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||Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO)
||The Parliamentary Librarian
||Library of Parliament
||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
For almost 140 years, the Library of Parliament has been a key
resource for parliamentarians, providing independent, non-partisan
information, documentation, research and analysis to support Senators,
MPs and parliamentary staff in their daily work.
Today, the Library has five key responsibilities:
- Provide customized research and analysis to parliamentarians
and their staff
- Keep parliamentarians informed and up to date, and deliver
news and information that is relevant to its clients
- Supply legislators and committees with the information they
need to examine the issues of the day, consider legislation and
hold the government accountable
- Preserve Parliament’s documentary heritage and ensure
access to its collections
- Help parliamentarians inform Canadians about Parliament and
the issues before it
The Library’s expert staff understands the demands parliamentarians
face in the Chamber, in committee, in caucus, in the constituency,
in front of the media and as members of parliamentary associations
The Library has an extensive research service. Economists, lawyers,
librarians, scientists and political and social policy experts provide
confidential briefings on detailed policy issues, conduct research
for speeches, analyze statistics to support committees and gather
information to assist parliamentarians on constituency concerns.
The Library responds to thousands of information requests each year,
from answering basic questions and fact checking to providing customized
information searching. It also provides interpretive tours of Canada’s
national legislature, and offers educational programs and products
that help citizens understand Parliament’s role in our democratic
system and the important work parliamentarians do.
The establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) position
within the Library in 2008 provided parliamentarians with enhanced
access to in-depth independent economic and financial analysis.
As an officer of the Library of Parliament, the PBO reports directly
to the Parliamentary Librarian and is a member of the Library’s
Executive Committee. The PBO mandate, set out in the Parliament
of Canada Act, is to provide independent analysis to the Senate
and to the House of Commons about the state of the nation’s
finances, the estimates of the government and trends in the national
economy; undertake research into the nation’s finances and
economy upon request from a committee or parliamentarian; undertake
research into the government’s estimates when requested by
a Committee mandated to review those estimates; and provide cost
estimates of any proposal that relates to matters over which Parliament
The Library is accountable to Parliament through the Speaker of
the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons. The control
and management of the Library is vested in the Parliamentary Librarian.
The Library, together with the Senate and the House of Commons
Administrations, operates in a unique, parliamentary context that
is distinguishable from the sphere of the federal public service.
The Library interacts directly with all 105 appointed Senators and
308 elected MPs, who demand timely, high-quality information products
and services in a dynamic, politically-charged and heavily scrutinized
The Parliamentary Budget Officer is an officer of the Library
of Parliament. Primary accountability is to Parliament and parliamentarians.
Administratively, the PBO follows the operating and procedural guidelines
of the Library.
Parliament; parliamentarians; parliamentary committees, especially
the Standing Committee on National Finance of the Senate, the Standing
Committee on Finance of the House of Commons, the Standing Committee
on Public Accounts of the House of Commons, and the Standing Committee
on Government Operations and Estimates of the House of Commons.
The PBO functions in a dynamic, partisan and often highly-charged
political environment and must maintain a credible reputation with
parliamentarians and federal departments and agencies, while ensuring
the provision of economic and financial analysis of the highest
quality. Effective and constructive working relationships with federal
departments and agencies help ensure timely access to information
critical to Parliament. The PBO must also foster understanding among
federal officials concerning the nature of the role and its relationship
to the executive.
PBO analysis supports parliamentarians in their review and approval
of budget related legislation and appropriations. Thus, the PBO’s
performance may have a fundamental impact on the enactment of the
government’s fiscal plan and parliamentary scrutiny. The PBO
must ensure rigour, precision, and objectivity in the analysis of
Estimates, economic forecasts, budgetary analysis, and costing of
proposals. The PBO must operate in a truly non-partisan fashion
from the smallest detail in handling requests to the large undertakings
related to the Budget and the Estimates. The PBO must use proven
and innovative methodologies to test economic and financial models
and assumptions to ensure that the financial and economic models
and analyses provided to MPs and Senators are of a high quality
The PBO is expected to be proactive and innovative in developing
and promoting a systematic approach to the review of expenditure
estimates strategies that will optimize the time of the Committees.
The PBO must adopt a parliamentary perspective when assessing the
information originating in departments and agencies. The PBO also
liaises with officials at the Treasury Board Secretariat to explain
how parliamentarians would benefit from changes in the way information
is presented. The PBO must also be proactive in reviewing expenditure
proposals to identify priority issues for the consideration by Parliamentary
The PBO publicly releases analysis and information related to his/her
mandate. This exposes PBO analysis to external critique and ensures
the perception of the work as unbiased and of high quality. It may
also have substantive impact on parliamentary debates.
As outlined in s. 79.2 of the Parliament of Canada Act, RSC 1985,
c. P-1, the PBO has a mandate to:
- provide expert and independent financial and economic analysis
to the House of Commons and the Senate regarding the state of
the nation’s finances, the estimates of the government,
and trends in the national economy;
- undertake research on the nation’s finances and economy
when at the request of the Senate Standing Committee on National
Finance, the Standing Committee on Finance of the House of Commons,
the Standing Committee on Public Accounts of the House of Commons,
or their equivalents.
- undertake research into government estimates when requested
by a Committee mandated to review those estimates; and
- provide, on request of any member or Committee, an estimate
of the financial costs of any proposal that relates to a matter
over which Parliament has jurisdiction.
In doing so, the successful candidate will be expected to:
- Provide strategic leadership in delivering authoritative,
independent analysis of the state of Canada’s economy,
domestic and international economic trends, and their implications
for the financial position of the government.
- Provide medium- and long-term economic and fiscal projections,
and direct research and analysis on the underlying factors driving
the government’s fiscal plan, interpret and challenge
the economic and financial assumptions on which that plan is
based, and contribute to parliamentarians’ understanding
of such fiscal plans and assumptions.
- Establish effective working relationships with various service
areas of the Library of Parliament to ensure the coordination
of the work of the PBO in the overall support of the Library
to the effective operation of parliamentary committees.
- Provide advice on ways to raise the level and relevance of
discussion within Committees by recommending systematic approaches
to the review of government Estimates, and identify, from among
expenditure proposals, priority issues for the Committees’
- Ensure the creation, in consultation with the Library of
Parliament if applicable, of criteria and guidelines to manage
requests for expert analysis or cost estimates from the clientele,
and manage the relationship between the PBO and Parliamentary
Committees. This includes the accordant application of the policies,
protocols, and procedures developed.
- Ensure expert and strategic non-partisan support to the Senate
Standing Committee on National Finance, the House of Commons
Finance Committee, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee
and other committees or parliamentarians requesting research
or costing of proposals and government operations.
- Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships
with Deputy Heads, Assistant Deputy Ministers, Chief Financial
Officers and other senior officials in federal departments and
agencies, in order to gather information on proposals, the costing
methodologies employed, and the structure of proposals and submissions.
- Develop, liaise, and maintain links with other international
budget offices, budgetary organizations, and the Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development to promote best practices,
increase budgetary transparency, and enhance fiscal accountability.
- Establish methodologies and practices for economic and financial
analysis that enable the effective discharge of the legislated
mandate and ensure that the PBO’s analysis is authoritative
- Manage and attract talent within a team sufficiently qualified
to provide analysis and work in the PBO’s challenging
- Direct the development and implementation of policies, procedures,
criteria and controls to ensure the effective stewardship of
assigned resources and the measurement and improvement of performance
consistent with the overall accountability regime assigned to
the Speakers of the two chambers and the Parliamentary Librarian
in the Parliament of Canada Act.
- Experience leading high-level financial analysis, ideally
in a public sector environment;
- Leadership and management experience in a complex stakeholder
environment in a public or private sector organization;
- Management experience, including the supervision of analytical
- Experience in providing strategic advice and making decisions
on complex and sensitive issues;
- Experience in negotiating and achieving consensus on complex
issues among a variety of stakeholders with competing objectives;
- Experience working in a parliamentary or legislative environment
would be considered an asset.
- Knowledge of the federal budget process and the federal government’s
expenditure management process;
- Knowledge of the Parliament of Canada Act, the Financial
Administration Act, and other federal laws applicable to the
Government of Canada;
- Knowledge of macro-economic policy.
- Knowledge of the operations of the federal government, including
those related to sound management principles, accountability
and transparency; and
- Understanding of the Parliament of Canada and Canada’s
parliamentary system of governance.
- Ability to provide impartial and authoritative advice and
support to Parliamentarians on matters relating to the state
of Canada’s finances, the estimates of government and
trends in the national economy;
- Ability to respond to complex situations with multiple competing
interests arising in a partisan environment;
- Efficient communication skills, both written and oral;
- Ability to quickly synthesize and effectively communicate
complex information in clear language to non-technical audiences;
- Ability to develop and maintain constructive relationships
and facilitate information-sharing and meaningful dialogue among
- Integrity and high ethical standards
- Strategic and innovative leader
- Decisiveness and sound judgment in a highly stressful environment
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Tact and Discretion
- A degree from a recognized university in a relevant field
of study such as economics, business, finance, political science
or public administration;
- A graduate degree in a relevant field of study would be considered
- Proficiency in both official languages is essential
- The successful candidate must reside in or be prepared to
relocate to the National Capital Region or to a location within
reasonable commuting distance.
- The successful candidate will be frequently required to work
|SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES
The PBO must be able to communicate complex ideas and issues, often
relying on highly technical information, in a manner that can be
easily understood by parliamentarians as they engage in public debates.
Methodologies, assumptions, and analysis must all be made explicit.
Each report should convey a clear message and also underscore the
significance of the PBO’s findings in the broader context.
The job requires both analytical and strategic thinking. The subject
matter is complex, and includes testing the assumptions of government
and private sector economists, preparing short and long-term economic
and fiscal projections, costing policy measures, and analyzing government
expenditures. Strategic thinking is required to establish and maintain
the credibility of PBO reports so that required information flows
freely and the contributions of the PBO are viewed positively by
all concerned. The PBO must strive to develop effective approaches
and products to assist parliamentary committees in the review of
estimates and government expenditures.
The incumbent must display intellectual and strategic leadership
in establishing and executing the PBO role. The position includes
providing direction on the focus of analysis and priority issues.
It also involves managing the relationship with the clientele and
federal departments and agencies, and advancing improvements to
committee processes where there may be resistance to change. Managerial
leadership is also required to ensure that the supporting organization
has the professional skills and capacities to carry out sound analyses
The incumbent faces the challenge of managing and responding to
requests impartially in a partisan environment. Parliamentarians
and Committee Members will have differing objectives and agendas,
and competing views on how the national economy ought to be measured
or managed. The PBO must also demonstrate flexibility in dealings
with federal departments and agencies in terms of gaining access
to their data and querying their methodologies, while fully adhering
to the principles of independence, transparency, and non-partisanship
that define the position.
Impact and influence
The analysis and evidence-based conclusions produced by the PBO
are released publicly and will directly influence the decisions
of Parliamentary Committees, Budget votes, and ultimately the national
economy. The PBO will need to elaborate significant strategies to
optimize the impact of the office’s contributions, including
creating and maintaining relationships with a view to focusing and
sustaining the attention of parliamentarians on priority issues
and optimal deliberation strategies.
Listening, understanding and responding
The incumbent must be able to identify both verbal and non-verbal
cues from clients, colleagues, and employees during discussions
and meetings, in order to identify ways to navigate through opposing
positions where deliberations stall. The PBO liaises and consults
with individual parliamentarians, senior management and staff of
the Library, senior officials in federal departments and agencies,
foreign jurisdictions, as well as academic and private sector experts.
The PBO must be able to absorb and address opposing positions. The
Officer is often expected to discuss the nature, methodologies,
and results of reports with parliamentarians and the media and must
be able to provide a comprehensive but simple description of work
produced in order to ensure that the public receives accurate information.
|Renaud Foster Management Consultants Inc.
| Ms. Nicole Poirier
+1.613.231.6666 ext. 29
+1.800.513.8117 ext. 29
|Mr. Eric Slankis
Senior Associate Consultant
+1.613.231.6666 ext. 33
+1.800.513.8117 ext. 33