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.