Board of Internal Economy
The Board of Internal Economy is the governing body of the House of Commons. Under the Parliament of Canada Act, the Board has the legal authority to "act on all financial and administrative matters respecting (a) House of Commons, its premises, its services and its staff; and (b) the Members of the House of Commons".
Membership and Quorum
The Board consists of the Speaker, who acts as Chair, two members of the Privy Council (appointed to the Board by the Government), the Leader of the Opposition or his or her representative, and additional Members appointed in numbers so that there are an equal number of Government and opposition representatives (apart from the Speaker).
All recognized parties (i.e., those holding at least 12 seats in the House) are given representation on the Board. Five members, including the Speaker, constitute a quorum.
The Clerk of the House is the Secretary to the Board of Internal Economy.
Mandate and Authority
The powers and authority of the Board flow from provisions of the Parliament of Canada Act, the Standing Ordersof the House of Commons, and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act.
- examines and approves the annual budget estimates of the House;
- approves and controls the budget expenditures of the committees of the House of Commons, and tables an annual financial report outlining the expenses incurred by each committee; and
- approves salary scales for non-unionized employees and authorizes officials of the House to negotiate the renewal of the collective agreements of unionized employees and ratifies such agreements. (The Board is deemed to be the employer of the staff of the House of Commons, except for Members’ staff, who are deemed to be employed by the Members.)
When Parliament is prorogued or dissolved, members of the Board retain their functions until they are replaced.
The Board is authorized by the Parliament of Canada Act to make bylaws governing Members’ use of the funds, goods, services and premises made available to them. The bylaws regulate the use of parliamentary resources that are made available to Members to perform their parliamentary functions. The bylaws are contained in a public document and are amended by the Board from time to time.
Meetings and Decisions
The Board meets in camera approximately every second week when the House is sitting. The Minutes of the Board’s meetings are tabled in the House and are posted on the Parliament of Canada website.
The Board of Internal Economy designates two spokespersons from its membership: a member of the Government and a member of the Official Opposition. They respond during Question Period to questions relevant to the Board and deal with questions raised by the media.