Report of the committee

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight has the honour to present its

FIRST REPORT

Your committee, which is authorized by the Senate to supervise and report on the Senate’s internal and external audits and related matters, now presents its first report.

Rule 12-13(4) of the Rules of the Senate requires that your committee, after electing its chair and deputy chair, adopt a report to the Senate nominating two external members for the committee. This report must be agreed to by all three senators who are members of the committee and is expected to include recommendations on remuneration and permissible expenses for the external members. A former senator or former member of the House of Commons is not eligible to be nominated as an external member.

Your committee met for the first time on November 25, 2020, pursuant to rule 12-13(2), for the purpose of organization and to elect its chair and deputy chair. At that meeting, members discussed the requirement to adopt a report to nominate its external members. Your committee also took note that the principles of integrity, independence, transparency and accountability will be essential to fulfilling the mandate of the committee. After further discussion, your committee determined that it would therefore be essential to establish a transparent process to assist the committee in selecting external members.

Your committee therefore recommends as follows:

That, until its external members have been approved by the Senate, and notwithstanding rules 12-6(2) and 12-13(4):

1.the quorum of the committee continue to be the three senators who are members of the committee; and

2.the committee be authorized to meet only to consider issues relating to the nomination of its external members to the Senate, including recommendations on remuneration and permissible expenses, provided, for greater certainty, that the requirement that the report nominating the external members be approved by all three senators who are members of the committee, remains in effect.

3.The committee will undertake its work immediately so that it may report back to the Senate with a recommendation for the appointment of the two external members.

Your committee also recommends:

That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules, previous order or usual practice, and taking into account the exceptional circumstances of the current pandemic of COVID-19, for the remainder of this parliamentary session the Standing Senate Committee on Audit and Oversight have the power to hold hybrid meetings or to hold meetings entirely by videoconference, with committee members able to participate either from the meeting room in the parliamentary precinct or by videoconference; and

That, for greater certainty, the provisions of subparagraphs 7-10 of the order adopted by the Senate on November 17, 2020, concerning hybrid meetings and meetings entirely by videoconference, apply in relation to meetings of the committee.

Respectfully submitted,

DAVID M. WELLS

Chair