The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has a mandate to examine legislation and matters relating to foreign and Commonwealth relations, including: treaties and international agreements; external trade; foreign aid; and territorial and offshore matters.
The Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators (the Committee) is responsible for all matters relating to the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators (Code). It may give general direction to the Senate Ethics Officer concerning the interpretation, application and administration of the Code, and is authorized to exercise these powers on its own initiative. The Committee also considers any inquiry reports from the Senate Ethics Officer, who is an independent officer of the Senate.
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the mandate to examine legislation and to study matters relating to legal and constitutional matters generally, including the criminal justice system and the Criminal Code, constitutional issues, electoral matters, linguistic and legal duality, federal-provincial relations, law reform, the judiciary and most private bills.
The committee has historically been, and continues to be, one of the Senate’s busiest committees. The vast majority of the committee’s work entails the consideration of legislation, although from time to time the committee has undertaken more in-depth special studies on areas related to its mandate. Over the past few years, the committee has conducted statutory reviews, studied pilot projects, reviewed statutory regulations and has made recommendations relating to user fee increases.
On 14 February 2022, in response to the ongoing blockades and protests taking place in Ottawa and at some border crossings, the Prime Minister announced that the Governor in Council had invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since its adoption, issuing a declaration of a public order emergency and giving the federal government certain temporary powers.
The Emergencies Act sets out the procedure by which a national emergency can be declared and by which a declaration of emergency can be confirmed, continued, amended and revoked. It also provides for a supervisory role for Parliament.
The declaration of emergency was revoked on 23 February 2022 by proclamation. Under subsection 62(1) of the Emergencies Act, a parliamentary review committee must review the “exercise of powers and the performance of duties and functions pursuant to a declaration of emergency.” Accordingly, this special joint committee was established by motion of the Senate and House of Commons on 3 March 2022.