Understanding the 2011-2012 Report
This report outlines the expenditures for fiscal year 2011-2012, from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012, for Members of the House of Commons.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, on behalf of the Board of Internal Economy, tables the Individual Member's Expenditures report on an annual basis pursuant to the By-laws of the Board of Internal Economy. The tabling of the Individual Member's Expenditures report coincides with the tabling of the Public Accounts of Canada. Prior to tabling, Members receive a copy of their Individual Member's Expenditures report for review and validation.
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 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 individual Members’ expenditures are presented in six categories. Each category is explained below:
Employees' salaries and service contracts: Members are the employers of their employees. They may recruit, hire, promote or release either 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 2011-2012. Members may not hire members of their immediate family or their parents. Members may obtain the services of contractors to provide them with professional, scientific, technical or administrative expertise. Among other things, Members may not enter into a contract with either a member of their immediate family or a parent. Neither Members nor their immediate family or parent may benefit, directly or indirectly, from any contract.
Travel: Members travel within their constituencies, to and from Ottawa, and elsewhere in Canada to carry out their parliamentary functions. Members are allocated 64 travel points each fiscal year, of which 25 special points may be used for travel anywhere within Canada. A travel point is equivalent to one return trip. Members may allocate some of their travel points to a designated traveller (up to 64 points), dependants (up to 30 points) and eligible employees (up to 21 points). Members may also use up to four of the 25 special points for travel to Washington, D.C. and two of these four special points for trips to New York City on parliamentary business. 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. Subject to certain conditions, when travelling for parliamentary functions, eligible Members and other authorized travellers will be reimbursed for their accommodations (hotel or private), per diems and incidentals. Members who maintain a primary residence between 50 and 100 kilometres from the Parliamentary Precinct, or whose constituency is located within the National Capital Region, may claim transportation costs at the approved kilometre rate for the commuting distance travelled between the Member’s home and the Parliamentary Precinct while carrying out their parliamentary functions. This category is sub-divided as follows:
- Member, designated traveller and dependants
- Member's accommodation and per diem expenses: Members may claim some accommodation, meal and incidental expenses they personally incur while in official travel status. In consideration of the fact that Members are required to work long periods in both Ottawa and the constituency in order to fulfil their parliamentary functions, they may claim their expenses for a declared secondary residence, hotels or private accommodations. Members who rent a secondary residence may claim, upon the presentation of receipts, rental expenses, basic utilities including telephone, cablevision, Internet, oil, gas, water, etc., and one parking space. Members who own a secondary residence may claim an accommodation rate for each day it is available for the Member’s occupancy and is not rented to any other person. Members from the National Capital Region are not eligible to claim the secondary residence rate.
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; and
- gifts not exceeding $100 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.
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, provide a copy of the advertisement in the published format to the House Administration and approve 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 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 by the costs incurred for each of the following:
- 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. 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, which on average represents 4,500 copies per ten percenter.
- Other printing-related expenses: Members may charge costs for other printing services provided by external suppliers and for speech-writing services 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 by the costs incurred in fiscal year 2011-2012 for each of the following:
- 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 photocopy equipment.
- Informatics and telecommunication equipment purchases: Members may purchase computers, laptops, 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: This category reflects charges related to the repair and maintenance of Members’ offices or assets, for example, equipment maintenance and cleaning services.
- Postage and courier services: This category reflects the distribution cost of printed material using the preferred bulk mailing rate and certain other postal, courier and delivery expenses.
- Materials and supplies: Members may purchase materials and supplies necessary for the operation of their offices, subject to certain conditions.
- Training: Members and their employees may take training on such aspects as media relations, presentations and computer software.
The report also sub-divides 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 their Member’s Office Budget and their budget for accommodation and per diem expenses. Each of these budgets is subject to conditions and restrictions on its use as determined by the Board of Internal Economy.
- Member's Office Budget: Effective April 1, 2011, the basic annual Member’s Office Budget for all constituencies 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 (including the acquisition of furniture and other equipment) and some travel expenses, subject to the direction and restrictions of the Board of Internal Economy.
- Member's accommodation and per diem expenses: Effective April 1, 2011, Members may charge to the appropriate account certain accommodation (hotel or private), meal and incidental expenses they personally incur while in travel status, up to $26,238. Members may also charge their expenses for a declared secondary residence to the appropriate account. Members who rent a secondary residence may claim, upon the presentation of receipts, rental expenses, basic utilities including telephone, cablevision, Internet, oil, gas, water, etc. and one parking space. Members who own a secondary residence may claim an accommodation rate of $29.28 per day for each day it is available for the Member’s occupancy and is not rented to any other person. Otherwise, Members may claim hotel expenses upon the presentation of receipts, or the private accommodation rate of $50.00 per night when in travel status in the National Capital Region. Members from the National Capital Region are not eligible to claim accommodations expense when in the National Capital Region. When Members are in travel status, their meals and incidental expenses are reimbursed at the approved per diem rate, which is based on the formula used by Treasury Board for all public service employees. A Member who maintains a primary residence within 100 kilometres of the Parliamentary Precinct, or whose constituency is located within the National Capital Region, may claim breakfast and dinner on days when the House is sitting and the Member works a minimum of 11 hours, including transit time to and from the Member’s home.
- 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.
Questions related to this report should be directed to the Board of Internal Economy spokespersons, or to the particular Member. Once tabled, the Individual Member's Expenditures report is published on the Parliamentary Internet site.