Understanding the 2012-2013 Report
This report outlines the expenditures for fiscal year 2012-2013, from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, for Members of the House of Commons.
Members' expenditures are based on receipts provided and approved by the Member. Consistent with Treasury Board policies, receipts are not required for expenditures related to the per diem (meals and incidentals) while in travel status, kilometre travel by personal vehicle, or private accommodation while in travel status; these expenses are based on utilization as reported by the Member.
The report presents the expenditures by Member's Budgets and Resources Provided by the House.
- The Member's Budgets column summarizes the expenditures made by the Member using the Member's Office Budget and Travel Status Expenses Account. These budgetary allocations are subject to conditions and restrictions as determined by the Board of Internal Economy.
- Member's Office Budget: Effective April 1, 2012, the basic annual Member's Office Budget for each Member was $284,700. Members who represent densely populated constituencies may also receive an Elector Supplement, ranging from $8,700 to $52,140. Members who represent constituencies of 500 square kilometres or more also receive a Geographic Supplement, ranging from $4,810 to $52,900. Members who represent constituencies listed in Schedule 3 of the Canada Elections Act receive an additional supplement of $16,830 or $20,200. Following by-elections, newly elected Members receive a Member's Office Budget that is prorated based on the number of days from the date of the by-election to the end of the fiscal year (March 31). The Member's Office Budget is used for employee salaries, service contracts, advertising, constituency office leases, office operating costs, some travel expenses and other expenses, as determined by the Board of Internal Economy.
- Travel Status Expenses Account: Effective April 1, 2012, the annual Travel Status Expenses Account for each Member was $26,238. Members may charge the per diem and accommodation expenses they personally incur while in travel status to this account. Members may claim receipted hotel expenses or $50.00 per night when a private accommodation is used. The per diem rate is based on the formula used by the Treasury Board for all public service employees. Members whose constituency is located within the National Capital Region or who maintain a primary residence within 100 kilometres of the Parliamentary Precinct may claim breakfast and dinner at the per diem rate on days when the House is sitting and only if the Member works a minimum of 11 hours. These Members may also claim transportation costs at the approved kilometre rate for the commuting distance between the Member's home and the Parliamentary Precinct while on House related business, subject to certain conditions. Members whose constituency is not located in the National Capital Region may charge expenses for a declared secondary residence. Members who rent a secondary residence may claim various receipted expenses. Members who own a secondary residence may claim an accommodation rate of $29.28 per day, subject to certain conditions.
- The Resources Provided by the House column summarizes the costs incurred by the House Administration to support Members in the discharge of their parliamentary functions, including travel expenses charged to the Travel Points System.
The Members' expenditures are presented in six categories. Each category is explained below:
- Employees' salaries and service contracts: Members are the employers of their employees, and as such, they manage their full- or part-time employees and determine their duties, hours of work, and classification of positions. Members determine the salary for their employees up to the annual maximum salary limit, which was $80,900 in fiscal year 2012-2013. Members may also obtain the services of contractors to provide them with professional, scientific, technical or administrative services or expertise. Among other things, Members may not hire or enter into a contract with a Member of their immediate family. Neither Members nor their immediate family may benefit, directly or indirectly, from any contract.
- Travel: Members travel within their constituencies, to and from Ottawa, elsewhere in Canada, to and from Washington D.C. and New York City, as approved by the Board of Internal Economy. For all travel, Members and their authorized travellers must select the most economical and practical means of transportation to reach their destinations and use the most direct route available. This category is sub-divided as follows:
- Member: When travelling within the province or territory in which their constituency is located, Members typically charge transportation expenses (for example, road travel) and per diem and accommodation expenses to the Member's Office Budget. Otherwise, transportation expenses incurred by the Member when in travel status are charged to the Travel Points System. Members are provided 64 travel points each fiscal year to carry out their parliamentary functions, regardless of where in Canada their constituency is located. (In addition to the 64 travel points available to all Members, Opposition Party Leaders have 16 supplementary travel points.) A travel point is equivalent to one return trip. Although most travel points are used for travel between the constituency and Ottawa, Members may use up to 25 of these 64 points for special trips elsewhere in Canada. (The special trip point limit does not apply to the Speaker, Opposition Party Leaders, Opposition House Leaders and Chief Whips of recognized parties.) Members may also use up to four of these 25 points for special trips to Washington D.C. and two of these four points for special trips to New York City, subject to certain conditions.
- Designated traveller: Members may allocate up to 64 points of their travel points to a designated traveller. A designated traveller is a person other than the Member's employees or another Member. Transportation expenses incurred by the designated traveller may either be charged to the Travel Points System or the Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions.
- Dependants: Members may allocate up to 30 points of their travel points to their dependants. Transportation expenses incurred by the dependants may either be charged to the Travel Points System or the Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions.
- Employees: Members may allocate up to 21 points of their travel points to eligible employees. Transportation expenses incurred by the employees when in travel status may either be charged to the Travel Points System or the Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions. Per diem and accommodation expenses incurred by the employees may be charged to the Member's Office Budget.
- Member's accommodation and per diem expenses: When in travel status, Members may charge per diem and accommodation expenses incurred while in the National Capital Region or when travelling elsewhere to the Travel Status Expenses Account.
- Member's secondary residence expenses: Secondary residence expenses are charged to the Travel Status Expenses Account. Members may rent or own a secondary residence in the National Capital Region. Members who rent a secondary residence may charge rental expenses and basic utilities, such as telephone, cablevision, Internet, oil, gas, water, and one parking space. Members who own a secondary residence in the National Capital Region may charge the accommodation rate for each day it is available for the Member's occupancy and is not rented to any other person. Members whose constituency is located in the National Capital Region are not eligible to claim secondary residence expenses.
- Hospitality and events: Members may use up to 3% of their Member's Office Budget for hospitality expenses (ranges from $8,541 to $10,734) related to the Member's parliamentary functions, but excluding partisan activities. Hospitality expenses include:
- meals for the Member and guests when accompanied by one or more guests;
- tickets for meals with service groups or at community events or other meetings of a non-partisan nature;
- food and any beverages served at meetings and non-partisan events;
- small token items, such as buttons, pins, ribbons, and certificate holders;
- gifts not exceeding $150 given as a matter of protocol to recognize the value and importance of a person, event or organization from the Member's constituency that has contributed positively to the community, or gifts given to a civic leader or dignitary. Gifts may not be given to staff or to current or former Members, under personal or partisan circumstances, or for the purpose of fundraising for a third party. Members must approve the purchase of the gifts and must provide information related to the recipients and purpose of the gifts; and
- flowers not exceeding $150 for the funeral of a Member's constituent.
- Advertising: Members may use up to 10% of their Member's Office Budget for advertising (ranges from $28,470 to $35,780). Members must approve the content of the advertisement and the invoice. Print advertisements must contain the Member's name and contact information. Advertisements must support at least one of the following purposes:
- communicate the Member's office location and contact information;
- communicate assistance and services the Member provides to all constituents;
- communicate meeting announcements related to the discharge of the Member's constituency functions;
- issue congratulatory messages or greetings to constituents; and
- support the Member's parliamentary functions, including issuance of partisan opinions or advocacy statements
- Printing: Members are provided with printing and photocopying services for householders and ten percenters. Members must approve the content of the printed material. Members may also charge certain printing-related expenses to their Member's Office Budget. This category is sub-divided as follows:
- Householders are printed materials sent by Members to inform their constituents about parliamentary activities and issues. Members are allowed to print and mail up to four householders per calendar year per household in the Member's constituency, which on average represents 45,000 households per householder.
- Ten percenters are printed or photocopied materials reproduced in quantities not exceeding 10% of the total number of households in a Member's constituency, which on average represents 4,500 copies per ten percenter. Members may print and mail an unlimited number of ten percenters per year. However, each ten percenter must have a 50% difference in textual content from other ten percenters produced that year and can only be distributed within the Member's own constituency.
- Other printing-related expenses: Members may charge costs for other printing services provided by external suppliers to their Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions.
- Offices: Members are provided with an equipped office within the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa. Members may establish one or more offices in their constituencies and equip these offices. Members assume the custody of the office assets; however, all assets remain the property of the House of Commons. This category is sub-divided as follows:
- Constituency office leases, insurance and utilities: Members may charge the cost of their office leases and liability insurance, as well as the cost of the utilities for their constituency offices, for example, hydro and gas, if not already included in the lease agreement, to their Member's Office Budget.
- Furniture, furnishing and equipment purchases: Members may purchase furniture and office equipment for their constituency offices, subject to certain conditions.
- Equipment rentals: Members may enter into equipment rental agreements, for example, for photocopiers, which are charged to their Member's Office Budget.
- Informatics and telecommunication equipment purchases: Members may purchase computers, laptops, tablet devices, printers and other related equipment for their constituency offices, subject to certain conditions. Members are provided with up to four wireless devices; they may purchase additional wireless devices or accessories and charge all related expenses to the Member's Office Budget.
- Telecommunication services: Members are provided with one data plan and up to three voice plans, for a maximum of four wireless devices, including air time and long-distance charges. Additional monthly service fees for additional devices and equipment are charged to the Member's Office Budget.
- Repairs and maintenance: When not provided by the House, Members may charge the cost related to the repair and maintenance of Members' offices or assets, for example, equipment maintenance and cleaning services to their Member's Office Budget.
- Postage and courier services: When not provided by the House, Members may charge the cost of printed material using the preferred bulk mailing rate established by Canada Post, and certain other postal, courier and delivery expenses to their Member's Office Budget.
- Materials and supplies: When not provided by the House, Members may charge the cost of materials, paper and office supplies, etc. necessary for the operation of their offices, to their Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions.
- Training: Members and their employees are provided with the opportunity to attend media relations and presentation skills training as well as computer software training at House expense. Members may also attend language training at House expense. The cost of all other training incurred by Members, their spouses as well as their employees may be charged to the Member's Office Budget, subject to certain conditions.
Questions related to this report should be directed to the Board of Internal Economy spokespersons or to the particular Member.