March 6, 2021

Senate unveils plan for hybrid sittings with senators participating virtually and in-person

The Senate has rolled out a plan for hybrid sittings that will allow senators physically present in the chamber and those participating virtually to debate, ask questions and vote.

“Balancing health and safety, including complying with provincial and territorial regulations, is an important consideration for Senators as they discharge their Parliamentary duties,” Sen. Marc Gold said in a statement. 

Under the new rules, senators who are videoconferencing will hold up a card during standing votes. 

The voting process begins with senators voting yay or nay in the chamber, followed by senators voting with yay or nay cards by videoconference, followed by senators who are abstaining.

Because senators will be participating in the hybrid sessions from across the country, virtual sitting times (in Eastern time) have been adjusted:

  • Mondays will begin at 6 p.m. and run until no later than 9 p.m.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays will begin at the usual 2 p.m. and end no later than 9 p.m.
  • Wednesdays will begin at the usual 2 p.m. and end no later than 4 p.m. 
  • Fridays will begin at 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m., and end no later than 4 p.m.

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