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Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament
house of commons
HOUSE OF COMMONS
CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES
OTTAWA, CANADA
K1A 0A6

Comité mixte permanent de la Bibliothèque du Parlement

For immediate release


NEWS RELEASE


THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT COMMITTEE PRESENTS ITS CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER

Ottawa, June 16, 2009 -

The Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament today tabled in the Senate and the House of Commons a report on the activities of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), in which it clarifies the latter’s role and status within the Library of Parliament.

The report had the unanimous support of all members of the Committee, who represent all parties in the Senate and the House of Commons.

The purpose of the Committee’s study was to review issues involved in implementing the services of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who took up the new position just over a year ago, and to recommend lasting solutions designed to promote better understanding of his status, mandate and work he does in support of parliamentarians.

The Committee had found in the course of its study that the Parliamentary Budget Officer did not have access to the funds required to carry out all aspects of his mandate appropriately. The Committee considers important that the Parliamentary Librarian and the Parliamentary Budget Officer work together to solve this problem, following established procedures.

The report proposes 10 recommendations aimed, among other things, at increasing funding for the Parliamentary Budget Officer, consistent with his following existing procedures at the Library of Parliament and respects the confidentiality of the work of parliamentarians and committees; and permitting the publication of independent reports as long as they are presented first to parliamentarians. The recommendations are appended to this press release.

The Committee’s report and its proceedings are available at www.parl.gc.ca/BILI-e

Recommendation 1

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons direct the Parliamentary Budget Officer to respect the provisions of the Act establishing his position within the Library of Parliament. The Parliamentary Budget Officer reports to the Parliamentary Librarian and, as a senior official of the Library, it is his responsibility to participate fully in management activities and to work closely with the Library’s other service areas.

Recommendation 2

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons request the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to evaluate the effectiveness of the position of the Parliamentary Budget Officer commencing on the third anniversary of his appointment.

Recommendation 3

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer to provide them with an action plan describing how he intends to carry out all of the duties mandated under the Act, and that this plan be submitted for review by the Joint Committee of the Library of Parliament.

Recommendation 4

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons ask the Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget Officer to standardize their service agreements with the parliamentarians and committees.

Recommendation 5

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons direct the Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget Officer to collaborate and coordinate their activities regarding the review of government estimates and the evaluation of the financial cost of any proposal relating to a matter over which Parliament has jurisdiction.

Recommendation 6

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons instruct the Parliamentary Budget Officer that a response to a request made by a parliamentarian or a parliamentary committee in accordance with the legislated mandate shall remain confidential, until the confidentiality is lifted by the parliamentarian or the parliamentary committee making the request.

Recommendation 7

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons direct the Parliamentary Budget Officer not to release any report during a general election.

Recommendation 8

That, on the understanding that any increase of the budget of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is conditional on compliance with all other recommendations in this report, after due process and validation, the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Librarian, submit to the Treasury Board a proposal to increase the budget of the Parliamentary Budget Officer for 2009–2010 to $2.8 million, without reducing the current financial resources of the rest of the Library of Parliament.

Recommendation 9

In order to justify future increases in the budget allocation of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, that the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons instruct the Parliamentary Budget Officer to establish a management system similar to the one already in place within the Library of Parliament for all requests from parliamentarians and committees.

Recommendation 10

That the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons mandate the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to take on a larger role in examining funding proposals from the Library of Parliament by developing a procedure whereby the Library’s main and supplementary estimates are submitted to the Joint Committee for oversight and advice in advance of tabling.

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For more information, please contact:
Carmen DePape, Joint Committee Clerk (House of Commons)
Tel: 613- 943-9981
Denis Robert, Joint Committee Clerk (Senate)
Tel: 613- 993-4874
E-mail: BILI@parl.gc.ca
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