The Library of Parliament was established shortly after Confederation, and is currently provided for in sections 73 to 79 of the
Parliament of Canada Act. The direction and control of the Library is vested jointly in the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons. The control and management of the Library rests with the Parliamentary Librarian, assisted by an Associate Parliamentary Librarian, both of whom are appointed by the Governor in Council. Since 2001, provision has also been made for the appointment of a Parliamentary Poet Laureate as an officer of the Library. In 2006, the Act was amended to include a Parliamentary Budget Officer as a senior officer of the Library; the Act sets out the selection process and the mandate of the office.
The first Library of Parliament Act was given Royal assent April 14, 1871. The direction and control of the Library was to be vested in the Speakers of both Houses, assisted by a joint committee. At this time provisions were made for a staff to consist of one librarian, one assistant librarian, two clerks and two messengers.
On May 6, 1885, a resolution was passed in the House of Commons that “the officers and servants of the Library of Parliament should consist of: two officers, one to be called the General Librarian, the other the Parliamentary Librarian, and to hold a joint commission as “Librarians of Parliament” and to have equal powers…”
This was amended in 1955. The Parliamentary Librarian was given “the control and management of the Library” while the position of General Librarian was changed to that of Associate Parliamentary Librarian who would "perform the duties and functions of Parliamentary Librarian during his absence, illness or other incapacity or during a vacancy in the office of Parliamentary Librarian."
On September 21st, 2017 the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) became a distinct office with a reformed mandate when certain sections of the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 came into force. For more information, please visit the Parliamentary Budget Officer's page.