittings.

Legislative Assembly Protective Services

Legislative Assembly Protective Services (LAPS) ensures the safety and security of Members, staff, and the public within the legislative precinct. Constituency office security, business continuity planning, parking, card-lock access, and emergency first aid services also fall under the purview of LAPS.

Legislative Facility Services

Legislative Facility Services is responsible for property management, including all building and grounds maintenance, repairs, improvements, and cleaning duties.




Parliamentary Committees Office

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The Parliamentary Committees Office provides non-partisan procedural advice, research, and administrative services to support and facilitate the work of all-party parliamentary committees appointed by the Legislative Assembly. Parliamentary committee activities are reported on a yearly basis and posted on the Parliamentary Committees Office Intranet homepage.

Procedural and Operational Support

The clerk to each committee is the committee's principal coordinator and adviser regarding parliamentary procedure, committee operations, and public consultation practices. The clerk also prepares documentation to support the work of the committee such as meeting notices, agendas, minutes, websites, and correspondence. The clerk oversees any public consultation arrangements, including travel arrangements for committee members such as air and ground transportation.

Research Services

Under the direction of the research manager, committee researchers provide research services to support the work of parliamentary committees. Each parliamentary committee is assisted by a research analyst who prepares any necessary backgrounders, briefing notes, and summaries of evidence for inquiries. Research services are carried out on behalf of all committee members and all materials, including in-camera deliberations on reports, are treated as confidential.

Administrative Services

Office administrative staff provide other assistance to facilitate committee operations such as room bookings, website updates, printing, and other tasks required to support committee members.




Financial Services

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Financial Services is responsible for providing financial management and administrative support to the Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Assembly branches, caucuses, and constituency offices. It is overseen by the Executive Financial Officer who directly advises the Clerk of the House, the Speaker, and the Legislative Assembly Management Committee regarding all matters of a financial nature, and provides functional direction and guidance to Assembly branch managers.

Financial Services processes Members’ travel claims, administers and pays Members’ allowances, and processes and pays invoices and other expenses. Financial Services also performs full-service accounting for the Assembly and constituency offices, communicates and advises on financial policies and procedures, and prepares internal and external financial reporting, including the quarterly public disclosure of Member’s compensation and travel and constituency office expenses.

Financial Services supports constituency offices and their staff with respect to office leases and office insurance. The Branch also assesses and provides guidance on controls and processes, and manages the Assembly’s budget preparation.





Payroll Services

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Payroll Services provides payroll related services and advice to Members, their constituency staff, caucus staff, and Assembly staff. Payroll Services is responsible for the processing, monitoring, and reporting of the Legislative Assembly’s payroll, leave, benefits, and pension transactions in compliance with all laws and legislation.



Hansard Services

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Hansard is the full, accurate, and impartial official report of the debates of the Legislative Assembly. Hansard Services also broadcasts House proceedings throughout the province. Links to transcripts and broadcasts can be found on the Hansard Services website.

Reporting Services

Hansard Reporting Services produces draft transcripts (known as "Blues") of House sittings and parliamentary committee proceedings. Work on House transcripts begin as soon as the House meets, and a complete transcript is usually available about an hour after adjournment. Parliamentary committee Blues are typically posted on the committee's website within a few hours of the adjournment of the committee.

Blues transcripts undergo further quality assurance edits before being published as the Official Report of Debates (House) or the Report of Proceedings (Parliamentary Committees). In addition, Reporting Services produces comprehensive, on-line indexes of House and committee transcripts. An on-line archive of transcripts, indexes and video from previous sessions and parliaments is also available. On-line transcripts date back to 1970, and archived video is available from 2003.

Broadcasting Services

Hansard Broadcasting Services produces the live television broadcast of House sittings. The proceedings of the Committee of Supply are recorded and rebroadcast in the evening after the adjournment of the House. Consult the Channel Guide and Schedule for local channels and broadcast times. Live television broadcasts are also available via an in-house cable television system.

All broadcasts are also streamed as live webcasts on the Internet. The audio of parliamentary committees is streamed live, including committees that meet off-site.




Information Technology Branch

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The Information Technology Branch (ITB) is responsible for the supply and support of computer equipment in the legislative precinct and the constituency offices. It is also responsible for wireless, voice, and data communications in these offices. On-site assistance is available 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and during all sitting times.

IT Help Desk

Staff from the IT Help Desk are available to assist with problems related to computer hardware and software as well as network issues. The Help Desk can be contacted by phone or email and ITB staff have tools available to remotely access computers to speed the resolution of problems.

Telecommunications Support

ITB coordinates the installation and support of landlines and Internet access in the constituency offices, as well as wireless devices.

Project Support

Members and staff with specific technology-related projects can contact ITB for assistance if required. This includes projects such as identifying and installing software and hardware.




Parliamentary Education Office

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The Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) has a mandate to promote public understanding, access to, and visitor awareness of the Legislative Assembly. PEO provides a variety of resources and services, including educational information on Parliament, public tours, and educational programs, and operates the Gift Shop located near the main exit of the Parliament Buildings.

Educational Resources

PEO can provide constituency offices with a wide variety of rack cards, fact sheets, booklets, and other promotional materials about the Legislative Assembly and Parliament Buildings.

School classroom kits are available to assist Members visiting local elementary and secondary schools in their communities. These kits include a variety of educational resources such as speaking notes, resources for the teachers and activities for the students.

Additional interactive learning tools for the public, including photos, videos, and informational guides, are available on the Discover Your Legislature webpage.

Tours

School visits to the Parliament Buildings are coordinated by Parliamentary Tours. Tours staff notifies a Member when a school in their constituency has confirmed a tour. The Member is invited to meet the school group and PEO provides wording for an introduction in the House. Complimentary resources are distributed to students, and a keepsake photograph is provided to Members for signing and mailing to the visiting school. On request, Parliamentary Tours can also arrange for visiting delegations and new staff orientation tours.

Educational Programs

PEO manages the BC Legislative Internship Program, the BC Teachers' Institute on Parliamentary Democracy, and special one-day events for visiting post-secondary classes. Members may be invited to participate in these educational programs.

Use of Legislative Grounds

Members and the public can apply to hold an event on the grounds. Use of the interior of the Parliament Buildings is restricted to Members, government ministries, and the staff of the Legislative Assembly. PEO administers the process and maintains the calendar of upcoming events. Guidelines for the public use of grounds and an application form are available online. Members wishing to hold an event can contact Luba.Lisun@leg.bc.ca.




Legislative Library

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The Legislative Library provides confidential, non-partisan information and research services to Members and their staff, including constituency assistants. The Library is open 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and during all sitting hours. Requests for Library services can be made in person or by contacting the Library Help Desk at 250-387-6510 or llbc.ref@leg.bc.ca.

Library and Information Services

The Legislative Library supports the democratic process by providing confidential, non-partisan information services to assist informed debate and effective law-making. Every year, librarians answer thousands of questions from Members and their caucus and constituency staff about legislation, government programs, current events, policy issues, local history, demographics, financial information, and more. Reference librarians are trained professionals who provide fast, confidential, and authoritative information on any topic.

Members can keep up-to-date and informed by using the Library’s current awareness services including Local News Update, a daily roundup of news from British Columbia's community papers. Print copies of community newspapers are available in the Library’s Reading Room. The Legislative Library also offers online newspaper and magazine subscriptions to Members.

Collection

The Legislative Library has the largest collection of BC government publications available anywhere. This includes publications from the earliest days of the province up to the latest reports published online. The Library has a full run of the British Columbia Statutes, regulations, ministry and crown agency reports, statistics, and news releases. These materials document the political, historical, economic, and cultural history of the province. The Library will purchase reading material on topics of interest to Members such as health, economics, education, political science, and parliamentary procedure. There is also a large collection of political biographies and British Columbia community histories. E-book accounts can be set up for Members by request.

Archival Records Storage

The Legislative Assembly offers all Members free storage for their personal, political or constituency records for a period of up to 5 years after the date of their departure from the Legislative Assembly. After this, records will be transferred to the Legislative Library for permanent retention or destruction, subject to agreement between the Member and the Legislative Library. The contact person for non-financial records management is Peter Gourlay, Director, Legislative Library (peter.gourlay@leg.bc.ca).

Last Updated: May 29, 2017