Protocols for Public Consultations

The purpose of the public hearing, as distinct from oral or written submissions, is to provide the panel with the opportunity to seek further clarification—if and when they choose to do so—of submissions that have been received.

1. All persons must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to file written submissions.

2. Invitations to speak to the panel at the public hearing are at the discretion of the panel.

3. Individuals who wish to make an oral presentation of a written submission may request to do so. The panel may choose to follow up via email, to invite the author of the brief to participate in the hearing, or simply to acknowledge receipt of the brief.

4. The RSC secretariat will issue invitations, on behalf of the panel, to those who are being invited to speak. Those who receive invitations have seven days to submit a written brief in two copies. The brief shall be a maximum of four pages. It will be reviewed by the panel prior to the meeting. Supplementary material of up to ten pages, including bibliographical references (in six copies), may be submitted to the panel for consideration. This material must be delivered to the organizers of the panel at least 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting.

5. Materials may be submitted and presentations may be made in either English or French.

6. Each speaker will be allowed up to seven minutes to address the panel.

7. The panel will be allowed three minutes to respond, and to ask or to answer questions, without engaging the speaker in debate on the merits of the issue. Speakers who are asked a question will have one minute to respond orally, and may also submit a response of up to four pages (in two copies) within one week of the meeting.

8. Speakers must:
a. Not speak disrespectfully about anyone;
b. Not use offensive language;
c. Speak only about the subject at hand to help the panel fulfil its mandate, and not about perceived conflicts of interest, or other collateral matters;
d. Obey any ruling by the Chair.

9. If a speaker or member of the audience is disrupting a meeting, the Chair may require that person to be removed from the meeting room.

10. Where there are multiple requests to speak from persons who in the opinion of the panel are either acting in concert, or who have essentially the same point to make, the panel reserves the right to hear public presentations from only one person representing that group. The selected representative may, at the discretion of the Panel, be afforded a longer period of time to make the representative presentation. Each member of the group may, however, submit an individual written brief of a maximum of four pages to the Secretariat prior to the meeting. This will be distributed to the panel. 

11. All communications about a matter on the agenda will become part of the official record of the panel’s proceedings.

12. The following rules for conduct will govern the proceedings:
a. The only people allowed in the panels’ seating area during a meeting are the panellists;
b. No one may display signs or placards, applaud debating participants, or engage in conversation or other behaviour that may disrupt a meeting;
c. No one except a panellist may place any material on the panels’ desks;
d. No one may distribute any material directly to members during a meeting; 
e. No one may use a cellular telephone during a meeting, and anyone who brings one to a meeting must turn off the ringer;
f. The proceedings of the meeting may not be recorded by anyone other than the panel organizers;
g. No transcript of the meeting will be prepared, or distributed;
h. The order in which speakers are invited to make a presentation shall be determined by the panel.