New Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform (beta)
Your one-stop-shop for information about national parliaments

Canada

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Senate

This is a bicameral parliament. Switch to theHouse of Commons

Oversight

Data on parliament’s oversight role and activities

Oversight tools

Parliament has the power to summon members of the government
Parliament has the power to summon senior government officials
Parliament has the power to approve key government appointments Key government appointments include, for example, ambassadors or the head of the central bank.
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
The House of Commons and the Senate play a role in appointing the following officers of Parliament: Auditor General, Commissioner of Official Language, Information Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner, Commissioner of Lobbying, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner
Approximate number of government appointments subject to parliamentary approval
7
Number of written questions asked, per year
Not available
See historical data for this field. Compare data of this field.
Number of written questions answered by the government, per year
Not available
See historical data for this field. Compare data of this field.
Notes
Please note, a single written question can occasionally elicit revised and supplementary answers from the government of Canada. Written questions can also include multiple sub-questions soliciting responses from multiple government departments. Total number of written questions answered by the government per year does not take into account any additional revised or supplementary answers.
Parliament has power to carry out inquiries
Yes
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Constitution Act 1867, Preamble and s. 18; Rules of the Senate of Canada, Rule 5-1.
Number of parliamentary inquiries, per year
Not available
See historical data for this field.
Notes
Totals represent the number of special committees created in the House of Commons and Senate by calendar year. In addition, the number of substantive reports of committees tabled by the House of Commons and Senate combined include: 2013: 65 2014: 63 2015: 75 2016: 85 2017: 130

Head of State and/or Government

Head of State and/or Government
Parliament’s role in the designation of the Head of Government Some parliaments elect the Head of Government or approve the nomination for the Head of Government. Others do not play a role.
Other (please specify)
Notes
By convention, it is the Governor General’s (as the representative of the Head of State) duty to select the Prime Minister (Head of Government). The individual selected must be able to form a government and seek the confidence of the House. By convention, this is the leader of the political party that has won the most number of seats in the House of Commons.
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
The selection of the Head of Government by the Sovereign is an unwritten convention.
The Head of Government is also the Head of State
No
Parliament’s role
Parliament’s role in the designation of the Head of State Some parliaments designate the Head of State or approve the nomination for the Head of Government. Others do not play a role.
Parliament does not play a role
Notes
The Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, is the Head of State. The Governor General represents the Queen in Canada and carries out the duties of Head of State. By convention, the Queen appoints the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Constitution Act 1867, 30 & 31 Victoria, c. 3 (U.K.), s. 9-10.

Impeachment and confidence motions

Procedure for parliament
There is a procedure for parliament to dismiss or impeach the following persons/institution There is a procedure to dismiss or impeach the following persons/institution: Not applicable (there is no procedure); The whole Government; The Head of Government; The Head of State; Individual members of the Executive; Other (please specify)
The whole Government
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Unwritten convention. Officially, the Governor General has the authority to dismiss the government, however this only occurs when the government loses the confidence of the House of Commons.
Chambers that play a role in the dismissal or impeachment In bicameral parliaments: Chambers that play a role in the dismissal or impeachment: Lower chamber; Upper chamber; Not applicable
Lower chamber
Impeachment Role
There is a procedure for parliament to express no confidence in the following persons/institution There is a procedure for parliament to express no confidence in the following persons/institution: Not applicable (there is no procedure); The whole Government; The Head of Government; Individual members of the Executive; Other (please specify)
The whole Government
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Unwritten convention. The confidence convention is not written into any statute or Standing Order of the House.
Chambers that play a role in motions of no confidence In bicameral parliaments: Chambers that play a role in motions of no confidence: Lower chamber; Upper chamber; Not applicable
Lower chamber
Parliament is automatically dissolved when a motion of no confidence is adopted In some countries, the adoption of a motion of no confidence in the Government automatically leads to the dissolution of Parliament in certain countries. In other cases, a new government can be formed.
No