If you have ever researched legislative intent, there is a good chance you needed to sift through and read committee proceedings. Not every bill that is referred to a committee for review undergoes the same level of analysis (and some bills aren’t referred to a committee at all) but for those that are, committee documents can be sources of very useful information. They help researchers gain a better understanding about a bill’s purpose and the reasoning behind amendments made to the bill as it goes through the legislative process.
Minutes of proceedings, evidence, and reports of committees are the three documents that form the records produced by committees. The “minutes” being the official record of business; the “evidence” being the verbatim transcript of proceedings held in public; and the “reports” containing the observations and recommendations that committees make.
This blog post is meant to act as a quick reference to finding information about the different types of committees as well as where to find some of their documentation online.
There are several types of Federal committees: standing committees, legislative committees, special committees and joint committees, as well as subcommittees, committees of the whole and the Liaison Committee. For information on the characteristics of each type of committee including what they do check out these helpful resources:
Committee reports and proceedings dealing with specific bills are available on LegisINFO’s individual bill pages since the 37th Parliament (2002).
Don’t have a particular bill in mind but want to browse the committee records? OR Interested in browsing those committee records not associated with any bill in particular? Check out the following resources:
House of Commons:
- Committee Business (List of Committees of the House of Commons linking to individual committee’s business)
- Search or Browse Committee Evidence
- Reports and Responses
- The Canadian Parliamentary Historical resources database (maintained by the Library of Parliament), includes substantive reports of committees from all parliamentary sessions.
- Major Legislative and Special Reports by Senate Committees, 1961-2012
There are only three types of committees in Ontario: standing committees, select committees and the Committee of the Whole House. For information on the characteristics of each type of committee including what they do check out the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website – Committees.
Committee reports and transcripts are available online from the 35th Parliament (1990) onwards on the Legislative of Assembly of Ontario’s website – Committee Documents.
Select historical committee reports have also been made available through the Internet Archive’s Legislative Assembly of Ontario Collection:
- Ontario Legislative Standing Committee Reports
- Ontario Legislative Committee Select Committee Reports