REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
THURSDAY, May 9th, 2013
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
has the honour to present its
On February 28, 2013, the Internal Economy Committee presented a report concerning the payment of allowances to senators whose primary residence is more than 100 kilometers from Parliament Hill. In order to improve stewardship of Senate operations with respect to primary and secondary declarations, your Committee made the following recommendations which were agreed to by the Senate:
(a) That accompanying their primary residence declaration each senator furnish a driver’s licence, a health card and the relevant page of their income tax form each and every time the declaration is signed. This declaration is signed annually for the purpose of claiming living expenses in the NCR;
(b) That the Internal Economy Committee instruct management to standardize terminology in the Senate’s policy instruments; and
(c) That the Senators’ Travel Policy be reviewed to comply with primary residence declarations.
Following the adoption by the Senate of its report, your Committee has reviewed all policies and guidelines relating to senators’ travel with the aim of improving internal controls and risk mitigation, and increasing transparency and public understanding of the Senate and its work.
Your Committee now makes the following recommendations:
1. That section 4 of Chapter 1:02 of the Senate Administrative Rules which states: “Senators act on their personal honour and Senators are presumed to have acted honourably in carrying out their administrative functions unless and until the Senate or the Internal Economy Committee determines otherwise”, be deleted.
2. That in order to harmonize the residence terminology in Senate policy instruments, the Senate Administrative Rules be amended by replacing the existing definitions “National Capital residence” and “provincial residence” with the definitions “National Capital accommodation” and “provincial residence” set out in Appendix “A” to this Report, and that your Committee amend the Senators’ Travel Policy to replace its existing residence terminology with the terminology being proposed for the Senate Administrative Rules. The revised terminology is for financial and administrative purposes only.
3. That in order to more effectively assess compliance of travel claims with policy, travellers be required to provide the specific purpose for each trip. Although names of participants at a meeting or event need not to be disclosed, they should be kept for audit purposes.
4. That travellers be required to maintain a road travel log for all mileage claims and that such claims and supporting road travel logs be subject to regular audits.
5. That travellers be required to provide receipts when seeking reimbursement of taxi expenses, regardless of the cost and that Senate policies be amended accordingly.
6. That, with respect to reimbursement of per diems under the Living Allowances in the NCR budget when on travel status within the National Capital Region, eligible travellers be entitled to claim such per diems for days when the Senate sits, when attending Senate Committee meetings, or Senate and National Caucus meetings and up to twenty additional days when working on Senate-related business.
7. That the 64-point travel system be amended to provide a maximum of 52 points for regular Senate business travel (between a senator's province/territory of appointment and the National Capital Region), Senate business travel within a senator's province/territory, and, up to a maximum of 4 points for travel to New York (for United Nations business only) and Washington, D.C.; and that a limit of 12 points be established for regional and national travel on Senate business.
8. That the selection of a senator’s designated traveller be restricted to the senator’s spouse or partner, with the exception of senators who occupy the Leader of the Government or of the Opposition positions; and that travel provisions be amended to indicate that the designated traveller must be travelling with the senator or for the purpose of joining the senator.
9. That the Senate Administration be required to provide monthly reports on travel patterns to the Steering Committee.
10. That, for reporting and point calculation purposes, the categories of travel be amended as follows: “Regular Senate Business Travel” (travel between the senator’s province/territory of appointment and the National Capital Region) and “Other Senate Business Travel” (all other categories of travel: provincial/territorial; regional; national and international).
11. That the use of the 64-point travel system by senators for international travel be limited to travel to New York (for United Nations business only) and Washington, D.C. up to a maximum of four points per fiscal year.
12. That the Internal Economy Committee be authorized make necessary consequential amendments to all existing policies and guidelines and to designate the dates that the above recommendations shall take effect and communicate them to senators.
"National Capital accommodation" means accommodation within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill that is not a Senator’s provincial residence and that the Senator occupies in order to attend to his or her parliamentary functions in Ottawa.
"provincial residence" means the home of a Senator that the Senator has identified to the Senate for administrative purposes as his or her principal home within the province or territory for which he or she is appointed.