The Legislative Assembly is assisted by many people working in a variety of roles. In the legislative Chamber, the Assembly’s work is overseen by the Speaker, who is supported by several Clerks, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Pages.
The Assembly’s presiding officer is chosen by all members and is considered to be above partisan politics. When the Assembly is sitting, it is the Speaker’s job to ensure that legislative business is conducted efficiently and according to the rules. To maintain impartiality, the Speaker does not participate in any debate except to preserve order and decorum.
The Speaker is always treated with the greatest attention and respect by individual members because the office embodies the power, dignity and honour of the Assembly itself. The Speaker must be heard when he rises to his feet, and at that point, no member may speak or seek to be recognized to speak. As well, no member may criticize the Speaker or comment on the Speaker's character and actions.
Members look to the Speaker for guidance in matters of parliamentary procedure. When a breach of the rules is suspected, a member stands in the House to declare a point of order. The Speaker’s decision or ruling on a point of order become precedents or examples that help subsequent Speakers interpret the Assembly's many rules and practices.
The Speaker also acts as the Assembly's ambassador in its relations with other parliaments, governments and the Crown, and attends ceremonies on behalf of members. The Speaker also fulfils an important administrative responsibility as the head of the legislative employees.
By tradition, the Speaker wears a black robe when the Assembly is in session. When entering or leaving the Chamber, the Speaker is preceded by the mace. In medieval times, the mace was a weapon used to defend the monarch, but today it is the symbol of the Crown's authority. It must be placed on the table in the middle of the Chamber in order for the legislature to be properly constituted.
The Clerk of the Assembly and the assisting Clerks sit at the table in front of the Speaker. It is their job to advise the Speaker and other members on the rules of the Assembly and on parliamentary procedure. They are also responsible for all legislative documents, including keeping the official record of Assembly proceedings.
The chief security officer wears a ceremonial uniform and sits at a desk near the door of the Chamber. The Sergeant carries the mace in the opening procession of each day's sitting and enforces the Speaker's orders while protecting the Chamber from demonstrations and disturbances.
The assistants who work while the Legislative Assembly is in session do a variety of tasks. The duties of the Pages have traditionally included collecting and delivering documents and messages for the Speaker, Members of the Legislative Assembly, and the Clerks in the Chamber and elsewhere in the Legislative Building. The Pages assist whenever the Assembly is sitting and as needed with committee meetings.
Outside of the Chamber, there are many employees who enable the operation of the Assembly. The Legislative Assembly Service (LAS) serves Members with impartiality and confidentiality and provides organizational continuity from one Legislature to the next. LAS activities range from library management to policing services, from payroll to publishing, from television broadcast to legal services.
The Office of the Clerk coordinates the procedural, administrative, financial, and support services required by the MLAs, the Assembly, and legislative committees.
Under the direction of the Clerk, the Legislative Assembly Service is grouped into four divisions:
Member and Corporate Services: The Members’ Services, Financial Services, and Human Resources branches help MLAs with financial, administrative, and personnel matters. The MCS division also manages LAS information technology services and coordinates the Assembly’s corporate communications.
Legislative Library: The Library offers MLAs a wide variety of information and research services to support the Assembly’s consideration of policies, expenditures, and legislation.
Parliamentary Counsel and Precinct: This division provides Members with legal advice and assistance, as well as Chamber security services.
Parliamentary Support: The Parliamentary Support team produces the official records of the Assembly’s work, supports the Assembly’s standing and special committees, produces the province-wide broadcast of the proceedings of the Assembly, provides technological infrastructure and support, and provides visitor information.