It was agreed, — That the Committee direct the Co-Chairs to write to the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Librarian of Canada, and the Parliamentary Budget Officer with the following message in response to the letter from the Speakers dated November 25, 2014, concerning a Parliamentary process for the Parliamentary Budget Officer to obtain information:
The Committee agrees with the assessment that there needs to be a Parliamentary process for obtaining information required to ensure the Parliamentary Budget Officer fulfils the mandate set out in the Parliament of Canada Act. Section 79.2 of that Act establishes the role of providing independent advice to the Senate and the House of Commons, as well as undertaking research for House and Senate Committees.
This Committee believes that in the event the Parliamentary Budget Officer is unable to obtain documents or records with the information required to act on the duty to provide advice to Parliament, the Parliamentary Budget Officer may write to the chairs of the Committees outlined in section 79.2 of the Act, and ask them to use their considerable powers to send for papers and records. As noted in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2nd edition, on page 979, “The House has never set a limit on its power to order the production of papers and records”, while noting that there are cases where insisting on production of some documents may not be appropriate, such as items touching on national security and foreign relations.
This Parliamentary recourse will allow the Parliamentary Budget Officer to ensure that Parliamentarians are sufficiently informed of the matters for which the office was created.