Pursuant the motion on 48 hour motion notice agreed on Tuesday, October 12, 2004:
That the Standing Committee on Finance, in regard to the October 18, 2004 Order of Reference to the Committee instructing it to make recommendations relating to the provisions of independent fiscal forecasting advice for parliamentarians including the consideration of the recommendations of the external expert, consider the following as the basis of its terms of reference:
Terms of reference
Terms of reference for a review by the standing committee on Finance of independent fiscal forecasting advice for Parliament.
1. To assess whether access to independent fiscal forecasting advice would strengthen Parliament’s deliberations regarding budgetary matters and other issues with fiscal implications that come before Parliament from time to time.
2. To recommend as to the most effective mechanism for providing independent fiscal advice to Parliamentarians, whether it be through a new office reporting to Parliament or another mechanism.
3. To recommend as to the nature and range of independent fiscal advice to be available to Parliamentarians, if such a function is established, including but not restricted to:
a. Providing independent analysis of budgetary forecasts and projections, specifically respecting likely government revenue and expenditure in light of announced policies;
b. Providing independent cost or revenue estimates of budget spending or tax measures respectively;
c. Providing independent cost or revenue estimates of spending or tax measures as requested from time to time by Parliamentarians;
d. Provide independent quarterly fiscal forecasts, including year end projections, during the course of the fiscal year; and
e. Other fiscal projections and estimates as might be requested from time to time by Parliamentarians.
4. To consider how an independent fiscal advisory function would access government data and information necessary to provide reasonable fiscal advice, including but not restricted to tax data, taking into account the need to protect government confidentiality in budget-making and other reasonable requirements for confidentiality.
5. In its deliberations the committee will be able to call on expert testimony, commission studies if required, and will also review mechanisms for providing independent fiscal advice to elected representatives that have been established in other countries, including but not limited to the Congressional Budget Office in the United States.