REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
has the honour to present its
Recent media reports with respect to Senator Michael Duffy’s living allowances in the National Capital Region (NCR) were a matter of discussion. The Senate Administration was asked to provide a summary report of Senator Duffy’s travel patterns between Prince Edward Island, his province of appointment, and the NCR. The travel summary raised concerns, whereby, on February 14, 2013, your Committee determined that it should amend a current contract with Deloitte for an examination of two senators’ claims to include an examination of Senator Duffy’s claims.
Deloitte was asked to review Senator Duffy’s travel claims and supporting documentation to determine whether the travel occurred or could have occurred; to categorize the claims as appropriate, subject to reimbursement to the Receiver General, or subject to consideration and determination by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration; as well as to assess where the primary residence was located for Senator Duffy.
Deloitte was provided with all documentation internal to the Senate that could be relevant to its examination. In addition, Deloitte requested documentation directly from Senator Duffy and/or his counsel. This request was not met.
On February 22, 2013, Senator Duffy wrote to me, in my capacity as Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. He said that he had filled out the Senate forms in good faith, but that he “may have been mistaken.” He stated his intent to “repay the housing allowance that I have collected to date.” Senator Duffy asked to be provided with the amount to be repaid in order to “settle this matter in full.” Repayment was subsequently made in the amount of $90,172.24.
Deloitte completed its report (attached as an Appendix) based on available information, including Senator Duffy’s travel claims, which provided third party proof of travel from commercial carriers, and Senate telecommunications invoices for the Senate mobile phone assigned to Senator Duffy. Deloitte was able to confirm within 94 percent accuracy and another three percent likelihood Senator Duffy’s location during the period of review, i.e., Ottawa versus his declared primary residence, PEI. Three percent of the time, his location was unknown. This information is fundamental to our determination regarding Senator Duffy’s eligibility to claim expenses.
Deloitte noted that, prior to the adoption of the Senators’ Travel Policy on June 5, 2012, a definition of primary residence did not appear in Senate policy instruments. Deloitte further noted that, “The regulations and guidelines applicable during the period of our review do not include criteria for determining primary residence.” Given this, Deloitte reported that they were unable “to assess the status of the primary residence declared by Senator Duffy against existing regulations and guidelines.” However, they did conclude that “all of the trips between Ottawa/Gatineau and PEI claimed by Senator Duffy occurred.”
Your Committee acknowledges Deloitte’s finding that criteria for determining primary residence are lacking and this is being addressed by your Committee.
Deloitte’s report has informed our determination of the appropriateness of the living expense claims filed by Senator Duffy. Senator Duffy was found to have spent approximately 30 percent or 164 of the 549 days in the period of review at his declared primary residence.
Your Committee therefore recommends:
1. That the living expenses claimed by Senator Duffy dating back to the time of his appointment have been properly reimbursed by him; and
2. That living and travel expense claims submitted for reimbursement by Senator Duffy be monitored from the date of the adoption of this report for a period not less than one year.