General legislative questions
“The House” refers to the Legislative Chamber, which is the room where the MPPs meet to discuss legislation. “The House” may also refer to the collective group of MPPs who meet inside the Legislative Chamber.
Hansard is the official transcript of House debates and committee meetings.
A typical House Hansard issue contains a table of contents, a transcript of what is said, divisions (votes), a list of members and their ridings, and a list of committees and committee members.
A typical committee Hansard issue contains a table of contents, a transcript of what is said, recorded votes, and a list of committee members and committee staff (e.g., the clerk, the research officer, or legislative counsel).
Orders of the day is the time in the parliamentary day when the House debates its main business for the day, such as a bill or motion. You can look up the scheduled orders of the day, as well as all other business that is before the House, in the Orders and Notices paper on the House documents page.
The Premier is the head of the provincial government. The Premier assigns cabinet ministers, and together they develop policies and set priorities for the government.
The Speaker maintains order in the Chamber and upholds the rules of the House.
The Speaker is an MPP, but the position of Speaker is non-partisan. This means that the Speaker must treat all members of the House equally, regardless of their political affiliation. The Speaker isn’t allowed to take part in debates and only votes in the case of a tie.
The Clerk is the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly and the administrative director of the Office of the Legislative Assembly.
The Clerk provides procedural advice to the Speaker and answers questions that MPPs may have about the rules of the House. The Clerk keeps track of the votes in the Chamber and monitors time during debates.
The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for security in the House and the Legislative Precinct. The Sergeant-at-Arms guards the mace, which symbolizes the authority of the Speaker in the House.
In Ontario, the word “Parliament” can refer to a couple of things. “Parliament” can refer to the period of time between an election and a dissolution (or the calling of another election) and the group of MPPs who are members during that time.
It can also refer to the broader institution of Parliament, which is formed by the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor.
The term “Legislature” is sometimes used to describe the Legislative Building. It may also refer to the Chamber where members meet to discuss and debate bills. Some people may use the term to refer to the Legislative Assembly as a whole.
The provincial government is made up of the Premier and cabinet. The government is drawn from, and is accountable to, the Legislative Assembly. Parliamentary elections determine the government, which is formed by the party with majority support in the House (usually the party that wins the most seats in an election).
MPPs have many responsibilities. These responsibilities can generally be divided into four main roles:
- riding representative
- party member
- scrutinizer of government policy
For more information about these roles, visit our Contact an MPP page.
Ontario citizens can vote for their MPP in an election. There are two kinds of elections: general elections and by-elections.
General elections are held approximately every four years. However, the Premier can advise the Lieutenant Governor to call an election before then.
By-elections occur when there is a vacant seat because a member has resigned or passed away before a general election.
Ontario is the only Canadian province where members of the Legislative Assembly are called “MPPs” or “members of provincial Parliament.” Other provinces and territories use terms such as “member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA),” “member of the National Assembly (MNA),” and “member of the House of Assembly (MHA).”
For a long time, members in Ontario used a variety of terms, including “MPP,” “MLA,” and “MHA.” In 1938, a resolution of the House formally declared the preference for the term “MPP.”
A bill is a proposed law that members introduce in the House. There are four kinds of bills:
- government bills
- private members’ public bills
- committee bills
- private bills
Government bills are public bills that reflect the policy agenda and priorities of the government. They are typically introduced in the House by a cabinet minister.
Private members’ public bills
Private members’ public bills are public bills that are introduced by any private member (not cabinet ministers or the Speaker) instead of by the government.
A committee bill is a bill that is drafted by a committee and introduced in the House by the committee’s Chair. A committee may draft a bill as part of a study relating to its government oversight responsibilities, or if it has been ordered to do so by the House.
Private bills seek special powers or exemptions from the general law for a particular person or group. They are initiated by a municipality, company, organization, or individual seeking the special power or exemption.
Private bills must be introduced in the House by a private member (not a cabinet minister or the Speaker).
Public bills are introduced by cabinet ministers (in the case of a government bill) or by any other MPP (in the case of a private member's public bill) and usually affect the entire province.
Private bills apply only to the particular person, group, or corporation that initiates it.
Bills must receive three readings in the House and be granted Royal Assent in order to become law. They may also be reviewed by a committee (usually after second reading) before being granted Royal Assent, although this is not always the case.
More information is in the research paper How an Ontario Bill Becomes Law.
Visit our Bills from the current session page and find the bill you’re interested in. Select the Status tab.
The table beneath the bill title shows the status of the bill, including the bill stage and the date when the stage was reached. The last status listed in the table is the current stage of the bill.
The committees of the House are small working groups of MPPs. They meet to consider bills or other specific issues that the House has asked them to review.
Committees often hold public hearings, where Ontarians can have a say on the matter under review.
Standing committees exist for the duration of a Parliament. They have specific mandates set out in the standing orders to examine and report on the general conduct of activities by government departments and agencies. Standing committees also report on matters referred to them by the House, including proposed legislation.
Select committees exist for a limited time to study a particular issue. Select committees are usually required to conduct their studies and report their findings and recommendations to the House by a specified date. After a select committee’s final report is presented to the House, the committee is usually dissolved.
To see which MPPs are members of committees, you can view a list of committee members.
You can also see a list of committee members on individual committee pages. Choose the committee you are interested in from the list of current committees on the Committees page. On the committee’s page, select the Committee members tab to see which MPPs are members.
If you want to see if a particular member belongs to any committees, you can view the Parliamentary career details tab on that individual MPP’s profile page. You can get to MPP profile pages from our list of current MPPs.
The first step to present to a committee is to register with the Clerk of the Committee. You can find contact information for the committee Clerk, plus locations, dates, and deadlines for upcoming public meetings, on each committee’s Notice of Hearings page. To get there, select the committee from the list of current committees on the Committees page and select the Notice of Hearings tab.
To find more information about presenting to a committee, as well as other ways you can participate in committees, visit our page about participating in committees.
The Legislative Assembly is located in downtown Toronto at Queen’s Park at 111 Wellesley Street West.
A variety of tours are available at the Legislative Building. General building tours are offered regularly throughout the day. For more details about tours and to learn how to make a reservation, visit the tours page.
Queen’s Park is the name of an actual park that surrounds the Legislative Building. The term “Queen’s Park” is often used to refer to the legislative and government offices in the area.
“Queen’s Park” may also refer to the street (Queen’s Park Crescent) or to the subway station located to the south of the Legislative Building.
You will need to complete an application to use legislative grounds for your event or demonstration. To find the application form, as well as more information about using the legislative grounds, please visit our Use the Assembly grounds page.
Jobs and opportunities at the Legislature
The Legislative Page Program allows select students to work in the House as legislative pages. Ontario students enrolled in grades 7 or 8 are eligible to apply. The program is available when the Legislature is in session, usually from mid-February until early June and from early September until mid-December.
You can find more information about the program in the Legislative Page Program section.
Postings for internships at the Assembly are listed on our Careers opportunities page as available. To apply to become an intern in an MPP’s office, you should apply through the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP) website.
OLIP is a paid 10-month non-partisan program providing backbench MPPs (members who are not cabinet ministers, leaders of a party, whips, or critics) with qualified intern assistants. You can find more information on the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP) website.