Foreword by the Speaker
I am pleased to submit the 20032004 Senate of Canada Annual Report, which covers the period from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004, a period that straddled the last two sessions of the 37th Parliament ― the 2nd Session (September 30, 2002 to November 12, 2003) and 3rd Session (February 2 to May 23, 2004).
This annual report highlights some of the Senate’s key contributions to the legislative process at the federal level, its local community involvement in cities and towns across Canada, and its international activities promoting Canada abroad.
In 20032004, senators reviewed a total of 77 bills, of which 34 were passed, including highly publicized bills that sometimes provoked intensely personal responses, or sparked deeply passionate debate. Among them were:
- Bill C-45, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal liability of organizations), part of the Government’s response to the Westray mine tragedy, which took the lives of 26 miners at Plymouth, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, on Saturday, May 9, 1992;
- Bill C-6, Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which prohibits assisted reproduction procedures; and
- Bill C-250, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda), which added sexual orientation to the list of identifiable groups relating to the area of hate propaganda in the Criminal Code.
Senators were also active in committees, producing 144 reports on a wide range of timely and topical issues, such as:
- how the health care system responds to outbreaks of infections disease, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), mad cow disease and the West Nile Virus;
- how climate change affects agriculture and rural communities; and
- restoring investor confidence in capital markets.
Finally, the importance of Canada’s place in the world was underlined not only by the continued work of senators through their official visits abroad and their participation in interparliamentary associations and international organizations, but also by the words of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan during his two-day visit to our nation’s capital in March 2004: “For years, Canada has been one of the pillars of the United Nations,” he said. “In fact, it would be difficult to imagine the United Nations without Canada. Multicultural and bilingual, your country is a model amongst the members of the organization.”
My colleagues and I welcome your attention to this report and hope that it provides you with a better understanding of our work on behalf of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Senator Dan Hays
Speaker of the Senate
Foreword by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
Recent events in both the private and public sectors have catapulted institutional accountability and transparency to the forefront of public debate.
This annual report is one way in which the Senate aims to address these issues head-on, in order to provide Canadians with a clear and comprehensive account of its expenditures and activities, whether in the Senate Chamber, in committees, or in communities big and small across this country and around the world.
The Internal Economy Committee considers all financial and administrative matters related to the Senate’s internal management, from reviewing and authorizing committee budgets to setting guidelines and policies. The Senate’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004 are included in this report.
In 20032004, the Internal Economy Committee also worked on new measures to make the proceedings in the Senate Chamber more accessible to the hearing-impaired through real-time captioning and to enhance the ability of Canadians to follow the work of the Senate through a renewed broadcasting agreement with CPAC, Canada’s political television channel.
More than a workplace for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, Parliament Hill is a national symbol and architectural gem that belongs to all Canadians. Mindful of this fact, the Internal Economy Committee continued its efforts on the Senate’s behalf to ensure that “the Hill” remain a secure environment for visitors by recommending the establishment of new security working groups that would respect the independence of both Houses of Parliament, while enhancing co-operation, communication and coordination, and formalizing the involvement of the RCMP.
Of course, senators’ work on behalf of Canadians is not done in isolation. Our efforts are supported by our staff and Senate Administration employees. At the close of another fiscal year, their dedication and devotion to public service must also be congratulated and encouraged.
Senator Lise Bacon
Chair, Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
Foreword by the Clerk
Supporting Senators in their parliamentary role is the “raison d’être” of the Senate Administration. Through the teamwork of employees in its 12 directorates, the Senate Administration provides senators with services in legislation, parliamentary law and procedure, human resources, financial management, communications, information management, infrastructure and security. We are proud to work in support of senators and to share their dedication in fulfilling the Senate's mandate.
Though much of their work may be done behind the scenes, Senate Administration staff are nevertheless front and centre when it comes to living our shared values of leadership, diversity and community service.
Ensuring modern, effective and accountable management practices remains a priority for the Senate Administration. In 20032004, a new framework for delegation of authority related to financial and human resources management was put in place. No less important is the Administration’s ongoing commitment to building a representative, diverse and skilled workforce. A multiyear Human Resources modernization process was set in motion to streamline and modernize staffing policies, and develop flexible human resources practices while utilizing new technologies to the fullest. Enhancements to the Senate’s recruitment practices will serve to ensure high calibre recruits and increased diversity. The Senate also continued to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities when renovating offices and committee rooms, and implementing the use of new real-time captioning technology to encourage and facilitate Canadians’ participation in, and access to, the work of the Senate.
This year saw the realignment of the Senate’s legislative sector to establish a more efficient procedural and parliamentary information management system. The Legislative Support Office is also now responsible for managing television broadcasts of Senate committee proceedings, and administering the Senate’s new CPAC broadcasting agreement.
The Senate’s commitment to the environment was underlined this year by the EcoLogoM certification of its printing services by Environment Canada’s Environmental ChoiceM Program. Printed materials, including legislative documents like Hansard and the Order Paper, are now produced in ways that improve energy efficiency, reduce hazardous by-products, or use recycled or re-usable materials. The Senate’s printing services also meet or exceed any applicable industry-specific safety and performance standards. Furthermore, the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament entered have joined together in the environmental management of Parliament Hill under a revitalized program entitled “Partners for a Green Hill―Preserving our Past, Protecting our Future.”
Working with Canada’s youth remained another integral part of the Senate’s outreach programs. In May 2003, I joined fellow alumni at the first annual Senate Page Program alumni reception. Together we celebrated more than 60 years of Canadian youth supporting the work of the Senate in the Chamber and in committees. This year also saw the program’s accreditation by the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
As head of the Administration, it is with great pride that I invite you to read more about the great accomplishments of the 20032004 fiscal year in the pages that follow.
Paul C. Bélisle
Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments