Rules of Procedure

Rules of Procedure Presentation


Rules of Procedure are to be used to facilitate the business of the meeting, not to obstruct it. Common sense will be used in the application of the rules. Delegates trying to use the rules to obstruct business need not be recognized.

These Rules of Procedures were developed to assist the Chair and the Parliamentarian in the performance of their duties and to make available to delegates a ready reference to the rules of debate.

PIPSC is not a debating society, nor is it a business organized for profit. To control the meeting, the Chair will apply the rules with discretion and will be influenced by the principle involved rather the letter of the law. Delegates should be familiar with the rules so that they may cooperate with the Chair in maintaining orderly debate and in expediting the business on the agenda.

It should be possible to conduct the meeting without reference to any parliamentary guide. In all matters of procedure not covered by the Institute By-Laws, these Rules of Procedures shall apply. In cases where these procedures do not make adequate provision, then and only then, may reference be made to the most recent edition of The American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure.

Parliamentary law is the code of rules and ethics for working together and provides the means for translating beliefs and ideas into effective action. It is essentially common sense used in a gracious manner. The basic principles to remember are:

1. Courtesy and justice for all

2. Only consider one thing at a time

3. The minority must be heard

4. The majority must prevail

5. The opportunity for full and free discussion of every motion should be provided

6. All delegates have equal rights, privileges and obligations

7. Every delegate has the right to know the meaning of the motion and the effect it will have.

The purpose of following proper procedures is:

  1. To keep the meeting orderly
  2. To permit the issues to be clearly stated
  3. To have a conclusion reached
  4. To finish dealing with matters that are raised.


a) A delegate obtains the right to speak by sending a request through the online platform.  When the Chair has recognised someone to speak, that delegate will be allowed to unmute their microphone and speak. 

b) The item of business is introduced by making a motion “I move.” Another delegate seconds the motion which then opens the question for discussion.

c) The Chair regulates debate and then puts the motion for a vote. Once the vote has started there shall be no interruptions. The Chair declares the result as motion carried or motion defeated.

d) If a delegate feels the decision of the Chair is not correct, then a count may be requested. Such a request is not in order when the vote has been taken and tabulated electronically.


a) Each delegate is entitled to speak once to a question. At the discretion of the Chair, a delegate may speak more than once but only after all other delegates who wish to speak, have had the opportunity to do so.

b) The Chair will make an effort to balance the discussion rather than permitting several consecutive speeches on the same side of the question.

c) Speeches shall be limited to three (3) minutes. This shall not apply to the spokesperson for a committee when speaking to a motion on behalf of a committee. Extensions may be permitted by the Chair.

d) The proposer of a motion has the privilege of opening and closing debate on that motion.

e) A delegate, if called to order while speaking, shall relinquish the microphone until the question of order has been decided.

f) Delegates must not indulge in personalities and should avoid reference by name.

g) Delegates must always speak through the Chair. If they wish to ask a question, it is done through the Chair. Delegates must not ignore the Chair and the speakers list in order to debate an issue directly with another delegate.

h) The Chair must remain strictly neutral and must vacate the Chair to a deputy to take part in the debate on any question. They do not return to the Chair until the pending question is voted upon.


a) To enforce the observance of all rules for the orderly conduct of the meeting.

b) To exercise judgment and tact at all times.

c) To give every delegate present and so entitled, reasonable opportunity for participating in the discussion of the question before the meeting. The Chair has the discretion to recognize an observer and to permit that person to speak. Any observer so recognized is required to adhere to the basic rules of debate.

d) To refuse the right to any delegate to engage in a discussion of political or religious matters unless such subjects have a direct bearing on the immediately pending question.

e) To preserve order and, if necessary, request any disorderly person to retire from the meeting. The Chair shall not proceed with the meeting until this has been complied with.

f) To protect the assembly from annoyance by any delegate proposing a motion that is evidently frivolous or designed to cause delay. In such cases, the Chair shall refuse to entertain the motion.

g) To ensure that each motion is clearly stated as it comes before the meeting. If a motion requires a seconder, the Chair shall not state the motion until it has been seconded.

h) To put to a vote every motion when the debate on the motion is complete, and to declare whether the motion has been passed or defeated.

i) To expedite business in a manner compatible with the rights of the delegates.

j) To perform such other duties as the meeting may properly direct or the Rules of Procedure may require.

k) To abstain from expressing a personal opinion on any matter under discussion save when such matter pertains directly to a question of order.

l) To have in their possession an agenda for the meeting.

m) To ascertain that the quorum is present at the start of the meeting.

n) To call the meeting to order on opening and to adjourn it when business is completed or when, for some reason, it cannot be further proceeded with.


a) Electronic vote

Where a vote is conducted using electronic means, the vote is a counted vote and the results of the counted vote are recorded in the minutes.

Delegates are to keep their voting credentials issued to them confidential at all times. Delegates may only use the voting credentials issued to them. Misuse of any voting credentials will result in the loss of voting rights.

b) Roll call vote

Voting delegates are called by name and the result of the vote recorded. As this is a time-consuming action, it will only be done after a motion to do so has been passed by the assembly. This motion must be made prior to the Chair asking for a vote and will be dealt with immediately.

The Chair can only vote once.

In the event of a tie, the Chair may use their vote if the Chair has not already voted. If the Chair does not vote, the motion is defeated as it does not have a majority in favour.

The Chair cannot be compelled to vote on any question.

Delegates who do not vote have consented to allow the will of the organization to be expressed by those voting. The delegates who do not vote are not counted for the purpose of a majority or two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.


1) Introduction of new business

The main motion is a self-contained proposal drafted in such a way as to clearly state what action is to be taken and worded so that a decision can be made at the meeting. The “whereas” is not considered part of the motion, so the motion itself must be understood without the “whereas” clause(s). It is a motion that does not take precedence over any other motions.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is debatable; can be amended; a majority vote is required; can be reconsidered; cannot interrupt a speaker.

2) To amend

A primary amendment is an amendment to a motion; a sub-amendment is an amendment to the amendment. The Chair shall not recognize an amendment to a sub-amendment, yet may recognize an amendment by substitution which, if agreed to, would become a sub-amendment. An amendment must be relevant to the subject being amended. Amendments are voted in the reverse order in which they were proposed. If an amendment or sub-amendment is defeated, another may be moved. When all amendments have been decided, the original motion, modified by any amendment(s) which may have been carried, shall be put to a vote.

An amendment must be relevant to, and have a direct bearing on the subject of the pending motion.

An amendment may be hostile. That is, it may be opposed to the actual intent of the original motion. An amendment that merely changes an affirmative to a negative is not in order, e.g., a motion to “endorse John Smith” may be amended to “endorse Jane Doe”, but it cannot be amended to “to NOT endorse John Smith”.

Amendment by substitution

This is used when it is better to reword the motion instead of proposing several amendments. An amendment by substitution can be amended (a sub-amendment). An amendment by substitution to a main motion, if carried, still requires a vote on the motion as amended as the substituted motion becomes the main motion.

The following rules govern amendments: requires a seconder; is debatable; an amendment may be amended but a sub-amendment cannot be amended; a majority vote is required; may be reconsidered but only up to the time when the motion which it amends is put to a vote by the Chair; cannot interrupt a speaker.


All amendments to resolutions will need to be submitted by email to members of the By-Laws and Policies Committee by email to the BLPC at (address to be displayed on screen). Members of the BLPC will assist with clarity of wording and intent.

The amendments will then be provided to the translators. Once translated, the amended resolutions will be projected on the screens and will be debated. The debate on the original motion may be continued or tabled if required to give sufficient time to get the amendment up on the screens.

3) Point of order

A delegate may interrupt debate at any time by addressing the Chair and stating the desire to raise a point of order. Such action is only taken to ensure orderly procedure.

A point of order may refer to such matters as a breach or violation of the Rules of Procedure or of the By-Laws. It may be raised when a speaker is not confining their remarks to the motion before the assembly.

A point of order is not to be used to interrupt when you do not like what a speaker is saying or, for that matter, when you do not like the speaker. It is not to be used to try and give advice to the Chair. When a point of order is being considered by the Chair, the only valid additional point of order would be when the Chair is not dealing with the first point of order.

The following rules govern: does not require a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; is not put to the vote; cannot be reconsidered; may interrupt a speaker.

4) Move the question (close debate)

The purpose of this motion is to bring the pending motion or motions to an immediate vote and thus it ends debate, if passed.

Unless the motion to close debate is qualified it applies to the immediately pending motion only. If a motion, an amendment and a sub-amendment are pending, only the sub-amendment would be affected unless the others are mentioned in the motion to close debate.

To call out “Question” without obtaining the floor is out of order when it interrupts a speaker or when others wish to speak.

The Chair has the right to not recognize “the question” when both sides of an issue have not been heard. Inversely if the Chair feels that both sides have been heard they can request the delegates to indicate if they are ready to vote.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

5) To refer

By this motion a pending motion is referred with or without instructions to a committee or individual. The motion should indicate when the committee or individual shall report back to the general body. Referral of the main motion would include any amendment and sub-amendment.

The following rules govern; requires a seconder; is debatable provided the main motion is debatable; can be amended; a majority vote is required; may be reconsidered if work has not started on the referred motion; cannot interrupt after debate has been entered into. Amendment and debate is restricted to selection, membership or duties of the committee, or instructions to the committee or individual.

6) To table (Dispose of without a Direct Vote)

This motion postpones debate on all motions (main and amendments) that are currently being debated. It can be untabled by motion at the same meeting provided no other business is before the assembly when proposed.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote; cannot be reconsidered; cannot interrupt a speaker.

Requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote when it would suppress a motion without further debate.

7) To table (postpone to a certain time)

The purpose of this motion is to put off debate, or further debate, of all motions (main or amendments) currently being debated or about to be debated, and to fix a definite time or point in the meeting for consideration. At that time, it has priority over all other motions except privileged motions. A certain time means to a specific time or point in this meeting or to another meeting that has already been scheduled, e.g., to table until 2:00 p.m. this afternoon OR to table until after Motion P3 and P4 have been dealt with.

It cannot be postponed to a meeting that has not already been scheduled or to any time that would be too late for the proposed motion to be effective.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; debate is restricted to brief discussion on the reason for, or time of, postponement; amendment is restricted to time of postponement; requires a majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

8) To untable (resume consideration)

The purpose of this motion is to restart debate of motions that were tabled during the same meeting.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; majority vote required; cannot be reconsidered; cannot interrupt a speaker.

9) Withdrawal of a motion

Leave to withdraw a motion may be requested as follows;

The mover may withdraw their motion without the consent of anyone, provided that no one else has started to debate the motion, and may request leave to withdraw it after debate has started but before a vote is taken on the motion, provided no member objects.

If an objection is made, a delegate may move that permission to withdraw be granted, in which case the following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote; can interrupt a speaker.

10) Split the motion

The purpose is to divide a motion that is composed of two or more independent parts into individual motions that may be considered and voted on separately.

Each independent part must be properly worded to make sense by itself. This does not mean that the second part could not be redundant or out of order if the first part fails.

The following rules govern: no seconder required; is not debatable; no vote required; cannot interrupt a speaker.

11) Appeal from the decision of the Chair

If a delegate disagrees with a ruling of the Chair, they may appeal the decision of the Chair. An appeal cannot be made when another appeal is pending but must be made as soon as possible after the Chair has announced their decision and before debate on the pending motion has been resumed. If the business of the meeting has been proceeded with, no appeal should be recognized.

In appealing the Chair’s decision, a delegate shall rise and address the Chair thus: “I appeal the decision of the Chair.” This appeal may be made without waiting for recognition by the Chair. The Chair will then ask if the appeal is supported. If the appeal is supported by at least one other delegate then the Chair will state the motion in the following or similar terms: “There is an appeal of the decision of the Chair.” The delegate appealing may then state, if they so desire, their reason for the appeal. The Chair may then state, if they so desire, their reason for the decision. The Chair shall then put the question to a vote: “Those supporting the decision of the Chair.” The Chair will then follow with: “Those against the decision of the Chair.”

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote in the negative to reverse the decision of the Chair; cannot be reconsidered; is in order when another speaker has the floor but not after debate has resumed or other business has proceeded.

12) Request for information (parliamentary enquiry)

The purpose of this request is to enable a member to ask the Chair a question related to procedure in connection with the pending motion or with a motion the member may wish to bring before the assembly immediately, or for information on the meaning or effect of the pending question

It is not to be used for the purpose of giving information.

A request for information may interrupt a speaker only if it requires an immediate answer. No delegate should interrupt a speaker with an enquiry if it can reasonably wait until the speaker has finished speaking.

A request for information is always addressed to the Chair and is answered by the Chair. If a speaker is interrupted and the Chair decides that an immediate answer is not required, the speaker will be told to continue and the question answered after the speaker is finished.

The Chair should never allow a request for information to be used as a method of annoying a speaker and should refuse recognition to any delegate who is using it to harass or delay.

The following rules govern: can interrupt if it requires an immediate answer; does not require a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; does not require a vote.

13) To adjourn

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote; cannot be reconsidered; cannot interrupt a speaker. Passing of the motion will cause the following actions: Chair’s closing remarks; President’s closing remarks; announcement of election results, if an election year; and, adjournment of meeting.

14) To recess

A motion to recess suspends the meeting until a later time. This differs from a motion to adjourn which terminates the meeting. When the assembly reconvenes following a recess, it resumes the meeting at the point where it was interrupted by the motion to recess.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; debate is restricted to a brief discussion on the time, duration or need of recess; amendments restricted to the time or duration of recess; requires a majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

15) Question of privilege

Both the meeting itself and each of the delegates have certain rights with respect to safety, comfort, dignity, reputation and freedom from disturbance. Raising a question of privilege is a method by which a delegate directs the attention of the meeting to a situation that interferes with any of these rights.

The following rules govern: does not require a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; is not put to a vote; cannot be reconsidered; can interrupt a speaker.

16) Limit debate / extend debate

The purpose of this motion is to limit or extend the time that will be devoted to the discussion of a pending motion or to modify or remove limitations already imposed on its discussion, e.g., limit each speaker to one (1) minute: limit debate on the question to one hour; extend the time of the speaker by five minutes or limit discussion to three more speakers.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; debate is restricted to type and time of limitations; requires a two- thirds (2/3) majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

17) To reconsider

The purpose of this motion is to enable the assembly to set aside a vote on a main motion taken at the same meeting and to consider the motion again as though no vote had been taken on it.

A motion to reconsider cannot be moved after the motion to which it refers has been acted upon. It cannot be applied to vote immediately, to adjournment or to any other subsidiary motion. A motion to reconsider is out of order if a similar motion has been previously applied to the main motion. The motion to reconsider must be moved at the same meeting as the original motion.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is debatable; cannot be amended; requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

18) To rescind

This motion is used to rescind, cancel or repeal a motion previously adopted. It can be proposed at any meeting. If the motion previously adopted has been executed, to rescind it is out of order. The motion to rescind usually applies to motions dealt with at past meetings because the motion to reconsider applies to motions which have been dealt with at the current meeting.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is debatable; cannot be amended; majority vote required; cannot interrupt a speaker.

19) Suspension of the rules

At times it may be necessary in cases of urgency to suspend the rules for the purpose of enabling a particular motion to be made, but this procedure is not encouraged. It may be moved at any time when no motion is pending or while a motion is pending provided it is for a purpose connected with the motion.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote; cannot be reconsidered; cannot interrupt a speaker.

20) Consider informally

There are times when it is desirable to have discussion of a problem or an issue prior to the proposal of a motion concerning it so that some agreement may be reached on the type and wording of the motion. There are also times when it is wise to set aside the formal rules governing discussion and debate. Both of these objectives may be achieved by a motion to consider informally.

The following rules govern: requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote; cannot interrupt a speaker.

21) Closed session

The purpose of this motion is to restrict the people who are allowed to hear and participate in debate on a motion or motions. It is usually used when the subject to be discussed is confidential.

Unless specified in the motion, only delegates and those required to run the meeting (recording secretary, interpreters, etc.) are allowed to remain during a closed session.

Only passed motions will be recorded in the minutes. No record of the discussion will be made. The minutes of the closed session may have restricted distribution.

The following rules govern: can interrupt; requires a seconder; is not debatable; cannot be amended; requires a majority vote.

A closed session is ended by a motion to move out of closed session.


a) Privileged motions

A privileged motion is one that, while having no relation to the pending question, is of such urgency or importance as to require that it shall take precedence over all other motions.

- Adjourn

- Recess

- Question of privilege

b) Subsidiary motions

A subsidiary motion is one that may be applied to the main motion, and to certain other motions, for the purpose of amending them, delaying action upon them, or otherwise disposing of them.

- Table (dispose of without a direct vote)

- Move the question

- Limit / Extend debate

- Table (postpone to a certain time)

- Refer

- Amend

c) The main motion

A main motion is one that brings before the assembly a particular subject for discussion. It cannot be made while another motion is pending.

- Introduction of new business

d) Specific main motions

This classification includes the following motions:

- Untable

- Reconsider

- Rescind

e) Incidental motions

An incidental motion is one that arises out of another question which is pending, or has just been pending. It shall be decided before the pending question, or before other business is taken up. Incidental motions have no fixed rank but take precedence over questions out of which they arise, irrespective of whether those questions are main, privileged, or subsidiary motions.

- Appeal from a decision of the Chair

- Consider informally

- Closed session

- Suspension of rules

- Point of order

- Split the motion

- Request for information

- Withdrawal of a motion


The following motions will be ruled out of order and will not be accepted.

1) Postpone indefinitely - motion to table accomplishes the main purpose of this motion.

2) Point of information - this has been misused to try and give information. Giving information is just speaking to the motion. A request for information is a separate motion.


For the purpose of these procedures, a resolution is a main motion. The By-Laws state that a resolution must be submitted in writing.

A resolution from the floor may be dealt with immediately given the agreement of two-thirds (2/3) of the delegates that the issue is an emergency.