Senate of Canada addresses financial policy and process improvements around living expenses

News Release

The Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Senate of Canada addresses financial policy and process improvements around living expenses

July 23, 2018


Ottawa – The steering committee of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration wants to ensure complete clarity for media and for the Canadian public on some recent changes to improve the Senate administration’s financial process for living expense reimbursements.

Changes to the reimbursement process of Senators’ Parliamentary District Accommodation have been made to improve efficiency and to streamline administrative processes. Given the substantial changes made over the past several years in transparency and accountability for the Senate, we wanted to be absolutely certain that any administrative change we made would stand up to rigorous scrutiny and be in accord with those important objectives. This does so.

Effective September 1, 2018, Senate Financial Services will be able to make payments directly to landlords for monthly rental of senators’ Parliamentary district accommodation, as well as make monthly allowance payments to Senators who privately own a secondary residence in the Parliamentary district. (Hotel costs are not eligible for this service and will continue to be reimbursed after the stay, with receipts required.)

It is important to note the following facts:

-          The decision to change the Senate administrative processes for living expense reimbursements was televised live, in full public view. The archive video of the June 14, 2018 Internal Economy meeting is posted at https://tinyurl.com/y7bqcqwy with the full debate and decision starting at 9:04.28.

-          All senators’ expenses must be properly supported by receipts, contracts and other documentation – there are therefore no payments made based on any “honour system.”

-          All senators’ expenses continue to be posted on the Senate website for full public transparency and accountability.

All changes are made to improve the efficiency of processes to reduce costs to taxpayers while adhering to the most rigorous controls.

On a second topic, for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, senators may request a budget transfer (up to $3,000) of their unspent and uncommitted hospitality allocation budget to their Parliamentary District living expenses budget, for expenses that exceed their living expenses budget of $24,750.

On this topic:

  • This is an interim measure to address the fact that some senators do not have sufficient budget to cover their living expenses, as budget increases have not kept up with inflation and the schedule of Senate work commitments.
  • No additional taxpayer dollars are required to fund the Senate budget with this measure, as the hospitality allocation is already included in senators’ office expenses budgets each year.

For more information, please contact:

Alison Korn
Issues Management and Media Relations Advisor
Senate of Canada
phone: 613-943-6269 | mobile: 613-410-1892
Alison.Korn@sen.parl.gc.ca