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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears as a witness via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears as a witness via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - The House of Commons will sit this fall with most MPs participating by video link so they can stay physically apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez introduced a motion to set the rules for "hybrid" sittings as the Commons sat for the first time in months Wednesday afternoon.

Those include having MPs vote via video conference until a secure remote voting application for smartphones is ready, and reducing the number of members who have to be physically present for quorum.

The plan also includes reconstituting committees such as a special body examining Canada-China relations.

The Conservatives had argued for in-person sittings only, with limited numbers of MPs in the chamber, and had opposed electronic voting.

But the MPs present Wednesday, including Tories, approved the plan unanimously.

The arrangement is to stay in place until Dec. 11, though MPs could vote to extend it then.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.