Subcommittee on the Senate Estimates

Report of the committee

Thursday, December 15, 2016

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

THIRD REPORT

On December 8, 2016, your subcommittee was given the following mandate by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration:

That, pursuant to the order of the Senate on December 6, 2016, to approve funding for the Independent Senators Group for the current fiscal year and for the fiscal year 2017-18, the Subcommittee on Senate Estimates be authorized to examine and report on the funding for the Independent Senators Group;

That the subcommittee be further authorized to recommend conditions for funding, including but not limited to:

(a) Structure; (b) membership; (c) deputy leader duties; and (d) whip duties;

That the subcommittee report to this committee no later than December 15, 2016.

Your subcommittee met the Honourable Senators Elaine McCoy, Frances Lankin, P.C., Ratna Omidvar, and Murray Sinclair on behalf of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) on December 12, 2016.

During its deliberations, the subcommittee recognized that the Senate is undergoing significant transformation to its structure and its operations due to the appointment of a large number of senators not affiliated with a political caucus. It is clear that, barring any unforeseen changes in the method of selection of senators, this number of non-affiliated senators will continue to increase.

The majority of the non-affiliated senators have chosen to group themselves collectively to form the Independent Senators Group (ISG). The Rules of the Senate do not recognize this type of grouping as a caucus, therefore the group is not eligible for caucus funding. The Senate has recognized the need for the ISG to receive funding and has requested, by order, for the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to determine funding for the current fiscal year and for the fiscal year 2017-18.

During the presentation from representatives of the ISG, the subcommittee heard that the group meets twice a week when the Senate is sitting for the purposes of planning and sharing information, similar to a caucus. The group also has selected senators to sit on committees as members. It has developed a “chamber team” to fulfill the traditional roles of a deputy leader and whip. While the decentralized structure of the ISG is very different from the political party caucus and its development into a structured parliamentary group is still ongoing, the subcommittee is of the view that funding be provided to the ISG for the current and 2017-18 fiscal years.

Following its hearings with representatives from the Independent Senators Group your subcommittee recommends the following:

1. That the Independent Senators Group receive annual funding in the amount of $722,000 for fiscal year 2016-17 effective January 1, 2017, on a prorated basis which amounts to $180,500;

2. That the Independent Senators Group receive funding in the amount of $722,000 for fiscal year 2017-18 which will be added to the Main Estimates;

3. That the Independent Senators Group shall only use the allocated funds for personnel (employment contracts) listed in the appendix of this report; and

4. That all personnel listed in the appendix of this report fall under same policies, terms and conditions as those working in a senator’s office.

Respectfully submitted,

DAVID M. WELLS

Chair

Appendix

Position and salary scale as requested by the Independent Senators Group

Pay and benefitsNumberMinimumMaximum
Chief of Staff: EX-011$106,900$125,700
Logistic Clerk: AS-04163,66368,793
Administrative Assistants: CR-04290,37897,554
Translator (Special Assistant): TR-01151,61256,966
Senior Special Assistant / Rules Person: AS-07189,112101,892
Communications Assistant: Up to AS-05146,32182,171
Legislative Assistants: Up to AS-05294,462188,924
TOTAL:9$542,448$722,000