For more information, please contact:
Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration: Pascale Legault - (613) 996-2740
Administrative Assistant: Axel Saizonou - (613) 220-1729
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Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
The Senate of Canada
Canada, K1A 0A4
If you wish to subscribe to the committee’s distribution list to receive notices of meetings and unrevised transcripts, please send an e-mail request to the committee. These documents will be sent to you by e-mail when they are available.
INTRODUCTION TO THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON
INTERNAL ECONOMY, BUDGETS AND ADMINISTRATION
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA) has the mandate to consider all matters of a financial or administrative nature relating to the internal management of the Senate. It reviews and authorizes the budget applications of committees and sets guidelines and policies on items such as senators’ office management and financial matters. It should be noted that unlike most Senate committees, the committee is authorized to carry out its mandate on its own initiative rather than being dependent on an order of reference from the Senate (Rule 12-7.(1)). Under the Parliament of Canada Act, the committee also has an intersessional authority, allowing it to continue to meet and act during a period of prorogation or dissolution.
STRUCTURE AND MEMBERSHIP
The committee has 15 members, plus two ex officio members: the Government Leader in the Senate or that person's representative; and the Opposition Leader in the Senate or that person's representative.
The Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure (Steering Committee), comprised of the Chair, Deputy Chair and one other member of the committee, has the power to make certain decisions when the Senate is not sitting, or during election periods. However, in the recent years, the Steering Committee has been often composed of the Chair and three Deputy Chairs. The Steering Committee must then report its decisions to the first meeting of CIBA thereafter.
In 1867, the Senate of Canada struck three standing committees, including a Committee on Contingent Accounts. The Clerk of the Senate was to table a statement of Senate accounts, with supporting documents, at the beginning of each session of Parliament; that committee was to consider and report on all matters relating to employees and general administration.
Unlike the House of Commons, whose Board of Internal Economy is established under statute, the Senate has chosen to delegate matters relating to its internal administration to an ordinary committee, to have the committee report to the Senate, and to have the committee's recommendations approved under the same rules that apply to all other Senate committees.
A singular point is that the Speaker of the Senate plays no direct role in the administration of the Senate and does not necessarily sit on the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. However, there have been exceptions, the most recent being Senator Leo Housakos, who chaired the committee in 2015 while he was Speaker pro-tempore.
The Committee on Contingent Accounts became the Standing Committee on Internal Economy and Contingent Accounts in 1894 and received its present name during the 1970-72 session of Parliament. In 1991, the Parliament of Canada Act was amended in order to give the committee legal recognition and legal powers to act between sessions of Parliament.
Because of the breadth of the committee’s mandate, it often establishes subcommittees to examine specific issues, in the interest of efficiency and effectiveness. These subcommittees report their conclusions and recommendations to the committee for consideration. During the previous sessions, a total of seven subcommittees and three advisory working groups, including the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure were established including:
- the Subcommittee on Committee Budgets which examines committee budgets and make recommendations on the allocation and release of funds;
- the Subcommittee on Communications which examines issues related to Senate communications, including communication approaches used to promote the role and work of the Senate and Senators;
- the Subcommittee on Diversity which examines the issues of diversity in the Senate workforce;
- the Subcommittee on Human Resources which examines and reports on issues related to human resources in the Senate;
- the Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan which supervises all steps, processes and decisions (excluding those areas that are under the authority of the Speaker) relating to the program of work for the Long Term Vision and Plan for the parliamentary precinct, in coordination with the Senate Administration;
- the Subcommittee on Senate Estimates which examines financial matters, including estimates and Senate policies;
- the Advisory and Heritage Advisory Working which deals with matters related to the Senate Policy on Heritage Assets and Works of Art;
- the Advisory Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion Training which examines issues relating to racism, diversity and inclusion training and reports its findings to the Subcommittee on Diversity; and
- the Advisory Working Group on Environment and Sustainability which examines and reports on the Environmental Policy of the Senate.
The Clerk of the committee is the Chief Corporate Services Officer (CCSO) of the Senate. The Clerk is supported by the CIBA Secretariat who prepare and organize the committee meetings, and provide logistical, administrative and procedural support to the CCSO.
With the agreement of the committee, the committee's meetings are called by the Chair. This is commonly done after consultation with the Steering Committee.
Policy and project development usually follow one of the following courses:
- the Steering Committee instructs senior officials to draft policies or proposals, including financial implications, evaluation of options and recommendations;
- senior officials take the initiative of drafting policies or proposals, consider them in detail at the Executive Committee (composed of the Clerk of the Senate and Chief Legislative Services Officer, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, and the Chief Corporate Services Officer), and then submit them to the Steering Committee;
- a subcommittee studies and reviews draft policies or issues and makes recommendations to CIBA.
All agenda matters are considered by the Steering Committee before being put on the committee's agenda. The committee may come to a decision itself or refer items for further study and review to the appropriate subcommittee.
KEY ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS
Over the recent years, the committee has approved new policies, guidelines and administrative directives in a number of areas. These include the Senate Administrative Rules and the Senators’ Office Management Policy.
Issues the committee concerns itself with include:
(a) Committee Budgets
Pursuant to the Senate Administration Rules, no committee may incur expenditures before its budget has been approved by the Committee on Internal Economy and the Senate. The committee has adopted numerous policies, procedures and guidelines which govern committee budgets. The Subcommittee on Committee Budgets examines the request of the various committees and then reports its recommendations to the committee.
(b) Senate Budget and Supplementary Budget Applications
In the fall of each year, the Administration reviews its work plans and the Senate’s funding requirements and proposes a budget for the upcoming fiscal year to the committee. The committee usually makes its final decisions in December and submits its report to the Senate for final adoption. A similar procedure is followed when there is a need for a supplementary budget application within the same fiscal year.
(c) Long Term Vision and Plan
The Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) has receive the mandate to supervise all steps, processes and decisions involved in moving the Senate and senators to their new temporary location while renovation work on the Parliament Buildings proceeds. The Subcommittee on LTVP was also mandated to examine the best way to ensure that the renovations of Centre Block respect its heritage and remain in the best interests of the Senate.
The subcommittee is a continuity of the work of CIBA that started with the adoption of the Long Term Accommodation Strategy in January 2000. Following the move to the Senate of Canada Building in February 2019, the subcommittee continues to supervise steps and decisions relating to the program of work for the Long Term Vision and Plan for the parliamentary precinct and to ensure the rehabilitation of Centre Block, East Block and all other buildings that will be occupied by the Senate.
(d) Senate Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace
The committee further continued work that was previously undertaken during the 1st session relating to the modernization of the Senate Harassment Policy. On February 11, 2021, the committee presented the Fourth report of the committee (Senate Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy), this policy was developed by senators on the Subcommittee on Human Resources with extensive input from the Senate’s Policy Health and Safety Committee, which includes representatives from all categories of Senate employees. This policy, which features a resolution process with independent oversight, was adopted to ensure the Senate is a workplace where everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity. It is focused on preventing harassment and violence in the workplace as defined by the Canada Labour Code.
Minutes of the committee’s meetings, as well as the committee’s reports can be found on the parliamentary website at https://sencanada.ca/en/CIBA/. For further information you may call the Office of the Chief Corporate Services Officer of the Senate at 613-996-2740 or send an email to email@example.com.