Parliament is officially prorogued, House of Commons clerk Audrey O'Brien said in a memo distributed to MPs Friday morning.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request for prorogation and allowed an Oct. 16 date for the throne speech. The speech will happen at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Johnston, the Queen's representative in Canada, signed the royal proclamation around 9 a.m. ET, after an "exchange of correspondence," his office said. A spokeswoman declined to provide further details and referred CBC News to the parliamentary website for general information on prorogation.

Harper said last month that he wanted to have Parliament prorogued before its original Sept. 16 return date. Prorogation allows governments to bring in fresh bills and usually happens mid-way through a prime minister's mandate.

Harper's announcement stoked controversy, however, because of the amount of time he wanted to prorogue Parliament. He could have brought the House and Senate back within days or even hours rather than taking an extra month, critics said.

MPs will lose 17 sitting days off the parliamentary calendar and have to spend a few days reconvening committees once they return.

Opposition MPs have criticized the amount of time Harper is taking to bring back the House, with New Democrats alleging the prime minister finds it more convenient not to face them in question period.

In a statement, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said prorogation betrays the will of the House of Commons.

"In March 2010, the House approved Jack Layton's motion demanding the prime minister seek parliamentary approval for any prorogation lasting longer than one week," Mulcair said.

"Stephen Harper is setting new records for proroguing and avoiding accountability. He should stop hiding and recall Parliament now to face questions from the people’s representatives."