Parliamentary Committees

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Parliamentary committees are appointed by the Legislative Assembly to undertake business on behalf of the Assembly. These all-party committees consist of Private Members (MLAs who are not in cabinet) including a chair and deputy chair. Committees receive their terms of reference from the Legislative Assembly and must report their findings back to the House. At times, the committee system provides opportunities for British Columbians to have direct input into the parliamentary process by making written or electronic submissions and by participating at public hearings.

Select Standing Committees

Pursuant to Standing Order 68(1), there are nine select standing (permanent) committees:

  1. Aboriginal Affairs
  2. Education
  3. Finance and Government Services
  4. Health
  5. Public Accounts
  6. Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills
  7. Crown Corporations
  8. Legislative Initiatives
  9. Children and Youth

Special Committees

Special committees may be established to examine specific issues. These committees cease to exist once their inquiries are completed and they have reported back to the House. They may also be appointed to perform statutory reviews, or to recommend appointments of independent statutory officers, such as the Auditor General or the Ombudsperson.

Committee membership

Parliamentary committees vary in size but typically have Private Members from all parties, including independents. A Special Committee of Selection usually determines the composition of all parliamentary committees at the start of a session. A chair and deputy chair are elected at the first meeting.

Committee inquiries and reports

A parliamentary committee becomes active when the House assigns a terms of reference that defines the scope of inquiry and permits it to meet, call witnesses, and gather evidence. A committee may also be empowered to conduct public consultations on a particular issue, or to consult with experts or stakeholder groups.

Committee meetings are typically held in public, with proceedings transcribed by Hansard Services. Meetings of appointment committees are held in-camera (behind closed doors) as they involve personnel matters.

At the end of its deliberations, a committee reports its observations and recommendations to the Legislative Assembly in the form of a public report, which is presented by the committee chair in the House. If the House is not sitting, the report can be deposited with the Office of the Clerk and then publicly released.

Committee Activity
2014-15

The 2014-15 fiscal year was one of the busiest and most productive years on record for the Legislative Assembly’s parliamentary committees. 13 committees were active, carrying out three statutory office appointment processes and a record six public consultations on the annual provincial budget, sustainable health care, child and youth mental health, oversight of BC police services, information and privacy, and local elections expense limits. A total of 14 committee reports were released.

All parliamentary committee reports are available on the Parliamentary Committees website.

Douglas Fir Committee Room

The Douglas Fir
Committee Room (room 226)