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THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON INTERNAL ECONOMY, BUDGETS AND ADMINISTRATION

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS


OTTAWA, Thursday, December 12, 2019
(1)

[English]

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration met this day at 9 a.m., in room C128, Senate of Canada Building, the chair, the Honourable Sabi Marwah, presiding.

Members of the committee present: The Honourable Senators Batters, Boehm, Carignan, P.C., Dalphond, Dawson, Forest, Gold, MacDonald, Marshall, Marwah, Martin, Moncion, Munson, Plett, Saint-Germain, Seidman and Tkachuk (17).

Other senators present: The Honourable Senators Loffreda, Tannas and Verner, P.C. (3).

Also in attendance: Pascale Legault, Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration; Richard Denis, Interim Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments and Chief Legislative Services Officer; Philippe Hallée, Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel; senior Senate officials and other support staff.

Also present: The official reporters of the Senate.

WITNESSES:

Senate of Canada:

The Honourable Senator Lucie Moncion;

Vanessa Bastos, Lead, People, Culture and Inclusion, Human Resources Directorate;

Catherine Beaudoin, Deputy Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel;

Nathalie Charpentier, Comptroller and Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Procurement Directorate;

Pierre Lanctôt, Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Procurement Directorate;

Diane McCullagh, Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources Directorate;

Caroline Morency, Director General, Property and Services Directorate;

David Vatcher, Director, Information Services Directorate.

International and Interparliamentary Affairs:

Colette Labrecque-Riel, Clerk Assistant and Director General.

Pursuant to rule 12-7(1) of the Rules of the Senate, the committee continued its consideration of financial and administrative matters concerning the Senate’s internal administration.

CIBA/2019-12-12/001(P) — Adoption of minutes of proceedings

The Chair made a statement.

The committee considered the minutes of proceedings of Thursday, November 7, 2019, public portion.

The Honourable Senator Dalphond moved:

That the minutes of proceedings of Thursday, November 7, 2019 be adopted.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

CIBA/2019-12-12/002(P) — Allocation of Caucus/Group and House Officer Budgets for 2019-2020

The Chair made a statement and answered questions on the allocations for caucus and parliamentary budgets for the fiscal year 2019-20.

After debate, the Honourable Senator Marwah moved:

That the Canadian Senators Group be allocated the sum of $120,000 until the end of the fiscal year 2019-20.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

CIBA/2019-12-12/003(P) — Report from the Subcommittee on Senate Estimates: Main Estimates 2020-2021

The Chair of the Subcommittee on Senate Estimates, the Honourable Senator Moncion, presented the eleventh report of the subcommittee as follows:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Subcommittee on the Senate Estimates of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its

ELEVENTH REPORT

(Intersessional Authority)

Your subcommittee has the mandate to review the proposed estimates, keeping in mind the necessity for the Senate and its Administration to demonstrate responsible management of the public funds that are allocated to the institution.

Your subcommittee, composed of Senators Dawson, Marshall and Moncion, met on November 20, 2019, to review the funding requirements for the Senate estimates for 2020-21. The documents presented to the subcommittee described the funding requirements for senators, committees, Senate Administration, and International and Interparliamentary Affairs (IIA). Each Administration directorate also provided a summary detailing the use of their financial resources. Any funding increases from the previous year required detailed documentation and a presentation before the subcommittee to justify the new spending. Your subcommittee heard from 10 individuals representing the directorates requesting additional funding, including members of the management teams from the Senate and IIA. They presented their operational and funding requirements as well as their justification for changes. Your subcommittee thanks these individuals for their presentations.

Throughout its study, the subcommittee took into account the changes taking place in the Senate and the various ongoing modernization processes. The Main Estimates were prepared based on the assumption that the Senate’s level of activity for the planning year would be similar to the level observed in 2018-19 and early 2019-20. The proposed budget is also based on the following principles:

  • Maintaining high quality services to senators;
  • Ensuring good stewardship of public funds;
  • Investing to upgrade information technology infrastructure; and
  • Addressing operational gaps due to increased activity levels.

In its deliberations, your subcommittee identified key elements it believes worth noting to ensure continuity in the development and study of future funding requirements:

  • Budget assumption and strategy: The budget is based on the assumption that an average of 103 senators will be in office during 2020-2021. Your subcommittee also proposes a budget strategy to fund the Senate’s ongoing expenses from the proposed 2020-21 budget and to use an active budget reallocation approach for non-recurring funding requirements. If the amounts are insufficient, a request for additional funds will be considered during the Supplementary Estimates processes.

  • Administration resources: Your subcommittee recognizes that, in order to be able to provide the services necessary for the Senate and senators to conduct their parliamentary and constitutional responsibilities, and taking into account the growth and complexity of operations, resource requests from the Senate Administration must be addressed in a timely manner to limit operational and consequential risks arising from undue delays.

  • Information technologies: Your subcommittee underlines the importance of information technologies and of infrastructure that supports technologies required for the Senate’s daily operations, but also for data security and integrity. As a result, your subcommittee notes a willingness to conduct a security audit of the systems put in place by the Senate and a review of the management of information technology.

  • Budget for caucuses and parliamentary groups: Your subcommittee recommends that the total 2019-20 budget allocated for recognized parliamentary caucuses and groups be renewed for the fiscal year under review. Your subcommittee leaves it to the various leaders to agree on the distribution of this budget and if they deem the total budget to be insufficient, their request for additional funds should be submitted to CIBA.

  • Pay and working hours: Your subcommittee encourages the competent authorities to evaluate working hours in order to ensure work-life balance, as well as to review the salaries of certain Senate employee categories with a view to retaining and recruiting top talent.

In the review of the Main Estimates, your subcommittee has examined the resources available for senators to conduct their parliamentary and constitutional responsibilities.

The projected total budget for the Senate for 2020-21 is $115,563,738, an increase of $1,374,979 compared to the current fiscal year. This is an increase of 1.2%, which is less than the inflation rate of 2.1%. The budgets for senators, committees and IIA are up $1,289,958 and the Administration budget is up $225,406, while the budget for employee benefits is down $140,385.

The budgets for senators, committees and IIA are up $1,289,958, which represents an increase of 2.1%. This sum comprises the following:

  • an increase of $601,865 in the IIA budget, including $544,278 in temporary funding for conferences and $57,587 representing the Senate’s portion for adding two positions required to support growth in activities and proactive disclosure. (Note that this additional funding will be allocated only once the House of Commons approves its share of these expenses);

  • the senators’ office budgets are increasing by $512,710, including $14,705 for the additional office allowance for the Speaker of the Senate. This increase is entirely related to the inflation rate of 2.1%;

  • an increase of $202,383 for senators’ basic and additional allowances and pensions, travel and living expenses and telecommunications expenses; and

  • a decrease of $27,000 in the grants and contributions budget.

Funding for the Senate Administration represents an overall increase of $225,406, or 0.5%. This amount includes new expenditures of $1,490,031, less the reduction in temporary funding from previous years that ends this year totalling $1,264,625. The new funding requirements include the following key items:

  • a permanent increase of $537,924 to maintain at the existing level editing, text coordination, and pay, classification and employee labour relations services;

  • $450,682 approved by CIBA for the addition of three positions for legal services, software licenses and executive performance bonuses;

  • a permanent increase of $260,967 for employee meal and taxi allowances, as per the collective agreement, position reclassifications and additional personnel budget for standby provisions; and

  • a permanent increase of $240,458 for cafeteria services and maintenance services in the new Senate of Canada building.

Your subcommittee also reviewed Administration requests for one-time initiatives totalling $1,692,760 that it plans to fund out of current budget envelopes. These initiatives, which are not included in the Senate’s additional budget requests, are the following:

  • a $1,430,000 investment for information technology infrastructure;

  • $133,875 to modernize the LEGISinfo system;

  • $128,885 in temporary funding to support the structural transition of the Human Resources Directorate and to hire on a temporary basis a seasonal electronic printing specialist.

Note that of the $1,374,979 total net increase proposed for 2020-21, $994,960 was approved by CIBA earlier this year, which included:

  • $544,278 for IIA conferences;

  • $299,717 for legal services;

  • $150,965 for corporate services.

In summary, the 10.25 additional total net full-time equivalent (FTE) positions (1.75 temporary and 8.5 permanent) include 3 FTE already approved by CIBA.

It should also be noted that of the proposed total net increase of $1,374,979 for 2020-21, $34,998 is related to statutory appropriations, and $1,339,981 is related to the Senate's voted appropriations.

Therefore, your subcommittee makes the following recommendations:

  • That the Senate’s 2020-21 budget be $115,563,738, which is an increase of 1.2% from the previous year;

  • That the 2020-21 budget adjustments listed in the Appendix be approved;

  • That the proposed budget strategy be accepted; and

  • That the budget requests from the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate be approved. It notes, however, that the House of Commons must also approve the request so that a final recommendation can be made.

Respectfully submitted,

LUCIE MONCION

Chair

The Honourable Senator Moncion made a statement and, together with Pierre Lanctôt, David Vatcher, Caroline Morency, Diane McCullagh, Vanessa Bastos and Colette Labrecque-Riel, answered questions.

After debate, the Honourable Senator Moncion moved:

That the report be adopted and that it be presented in the Senate.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted, on division.

CIBA/2019-12-12/004(P) — Report from the Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan

The Deputy Chair of the Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan, the Honourable Senator Munson, presented the fifth report of the subcommittee as follows:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its

FIFTH REPORT

(Intersessional Authority)

On May 2, 2019, the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA) adopted the following revised mandate for the Subcommittee on the LTVP:

That, pursuant to the decision of this committee on March 10, 2016 respecting the creation of the Subcommittee on the Long Term Vision and Plan to supervise the move of the Senate from Centre Block to the Senate of Canada Building, the mandate of the subcommittee be extended to include the following:

To supervise 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;

To examine the best ways to ensure the rehabilitation of Centre Block, East Block and all other buildings that will be occupied by the Senate in the end state respect the heritage and the best interests of the Senate, without compromising the integrity of security.

For greater certainty, all matters under the authority of the Speaker will be referred to the Speaker.

On September 4, 2019, your subcommittee met to discuss several elements of the Long-Term Vision and Plan and now reports as follows:

  1. East Block: Museum Rooms

The East Block currently contains recreations of five (5) spaces highlighting famous occupants from the 19th century. These include: Sir John A MacDonald’s Office, Lord Dufferin’s Office, Sir George Étienne Cartier’s Office and the Privy Council Chamber plus its antechamber. In the early 1980s, Public Services and Procurement Canada created the museum rooms in East Block for public tours. Since then, the themes and layout of the rooms have remained relatively unchanged.

The temporary closure and rehabilitation of both the Centre Block and the East Block under the Long Term Vision and Plan presents an opportunity to reassess the purpose of the museum rooms within the broader context of the visitor experience on Parliament Hill. Consequently, the Property Services Directorate (PSD) presented a proposal to the subcommittee to conduct a study to examine the future use of these museum rooms, including possible alternative uses (such as turning them into senators’ offices), alternative themes or alternative locations within the precinct for these rooms, both temporarily and in the end state.

After discussion, the subcommittee expressed a strong preference to maintain and preserve the five (5) museum rooms in East Block in the end state, due to their historical significance, the fact they are located within the very few Parliament building areas that have remained intact and in order to enhance the overall visitor experience on Parliament Hill.

Recommendation 1:

The subcommittee recommends that the Property Services Directorate be instructed to conduct a study over the fall and provide recommendations to the LTVP subcommittee in winter 2019-2020, on measures to enhance the visitor experience, preservation and history of the five (5) museum rooms for when the East Block reopens after its rehabilitation.

  1. Committee Rooms in the End State:

On May 9, 2019, the following motion was adopted at CIBA:

That a total of ten (10) Senate broadcasting committee rooms are required for the longer term;

That a maximum number of committee rooms should be located in close proximity to the Senate Chamber. Those that cannot be accommodated in the Centre Block will be provided in the Visitor Welcome Centre Complex (East end), East Block and potentially within a third Senator-occupied building;

That all end state committee rooms must have broadcasting. The current committee rooms in the Centre Block that cannot be converted to broadcasting, may be retained as meeting rooms;

That the Senate requires eight (8) medium size committee rooms and 2 large committee rooms in the end state, with one of these large committee rooms including a secure location for Caucus/Group meetings which may accommodate secure discussion areas; and

That the Senate will also have a new large non-broadcasting multipurpose room in the Visitor Welcome Centre Complex to accommodate large group functions and special events.

On September 4, PSD provided the subcommittee with an update on the proposed locations of Senate committee rooms in the end state. More specifically, two options were presented:

  • Option A — North and South of Wellington Street: Potentially, three (3) small rooms in Centre Block (one committee room with no broadcasting), three (3) large rooms in the Parliamentary Welcome Centre, two (2) medium rooms in East Block and two (2) medium rooms Block 2 (South of Wellington Street).

  • Option B — North of Wellington Street only: Potentially, three (3) small rooms in Centre Block (one committee room with no broadcasting), three (3) large rooms in the Parliamentary Welcome Centre, four (4) medium rooms in East Block.

The possibility of a hybrid option between option A and B was noted (e.g. three (3) in Block 2 and one (1) in East Block, or four (4) in Block 2 and none in East Block). See Appendix A.

After discussion, the subcommittee felt that Option A was likely the most economical, based on the fact Option B would add a much greater scope and cost to the rehabilitation of East Block (including requiring infills of the courtyard), whereas the new construction of Block 2 would likely provide the most flexibility. Options for committee room locations with associated costs will need to be revaluated by the subcommittee once provided. The subcommittee also reiterated that all committee rooms must include broadcasting.

Recommendation 2

The subcommittee recommends that the Property Services Directorate be instructed to explore options to locate Senate committee rooms South of Wellington Street in the end state, including options to increase the number of committee rooms in Block 2;

The subcommittee also reiterates that all Senate committee rooms in the end state must be broadcast-capable.

  1. Additional senators’ washroom in Senate of Canada Building (SCB):

The SCB currently has a total of twenty-two (22) washroom stalls and urinals on the ground and first floor of the building, ten (10) of which are situated in proximity to the Senate Chamber, designed and constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code. The ten stalls in proximity of the Chamber are distributed within two washrooms, one of which is located near the front entrance of the Senate Chamber and the other one near the back entrance. Both washrooms were intended for use by senators while the Senate is sitting.

However, some senators have expressed concerns about the location of the washroom near the front entrance of the Senate Chamber, because it is in a public area, where the press is located. This washroom is also accessible to the public. The washroom at the back of the Senate Chamber (next to the Reading Room) is in a preferred location, as this area is closed to the public/press. However, it is a single washroom which is considered inadequate, given the total number of senators. Some senators have also expressed a preference to have separate washrooms for men and women in this location. PSD worked in collaboration with PSPC to identify the following options for adding an additional washroom at the back of the Senate Chamber (See Appendix B):

  • Option 1: New washroom directly off the corridor behind the Senate Chamber. Under this option, a new washroom would be created directly off the main corridor behind the Senate Chamber and adjacent to the existing washroom. This option would require the elimination of one of the offices in the Senators’ Work Stations area in order to create the required space for a new washroom.

  • Option 2: New washroom through a vestibule directly off the corridor behind the Senate Chamber. Under this option, a new vestibule off the main corridor would be created as an entryway to the new washroom. The door to the exiting washroom would be relocated to this new vestibule. The inclusion of the vestibule allows for privacy between the corridor and the washrooms. This option would require the elimination of two of the offices in the Senators’ Work Stations area to create the space necessary for the vestibule and the washroom.

The subcommittee was advised that PSPC estimates that the cost to complete the new vestibule and washroom, other related work and changes to the Senators’ Work Stations area, including the creation of a new entry to the Senators’ Work Stations area to address security access issues, could be up to $287,000. This includes estimated costs for: connectivity, design services, project management costs, commissionaires and a construction contingency.

The subcommittee feels that these costs are significant and cannot be justified for only one additional bathroom that would be for senators’ use only.

Recommendation 3

The subcommittee recommends that the construction of a second bathroom behind the Senate Chamber not be pursued at this time.

These recommendations are now submitted to CIBA for your approval.

It should be noted that a new entry to the Senators’ Work Station area will be installed. This work will mitigate circulation and access challenges to the Senators Work Area while maintaining security requirements to restricted zones. This was previously endorsed by the LTVP Subcommittee in early 2019 and the Speaker’s office was consulted given this area falls within his authority.

  1. Additional updates:

The subcommittee also wishes to provide the following updates to CIBA:

  1. It should be noted that the installation of a new entry to the Senators’ Work Station area will proceed. This work will facilitate access to the Senators Work Area for senators’ staff and will ensure the access restrictions to the rear of the Senate Chamber and Reading Room remain in place without the use of personnel. The Speaker’s office was consulted, given this area falls within his authority.

  2. The subcommittee reviewed several long term planning assumptions for all senator-occupied buildings in the end state and agreed with the following:

The Senate precinct in the end state will include:

  • Four (4) senator support office space (pods), along with 1 additional private office per Parliamentary Office Unit (POU), in each senator-occupied building;

  • Each floor in a senator-occupied building will include 1 boardroom (8-10 people) that meets IT, security and speech privacy requirements;

  • One secure discussion area room;

  • Suitable work station/hoteling space, available to senators and employees in Centre Block;

  • One multi-purpose meeting room for Senate meetings and events to alleviate the pressure on Senate committee rooms;

  • Food provisioning services in each senator-occupied building with the type of service to be determined at a later date;

  • Common service areas, including kitchenettes, copiers (at least one per floor) in each senate occupied building;

  • One (1) vending and ice machine area per senate occupied building;

  • Higher accessibility standards, including 10% of Parliamentary Office Units will be designed to provide heightened accessibility features;

  • Bike and storage areas (one North of Wellington in the Parliamentary Welcome Centre (PWC), to serve Centre Block, East Block and the PWC), fitness room (Block 2, south of Wellington), electronic vehicle charging stations will be considered where Senate parking is available in the future (tbd)

The subcommittee also noted that the Flexible Office Spaces will provide flexibility in the event that up to eight (8) constitutional senators are named above the regular 105.

  1. The subcommittee also reviewed Public Services and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) fire management strategy for the Centre Block during its rehabilitation and asked the Senate Administration to report back to the subcommittee on incidents every six months.

  2. PSPC provided the subcommittee with two printed tarp options to cover the East Block Southwest Tower during its ongoing rehabilitation. The subcommittee asked to receive further information on the estimated costs of the proposed options and solid timelines before proposing any recommendations. PSPC has since provided the subcommittee with some more information that has yet to be reviewed by the committee.

  3. The subcommittee reviewed options on the timing of addressing universal accessibility issues at the main East Block entrance (Governor General entrance) and determined that unless there is a health and safety issue, the scope of the current rehabilitation of the East Block main entrance does not need to include universal accessibility upgrades at this time, since the Privy Council entrance (North entrance, closest to Centre Block) will continue to be available as a barrier-free entrance to the building until the building is vacated for its complete rehabilitation (Phase2). The subcommittee approved the status quo for Phase 1, with any further interventions to be constructed in Phase 2.

  4. The subcommittee was presented with an update on the construction and fit-up of the two additional committee rooms in 1 Wellington. Both rooms are scheduled to be fully operational by the end of January 2020.

  5. The subcommittee also received a presentation on the Senate Experience in the new Parliamentary Welcome Centre, formerly referred to as the Visitor Welcome Centre Complex.

Respectfully submitted,

JIM MUNSON

Deputy Chair

At 9:49 a.m., the Honourable Senator Plett replaced the Honourable Senator Batters as a member of the committee.

The Honourable Senator Munson made a statement and answered questions.

After debate, the Honourable Senator Munson moved:

That the report be adopted.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

CIBA/2019-12-12/005(P) — Eligible Expenses Related to Sponsored Travel

The Chair made a statement and, together with Pierre Lanctôt, answered questions on eligible expenses related to sponsored travel.

CIBA/2019-12-12/006(P) — Bill C-58 Disclosure

The Chair made a statement on the proactive disclosure provisions in Bill C-58 (An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts).

CIBA/2019-12-12/007(P) — Update from the Subcommittee on Human Resources

The Honourable Senator Saint-Germain made a statement and answered questions on the work of the Subcommittee on Human Resources.

The Chair thanked the Honourable Senator Tkachuk for his work and service on the committee.

At 10:12 a.m., the committee suspended.

At 10:14 a.m., the committee resumed in camera, pursuant to rule 12-16(1).

At 10:40 a.m., the Honourable Senator Martin replaced the Honourable Senator Plett as a member of the committee.

At 11 a.m., the committee adjourned to the call of the chair.

ATTEST:

Pascale Legault

Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Gérald Lafrenière

Recording Secretary