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Supporting Strategic Objectives

To focus efforts and serve as a guide for activities during the 40th Parliament, the House Administration has established four strategic objectives that reflect its mandate, vision and values:

Photo of the Strategic Outlook for the 40th Parliament

1. To Respond to the Evolving Role of Members and the Institution

Supporting the Evolution of Parliamentary Practices and Rules

The House Administration has an ongoing commitment to support the evolution of parliamentary practices and rules for the benefit of Canadian parliamentary democracy. In accordance with instructions, the House Administration may be called upon to assist in the drafting of amendments to the Standing Orders. The House Administration also updates the procedural reference works available to Members for Chamber and committee work. In addition, they regularly update the Compendium of House of Commons Procedure to integrate changes to practices and usages in the House, as procedures continue to evolve. The Clerk and the teams of Table Officers and procedural clerks are always available to respond to procedural questions from Members of Parliament, their staff and members of the public.


A significant accomplishment for the House Administration in 2009 was the publication of the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice. Members of Parliament, their staff and the House Administration use this comprehensive guide every day in their work on behalf of Canadians.

The House Administration was pleased to introduce closed-captioning of both live and archived webcasts of Question Period in 2009 and to initiate planning for expanding the service to televised committee meetings. These accomplishments help bring Parliament closer to Canadians.


In 2010-2011, an improved method for the tracking of procedural research requests and rulings made by the Speaker in the House of Commons will be put in place. This will serve as a useful tool for research purposes.

Improving Members' Access to Parliamentary Information

To meet the evolving publication needs associated with both paper and Web-based documents throughout the House of Commons, in 2009-2010 the House Administration successfully developed and deployed SmartBook II. This software tool, which is used to publish both hard-copy and electronic documents, was made fully operational in January 2010. The House Administration used this software to publish the online version of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2009; Smartbook II also allows authors to easily maintain and update this publication.

The administrations of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament will of a common long-term vision and strategy for the enhancement of parliamentary information services throughout Parliament. In the coming year, the Parliamentary Information Management (PIM) committee will continue to support existing collaborative initiatives related to parliamentary information. The goal is to offer more coordinated and accessible information to clients. In particular, the tri-institutional Joint Initiative for Legislative Information (JILI) will present the information in a more integrated and collaborative manner. The work on producing more Members' and Senators' information more efficiently and collaboratively will also continue in earnest.

Facilitating the Involvement and Awareness of Canadians About Their Parliament and the Parliamentary Process

To help Canadians become more engaged with the House of Commons, in 2009 the House Administration introduced closed-captioning for both live and archived webcasts of Question Period. They also initiated the planning phase with Public Works and Government Services Canada for a project to expand these services to televised committee meetings. In addition, the House Administration completed the development of the infrastructure and functionality required to provide links from the live video feed to the transcripts of parliamentary proceedings on the parliamentary Web site. This new service will be introduced within the ParlVU portal, where Canadians will be able to see and hear Parliament live and on demand, in 2010-2011.

Working on an implementation plan for viewing the proceedings on ParlVU, in the 2009-2010 fiscal year the House Administration completed the development of desktop tools that will display the events currently taking place on ParlVU and give viewers direct access to the ParlVU webcast from their desktop. A planning phase was also initiated for the development of services via the ParlVU portal that will facilitate mobile access and reuse of the parliamentary proceedings. These new services will also be introduced within the ParlVU portal in 2010-2011.

2. To Enhance Ongoing Services to Members and Sustain the Institution

Advancing the Long Term Vision and Plan to Rehabilitate Heritage Buildings and Grounds, and Provide Additional Parliamentary Accommodations

The House Administration is responsible for providing strategic direction and input at all stages of the Long Term Vision and Plan, from planning to implementation. Public Works and Government Services Canada, as custodian of the parliamentary buildings and grounds, manages all projects related to the maintenance, repair and construction of accommodation facilities and secures the required funding.

The three main components with regard to the implementation of the Long Term Vision and Plan program of works are:

  • Major Capital Program
  • Recapitalization Program
  • Planning Program

Major Capital Program

The ongoing major rehabilitation of Canada's heritage buildings in the Parliamentary Precinct requires that the House Administration develop functional, symbolic and technical requirements for the relocation of parliamentary functions and support services. This complex process requires knowledge of planning, design and construction as well as extensive coordination and logistics expertise.

To allow the West Block and the East Block to be vacated, La Promenade Building (151 Sparks Street) and the Wellington Building (180 Wellington Street) had to be vacated to provide interim space for parliamentary offices and committee rooms. This required a concerted effort by the House Administration in 2009-2010 to contribute to the completion of alternate accommodations, including the related infrastructure and connectivity projects.

The House Administration is actively involved in the following major projects:

  • La Promenade Building - This building is under construction to accommodate 62 Members' offices and three committee rooms. The House Administration reviewed all aspects of the design and construction to ensure House of Commons standards were met.
  • The Wellington Building - This building has been vacated for rehabilitation. Over the past year, the House Administration designated alternate sites for the then occupants of the Wellington Building and coordinated the relocation of hundreds of employees to alternate accommodations.
  • One Wellington Street (former Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography) - This building is under construction to accommodate four committee rooms. The House Administration is involved with all aspects of the design and construction to ensure requirements are met.
  • Former Bank of Montreal building - This building will permanently house the ceremonial events presently held in the West Block. The House Administration participated in the review of design options to ensure functional and operational requirements are incorporated.
  • West Block - Design work also progressed on this future project. The West Block will be used to temporarily house the legislative functions from the Centre Block. The House Administration has already completed the first stages of that planning process; the functional programs have been completed and the preliminary design is under way.
  • Information technology - In 2009-2010, the House Administration identified the functional information technology requirements for parliamentary locations that are not on Parliament Hill and ensured their implementation. The House Administration planned, designed and implemented technology services, infrastructure and connectivity to a number of sites. They also established fibre-optic connectivity to all remote parliamentary sites.

Recapitalization Program

For those buildings that are not about to undergo major rehabilitation but need repair work and upgrades to reduce deterioration, the House Administration is conducting client-impact assessments on a project-by-project basis. This past year, a pilot project was initiated to provide a comprehensive approach to the repair and upgrade work on the Confederation Building and ensure priority projects are coordinated to have minimal perations. In future, this model can extend to similar projects in other buildings such as the Centre Block.

Restoring the heritage buildings and grounds in the Parliamentary Precinct is not a simple undertaking. It is an intensive and complicated process requiring an immense amount of planning and long-term vision. Employees with a variety of expertise- in architecture, heritage conservation, project management, information technology, parliamentary procedure, infrastructure, human resources and finance, for example-must work closely together. The accomplishments associated with this process in the Parliamentary Precinct are sources of pride for the House Administration.

To learn more about the modernization of these historically significant Canadian buildings, please visit

Planning Program

This past year, the parliamentary partners-the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament-provided their input to Public Works and Government Services Canada to obtain approval for funding for the continuation of the work associated with the Long Term Vision and Plan. The House Administration reviewed, updated and consolidated into a report the long-term requirements, and developed a communication strategy to keep Members and employees informed of the various programs, projects and relocations.

As well, the House Administration identified requirements and provided project-direction statements for a number of projects at the planning phase. The Administration was involved with the development of broad requirements for the master plans dealing with the west sector area of the Parliamentary Precinct including the West Terrace Pavilion, the underground infrastructure, the material-handling facility, transportation and landscaping.

Providing a Flexible Technology Infrastructure to Respond to the Needs of Members and the Institution

In their committee work, Members rely on tools to support collaboration and conferencing with participants across the country and around the world. Last year, the House Administration completed the review of existing processes and requirements for videoconferencing services.

In 2010-2011, recommendations for service improvements will be brought forward to support Members in their work and committee meetings.

In an effort to manage the scheduling requirements of security services in a more cost-efficient manner, staff confirmed their requirements to replace the current electronic scheduling system and issued a request for proposals during the year of this report. A funding strategy is in place for implementation.

Ensuring the Guardianship of the Institution

During the reporting year, the House Administration continued its efforts to strengthen the level of security at the House of Commons through its membership in the Master Security Planning Office. In partnership with the Senate Protective Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, it pursued several key strategic activities. The Master Security Planning Office also conducted a review of existing security standards and practices to determine where policy and procedures can be best aligned to maximize interoperability.

Additionally, the House Administration has advanced a standardized incident management model. While this model has been in practice for responses to major security incidents since 2007, preliminary planning has been completed to use the model across the House of Commons for the effective management of an array of events.

As effective communications are critical during major incidents, a communication strategy is in place to ensure that consistent and timely information is shared with Members, their staff and the House Administration in the event of a disruption or emergency situation within the Parliamentary Precinct. The communication strategy has recently been updated in keeping with the incident management model.

The House Administration continues to proactively protect the health and safety of everyone within the Parliamentary Precinct. Over the past year, as part of overall business continuity planning efforts, the House Administration put a pandemic plan in place, structured on best practices established by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan. It outlines steps the House of Commons would, and did, follow during the specific pandemic phases the Administration faced during this reporting period.

At the same time, the House Administration continued to work on business continuity plans for Members' offices, the Chamber, committee and caucus lines of business and House of Commons administrative services.

Further to the outbreak of H1N1 flu in Canada, the House Administration developed a Pandemic Plan and took immediate measures to protect visitors, Members and employees. These actions included: increased cleaning in high-traffic areas, the installation of additional hand sanitization stations and ongoing communications with Members and employees.

3. To Promote Understanding and Support the Advancement of Legislative Institutions

Ensuring the Availability of Up-to-date Information on Parliamentary Procedure

On November 18, 2009, the Speaker of the House tabled House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, 2009, written by the House Administration and edited by the Clerk, Audrey O'Brien and the Deputy Clerk, Marc Bosc. Originally published in 2000, this book is a comprehensive study of House of Commons jurisprudence that examines the forms, customs and procedures established since Confederation. This new edition, containing more than 1,500 pages and 6,900 footnotes in each of the French and English versions, includes a description of the changes to the Standing Orders and practices of the House since the release of the first edition. It also includes a number of revised and reorganized chapters, several new graphics, an improved index and a more complete bibliography. To make the book available to readers across the country and around the world, the House Administration launched the printed version and an online edition on the same day.

Providing Learning Opportunities for Parliamentarians and Legislative Officials from Jurisdictions in Canada and Abroad

In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, 32 information and training sessions were offered on procedural topics to Members of Parliament and their staff, the House Administration, the research services of the various caucuses, the public service and university students. In addition, the House Administration offered an intensive training program for new procedural clerks hired during the period. A renewed emphasis was placed over the past year on these training sessions and the manner in which they are offered.

As is described in detail in the Representing Canada section of this report, the House Administration organized Speaker-led delegations from and to other parliaments and organized meetings, seminars and conferences related to the various parliamentary associations. Of note during the last year were interparliamentary meetings in La Malbaie, Québec; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Ottawa, Ontario.

The Clerk of the Senate, the Clerk of the House and the Parliamentary Librarian host the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program (POSP) for officials from other legislatures who want to learn more about procedural and administrative practices in Canada. During 2009-2010, there were two POSPs, the first in English and the second in French.

The House Administration and the Library of Parliament work on the Members' Orientation and Election Readiness Program to ensure the House Administration is ready to welcome new and re-elected Members of Parliament following an election. The program coordinates a variety of timely services for Members throughout the weeks surrounding a general election, from the dissolution of one Parliament to the opening of the next. Although no election was held during 2009-2010, the House Administration continued to refine the program by reviewing the lessons learned and collecting feedback from new Members.

Increasing Public Awareness and Sustaining the Independence and Traditions of the House of Commons

In its role of increasing public awareness of the House of Commons, the House Administration produces publications and online information for citizens and visitors. To streamline content and reduce duplication across publications, over the past year the House Administration began a review of several of these publications and online tools. The purpose of this review
is to identify duplication, determine how to best serve the needs of the users of each product, ascertain which products might need to be modified, and make recommendations about which ones the House should continue to produce.

4. To Apply the Highest Standards of Public Sector Governance in a Parliamentary Context

Promoting Strong Stewardship and Effective Management of Public Resources

As part of the emphasis on the strong stewardship of public resources, a transition plan is in place to fully harmonize printing and postal services, from ordering of services to final delivery. The harmonized operations will provide a more efficient and streamlined service. In 2009-2010, the House Administration secured a new location for the consolidation of these services and completed the necessary fit-up. It also completed preparations for the temporary relocation of electronic printing services. Currently, the House Administration is working toward the replacement of its information management tool, with the intention of launching a Web portal that will allow for online submission of postal instructions.

In 2010-2011, client services and planning and production processes related to Members' printed communications will be consolidated and streamlined. This service consolidation will provide Members with faster turnaround times and more efficient delivery of services.

Over the past year, the House Administration strengthened the corporate Planning and Measurement Framework. It prepared an in-depth environmental scan to help establish strategic priorities and completed an organization-wide Multi-Year Business Plan. The Multi-Year Business Plan sets out concrete projects to achieve strategic objectives, establishes quantitative performance metrics for measuring success and complements business plans in Service Areas. Last year, the House Administration completed a reporting format that provides semi-annual data about the implementation of the Multi-Year Business Plan. The first versions of the report will be prepared in 2010-2011. Also in 2009-2010, the House Administration began work on developing a common framework for planning, measuring and reporting at the Service Area level, which will be completed in 2010-2011.

The House Administration continues to ensure that it is meeting its financial fiduciary responsibilities. Each year, the House of Commons hires an independent accounting firm to audit its financial statements. The public can access these statements on the parliamentary Web site at

A compliance assessment was recently initiated against the requirements of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Model which reflects a strategic approach to finance and resource management. This assessment was done to confirm progress to date and to prioritize the next steps for implementation. Planning is also underway to implement two procurement modules to promote more competitive pricing and to monitor the performance of suppliers.

Attracting, Engaging and Retaining Our Talent

Like many employers in Canada, the House Administration is preparing for new challenges related to employee retention and an aging workforce. During the past year, the House Administration put in place a number of key elements for a succession planning program. These included the development of competency profiles in most Service Areas and the implementation of a succession planning pilot project.

An important initiative of the House Administration is to build leadership capacity. Leaders need skills to deal with organizational challenges such as change and transformation in the workplace. In an immediate future that will see the retirement of seasoned workers and the potential loss of critical knowledge, leaders must be able to recruit and retain talent within a diverse and multigenerational environment. Aligned with the House Administration's succession planning program, the leadership development program will ensure that the House Administration is well positioned to lead in a time of demographic and technological change. In 2009-2010 the requirements for the leadership development program were established, and during 2010-2011 an external provider for the program will be identified.

The innovative program Finding Solutions Together combines a range of services designed to give employees the skills and tools they need to resolve conflict on their own, or with help when required. This program, now under way, is based on the principles of communication, collaboration and respect. Over the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the House Administration held a number of program-related managerial and supervisory training sessions.

Strengthening Environmental Practices

Ever-conscious of the importance of the environment to Canadians, the House Administration continues to conduct its business with an eye on ecological issues. For example, in the planning and implementation of all ongoing projects under the Long Term Vision and Plan, the House Administration works with Public Works and Government Services Canada to ensure that the best environmental practices are used.

In 2009-2010, the House Administration developed an implementation plan to transfer to 100 percent post-consumer, EcoLogo-certified recycled paper and completed the transition within the year.

The House Administration is pleased to participate with the environmental committee Partners for a Green Hill. This past year, the committee initiated a document that provides guiding principles for the partner institutions and ensures a coordinated approach to environmental stewardship across the Hill.

Supporting an Integrated Approach to Information Management

To promote responsible stewardship of information resources, the House Administration continues to develop the foundation for enhanced information-management practices, collaboration and information-sharing.

Over the past year, guidelines and metadata standards were published, supporting the management of electronic documents that are stored using Symphonie, a Web-based program used to create, retrieve, share and manage information.


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