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42nd Parliament, 1st Session (December 3, 2015 - September 11, 2019) Latest Session

The Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament derives its authority and mandate from several sources, including the Parliament of Canada Act, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, and the Rules of the Senate of Canada.

The Joint Committee is created under the authority of the Parliament of Canada Act, which calls for the establishment of a Joint Committee to be appointed by the Senate and the House of Commons. Its mandate is to assist the Speakers of both chambers, who are charged with the authority under the Act to direct and control the Library of Parliament and its officers and staff.

In effect, the Speakers of both chambers, assisted by the Joint Committee, direct the day-to-day functioning of the Library, and, with the approval of both Houses, may make orders and regulations to govern how the Library is managed and how moneys are expended. The Joint Committee, under this arrangement, plays a role in the direction of the Library of Parliament by supporting the Speakers as they provide direction to the Library.

Another significant role for the Joint Committee is contemplated in section 78 of the Parliament of Canada Act, which requires that Library officers and other staff are to discharge their official duties faithfully. The mechanism for defining what constitutes a faithful discharge of duties is a regulation to be approved by the Speakers of both Houses. That regulation, however, must be concurred in by the Joint Committee.

In addition to the statutory basis for the Joint Committee’s mandate to assist the Speakers of both Houses in their direction of the Library, the procedural rules of both Houses supplement the Committee’s mandate. Both Houses may give an order of reference to the Joint Committee to inquire into any matter that would be appropriate for the Committee to study given the reason for its existence.

Rule 12-9 of the Rules of the Senate gives all committees the power to:

  • inquire into and report upon matters referred to them by the Senate;
  • send for persons, papers and records; and
  • publish from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by them.

Standing Order 108(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons also grants all standing committees the power to:

  • examine and enquire into all matters referred by the House;
  • report from time to time to the House;
  • send for persons, papers and records; and
  • delegate to subcommittees all or any of their powers except the power to report directly to the House.

The specific mandate of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament is defined in Standing Order 108(4) as: “the review of the effectiveness, management and operation of the Library of Parliament; … [p]rovided that both Houses may, from time to time, refer any other matter to any of the aforementioned Standing Joint Committees.”

Standing Order 111.1(1) and (2) gives the Committee the mandate to review the appointment of the Parliamentary Librarian.