Q32. What is third reading?

Third reading is the final stage of the law-making process


A32. Third reading is the fifth stage of the five-stage law-making process.

As with first reading and second reading, the name “third reading” is a misnomer. The bill is not literally read out loud.

There can be debate on third reading, but usually there’s very little. Third reading tends to be very short.

A bill is not supposed to be amended on third reading. If there are any amendments the government wants to make or accept, the bill is sent back to Committee of the Whole House, and then returned to the House for third reading.

After third reading, the bill goes to the lieutenant governor for Royal Assent. That can happen the same day as third reading, or it can wait until the end of the legislative sitting.


Author: Graham Steele

A former MLA in Nova Scotia, currently Professor of Business Law in the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University

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