One of a senator’s most important roles is their work on committees. In fact, Muriel McQueen Fergusson, the first female Speaker of the Senate, described committee work as the “heart and soul” of the Senate. Senators serving on committees provide crucial oversight of proposed legislation and investigate matters of importance to Canadians.
Senate committees are made up of a group of senators from across group/party lines. The members work together to examine and improve legislation, and they undertake studies on issues of importance to Canadians.
During the 42nd Parliament, Senator Black was a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector.
When the Senate resumes sitting, committees will be restructured and senators may sit on new committees.
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Senator Black's Committees
Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
Senator Black's role on the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) has been a very important part of his time as a senator so far. They have studied, among other things, Canada’s value-added food sector, supply management system, and several pieces of legislation.
Senator Black hopes that the committee will be able to undertake a study on soil health, a topic that is extremely important to the country’s future. He put forward the idea for such a study and the committee held a preliminary meeting with some experts in the field. Senator Black believes that the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry is well positioned to make a real difference by following through on the study of soil.
For more information about the committee, including its current members, its past studies and reports, and transcripts from meetings, visit the Senate’s AGFO page.
Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector
Senator Black was also a member of the Special Standing Committee on the Charitable Sector (CSSB), which spent over a year hearing from charitable and non-profit organizations, big and small, across Canada.
In June 2019, the committee published its report, “Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector”, along with 42 recommendations to the government. Senator Black hopes they will use the recommendations to make much-needed improvements in the sector.
Because CSSB is a special committee, it will not continue into the 43rd Parliament. A special committee is struck with a specific mandate and timeline. Now that CSSB has published its report, it has completed its mandate and will not be recreated. However, this does not preclude a similar committee (standing or special) being struck in the future.