As part of its commitment to transparency, efficiency and accountability, the Senate of Canada (Senate) adopted a new proactive disclosure model effective July 1, 2016. This model provided more details and uniformity in the quarterly disclosure of senators’ expenses and supplemented the information available in Public Accounts. The proactive disclosure reports are published within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter.
Following the adoption of Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the Senate’s proactive disclosure reports were modified to comply with changes to the Access to Information Act, beginning with the reporting period starting April 1, 2020. The quarterly proactive disclosure now includes additional details on travel expenses of Senators to carry out parliamentary functions, along with Committee travel and hospitality expenses, and all Senate Administration employee travel and hospitality expenses.
In addition, the disclosed expenses continue to include expenditures and contracts for senators, Senate House Officers, and the Facilitator and Leaders of recognized groups. Senate Administration contracts worth $10,000 or more also continue to be disclosed.
The model does not include expenses incurred during parliamentary association business, which are disclosed by the House of Commons. A link is available in the Committees / International and Interparliamentary Affairs (IIA) tab.
Senators’ Proactive Disclosure Expenditures Report
Parliament, through the Parliament of Canada Act and appropriation acts, provides resources to the Senate. The Senate allocates resources to senators — such as office space, furnishings and equipment — and gives senators budgets so they can employ staff, hire contractors and purchase office supplies. The Senate also reimburses senators for travel, accommodation and other related approved expenses incurred while carrying out their parliamentary functions.
The Senate Administrative Rules and other policies govern senators in their use of Senate resources, which are to be used for the sole purpose of carrying out their parliamentary functions. Senators are accountable for their decisions and actions related to the use of these resources. The Senate has rules and policies that govern which expenditures can be reimbursed and a robust financial management framework to ensure that only legitimate and reasonable expenses are paid. Senate resources may not be used for partisan matters that are non-parliamentary in nature such as nomination campaigns or election campaigns.
Parliamentary functions are defined in the Senate Administrative Rules as “duties and activities related to the position of a senator, wherever performed, including public and official business and partisan matters, but excluding activities related to the election of a member of the House of Commons during an election under the Canada Elections Act; or the private business interests of a senator or a member of a senator’s family or household.”
The senators’ proactive disclosure expenditures report is divided into five sections:
- Office Expenses (excluding salary and benefits);
- Hospitality Expenses;
- Living Expenses in the Parliamentary District;
- Travel Expenses incurred to carry out parliamentary functions;
- Contract(s) Awarded.
In addition, the Senators Other tab discloses senator travel expenses paid from the Administration budget (rather than from the senator’s travel budget), such as language training.
Only senators living outside of the Parliamentary District have access to the living expenses budget. All senators are eligible for meal allowances when they sit in the Chamber or on a committee past 7 p.m.
Expenditures are disclosed in the quarter during which they were processed and paid by the Senate Administration, which may not be necessarily the same quarter in which the senator incurred the expense.
Expenses of House Officers, Facilitator, and Leaders of recognized groups
House Officers, the Facilitator, and Leaders of recognized groups are provided an additional budget to cover expenses required to fulfill their duties.
Starting April 1, 2017, the budget of the Senate House Officers and the Facilitator have been consolidated with their respective office budgets. As such, the Office Expenses, Hospitality Expenses and all Contract(s) Awarded for Senators who are also House Officers, the Facilitator, and, as of January 1, 2020, the Leaders of recognized groups, are disclosed under the Senate House Officers and Facilitator tab. However, please note that the Living Expenses and Travel Expenses to carry out parliamentary functions continue to be disclosed under the Senators tab.
Senate Administration Expenses
In order to function as a modern, efficient and effective institution, the Senate requires administrative and procedural support. This is provided by senior officers of the Senate Administration who form the Executive Committee, as well as all Administration employees who support them. The Senate Administration provides services that allow senators to accomplish their work by offering support in procedure, security, financial administration, human resources, communications, building maintenance, asset management and information technology resources.
The expenses disclosed under this category reflect those incurred by all employees of the Senate Administration, including the members of the Executive Committee, and are divided into two categories of expenses:
- Hospitality Expenses;
- Travel Expenses.
Expenses for travel and hospitality are displayed using a model similar to the one used for senators.
Senate Administration Contracts
The Senate Administration discloses both new and amended contracts worth $10,000 or more. The Senate Procurement Policy provides the requirements for procurement transactions and processes are in place to ensure their compliance.