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The House of Commons: Report to Canadians 2015

Report to Canadians 2015

Performance Review

Strategic Objective 1

To respond to the changing needs of Members and the institution
  • Improve the availability of up-to-date information on parliamentary procedures and rules
  • Enhance Members’ and Canadians’ access to parliamentary information
Projects
 
Enable the greater use of technological tools by committees
In September 2014, a pilot project was conducted with six standing committees to determine the feasibility of providing committee members with timely and secure electronic access to committee documents (including on their mobile devices), with the goal being to reduce the use of printed materials for committee meetings. The pilot is ongoing and was extended to all House of Commons committees.
 
Publish a third edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice
In an institution as dynamic as the House of Commons, parliamentary practice is constantly evolving. The second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which documents parliamentary procedure since Confederation, was published in 2009. Since then, a number of new practices and precedents have been established—making it necessary to once again prepare a revised edition. The drafting of nine chapters has been completed; three have finished the peer review process and currently await management review.
 
Explore the possibilities of developing electronic versions of procedural publications
A working group was established to determine guidelines and standards for developing electronic versions of publications such as House of Commons Procedure and Practice. A request for information on best practices related to e-books was provided to industry in March 2015. Concurrently, Information Services is working to establish standards with the assistance of an external expert. The project team plans to deliver its standards in time for the preparation of the Request for Proposal for the third edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice and will then proceed with a pilot e-book project for the compilation of key decisions delivered by former Speaker Peter Milliken.
 
Provide Canadians with improved access to parliamentary information
A number of projects have been completed or are underway to give Canadians better access to information about Members of Parliament and Chamber events. For example, a new user experience is being developed for the Members’ Information website, consolidating its information and presenting it in a simpler, more modern interface that can be accessed on a range of devices. In addition, the Parliament of Canada website (parl.gc.ca) has been updated to include new features such as the ability to filter by interventions by Member and an interactive seating plan to help users explore where Members sit in the House of Commons. Finally, a project has been completed for the ParlVU self-serve portal that allows users to select, download and repurpose clips of Chamber events.
 
Improve the process for the production of the activities and expenditures reports
Following an extensive process review in the spring of 2014, improvements were made to enhance the data verification process and ensure the more timely production of the Committee Activities and Expenditures report.
 
Modernize the committees website
A project was initiated to review the existing committees website with the goal of modernizing and enhancing it, including adding support for mobile devices and updating the site to provide more relevant information for Canadians. The project, initiated in the fall of 2014, will be completed in two phases: the first phase will lead to the launch of an updated site in the fall of 2015 (in conjunction with the opening of the 42nd Parliament) while the second phase, which is planned for the spring of 2016, will involve additional enhancements to the site.

Strategic Objective 2

To enhance ongoing services to Members and sustain the institution
  • Advance the Long Term Vision and Plan to rehabilitate heritage buildings and grounds, and provide additional parliamentary accommodations
  • Maintain the flexibility of our technology infrastructure
  • Strengthen the guardianship of the institution
Projects
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Rehabilitate the heritage buildings within the Parliamentary Precinct
As part of the ongoing work under the Long Term Vision and Plan, construction requirements pertaining to the rehabilitation of the West Block, the Sir John A. Macdonald Building (formerly the Bank of Montreal Building) and the Wellington Building continue to be developed and reviewed to ensure the project’s successful implementation. Given the events of October 22, 2014, additional security requirements are anticipated for the West Block and the Wellington Building. The Sir John A. Macdonald Building is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2015.

The West Block and Wellington Building will accommodate functions from the Centre Block during its renovation by providing space for the interim Chamber, committee rooms and parliamentary offices. The Sir John A. Macdonald Building will permanently accommodate the special parliamentary events previously held in the West Block.

Regarding the rehabilitation of the Centre Block, the initial planning phase continues with Public Works and Government Services Canada.

The House Administration continues to play a lead role in planning, designing and implementing information technology services and infrastructure across the entire Parliamentary Precinct.

 
Implement the strategy to accommodate 30 additional Members
With the number of Members set to increase from 308 to 338 during the next federal election, work continued throughout 2014 to expand the Chamber’s accommodations and prepare offices for the new Members. The offices are now ready for occupancy and the Chamber work will be completed in 2015.
 
Develop and implement an overarching House of Commons security policy
During its review of the House Administration in 2012, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) found that while there were established procedures and objectives for security operations, there was no overall security policy tying them all together. In response to the OAG recommendations, a new security policy has been developed to bring together the many existing policies and guidelines (governance, screening, access, training, physical security, document classification, etc.) under one overarching security umbrella. The policy is being reviewed further to the motion on the integration of parliamentary security that was adopted in the Senate and the House of Commons in February 2015. The implementation of the new policy will assist in guiding security operations, formalizing roles and responsibilities, clarifying authority and expectations, and clearly outlining the relationships with various partners and stakeholders.

Strategic Objective 3

To promote understanding and support the advancement of legislative institutions
  • Enhance learning opportunities for parliamentarians and legislative officials from jurisdictions in Canada and abroad
  • Increase public awareness and sustain the independence and traditions of the House of Commons
Projects
 
Organize and host conferences of international parliamentary associations to which the Parliament of Canada belongs
The 40th Annual Session of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie was held in Ottawa in July 2014. Besides the attendance of hundreds of delegates representing the various parliaments of the Francophonie, the conference also saw the participation of His Excellency Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the Francophonie as well as the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, who succeeded Mr. Diouf in January 2015. The Parliament of Canada also organized and hosted the 11th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, which was held in Whitehorse in September 2014.
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Parliamentary Officers’ Study Program (POSP)
The Parliamentary Officers’ Study Program (POSP) offers senior officials from foreign legislatures the opportunity to learn about the functioning of the Parliament of Canada and, in turn, reflect on their own procedural and administrative practices. Hosted by the House of Commons in partnership with the Senate and the Library of Parliament, three programs were held during the 2014–2015 fiscal year.

The POSP offered its first-ever Executive Program—a condensed one-week program—from May 12 to 16, 2014. The Executive Program is geared mainly to clerks/secretaries general and other very senior staff members who are not available to attend a full two-week program. Given the success of this first Executive Programs, others will be offered in the future. 

Two full programs were also offered. The first, for Francophone participants, was held from September 29 to October 9, 2014, and the second, for English-speaking attendees, took place from February 16 to 26, 2015.

Strategic Objective 4

To apply the highest standards of public sector governance in a parliamentary context
  • Strengthen stewardship to ensure optimal management of public resources
  • Improve talent recruitment, engagement, succession and retention
  • Strengthen environmental management practices
  • Advance an integrated approach to information management
Projects
 
Ensure the transparent disclosure of Members’ travel and hospitality expenditures
As part of its continued efforts to increase transparency, the Board of Internal Economy approved enhancements to the reporting of Members’ travel and hospitality expenses, which came into effect on July 1, 2014. Under these new guidelines, the Members’ Expenditures Report, expanded to include a detailed travel points report and a detailed hospitality expenditures report, was published on the Parliament of Canada website for the first time in December 2014—and will continue to be reported on a quarterly basis.
 
Conduct an employee engagement survey
Employee engagement—that is, the extent to which employees are invested in their work and care about their organization—is essential to any productive and successful workplace. In 2014, the House Administration conducted an employee engagement survey. Initial findings indicate that employees see the organization as having a clear purpose, effective leadership and a strong service culture. Working from the survey results, action plans are currently being developed to identify areas for improvement and to maintain current good practices.
 
Ensure a safe and respectful workplace
As part of its normal policy review, the House Administration approved a revised policy to prevent harassment and resolve complaints. The new policy, which is based on industry best practices, distinguishes between informal and formal processes, and provides for the direct involvement of the Chief Human Resources Officer in all formal complaints. Employees of Members and research offices were also provided with their own harassment prevention policy that applies principles from the House Administration’s policy. In addition, informal conflict resolution services and harassment prevention program resources were extended to employees of Members and research offices to increase awareness and help proactively and constructively stop potential harassment at its earliest stages.
 
Standardize House office equipment
Multi-function devices that include copy, print, scan and fax capabilities were installed in Members’ offices within the Parliamentary Precinct in 2013–2014, and throughout the House Administration in 2014–2015. These devices will help reduce costs, improve efficiencies and decrease the House’s overall environmental footprint.
 
Renew the financial management system
In 2014, the House Administration launched a project aimed at renewing the financial management system and associated business processes and reporting structures to provide improved access to integrated financial, procurement and asset management information to aid in decision making and ensure strong financial management of public resources. It is expected that the new system will be implemented in 2016.