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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
First, I want to thank the House of Commons administration for listening to the requests we made. The reality has changed and we need to adapt our policies accordingly. So I want to thank the members of the administration for their continued rigorous analysis.
I would like to ask a question about advertising costs. These costs were limited to 10% and have temporarily increased to 20%. Since we are going to amend regulations, why did you choose not to increase the percentage permanently, at this point?
To me, it would have been more appropriate to take the opportunity to increase the percentage from 10% to 20% in order to align the regulation with the advertising needs. Can you explain to me the reasons for this decision?
If you do not convince me, I may propose an amendment to your proposal.
Paul St George
View Paul St George Profile
Paul St George
2022-06-09 11:16
Thank you for your question.
We are looking at this limit at the moment. We propose, perhaps at the next committee meeting, to come back with a report and a recommendation. So that's ongoing.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
All right.
So you are suggesting I be patient. There will be another proposal next week, and I can debate and discuss it.
I find that compelling enough for me to withdraw my amendment.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Are there any other questions or comments?
Are we in agreement on the recommendations?
Mr. Calkins, I think you have a comment.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
I would like just a little bit more clarification.
If a ticket shows, or you can decipher, the difference between the cost of attending and the charitable portion of the ticket, would this policy change allow for at least the ability to be reimbursed for the ticket cost, less the charitable donation cost, if that's determinable from whomever you purchased the ticket from?
Paul St George
View Paul St George Profile
Paul St George
2022-06-09 11:17
The concise answer to that question is “yes”.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Are there any other questions or comments?
Okay. Now we'll go in camera—
Oh, sorry.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm not sure if I quite understood that exchange. The answer is “yes” to if you can distinguish the charitable portion from...?
Could you repeat that, Mr. Calkins?
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
What I'm asking, Ruby, is that, hypothetically, let's say a ticket to go to something is $150. The catered meal and the cost of going is $100, and the donation is $50 as a member. Because I would be there as a member, can I at least get the $100 back, and the $50 is just something that's out of my personal pocket, but then I'm eligible to claim it for taxes and so on, and the House is not allowed to reimburse that portion?
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
But if you can't distinguish, the whole purpose of this is that if there isn't a meal portion, you can still charge the full amount.
Paul St George
View Paul St George Profile
Paul St George
2022-06-09 11:18
We look at the claims individually. If we're able to make that distinction, obviously, if it's not reimbursable, we wouldn't. However, it's very difficult; in most cases we can make that determination, based on the backup that's supplied with the invoice, but if we don't, then obviously we'd have a conversation with the individual member to get a better understanding of it.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other questions or comments?
It seems not.
We will now go in camera.
We're going to take a two-minute break. I think that should be sufficient.
We will have to excuse certain members of the table. I think that's pretty well everyone.
We will call on you as soon as we're finished.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I call this meeting to order. This is meeting number nine of the Board of Internal Economy in the 44th Parliament.
We'll start off with the minutes of the previous meeting. Are there any questions or points arising?
Mr. Brassard.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, the only thing that I noticed was on the decision on remote interpretation services. You may want to note that the minutes are missing a reference to the board's preference for the use of the translation bureau employees and freelancers. After your proposal that only bureau staff be used, Mr. Holland had suggested that the board could express a preference as a compromise, and we did. Otherwise, I have nothing else to raise on the minutes.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll make sure that adjustment is made. Is everybody in favour of that? Everybody's fine. Very good.
Is there anything else on the minutes of the previous meeting?
We will move on to the second item on the agenda, business arising from the previous meeting.
Are there any comments or suggestions?
I see that there are none.
Agenda item three is the Joint Interparliamentary Council.
This concerns the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie and the 49th annual session that will be held in Montreal from July 4 to 9, 2024.
Appearing today are Francis Drouin, chair of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, and Jeremy LeBlanc, clerk assistant and director general, International and Interparliamentary Affairs.
Mr. Drouin, go ahead.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
It is good to see you in person.
Thank you for receiving us again with respect to our budget request, so that the Canadian branch can present the 49th annual session of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, or APF, in Montreal in 2024.
For the record, my last appearance before you, on October 8, 2020, was to make the same request, but it concerned the 47th annual session planned for 2022. The health situation that has plagued us all has also taken a toll on our willingness to host this event, which should have been held next month. Given the risks, the executive committee of the Canadian branch decided on January 19 to postpone this meeting to 2024.
So I am back before you to provide an update on our budget for the same event, held in the same city, but this time in 2024. You will note that the largest portion of the cost increase for 2024 falls under the logistics category and is related to the audiovisual and transportation budget items. During the pandemic, a series of mergers and acquisitions occurred in the Canadian audiovisual industry, which, combined with inflationary pressures, drove up the costs of these services.
We have also included the meetings of the Association des secrétaires généraux des parlements francophones, or ASGPF, as well as the Parlement francophone des jeunes. That entity also sits in parallel to the annual session.
I can assure you that, as with the previous request, we will ensure that we honour the management of public funds for this event in the most efficient manner possible.
Thank you for your attention. I am ready to answer your questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions or comments?
Mr. Brassard, go ahead.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In the last couple of years the board approved a $1.35-million budget for the 2022 annual session, plus a further $100,000 for the Parlement francophone des Jeunes, which was relocated. How much of those budgets was spent before the 2022 annual session was relocated, if any?
Jeremy LeBlanc
View Jeremy LeBlanc Profile
Jeremy LeBlanc
2022-06-02 11:06
The money that was spent on the organization of the conferences would have been solely for the staff salaries associated with the people working on the organization of that conference. There was money that was set aside from surpluses in the JIC envelope—so not supplementary funds. It would have been, I'm guessing, in the order of $100,000 to $150,000 on staff salaries, but no other expenses.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
If I can add to that, on January 19, there were major decisions we had to make. If we had cancelled in 2022, we would have incurred costs of $400,000, I believe, before December 31, and up to $800,000 before March 8. I believe it was around those dates. That's why we had to cancel. We just didn't know if it was going to happen or not, and spending $800,000 for a conference that may not happen was too risky for us.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm glad to hear that.
During the 2020 board conversation, there was a discussion about maybe switching to a hybrid or virtual arrangement if necessary. That didn't happen. Why?
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Canada does not organize the virtual conference. That would be up to the international secretariat.
Every six years, the host countries are asked to host the annual session. Canada took the international presidency in the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, starting in July. That's why we wanted to be the host country. We've looked at the year 2023, but I understand that administration will be occupied in organizing another conference, so it was too much pressure on the staff.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
That's it, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Are there any other questions?
There are no other questions.
Do committee members agree with the proposed recommendation?
We have unanimous consent.
We will move on to the fourth item on the agenda, the Pay Equity Act.
The presenter today will be Michelle Laframboise, chief human resources officer.
Ms. Laframboise, go ahead.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:08
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide the Board of Internal Economy with information on the implications of the Pay Equity Act for members and House officers in their role as employers. It is also intended to outline the measures that the House of Commons administration has put in place to help them meet their obligations.
As you probably know, the objective of this legislation is to achieve and maintain pay equity through proactive means, by correcting systemic gender discrimination in employer compensation practices and systems. Members and House officers with an average of 10 or more employees will be required to prepare a pay equity plan.
The first obligation was to post a notice of the implementation of the act, which House administration did in November 2021. Much like with the implementation of Bill C-65 and the Canada Labour Code, the House will assist impacted members and House officers in meeting their upcoming obligations, particularly in regard to the creation of a pay equity plan and subsequent reporting requirements.
The administration will support the members by providing expertise and guidance on analysis, benchmarking and consultation as well as the development of tools, training and material. We will assist in maintaining pay equity in the workplace.
Throughout the implementation of the Pay Equity Act, the administration will prepare and send communication products to members and their employees to keep them informed of their responsibilities and obligations.
Finally, the administration will support members in implementing pay equity plans by providing a template plan and assisting them in maintaining pay equity in the workplace, as well as meeting mandatory reporting and plan review requirements.
I will be pleased to answer questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions or comments.
Mr. Brassard, you have the floor.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Laframboise, thank you for the presentation.
I have a series of questions. One is related to House officers and their employer obligations when things transfer or reset within those offices or when there is a change of the House officer.
For example, our party will be electing a new leader in September. Would that new leader start a new three-year clock, or would we carry on with the one that started previously under Mr. O'Toole last August? How would that work under this system?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:11
That's a very good question.
It's part of the scenarios that we're going to have to consider as we move forward in the project. Technically, when a leader changes, it's a new employer, and there might be a shift in the workforce and new employees. It's really a scenario that we're going to have to work with as we work through the implementation to see how that's going to impact. It's not something that is assumed in the law.
That's one of the things we are looking at, and we're working with our legal services team as well going forward to see how that's going to impact the change.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I assume that's going to be part of the communication process that you send out.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:12
Absolutely, yes.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The next question I have is determining an employer where there's an average of 10 employees. For example, we're in the season of summer student and interns. Some MPs will hire staff who have to be factored into this. How would externally paid interns, such as in the parliamentary internship program, work under this system?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:12
As for employees who are captured under the act, although they include constituency and Hill workers and employees on leave, students and interns are not included. As far as the calculation goes, a measurement is made over the previous fiscal year. An employee count is taken at each pay period, and it's averaged out over the fiscal year to see if that 10 threshold is met.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I think Mr. Calkins has a follow-up question to that. Do you want to follow up now?
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
No, you can go on.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The next question I have is that the act requires that, if a pay equity plan discloses any gap in compensation, the employer must increase that compensation. Given that we work with fixed, assigned budgets, what happens in the case of a hypothetical scenario where an employer has to increase pay but doesn't have the budget room to do it?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:13
That's a very good question. I think it's something we'll have to look at as we go through the process to see if adjustments need to be made. Adjustments to salaries can be made incrementally, so if there is a large change that's required, there is a significant period of time that's allowed to make those changes. They don't all have to be done right away.
If the change is minor, they are required immediately. If there is going to be an impact on the budget, I think that's something we'll have to look at, if and when we get there.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
As you rightly mentioned, there could be some significant increases here affecting members' budgets disproportionately, for example.
That's good.
The last question I have is that, although the first plans need to be in place by 2024, it sounds like there are a number of steps required beforehand. When should offices subject to the act expect to start hearing from the House administration on the beginning of the necessary groundwork? What's the reasonable timeline that we can expect?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:14
It's definitely by the fall. We are currently in the process of getting some expertise and hiring the consultants necessary to help guide us through the process.
We've already started the work. By the fall, you'll be hearing from us.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for this.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:14
You're welcome.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will now continue with Mrs. DeBellefeuille, who will be followed by Mr. Calkins.
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, go ahead.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I have only one question.
I have been involved in employment equity analysis processes before, and I know that we rely a lot on job descriptions [Technical difficulty—Editor] because, in order to compare, you need benchmarks.
But we know that, in politics—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, can you start over? There was a transmission problem, and we missed part of the question.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
I was saying that, when you do a job analysis as part of a pay equity process, you start with the job description, so you can compare job tasks.
But we know that, in politics, there are no pay grades, no levels, and sometimes not even job descriptions.
How will you go about analyzing the differences in duties and responsibilities? How will you determine if there is pay equity between a woman's position and a man's position in the same apparent position? This seems like a rather complex exercise to me.
Is this a first for you? Have you ever had such an experience?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:16
Thank you for the question, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
I admit that the process is complex, but it is not new. The pay equity process has been around for about 20 years, and my employees and I have worked on it often.
Previously, the pay equity process existed. We could evaluate job descriptions and the value of the position, as well as determine which groups and positions are male or female dominated. All of these things were already being done, and we have been doing them for years.
Right now, we only conduct extensive investigations and analyses when there are complaints. What the Pay Equity Act changes is that it invites us to be more proactive. We are being asked to analyze positions without complaints being made. The objective is to ensure that there is equity without waiting for someone to file a complaint, in which case a request for analysis would follow. The tools and expertise to do this kind of work already exist.
I have been working in the field for about 15 years. I have conducted several pay equity analyses, and my team has a number of employees. In addition, we will be seeking outside expertise to support us during the process. The concepts of pay equity and how to measure it are all tools that already exist.
I agree with you that the job description is an important tool, but we also use other tools. We have discussions with both the employer and the employee to evaluate the positions, the effort required, the conditions under which they are performed, and so on. We make sure we have all the information we need to determine the value of a position.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Ms. Laframboise.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
We'll now go to Mr. Calkins.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
I'd like some clarification on the follow-up from my colleague. Can you give me your interpretation of the implementation of the legislation in a hypothetical example where an MP might have five full-time equivalency positions. If that MP chooses to job-share those five positions and have 10 employees, do they have 10 employees or do they have five employees?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:18
I'm going to see if Robyn can confirm, but my understanding is that it's the number of employees, not the number of positions.
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2022-06-02 11:18
That is correct.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other questions?
That's very good. That was strictly for information. Everybody understands it perfectly now. I'm glad to see that.
Now we'll move on to item five, the annual report on the members of the House of Commons' workplace harassment and violence prevention policy for 2021-22. The presenter will be Michelle Laframboise, chief human resources officer.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:19
Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.
It's my pleasure to be presenting to the board today the annual statistical report on the members of the House of Commons' workplace harassment and violence policy for the 2021-22 fiscal year, as is required by the policy.
Over the course of this reporting period, human resources services have managed eight complaints. Of these eight, one complaint was withdrawn, one was formally investigated, and six were resolved through the negotiated resolution process.
Nine inquiries were also submitted to the respectful workplace team regarding, among other things, coaching on dealing with harassment-related situations and information on the policy and the tools available.
While this number seems slightly higher than in previous years, this is not unusual following the amendments to the Canada Labour Code and the subsequent implementation of the policy, which may have served to generally increase awareness regarding the responsibilities of members of Parliament as employers and their employees to record and report occurrences of harassment. However, even with this slight increase, given the population covered, the figure remains statistically very low.
In terms of training, the House of Commons administration is offering a training session on harassment and violence prevention for members of Parliament titled “Strengthening a Culture of Respect—From Awareness to Action”. This session is offered in person and virtually.
During the fiscal year covered by the report, 14 sessions on harassment and violence prevention were offered to members. All members of the 44th Parliament participated in the session, which was offered as part of the orientation and integration program for newly elected members. The House of Commons administration offers a variety of resources and training related to harassment and violence to members of Parliament and their staff.
Our goal is to help MPs' offices build their ability to manage conflict in sensitive situations, and to foster a respectful workplace free of harassment and violence. To this end, we have developed tools and delivered sessions on team leadership, mental health and diversity.
A communication from the Speaker will be sent to all MPs to let them know that the annual report is available. The report will be announced on Twitter and will also be posted on the appropriate websites, Our Commons and the Source.
It's my pleasure to answer your questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions or comments?
We have Mr. Brassard, followed by Mr. Julian.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thanks again, Michelle.
Your report simply notes that there were seven of eight complaints last year concerning multiple grounds. Are you able to break that down a little bit further for us?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:22
When we say “multiple”, that typically means that there is more than one element in the complaint, so it is labelled as “multiple”. It includes or can cover some of the different areas. It's not strictly harassment or strictly abuse of authority. It is unacceptable behaviours or a mix of the others. A breakdown per se would mean having to try to say how much of which, so it's really just a mix. That's what we mean when we say “multiple”.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The other question I have is that five of eight of last year's complaints saw that a member was the respondent to the complaint. One of the complaints has led to a formal investigation. Does that involve a member respondent?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:22
Given the small number, for privacy reasons, we can't divulge that information.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I guess you can't divulge the outcome of the investigation either.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Sometimes it's difficult when we're sitting in public, Mr. Chair, to get down to understanding a little bit more about the report, so perhaps we may want to consider an in camera session at some point.
This is my last question. A number of allegations came to light concerning a now former member of Parliament. It was my colleague Michelle Rempel Garner who wrote the Clerk to ask for a review and investigation. I believe the board did discuss this situation and this case last autumn. Is that matter accounted for somewhere in your report?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:23
It would have been the previous year.
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2022-06-02 11:23
There was no formal complaint.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:23
That's right.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
There was no formal complaint—okay.
One of my colleagues did write, but as a result of that letter being written there was no formal complaint initiated or...?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:24
I think we might be getting into some pretty private areas.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Now we'll go on to Mr. Julian, followed by Ms. Sahota
It will then be Mrs. DeBellefeuille's turn.
Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you for the information you have provided, Ms. Laframboise.
The training sessions are very important. I am pleased to know that all members of Parliament have participated. This is important if we are to change unhealthy behaviour on Parliament Hill. It is a very positive thing.
I agree with Mr. Brassard's concern that some questions should be asked in camera rather than in a public meeting.
In terms of the multiple complaints that were filed last year, I am surprised that they increased compared with 2020-2021, when there were only two. There were eight complaints filed in 2021-2022.
Are multiple complaints related to one person or are they complaints about eight people?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:25
Of course, I can't give you details on who was involved in these complaints. However, in terms of the increase over the two complaints from the previous year, you have to remember that the pandemic hit us that year, and people were not in the workplace as they are now. The return to the office occurred more last year.
In 2019-2020, there were five complaints. So the number of complaints went from five to two to eight. The increase is also due, in large part, to the fact that there has been a lot of training and awareness. In my experience over the past 30 years or so, when you provide some training or a little more information to the public, complaints go up a little bit, and that's normal.
It is important to mention that the increased number of complaints did not result in multiple investigations. Only one of the complaints required an investigation. Another complaint was withdrawn, and the remaining six were resolved through facilitated discussion, negotiation or conflict resolution.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Ms. Laframboise.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Julian.
We will go to Ms. Sahota.
Ms. Sahota.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I know that there has been a lot of advancement at the House of Commons when it comes to providing more information to those who work here and trying to really make this a harassment-free work environment. In that line, I wanted to know, since this policy doesn't cover members to members, what would be your advice...? I do understand that we have a unique situation. We're not employed in the same fashion that our employees are employed under us. Therefore, there is a distinction to be made there.
I was wondering if you could help explain that a little better as to the consideration, or if there has been consideration given, for ways for members to also be protected under some kind of policy if there is perhaps harassment in the workplace at that level. Is it just the different party whips' jobs to monitor that and handle that? Could you give me some feedback?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:28
As far as the policy goes, as you mentioned, the policy is designed for members as employers to provide a harassment-free workplace for themselves. Conduct between members is covered by the code of conduct, which at this time has a component for sexual harassment only.
As far as how it works, it is very different from a regular workplace—I agree with you—so whose role it is to help that.... The role we play and the support we provide is that, through the respectful workplace team, we try to equip people to.... We provide coaching. We provide training and tools on the prevention side as well as the support side to help people who come forward and who might be dealing with a harassment situation. Those tools are available to any member who requires them.
As far as the relationship between members is concerned, that is something that is done differently depending on where you are. It's not something that the House administration manages.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
But there's no formal policy. The code, like you said, only covers sexual harassment—
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:29
Yes, sexual harassment.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
—and not harassment generally.
Would you have any thoughts as to whether the code should be expanded? Without a policy, are you able to effectively guide those individuals who might come to you?
I've been approached by a few people. Therefore, I'm asking these questions today.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:29
We provide the support that we can within the realm of the policy framework we have and the role that we play. Anything more than that, I think, is a conversation for the stakeholders and the board to have.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Has that conversation taken place previously, that you know of?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:29
Not in the time that I've been here, but I still feel fairly new.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
You have a lot of experience after 30 years.
Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good.
Do you have anything to add, Mr. Dufresne?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2022-06-02 11:30
I would only add that in the policy, it indicates:
The following parties may file a complaint under this policy:
an employee of a Member;
a Member;
A member can't file a complaint against another member under this policy, but they can raise concerns of another nature with the administration, and then those would be looked at to see if they fit under this regime.
However, in terms of member to member, it is only the code that has been developed, as you know, by PROC, and covers sexual harassment.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Go ahead, Mrs. DeBellefeuille. You have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I'd like a specific answer to my question. All members have taken the training, which is mandatory, and that's a good thing. I find this to be an advantage, and I commend the human resources team for incorporating it into orientation. In the last Parliament, several new MPs were able to take this training.
I think the act requires employees of MPs' offices to take training three months after they've been hired.
Am I wrong?
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2022-06-02 11:31
No, you're not wrong. You're quite right. Employees do indeed need to take it.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
I'm a little surprised. I see that there were 535 participants in the training sessions.
How does the House of Commons administration follow up with all 338 MP offices?
In fact, there is a lot of staff movement in our offices, both on the Hill and in our ridings.
How do you ensure that all the new employees complete the training and, ultimately, comply with the Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons?
Is there a way to support members' offices to remind them that there are mandatory training sessions for their new employees.
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2022-06-02 11:32
Thank you, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
In the employee orientation program, we have just recently added regular follow‑ups for new employees to ensure that they complete this mandatory training. As you mentioned, there is a lot of turnover in the MPs' offices, so we follow up.
In some cases, we have been contacted by whips' offices specifically to follow up with the offices of MPs where employees haven't completed the training.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Each whip's office follows up to ensure that employees hired less than three months ago can register for training and meet obligations.
Is that right?
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2022-06-02 11:33
That's right.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Are there any other questions?
I see that there aren't any.
So we'll move on to the sixth item, “temporary COVID‑19 financial policies”.
Our presenters are Paul St George, who is the chief financial officer, and José Fernandez, who is the deputy chief financial officer.
The floor is yours.
Paul St George
View Paul St George Profile
Paul St George
2022-06-02 11:33
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am here today to seek the Board of Internal Economy's approval to extend two temporary policies that were put in place to assist members of Parliament in dealing with the challenges associated with the COVID‑19 pandemic and are due to expire on June 30, 2022.
I would also like to inform the board that the House of Commons administration has extended the offer of rapid antigen tests until March 31, 2023.
The first temporary policy allows members to include messages and solicitation of donations related to COVID‑19 in their advertisements and other printed materials. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the administration recommends that the board continue to allow members to do so until March 31, 2023.
The second temporary policy concerns the reimbursement of Internet expenses incurred by members' employees. Based on our research, 30% of MPs used this policy in the 2021‑22 fiscal year, compared to 42% in the previous fiscal year. As this policy has had an impact on MP employees who are teleworking, the administration recommends that it also be extended to March 31, 2023.
Given the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the fact that some employees continue to telework, the extension of these temporary policies would provide members with the flexibility to communicate COVID-19-related messages to their constituents and to reimburse reasonable Internet costs incurred by their employees.
I also want to report that the administration has extended the availability of the rapid antigen tests until March 31, 2023, with an annual budget cap of $1,800, which is the annualized amount per member for the full fiscal year. The cap for House officers and national caucus research offices would also be adjusted accordingly.
Mr. Speaker, this concludes my presentation. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions or comments?
We'll go to Mr. Brassard, followed by Mr. Julian.
Monsieur Brassard.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The rapid test submission that was approved this winter contemplated $1.2 million in expenses during the last fiscal year. Can you confirm what the actual final cost was?
Paul St George
View Paul St George Profile
Paul St George
2022-06-02 11:36
I can give you an estimate, as we are closing our books at this time.
We issued about 204 in total, and when I say “issued”, 82 were disbursed from the House and 122 were actually purchased by the members. Therefore, the total that we spent of that was only just under $100,000.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
When you said “204” and “122”, I would have thought it was 204,000, but....
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