Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am submitting proposals to the Board of Internal Economy that are intended to address questions raised by members of the board, that have been analyzed by the House of Commons Administration. These issues relate to the impact of rising costs caused by the growth in the property market and the increase in the limit on advertising expenditures.
The first question relates to constituency offices. Over the past five fiscal years, the median monthly rental costs of these offices have increased by more than members' budgets.
To provide members with greater budgetary flexibility, the administration is requesting that the board allow members to charge the equivalent of $3,000 per month for rental costs to the central budget. This amount is based on median constituency office rental costs.
The administration also requests that the board authorize the chief financial officer to review the maximum threshold annually based on the consumer price index.
The administration would monitor the impact of additional costs charged to the central budget, and if necessary, submit a request for funding through the 2022‑23 supplementary estimates and the 2023‑24 main estimates.
The second item relates to secondary residence rental costs, which is the largest expenditure under the travel status expense account. The administration observed that the average rental costs incurred by members have increased by about 20% over the past five fiscal years, while the account increased by approximately 10% during that same period. As a result, the administration proposes that the board approve a one-time increase of 10% to the travel status expense account to offset the increase in secondary residence rental costs.
The final item relates to the advertising limit, which was temporarily increased by 10% to 20% of members' office budgets, as of April 2020. The administration proposes that the advertising expense account limit be set permanently at 20% of the member’s office budget, to provide members with greater flexibility to communicate with their constituents during the pandemic.
Mr. Speaker, this concludes my presentation. I would be pleased to answer any questions that the members may have.