Government Provides Greater Independence for the Parliamentary Budget Officer and Increases Financial Transparency of the House of Commons
Ottawa, April 11, 2017 – Canadians expect their government to be open, transparent, accountable and focused on the people it serves. Our Government is committed to meet their expectations and will give more independence to the Parliamentary Budget Officer and will also bring greater transparency to the finances of the House of Commons.
Following today’s introduction of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, is pleased to highlight two key initiatives contained in this Bill to increase government transparency and openness and enhance citizens’ trust in their government.
This legislation would focus the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s (PBO) mandate to support and report to all Parliamentarians. It would make the PBO more independent from the government of the day by establishing it as a new office and making it an independent Officer of Parliament. The PBO would offer Parliament an expert and objective source of research and analysis on the state of the nation's finances, the government's estimates and trends in the Canadian economy.
Additionally, legislative changes would increase the transparency of the Board of Internal Economy, the governing body of the House of Commons, by making its meetings open to the public by default. The Board makes decisions and gives direction on financial and administrative matters of the House of Commons, specifically with regard to its sites, services, staff and Members of the House. This information should be available to Canadians.
“In last November’s Fall Economic Statement, and again in Budget 2017, we had committed to increase the independence of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. We have also pledged in Budget 2017 to increase financial transparency around the House of Commons’ Board of Internal Economy’s decisions. The Bill tabled today fulfills these promises.”
‑ Honourable Bardish Chagger, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
The proposed changes would establish the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) as an independent Officer of Parliament with its own dedicated office. The PBO would no longer be managed under the Library of Parliament.
The PBO would be appointed for a seven-year term. The PBO would no longer serve at the pleasure of the sitting government.
The PBO would be able to cost election platform proposals at the request of political parties. Canadians would have a credible, non-partisan assessment of a political party’s fiscal plans.
Board of Internal Economy meetings will be open to the public unless the Board is dealing with personal information or sensitive issues related to security, employment, staff relations or tenders.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Privy Council Office
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