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All About Hansard

Hansard is the official report of the debates of a Legislature or a Parliament and its committees. It is named after the Hansard family, the printers who published the first official record of the British parliamentary debates in the 19th century. Canada adopted a Hansard in 1880, and Alberta adopted one in 1972.

Although technology has changed production methods, Hansard editors are still largely directed by the editorial guidelines established back in the 19th century. Research is a crucial part of Hansard production. Any time a Member mentions the name of a person, book, place, school, or the like, researchers must verify it. The final edited Hansard is available within about 12 hours of a sitting. An average afternoon issue contains over 30,000 words.

Alberta Hansard also provides an index that contains a subject and a speaker list for each session of the Legislature.

Since all parliamentary publications produced by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, including bills and amendments, Order Papers, Votes and Proceedings, Journals, transcripts, and indexes, are available on the Assembly’s public website, subscriptions are no longer available after 2015. Most of these documents are published according to a parliamentary calendar that is released in mid-January and is posted on the website. Unless the calendar indicates otherwise, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta meets each year:

  • for the spring sitting commencing on the second Tuesday in February and concluding no later than the first Thursday in June
  • for the fall sitting commencing on the last Monday of October and concluding no later than the first Thursday in December

As well, you can see a schedule of meeting dates and times at Assembly Online.