Hosting an Event on Parliament Hill
Whether you plan to host an event indoors (e.g. panel discussion or presentation) or outdoors (e.g. prayer rally or demonstration) on Parliament Hill, you must follow certain guidelines and have your event approved by the appropriate body. Below we have outlined the basic information you’ll need to plan and host an event on the Hill.
Hosting an Event Indoors
At one time, weddings and private parties peppered the Hill. Today, due to limited space and heightened security concerns, individuals and groups may only host events indoors on the Hill that meet certain criteria. Events must:
- Be for the express purpose of addressing, educating or engaging with MPs (this can include such events as roundtable discussions and presentations)
- Address an issue (or issues) of relevance to MPs
- Be non-partisan, and open to all MPs
- Be sponsored and attended by a Member of Parliament (MP) – see below
If your event fits within these general guidelines, and you are considering hosting your event on the Hill, the key things to consider are: plan ahead, budget appropriately, and find a Member of Parliament (MP) to sponsor the event.
1. Plan Ahead.
The Parliament Hill Events Department often books events four months in advance. So, begin planning for your event on Parliament Hill four to six months before you would like to hold the actual event.
2. Budget Appropriately.
There can be substantial costs involved in hosting an event on the Hill. The cost for an average room (and only the room) is $1000 + GST. Adding audio-visual and technician costs, security costs (required), and any catering services can easily bring the cost of a modest event to a few thousand dollars.
3. Find an MP to Sponsor the Event.
(NOTE: the sponsoring MP must attend the event).
The sponsoring MP could be the relevant Minister for the issue, the MP from your riding, a personal contact, or an MP who is sympathetic to your cause and willing to commit the time and energy to the event.
Once you have a sponsoring MP, their staff should guide you through the remaining steps. But, for your interest, the next step you’ll need to take is to write a letter to the Sergeant in Arms, through your sponsoring MP, requesting a room and services for the event. Once this is confirmed, you can begin dealing with logistics for your event!
For other or more detailed information on hosting events indoors on the Hill, call the Parliament Hill Event and Room Reservation Department at (613) 996-1789. The Parliament website has a page where you can enter your postal code to find out who your MP is.
Hosting an Event Outdoors on the Parliament Hill Grounds
Whether you’re interested in holding a prayer vigil, staging a peaceful protest or prayer rally, planning to host an event outdoors on the grounds of Parliament Hill is a different (and much simpler) ballgame than hosting one indoors. There is no cost for hosting an event outdoors, and the event does not require sponsorship by an MP.
As general guidelines, outdoor events must:
- Address an issue (or issues) of relevance to Parliament
- Be non-partisan
- NOT display or include any commercial logos or material for commercial purposes
To request permission to host your event on the grounds, call (819) 953-5019 and provide the information requested (including the specific details of your event). A committee will evaluate your request and respond to inform you of whether your event has been approved. You should submit your request at least a couple of weeks in advance as it takes, on average, a week to process each request.