Long ago, a page was a young person from a noble family who served a king, a lord or a lady. Pages learned how to use weapons and do other jobs for their masters. More recently, parliamentary pages have worked in the House of Commons carrying messages, running errands, and distributing printed material, not unlike the current tasks of pages all over Canada. However, for many years after Confederation, it was customary for the House of Commons to choose boys, often as young as eleven years of age, from the Ottawa-Hull region to serve in this capacity. During those years, pages were required to be small, no taller than 5’6’’. Parliamentarians were concerned that larger boys might obscure their view during debates. Uniforms were provided in one size only and were handed down from those leaving to new recruits. In 1971, the Senate hired the first two female pages.
Today, about eight pages are employed when the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly is in session. They provide essential services to the Members and Officers of the Legislature. The page program is designed to allow junior high school students who are developing an interest in the legislative process or in public affairs, an opportunity to see, first-hand, how public policy is decided by the Legislative Assembly. Pages go to school full-time and work in the Chamber about 15-hours a week. Pages must have a good all-round performance at school and good self-discipline
The broad range of tasks a page performs include:
- Preparing for and cleaning up after each sitting of the Legislature;
- Distributing documents in the Legislative Chamber;
- Receiving and delivering items in and outside the Chamber as directed; and
- Distributing translation receivers.
When the Legislative Assembly is in session, pages sit at various places around the Chamber. The pages must watch for the Members’ call and respond accordingly.
So you want to be a Page at NWT’s Legislative Assembly
The Sergeant-at Arms contacts local Yellowknife schools on a rotational basis asking for pages to work at the Legislative Assembly. School principals distribute information and application packages to grade 8 and 9 students. Typically, 8 students are selected from the group of applicants.
Students from communities outside of Yellowknife also have an opportunity to become pages at the Legislative Assembly. To ensure equal representation from all constituencies, students are selected on a constituency/community/school rotational basis.
For each sessional day, 8 pages are required, which typically includes 4 students from Yellowknife and 4 out of town students.
Students chosen for the Page Program must have a good all-round performance at school and self-discipline. During the application process, aspiring pages will need to provide a copy of their latest school transcript, a recommendation from their school, and references.
If interested, let your principal know ASAP because positions fill up quickly!
The Coordinator of Administrative Services at the Legislative Assembly maintains the rotational school schedule and works with school principals to select 2 students from the next school on the schedule. Chaperones from the community will accompany the students who travel to Yellowknife to work at the Legislative Assembly for a one week period. The Legislative Assembly provides all meals and accommodations to pages and their chaperones.
The Important Stuff
Pages work in the Chamber for about 15-hours per week and get paid $12.50 per hour.
Sessional sittings run Monday- Thursday from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm and on Fridays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
The usual workday is six hours; however, sittings often run late. Pages are required to stay until they are no longer needed. If a page cannot stay late on a particular day, they will tell the Coordinator of Administrative Services or the Sergeant-At-Arms.
Uniforms are provided by the Legislative Assembly; however students must provide their own shoes.
Contact the Coordinator of Administrative Services at (867) 767-9131 extension 12034