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Prorogation puts Parliament on hold
August 18, 2020
HOW & WHY

Prorogation ends a session of Parliament and all parliamentary business. It is the governor general who prorogues Parliament, acting on the advice of the prime minister.

A parliament is the period between elections. Each parliament is in turn divided into sessions, although there are no rules about how long each session lasts or how many sessions there are during a parliament. For example, there were two sessions during the 41st Parliament, but only one session during the 42nd Parliament.

Neither of Parliament’s two houses sits during a prorogation and any bills that were being debated or studied before prorogation cease to exist. The phrase “died on the Order Paper” is often used to describe what happens to bills at prorogation or dissolution.

Every Senate committee is dissolved when Parliament is prorogued except for the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, which oversees the administration of the Senate itself. If necessary, the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators may also meet during prorogation as the Senate Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.

Senate committees are reconstituted once the next parliamentary session begins.

Each session begins with a Speech from the Throne, during which the government outlines what it wants to accomplish. Each session ends when the governor general either prorogues Parliament (which does not lead to an election) or dissolves Parliament (which is known as dissolution and does trigger a general election).