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Board of Internal Economy

Frequently Asked Questions

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Board of Internal Economy

What is the Board of Internal Economy?

The Board of Internal Economy is the governing body of the House of Commons. The Board is created by the Parliament of Canada Act and has equal representation from the governing party and the officially recognized parties (i.e. those holding at least 12 seats in the House). It is chaired by the Speaker.

How often does the Board of Internal Economy meet?

The Board meets in camera approximately every second week when the House is sitting.

Why does the Board meet in camera?

In the partisan environment of the House of Commons, the Board (with equal representation from the governing party and the officially recognized parties) operates on consensus. It holds its meetings in camera to allow for full and frank exchanges.

How are the minutes of the Board made available?

The minutes are tabled in the House, which makes the documents public. This practice has been in place since the 35th Parliament.

During the 41st Parliament, the Board took the additional step of posting its minutes on-line. The minutes are posted shortly after they are tabled in the House.

How can I request the minutes of Board meetings that took place prior to the 41st Parliament?

For copies of these Board meeting minutes, contact the Parliament of Canada Information Service.

How frequently are the minutes tabled and posted?

The exact timing for the tabling and posting of Board minutes may vary.

Depending on the matters being discussed, some minutes are tabled to coincide with the tabling of other information, such as the Public Accounts of Canada or Main Estimates.

Why did the Board decide to post its minutes?

As the minutes were already being tabled in the House, the Board decided to post them to facilitate access to this information.

Why are the minutes concise?

The meetings are held in camera and the Board operates on consensus. Therefore, the Board minutes are records of decisions.

The Board also frequently considers confidential matters, including legal, labour relations and security matters.

How can I search the minutes by subject?

An index has been created for the Board minutes to facilitate access to information on key subjects.

Where can I find more information about the subjects that are covered in the minutes?

In order to provide more information and context on subjects that are covered in the minutes, hyperlinks to related information on key items are included.

By-laws of the Board of Internal Economy

What are the by-laws of the Board of Internal Economy and what is their purpose?

The by-laws of the Board of Internal Economy are key governing documents of the House of Commons. Together with the Parliament of Canada Act, they form the basis of all policies and guidelines regarding the resources that Members have access to for carrying out their parliamentary functions.

The by-laws are:

  1. The Members By-law
  2. The Committees By-law
  3. The Governance and Administration By-law
  4. The Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Board of Internal Economy

What role does the Board of Internal Economy play with regard to the by-laws?

The Board of Internal Economy is responsible for establishing and enforcing the by-laws, policies and guidelines that govern the use of funds, goods, services and premises made available to Members and House Officers to carry out their parliamentary functions.

The Board delegates to the Clerk of the House and the House Administration the responsibility of implementing its policies and programs and the day-to-day management of House resources.

What is the definition of “parliamentary functions”?

“Parliamentary functions” in relation to a Member, means the duties and activities that relate to the position of Member, wherever performed and whether or not performed in a partisan manner, namely, participation in activities relating to the proceedings and work of the House of Commons and activities undertaken in representing his or her constituency or constituents.

The following activities, when performed by a Member, are not considered to be parliamentary functions:

  1. any activities related to the private interests of a Member or a Member’s immediate family;
  2. any activities related to the administration, organization and internal communications of a political party, including participation in a party leadership campaign or convention, solicitations of contributions and solicitations of membership to a political party;
  3. any activities related to a Member’s re-election;
  4. any activities designed, in the context of a federal, provincial, or municipal election, or any other local election, to support or oppose a political party or an individual candidate; and
  5. any activities that are related to a meeting of an electoral district association, as defined in the Canada Elections Act, and that are carried out for nomination, electoral or sponsorship purposes or that relate to soliciting contributions or membership.

Members’ Allowances and Services Manual

What is the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual?

The Members’ Allowances and Services Manual is a comprehensive guide to the Board of Internal Economy’s policies on budgets, allowances and entitlements for Members and House Officers.

It describes the support services provided by the House Administration, the terms and conditions of employment for employees of Members and House Officers, and the stipulations for contracts.

This manual also outlines the provisions available to Members who resign or die while in office, or who are not re elected, and describes the effects of the dissolution of Parliament on services, allowances and entitlements.

Under what authority is the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual produced?

The Members By-law, established by the Board of Internal Economy under the authority of the Parliament of Canada Act, is the foundation of the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual and should be read in conjunction with this manual.

This By-law regulates how financial resources and administrative services provided by the House are to be used. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Members By-law takes precedence over this manual.

Why is the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual being made available to the public?

The Members’ Allowances and Services Manual is written for use by Members and their staff. It is being posted on the Parliament of Canada Web site to provide the public with more information on the services and allowances provided to Members in support of their parliamentary functions.

In what format is the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual available?

The Members’ Allowances and Services Manual is initially being published on the Parliament of Canada Web site in PDF format. Enhancements will be made to its navigation and format in the future.

How do I search for information within the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual?

Users may consult the Table of Contents for the chapter of the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual that is of most interest to them.

Keyword searches may also be done within chapters or the complete manual using the search function in the PDF reader software.

How are the pages numbered in the complete version of the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual?

The page numbers restart at the beginning of each chapter and appendix. To print an individual chapter or appendix, select it from the Table of Contents.

How often is the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual updated?

The Members’ Allowances and Services Manual is updated regularly to reflect Board of Internal Economy decisions.

If I am looking at the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual for the first time, where should I start?

It is recommended that new users start by reading the Introduction and then the Governance and Principles chapter. The Glossary is also a useful tool for new users.

What is Intraparl?

Since the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual is written for use by Members and their staff, it contains internal references. As an example, the manual refers to Intraparl, which is the internal Web site for the Parliament of Canada. Access is provided to Senators and Members and their staff, as well as to employees of the Administration of the Senate, the House of Commons Administration and the Library of Parliament.

Who do I contact if I have further questions about the information provided in the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual?

The public is invited to direct enquiries to the Parliament of Canada Information Service.

Members' Expenditures Report

What is the Members' Expenditures Report?

The Members’ Expenditures Report summarizes the expenses incurred by Members in the discharge of their parliamentary functions. The report presents year-to-date expenditures by budget and expense category. It includes the Detailed Travel Points Report and the Detailed Hospitality Expenditures Report.

The Detailed Travel Points Report presents the following information regarding Members’ and authorized travellers’ trips for which travel points were used:

The Detailed Hospitality Expenditures Report presents the following information regarding Members’ hospitality expenses:

Since April 1, 2014, the Members’ Expenditures Report is produced quarterly and published on the Parliament of Canada Web site within three months of the end of each quarter.

Each quarterly report presents Members’ year-to-date expenditures. Any required modifications are reflected in the next quarterly report, as the information included in the quarterly reports remains static once the quarter has ended.

When was ministerial-style reporting of travel and hospitality expenses implemented?

Since the second quarter of 2014-2015, travel expenses for which travel points were used, as well as hospitality expenses, are disclosed in a manner similar to the proactive disclosure of ministerial expenses.

For more information on the enhancements made to the Members’ Expenditures Report in 2014-2015, refer to the backgrounder.

Where can I find the Members’ Expenditures Report?

The Members’ Expenditures Report is published on the Parliament of Canada Web site.

When is the Members’ Expenditures Report made available to the public?

In accordance with the Members By-law, the Speaker of the House of Commons, on behalf of the Board of Internal Economy, is responsible for ensuring the publication of the Members’ Expenditures Report on the Parliament of Canada Web site at such time as determined by the Board.

The timing for publication changed further to a Board decision in October 2013. Since April 1, 2014, the Members’ Expenditures Report is published on the Parliament of Canada Web site within three months of the end of each quarter.

What supporting documents are provided for reported expenditures?

Members must provide and approve receipts for their expenditures. Consistent with Treasury Board policies, receipts are not required for expenditures related to per diem expenses, kilometre travel by personal vehicle or private accommodation while in travel status; these expenses are based on utilization as reported by the Member.

What resources are provided to Members to help them carry out their parliamentary functions?

For more information on the resources provided to Members to help them carry out their parliamentary functions and on Members’ eligible expenses, refer to the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

What are the reasons for the differences in expenditures among individual Members?

The expenses reported reflect, to some extent, the characteristics of the constituency that each Member represents. For example, a constituency’s size and its distance from Ottawa would be determining factors with regard to travel costs, whereas the number of constituents and households would influence the amounts spent for printing and office supplies.

How are budgets administered for seats left vacant?

Seats identified as “vacant” followed by the constituency name are overseen by the former Member’s Party Whip, or by the Speaker in the case of an independent Member. This ensures that constituents continue to be served until the date of a general election or by-election.

What happens if Members exceed the budgets that are provided to them in support of their parliamentary functions?

Members are personally responsible for any expenses that exceed their budgets.

When are expenses presented in the Members’ Expenditures Report?

Expenses are first reported in the quarter in which they are processed by the House Administration, not necessarily in the quarter in which they are incurred. For example, if a trip occurred near the end of a quarter, the claim is likely to be processed in the next quarter and therefore presented in the following year-to-date quarterly reports for the fiscal year.

Why do the total amounts of certain categories in the Members’ Expenditures Report remain the same from one quarterly report to the next?

Each quarterly report presents Members’ year-to-date expenditures. If no expense claims are submitted by Members and processed by the House Administration during a subsequent quarter, the total amounts remain the same.

What travel expenses are included in the Detailed Travel Points Report?

Transportation expenses may be charged to the Member’s Office Budget or the House central budget (Resources Provided by the House). The Detailed Travel Points Report only includes expenses for trips charged to the House central budget and for which travel points were used. This report also includes accommodation and per diem expenses related to trips for which travel points were used.

For more information on travel expenses, refer to the Travel chapter in the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

What is a Claim ID in the Detailed Travel Points Report?

Each travel expense claim is given a unique identification number (claim ID) for internal tracking purposes.

What do Regular Travel Points mean in the Detailed Travel Points Report?

Regular travel points refer to points used for travel between the Member’s constituency and Ottawa and for which a claim has been processed by the House Administration.

What do Special Travel Points mean in the Detailed Travel Points Report?

Special travel points refer to points used for travel within Canada, other than for trips between the Member’s constituency and Ottawa, and for which a claim has been processed by the House Administration.

What do U.S.A. Points mean in the Detailed Travel Points Report?

U.S.A. points refer to points used for travel to Washington D.C. or New York City and for which a claim has been processed by the House Administration.

What information is included in the Detailed Hospitality Expenditures Report?

The Detailed Hospitality Expenditures Report includes information about hospitality expenses related to Members’ parliamentary functions, such as meals for Members and their guests; tickets for meals with service groups, at community events or at other meetings of a non partisan nature; and food and beverages served at meetings and events.

Why does the number of guests show as “0’’ in the Detailed Hospitality Expenditures Report?

The Member is always excluded from the count; therefore, should the Member be unaccompanied at an event, the number of guests is set at “0”.

The number of guests is also set at “0” for activities related to the purchase of beverages (e.g. coffee and tea) for the Member’s office.

How did the 42nd general election affect the presentation of the Members’ Expenditures Report?

In accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, federal electoral districts, also known as constituencies, were readjusted following the last decennial census to reflect changes and movements in Canada’s population. The readjustments to the federal electoral districts came into effect on the day of the 42nd general election, which was held on Monday, October 19, 2015. As a result, Members’ portions of the Members’ Expenditures Report for the third quarter of 2015-2016 and subsequent quarterly reports reflect the updated constituency profile information.

Public Registry of Designated Travellers

What is the Public Registry of Designated Travellers?

The Clerk of the House of Commons maintains the Public Registry of Designated Travellers. This list discloses each Member’s designated traveller.

Under what authority is the Public Registry of Designated Travellers created and maintained?

The Members By-Law stipulates the terms for the designation of a designated traveller and the validity period of the designation. It also stipulates the maintenance of the registry.

Who may be a designated traveller?

A Member of the House of Commons may designate one person, other than the Member’s employee or another Member who is not the Member’s spouse, as their designated traveller.

Which Members are included in the Public Registry of Designated Travellers?

If a Member chooses not to have a designated traveller, the Member’s name does not appear in the Public Registry of Designated Travellers. The registry may include the names of former Members as it also contains the names of Members whose expenditures are reported in the Members’ Expenditures Report for the previous fiscal year if they ceased to be a Member on or after April 1 (the start of the new fiscal year).

How often may Members change their designated traveller?

Members are able to change their designated traveller once every 365 days, at the beginning of a new Parliament, or if the designated traveller dies. The Public Registry of Designated Travellers is updated on a quarterly basis.

What travel provisions are available to designated travellers?

For more information on the travel provisions available to designated travellers in support of Members’ parliamentary functions, refer to the Travel chapter of the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

Why is the Public Registry of Designated Travellers available on the Parliament of Canada Web site?

The Public Registry of Designated Travellers was previously available through the office of the Clerk of the House of Commons. It is now posted on the Parliament of Canada Web site to facilitate access to information.

Where is travel by Members and their designated traveller reported?

The costs of Members’ and designated travellers’ trips are reported in the Members’ Expenditures Report and the Detailed Travel Points Report.

Financial Statements

What information is provided in the House of Commons Financial Statements?

The Financial Statements of the House of Commons are prepared in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards. The Financial Statements include the following:

Is an audit currently conducted of the House of Commons Financial Statements?

Yes, via a competitive process, the House of Commons hires an independent accounting firm to audit its Financial Statements.

The Board of Internal Economy strongly believes that an annual external audit of the Financial Statements is a key component of sound management practices.

The function of such an audit is to attest that the Financial Statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the House of Commons as at March 31, and its results of operations, its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended.

What does the annual audit of the Financial Statements include?

The annual audit includes an assessment of the processes and controls for all expenditures reported in the House of Commons Financial Statements, which includes those incurred by the House Administration, House Officers and Members under the authority of the Parliament of Canada Act and the Board of Internal Economy By-laws.

What was the result of the audit of the 2015–2016 Financial Statements?

The audit of the 2015–2016 Financial Statements resulted in an unqualified audit opinion.

The auditor is satisfied that the Financial Statements present fairly in all material respects, the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of the House of Commons.

The auditor had no significant concerns with respect to the accuracy of the Financial Statements or the design, implementation or operating effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting, including anti-fraud controls. Furthermore, no observations were raised for remediation by management.

Were the audited Financial Statements and audit results shared and who received this information?

Each year, the audited Financial Statements are presented to the Board of Internal Economy. The audit results are also provided to the Treasury Board Secretariat and to the Office of the Auditor General for information purposes. The audited Financial Statements are posted on the Parliament of Canada Web site.

Does the House of Commons have an Internal Audit directorate?

Yes, the House of Commons has an Internal Audit directorate.

The purpose of the House of Commons Internal Audit directorate is to provide independent, objective assurance and consulting services designed to add value and improve the House operations. Internal Audit helps the House accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.

Internal Audit, through the Chief Audit Executive, provides both management and the Board of Internal Economy with an independent assessment of and advice on the:

The Internal Audit directorate is also responsible for liaising and coordinating with an independent accounting firm for the audit of the House of Commons Financial Statements.

The House of Commons' Internal Audit directorate reports its findings to the Board of Internal Economy and the House Administration's senior management team.

Reports from the House of Commons Administration

What reports are produced by the House of Commons Administration?

The House of Commons Administration produces two reports that are available to the public: the Strategic Plan and the Report to Canadians.

What sets the Strategic Plan from past reports?

The Strategic Plan 2016-2019 is the first official planning document to be published following the renewal of the House Administration’s planning framework. It replaces the Strategic Outlook but it is not tied to the parliamentary cycle. This new approach is more flexible and allows for greater responsiveness to the changing needs of clients.  

What period is covered in the Report to Canadians 2016?

The report covers the period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

Are financial reports included in the reports from the House of Commons Administration?

Yes, the Report to Canadians includes a financial report. It provides information on the following:

Where can I consult the Strategic Outlook or the Report to Canadians?

The Strategic Plan and the Report to Canadians are available to the public on the Parliament of Canada Web site.

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