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Research Guides

Canadian government information

A guide to resources available to the University of Toronto community for Canadian government information.


Bills originating in the House are labelled with the letter 'C' and numbered chronologically within each session, as introduced.

Government Bills, numbered C-1 to C-200, are public bills sponsored by Ministers of the Government

Private Members' Public Bills, numbered C-201 to C-1000, are sponsored by a private Member and deal with public policy initiatives.

Private Members' Private Bills are also sponsored by a private Member, but concern matters related to a specific person or group. Those originating in the House are numbered beginning C-1001. Most of these Private Bills originate in the Senate.

Each Parliamentary session ends with the prorogation of Parliament. Bills not receiving Royal Assent are considered terminated and must be reintroduced as new Bills. However, since the House adopted new rules in 1994, a Government Bill may be reinstated at a previous stage, if the House passes a motion to this effect. A Private Members' Bill may be reinstated by invoking a Standing Order adopted in 1998.


The House delegates to Committees most of the detailed study of proposed legislation and scrutiny of government policies and programs.

Standing Committees are permanent and review matters under their jurisdiction, often legislation referred by the House. Special and Select Committees are appointed on an ad hoc, temporary basis to inquire into specific matters. Legislative Committees are appointed, ad hoc, to examine bills in detail. Joint Committees are composed of members of both the House and the Senate. Subcommittees consider matters delegated to them by their respective Committees. Committee of the Whole refers to all members of the House sitting as a committee and these proceedings are fully reported in the Debates.

Committee Minutes are a brief synopsis of proceedings. Evidence consists of a verbatim transcript of public meetings, including witness testimony. Final Reports are presented to the House and most often appear in Committee proceedings or associated monographs. They may also appear in House Journals, Debates, Votes and Proceedings and Parliamentary Sessional Papers. Lengthy Reports may also be published separately.

From the 1st to 17th Parliaments (1867 - 1935), Committee Minutes, Evidence and Reports, if 'ordered printed', were frequently published in the House Journals or published separately as monographs. Committee documents cited as 'not printed' are not widely available. A number however, may have subsequently been published as monographs. The most extensive collection of Committee documents is held at Library and Archives Canada.


Official, verbatim report of daily House proceedings. Commonly referred to as Hansard. Includes results of recorded votes (divisions).


Official condensed record of daily House proceedings, includes results of recorded votes (divisions).

List of Reports and Returns

List of reports and other documents, that according to federal legislation, must be tabled in the House of Commons. Includes information on responsible officer, department or other corporate body. Titles no longer required to be laid before the House listed. Relevant Sessional Paper numbers also provided.

Order Paper and Notice Paper

The Order Paper is the official agenda for the House and lists all items of business that may be brought forward during the day's sitting. The Notice Paper presents notices of bills, motions and questions which Ministers and Members plan to bring before the House.

Status of House Business

Summary of House business introduced or considered during the session. Contains legislative history of Bills, including passage dates, information on Committee referrals and Statute numbers, if applicable. Also includes status of all motions and written questions brought forward. Sessional Paper numbers provided.

Votes and Proceedings

Official record of House decisions and other transactions such as petitions presented, tabling of documents, motions, government orders, etc. Includes results of recorded votes (divisions).