routine proceedings — The Senate

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committees to Hold Hybrid and Virtual Meetings

November 5, 2020


Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, until the end of the day on December 18, 2020, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules or usual practice and taking into account the exceptional circumstances of the current pandemic of COVID-19, all standing Senate committees have the power: hold hybrid committee meetings with senators able to participate from a meeting room or by videoconference; and hold committee meetings entirely by videoconference or teleconference;

That hybrid committee meetings dealing with Government Business be prioritized over other hybrid meetings and other videoconference or teleconference meetings when technically feasible;

That senators participating by videoconference or teleconference be allowed to participate from a designated office or designated residence within Canada;

That hybrid committee meetings or meetings by videoconference or teleconference be considered, for all purposes, to be meetings of the committee in question, and senators taking part in such meetings be considered, for all purposes, to be present at the meeting;

That, for greater certainty, and without limiting the general authority granted by this order, when a committee holds a hybrid meeting or meets by videoconference or teleconference:

1.all members of the committee participating count towards quorum;

2.such meetings be considered to be occurring in the parliamentary precinct, irrespective of where participants may be; and

3.the committee be directed to approach in camera meetings with all necessary precaution, taking account of the risks to confidentiality inherent in such technologies;

That, subject to variations that may be required by the circumstances, to participate in a meeting by videoconference or teleconference senators must:

1.use a desktop or laptop computer and headphones with integrated microphone provided by the Senate for videoconferences; and

2.not use other devices such as personal tablets or smartphones, unless for participation by teleconference; and

That, when a committee holds a hybrid meeting or meets by videoconference or teleconference, the provisions of rule 14-7(2) be applied so as to allow recording or broadcasting through any facilities arranged by the Clerk of the Senate, and, if a meeting being broadcast or recorded cannot be broadcast live, the committee be considered to have fulfilled the requirement that a meeting be public by making any available recording publicly available as soon as possible thereafter.