By-Laws Backgrounder | By Law | Political Parties

Backgrounder

Modernization and Posting of the By-laws Made by the Board of Internal Economy
About the Project In 2010, the Board of Internal Economy directed the Administration to proceed with a project to update and consolidate its by-laws. The revised by-laws were approved by the Board on November 21 and December 5, 2011 and came into force on April 1, 2012. The Board also approved the posting of the revised by-laws on parl.gc.ca. The goal of the project was to clarify the Board’s guiding principles regarding the use of resources provided to Members and House Officers and to restructure and edit the existing by-laws to make them more accessible. The by-laws have been updated many times since they were first introduced in 1991 to reflect decisions made by the Board. However, this is the first time that a full-scale review takes place. Changes to the Structure of the By-laws The review consisted of reorganizing the 14 existing by-laws into four: 1. 2. 3. 4. Members By-law Committees By-law Governance and Administration By-law Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Board of Internal Economy

Policy Changes In addition to the new structure and organization of the by-laws, the Board made policy changes that will have an impact on the use and provision of resources to Members and House Officers. Parliamentary Functions The Members By-law clarifies the definition of “parliamentary functions” as follows: “parliamentary functions” in relation to a Member, means the duties and activities that relate to the position of Member, wherever performed and whether or not performed in a partisan manner, namely, participation in activities relating to the proceedings and work of the House of Commons and activities undertaken in representing his or her constituency or constituents.

Ss. 4(3). With respect to Members’ “parliamentary functions”, the following activities, when performed by a Member, are not considered to be parliamentary functions: a) any activities related to the private interests of a Member or a Member’s immediate family; b) any activities related to the administration, organization and internal communications of a political party, including participation in a party leadership campaign or convention, solicitations of contributions and solicitations of membership to a political party; c) any activities related to a Member’s re-election; d) any activities designed, in the context of a federal, provincial, or municipal election, or any other local election, to support or oppose a political party or an individual candidate; and e) any activities that are related to a meeting of an electoral district association, as defined in the Canada Elections Act, and that are carried out for nomination, electoral or sponsorship purposes or that relate to soliciting contributions or membership. Governing Principles   Resources and funds provided to Members by the House of Commons may only be used by Members to carry out their parliamentary functions. Only Members and their employees may use the resources provided by the House of Commons. Family members, Senators, the Senate and the Government of Canada may not directly or indirectly use the resources provided by the House for their benefit. Members operate within the limits of their allocated budget to carry out their parliamentary functions and are personally responsible for paying expenditures that are not allowed or that exceed the budget, amounts, allowances, rates or limits.

Member’s Office Budget  Except as otherwise expressly indicated, services and goods already provided centrally by the House Administration may not be purchased and charged as an expense against the Member’s Office Budget.

Travel   A Member’s employee will be considered in travel status when more than 100 km away from their normal place of work, not from their personal residence. The authorized traveller may only claim half of the per diem on the first day of travel and the last day of travel of a trip.

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Immediate Family  The definition of immediate family has been amended to include brothers and sisters. As a result, Members may not hire them as employees nor can they contract with them, including as a landlord.

Contracting   Members cannot contract with any employee of a Member or a House Officer. This includes leases for both constituency offices and secondary residences. As of April 1, 2012, the revised mandatory form of contract for professional services is to be used. A contract for professional services means an agreement to retain a person or an entity to directly assist a Member in carrying out their parliamentary functions, including assistance in research, writing, communication, as well as temporary office assistance. For other goods and services (e.g., photocopy equipment rental, cleaning services and snow removal), Members must ensure that contracts incorporate the contracting provisions outlined in the Members’ Allowances and Services manual. In particular, they must ensure that mandatory termination provisions are included. They will be held personally responsible for any costs resulting from the non-inclusion of these provisions.

Party Resources and House Officers     Except as otherwise noted, the principles, policy changes and transition strategies apply to House Officers and National Caucus Research Offices. The Member responsible for the National Caucus Research Office is no longer necessarily a House Officer. Reference to national caucus includes all Members of a recognized party in the House and not a subgroup. Resources provided to House Officers, Members and the national caucus, including National Caucus Research Offices, must be used for their intended purpose only and must be accounted for separately. Transfer of funds between the National Caucus Research Office Budget and House Officers’ Office Budgets will no longer be permitted. The activities of a National Caucus Research Office cease at the date of dissolution. Consequently: o The responsibilities of the Member responsible for the National Caucus Research Office cease. o The Party Leader becomes responsible for the administration of the National Caucus Research Office. o The employees of the National Caucus Research Office are laid-off for the duration of the dissolution period. o Contracts for professional services cease.

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Other contracts for goods and services may continue during the dissolution period but may not be renewed or extended. o The resources formerly provided to the National Caucus Research Office during the dissolution period (i.e., postage funds) cease. During a Parliament, when a House Officer ceases to be a House Officer, contracts are assigned to the new House Officer. A clause to that effect has been added to the mandatory contract for professional services for House Officers and the National Caucus Research Office, and a similar clause must be included in all contracts for goods and services. Upon dissolution, House Officers’ contracts for professional services cease. Other contracts for goods and services may continue during the dissolution period but may not be renewed or extended.

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Transition strategy As a result of these changes to the by-laws, some Members and House Officers may find themselves in employment relationships or party to contracts that will not be permitted under the revised by-laws. The Board has approved the following transition strategies for those situations: 1. Employment relationships involving brothers and sisters: Members and House Officers will be required to promptly identify employees affected and to become compliant no later than March 31, 2013. 2. Constituency office leases and secondary residence leases involving a Member’s or House Officer’s employee: Members will be required to become compliant not later than March 31, 2013, with respect to these leases. As a result of this requirement, relocation expenses incurred will be charged to a central budget. 3. Contracts including constituency office and secondary residence leases with brothers or sisters: Members and House Officers will be required to promptly identify contracts affected, note the expiration date and let them expire as per the existing terms. Members and House Officers will not be allowed to extend or renew those contracts. 4. Professional services contracts that do not use the mandatory form: Members and House Officers will be required to identify their contracts for professional services that are not using the mandatory form and let them expire as per the existing terms at the earliest opportunity with no possibility of extension. All new contracts must use the revised contract template for professional services.

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Role of the Board of Internal Economy The Board of Internal Economy is responsible for establishing by-laws, policies and guidelines relating to expenditures and resources provided to Members in order to carry out their parliamentary functions. The Board has the exclusive authority to determine whether expenditures are proper and in accordance with the by-laws, policies and guidelines that have been established. This authority is given to the Board by the Parliament of Canada Act. -30For media enquiries, please contact: Heather Bradley Director of Communications Office of the Speaker 613-995-7882 heather.bradley@parl.gc.ca

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