Message from the Parliamentary Librarian

WELCOMING A NEW PARLIAMENT

In 2015–2016, the Library’s main focus was on preparing for Canada’s 42nd Parliament. With 30 additional members set to arrive in the House of Commons, as a result of recent legislated changes, and nearly 60 sitting Members of Parliament not seeking to return to the Chamber, we knew that Parliament would see a high proportion of new members following the October 2015 general election. As it turned out, the Library welcomed 200.

Photo of Sonia L'Heureux, Parliamentary Librarian

I am proud to say that we were ready. A lengthy electoral campaign gave the Library a rare opportunity to plan and implement an orientation program for new and returning parliamentarians well in advance of the opening of Parliament.

The program included information products on topics of interest to new parliamentarians, and a carefully planned outreach campaign to ensure parliamentarians and their staff understood the extent of support the Library provides. As part of that program, the Library delivered an unprecedented number of face-to-face meetings with parliamentarians and their staff to show them the best ways to obtain and use our products and services.

Our outreach paid off by raising interest among parliamentarians about what the Library has to offer. The Library experienced especially high demand for research and information following the general election and, by the end of the fiscal year, it was in the midst of one of the busiest periods on record. In the first four months of 2016, 97% of new parliamentarians had submitted a request for the Library’s products and services.



In addition, the Library reached out to parliamentarians through its seminar program and via social media and other electronic means. More than ever before, parliamentarians were able to access the information they needed and consume it with ease on their computers and mobile devices wherever they were – in their offices, on the road, in their homes.

Underpinning the Library’s activities in 2015–2016 was our five-year strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2012–2017. As we move toward the final year of implementation, the Library has made notable progress across the Outlook’s four priorities.

97%
of new parliamentarians
submitted a request to the Library



Client outreach and awareness are at an all-time high following the Library’s coordinated efforts to engage with members of the 42nd Parliament; our digital delivery is increasing with every new product; on the talent management front, we are focused on attracting and retaining employees who are comfortable reaching out to Library users wherever they are; and we continue to improve the quality of the Library’s products by turning to digital-first production with better data visualization and more engaging, easier-to-understand presentations. All of the Library’s strategic efforts served our goal last year of preparing to welcome a new Parliament.

We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Library’s research services in 2015–2016, and it was gratifying to note how far we have come since 1965 in expanding our services and embracing technological innovation. We are still guided by our vision to be Parliament’s preferred and trusted source of information and knowledge. Our work over the past year has supported that vision – I am proud of the ways in which we have improved our support for parliamentarians and the Canadians they serve.

Sonia L’Heureux
Parliamentary Librarian

by the numbers

8000
+
VISITORS
to the Library's branches
345000
+
VISITORS
welcomed on tours
2000000
PAGE VISITSto the Library's parliamentary historical database
47000
+
INQUIRIES
about Parliament from the public
52000
+
E-JOURNALS
made available to Library users
10000
+
REQUESTS
for information and reference services from parliamentarians and their staff
4000
+
REQUESTS
for research and analysis from Library users

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

IMPROVING ACCESS, OUTREACH, TALENT AND QUALITY

The four priorities set out in the Library’s strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2012–2017, drive all our improvement activities. As we worked to welcome a new Parliament in 2015, the Library built systems for reaching out to new and returning members and demonstrated how the Library can support them. We also placed great emphasis on improving digital access to Library products and services.

strategic priority 1
Increasing digital access and service

The Library focuses on providing parliamentarians and their staff with easy access to our products and services to help them in their various roles. We understand the work of parliamentarians and sort through a vast number of resources to deliver reliable and non-partisan information tailored to their needs.

Increasingly, parliamentarians are relying on quick and direct digital access to Library information and resources, whether they are in the Chambers, in committees, or travelling in their constituencies or overseas.

This priority took on added importance in 2015–2016 as the Library welcomed a new Parliament – and anticipated a significant increase in requests for service.

How we did it

New intranet for parliamentarians
In preparation for the 42nd Parliament, the Library launched a new Library of Parliament intranet  to support the specialized information and resource needs of the parliamentary community. As part of its research into an effective product, the Library led an exercise to identify the priority tasks users undertake when interacting with Library web content.

This resulted in the development of a modern platform that is intuitive and responsive, and that has more functionality. The new intranet offers more self-service options, as well as more effective communication features. It also gives users integrated access to the Library’s print and digital collections through its new online catalogue.

Expanded access to historical information
The Library expanded access to historical documents by adding to the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal the English and French Journals for the Senate and the House of Commons from 1867 to 1994–1996. These joined the collection of digitized debates for the same period – already publicly available on the portal.

1.3 million+
visitors
3.2 million+
page views
275,000+
searches

In 2015–2016, the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal recorded more than 1.3 million visitors, 3.2 million page views and 275,000 searches.

Digital-first resources
Where feasible, the Library continues to increase its digital access to data and documents to meet users’ preference for quick and convenient self-service. Sixty-three percent of the budget for collections is now spent on electronic content.

Searchable catalogue
The Library launched a new online catalogue that includes a powerful discovery tool for searching Library print and digital collections. Parliamentarians and their staff can now perform advanced searches of Library documents and selected databases from a single Library website.

SPOTLIGHT

LEGISinfo and Legislative Summaries

LEGISinfo is one of the most frequently used sources of information for parliamentarians, their staff and the public. Run jointly by the Senate and House of Commons administrations and the Library of Parliament, LEGISinfo provides access to electronic information about bills before Parliament – including the status of the bills in Parliament, Legislative Summaries, background information, reading lists and news coverage.

The Library continued to contribute to LEGISinfo in several ways:

  • by releasing 16 new Legislative Summaries – half of which were first published for timely use in unedited, pre-release form;
  • by making reading lists available; and
  • by participating in and supporting the committees of Senate, House of Commons and Library staff who manage this key resource.

Strategic priority 2
Improving client outreach and awareness

Parliamentarians – particularly new members – are inundated with information as they begin a new Parliament. In 2015–2016, in anticipation of the 42nd Parliament, the Library implemented a more strategic approach for managing and delivering relevant information to parliamentarians at a time when and in a way in which they could consume it.

Perhaps most important, we interviewed members who indicated that they would not seek re-election to learn which products and services they had found to be of greatest value and to discuss ways to improve our communication and outreach efforts.  This enabled us to achieve a service model that put the needs and preferences of parliamentarians first.

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Orienting the members of the 42nd Parliament
In 2015–2016, the Library’s main focus – in addition to delivering its core services – was to plan and deliver an orientation program for all parliamentarians following the October general election, which resulted in the election of 200 new members. From the opening of Parliament in December 2015, we helped new and returning parliamentarians and their staff discover how the Library could assist them in their work and how they could access the information and analytical resources they needed.

How we did it
135
personalized visits
from Library ambassadors

Face-to-face meetings

  • Redesigned and renamed the Library Ambassador Program, which remains a strategic component of the Library’s personalized outreach efforts. Through the program, Library staff visited 135 parliamentarians and their staff, introducing them to Library information, products and services, and building productive relationships. The new program relies on 30 Library employees to serve for the duration of the 42nd Parliament; they will be integral to our ongoing efforts to support and orient parliamentarians.
  • Following the election, focused our seminars on the early needs of parliamentarians, complementing the information in our research publications. The Library designed and delivered a seminar series to support new parliamentarians that included sessions on such topics as speech-writing fundamentals, media monitoring and private members’ bills.
  • Participated in the Members’ Orientation Program and orientation-related activities organized by the House of Commons administration.
  • Hosted tours and a welcome lunch for new members of the House of Commons, where they could meet the Parliamentary Librarian, Library senior executives and Library ambassadors responsible for orienting new and returning parliamentarians.

SPOTLIGHT

Seminars for new Members of Parliament

To help meet the needs of new parliamentarians and their staff, the Seminar Program tailored sessions for them, and between January and March 2016, the sessions drew 348 participants. In 2015–2016, the Library offered a total of 13 seminars, six of which delved into law and legislation, five of which were information sessions, and two of which focused on professional development. The most popular seminar – with nearly 100 participants – was “800 Years of the Magna Carta.”

User-centred information products

  • Designed and launched a new intranet for parliamentarians and their staff to allow them to locate information and resources more quickly and easily.
  • Developed new information cards about the Library – released to all parliamentarians in November 2015 – identifying service points and explaining how Library products and services can help parliamentarians complete their main duties and tasks.
  • Published Understanding Parliament, a series of publications that provided parliamentarians and their staff with essential information on how the Canadian parliamentary system works.
  • Published 21 HillNotes over eight weeks for the new Parliament, selecting topics on a range of subjects to demonstrate the broad, balanced, non-partisan nature of the Library’s research services. Nearly 4,000 unique visitors accessed the series and more than 12,100 page views were recorded.
  • Worked closely with colleagues in the House of Commons administration to update content for committee briefing books and websites.
  • Prepared briefing materials to assist in orienting the new Speaker of the Senate and the new Speaker of the House of Commons to their responsibilities in overseeing the Library.

Updated publications
In addition to the publications to help orient new parliamentarians, the Library produced a number of publicly available products as ongoing support for Parliament. Our work included the following:

  • updating Background Papers and In Briefs to ensure that the Library could provide parliamentarians and their staff with timely and current research and analysis; and
  • improving our outreach publications about Parliament with the aims of building consistent communication with target audiences, such as teachers, visitors, young Canadians and the general public; expanding the Library’s production of digital products; and streamlining our offering of print products.

Familiarizing the public with Parliament
The Library completed a wide-ranging, four-year project in 2015–2016 designed to offer targeted information to youth aged 14 to 24, educators, visitors and the general public. Annual figures show that the program made significant headway in building outreach and awareness.

In 2015–2016

  • Facebook likes increased by 29% on our English pages and by 17% on our French pages.
  • On our YouTube channel, views of English videos increased by 36%, and views of French videos rose by 28%.
  • Unique visits to our flagship youth online resources, Our Country, Our Parliament and How Canadians Govern Themselves, increased by 72% and 48%, respectively.

Over four years

  • Use of digital and print resources and web-based applications to participate in on-site programs such as the Parliamentary Guide Program and the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy increased annually by between 20% and 72%.
  • The number of followers on the Parliament of Canada’s Facebook pages grew from 2,000 to more than 20,000.
  • Video views on our YouTube channel increased from more than 5,000 in the first year to more than 100,000 in 2015–2016.

Understanding our users
The Library aims to better understand and respond to the needs and preferences of parliamentarians. In 2015–2016, we interviewed departing parliamentarians to gain a better understanding of their use of the Library’s resources and services and to ensure that our products and services align with the evolving needs of parliamentarians. Highlights of our interviews and results include the following:

  • Overall satisfaction with Library products and services was high.
  • Parliamentarians most valued research and analysis services, briefing materials and personalized training services.
  • Several parliamentarians said that a program where Library staff met and oriented parliamentarians would be valuable in helping them understand how the Library can support them in their various roles.
  • The majority of parliamentarians indicated that accessing information and services digitally was their preferred way to connect with the Library.

strategic priority 3
Managing talent

The Library recognizes that its employees’ skills and expertise are its key assets in delivering services to parliamentarians and implementing plans and priorities throughout the organization – including keeping parliamentarians informed about the Library’s products and services. The Library is committed to developing and retaining its talent by putting work tools, learning support and other processes in place that develop our employees’ acquisition of knowledge, their understanding of emerging information and their delivery of world-class service.

How we did it

Employee engagement
The Library held an open house and information sessions to offer managers and employees an opportunity to learn about, provide feedback on and offer their perspectives on key Library priorities.

Peer-led training
The Library implemented a peer-led training program where analysts and librarians share “how to” best practices on supporting parliamentary committees and associations, and on offering quality reference services about frequently asked sources and topics. The Library also pursued leadership training for middle managers.

Performance management
The Library reviewed and updated its performance management and career progression programs for research librarians and analysts to closely align them with probation management practices and Library competency profiles. In addition, the Talent Development Process for analysts was modernized to ensure transparent and evidence-based decision-making regarding the promotion of analysts.

Updated job descriptions
As part of the modernization of the Library’s job classification program, a wide range of job descriptions were reviewed and updated to reflect current job duties and expectations.

Employee recognition program
The Library used the results of an employee survey to enhance its commitment to creating and sustaining a working environment where everyone feels valued. The renewed program focuses on employee excellence in support of the values of the organization and builds on informal and peer recognition efforts.

Healthy Respectful Diverse
workplace

A healthy and productive workplace
The Library strives to be a great place to work. In 2015–2016, it advanced a number of healthy workplace measures.

  • It conducted a pilot session of the Mental Health Commission’s “The Working Mind” workshop for managers. The companion workshop for employees will be held in 2016–2017.
  • The Library updated its Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace as part of continued modernization of the Library’s suite of people-management policies. It also researched and introduced additional support tools to ensure a respectful workplace.

SPOTLIGHT

commemorating the 140th anniversary of the library of parliament building

Royal Canadian Mint coin to mark 140th anniversary of current Library of Parliament building

To mark the 140th anniversary of the opening of the current Library of Parliament building, the Royal Canadian Mint produced its first concave coin. It features the amazing detail of the Library’s architecture as seen from beneath the domed ceiling of the Main Library.

strategic priority 4
Ensuring product quality

The Library delivers a wide range of products and services to parliamentarians and Canadians. From written reports and analyses of highly technical subject matter to instructional videos and sleek infographics, all our products and services must be of the highest possible quality – accurate, timely, non-partisan and easy to understand.

The Library is uniquely positioned to wade through the sea of information available to parliamentarians and present it to them in a coherent and efficient manner. In preparing for and welcoming a new Parliament, we improved a number of Library products by enhancing their readability and focusing on digital-first production.

How we did it

An emphasis on data visualization
The Library began to use data visualization items and infographics for products such as the Library’s HillNotes, other research publications and the Trade and Investment series, as well as Senate committee reports.

data visualization
Maps, infographics, interactive charts

Some examples:

  • The Library produced more than 20 maps for HillNotes on diverse subjects, including Canada’s oil and gas sector, counter-terrorism policies and climate change.
  • The Trade and Investment series was designed as a digital-first publication with interactive charts and graphs in a new and modern format.
8.5%
increase in sales
in the past year

A better boutique
The Library improved planning and operations at the Parliamentary Boutique by developing 50 new products and introducing 30 of them throughout the year. In addition, the layout of the boutique was changed to maximize retail space. New merchandizing techniques and payment processes were also implemented. The result has been an 8.5% growth in sales since 2014–2015.

Collection development and budget
The Library has revised its Collection Development Policy and is consulting internal stakeholders to ensure that the policy reflects the ongoing needs and interests of parliamentary users, who require a high-quality, comprehensive collection.

The Library undertook a thorough cost analysis of its collection expenses to assess the impact on our operations of high inflation in the publishing industry, the relatively low value of the Canadian dollar and the shift to digital collections. This analysis will enable the Library to approach evolving pressures in the coming fiscal year in a strategic way, while providing an ongoing framework for collection spending planning.

Other strategic and operational results

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Preparing for emergencies
In response to the October 2014 shooting on Parliament Hill, the Library has continued to help implement a number of new emergency readiness and security protocols. For the summer 2015 tourist season, the Library collaborated with House of Commons Security Services, the Ottawa Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Works and Government Services Canada to install at 90 Wellington Street a new scanning and bag-check facility for visitors to Parliament.

We also worked with the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Protective Service to deploy the Emergency Notification System, which distributes timely emergency alerts, heightens our emergency readiness and supports a coordinated response.

Anticipating the closure of Centre Block
Centre Block, which houses the Main Library, will close for renovations in the coming years. Because of the Library’s proximity to the planned construction, it too will close for the duration.

In 2015–2016, we developed plans with Public Works and Government Services Canada to move the Library’s collection to a storage facility, open a new branch at 180 Wellington Street, and refit the 125 Sparks Street branch.

We also worked with the House of Commons to plan for Phase One of a new Visitor Welcome Centre at West Block, which will open in 2018 to maintain public access and visitor services during the rehabilitation of Centre Block.

Modernized in-person reference services
As part of the Library’s multi-year project to modernize its services, we developed a vision for transforming in-person reference services. Six working groups were established with a mandate to plan and implement a series of high-level recommendations to ensure that the Library is ready and equipped to serve users during the closure of the Main Library when Centre Block is being renovated. The Library will start to see results on this project in 2016–2017, in line with the opening of the new 180 Wellington Street branch.

Using new technology for better service
The Library created new information technology network zones to allow servers for internal and public information to be managed independently of one another, augmenting the security of the IT infrastructure. We migrated all business applications, databases and websites to the zones, and completed the project on time and significantly under budget.

service

SUPPORTING PARLIAMENTARIANS, INFORMING CANADIANS

In 2015–2016, the Library experienced especially high demand for research and information services following the 42nd federal general election. In the months following the opening of the new Parliament, 97% of new parliamentarians submitted a request for our products and services. We also supported parliamentary committees, associations and delegations by providing custom research and analysis, information and reference services.

Requests for Research and Analysis, and for Information and Reference Services,
by User Group, 2015–2016
User Group
Research and Analysis*
Information and Reference**
Parliamentarians and their staff (including constituency staff)
1,388
10,278
Senators
251
Members of Parliament
1,137
Parliamentary committees, associations and delegations
2,453
300
Senate committees
298
13
House of Commons committees
445
30
Joint committees
1,343
3
Associations and delegations
367
254
Employees of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament
5,067
General public
47,133
Other authorized users***
314
2,420
TOTAL
4,155
65,198

* In-person briefings, commissioned research notes, short briefing papers or substantive research papers are offered in response to requests from individual parliamentarians and the Governor General, parliamentary committees, parliamentary associations and delegations (oral briefings, in-depth analyses of policy issues or proposed legislation, comparative and interpretative analysis, statistical analysis, briefing notes, speaking points, country papers, work plans, draft letters, draft communiqués, and draft committee and association reports).

** Responses to information requests include the timely provision of basic information, fact checking, customized information searches, and copies of news items, official publications or other documents (information searches, bibliographic information, substantive reference support, guidance and orientation for Library of Parliament services and products, and dissemination).

*** Other authorized users for research and analysis include, for example, the Governor General and parliamentary employees. Other users who are eligible to receive information and reference services include, for example, the Governor General, the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, Privy Councillors and former parliamentarians, caucus research staff, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, and legislative libraries and research organizations.

Research and analysis, and information and reference services

The Library answered thousands of requests for research and analysis to check facts, find statistics, and locate documents and other information swiftly and confidentially. We did this in person, over the phone and online – using whichever method was most convenient for Library users. We also used social media to deliver timely and reliable information about current issues, products and services.

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1,388
requests
for research and analysis from parliamentarians and their staff
10,278
requests
for information and reference services from parliamentarians and their staff
47,133
inquiries
from the general public
  • Analysts responded to 1,388 requests for research and analysis support from individual parliamentarians and their staff.
  • Reference librarians and library technicians answered 10,278 requests for service from parliamentarians and their staff.
  • Information officers responded to 47,133 inquiries from the general public .

Research publications
The Library produced a wide range of online research publications to assist parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and parliamentary associations with reliable and timely analysis of key issues, legislation and major public policy topics. Our publications are non-partisan and address current and emerging topics relevant to parliamentary and constituency work.

Number of Issues Published in 2015–2016

61
hillnotes
Concise overviews of current and emerging issues of immediate interest to parliamentarians
58
background papers and in briefs
In-depth studies on policy issues, as well as short reports on current topics with links to more substantive sources on the same topic
16
legislative summaries
Plain-language explanations of the purpose and history of government bills and private members’ bills
49
trade and investment Activity series profiles
Information on Canada’s trade relationships with other countries
  6
understanding parliament publications
A compilation of research publications created to give new parliamentarians and their staff essential information on how the Canadian parliamentary system works. Information included concise descriptions of the legislative process and the financial cycle, and responses to common questions that arise with the start of a new Parliament

Research publications on Twitter
The Library’s research publication Twitter accounts @LoPResearch and @BdPRecherche helped parliamentarians and their staff stay connected with Library research. The Library’s most popular item on Twitter last year was its “Voting Around the World” map and accompanying paper on electoral reform.

Easy access to resources
The Library added eight new subject guides to help parliamentarians and their staff kick-start research or to answer questions from constituents. Topics included federal funding, citizenship and immigration, and the federal budget, estimates and government expenditures. These guides provide information about the Library’s collections and offer direct links to books, websites and databases.

SPOTLIGHT

New Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Photo of George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate, 2016-2017

George Elliott Clarke was appointed in January as the new Parliamentary Poet Laureate. Mr. Clarke, a seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi’kmaq Amerindian heritage, is a distinguished Canadian poet, playwright and author. Born and raised in Windsor, Nova Scotia, he has received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Federal legislators created the Poet Laureate position in 2001 to bring Canadians’ attention to the writing and reading of poetry, and to help communicate the importance of literature, culture and language in Canadian society. The Poet Laureate performs a range of duties, including curating the Poem of the Month as an online gallery space to showcase the diversity of poetry being written by Canadians.

Support for committees and associations

The Library’s highly specialized subject-matter experts provided Senate and House of Commons parliamentary committees and associations with confidential, non-partisan research and analysis services in a wide range of subject areas. Analysts assigned to committees helped with research, synthesized materials and provided reliable, authoritative and neutral information relevant to the committees’ mandates.

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Support for all parliamentary committees
Every parliamentary committee benefited from ongoing research support from the Library and was assigned at least one Library analyst. More analysts were brought in as needed for specific research requirements. They helped by:

  • preparing background papers and work plans;
  • providing briefing materials and suggested questions for committee meetings;
  • analyzing and synthesizing witness testimony;
  • drafting committee reports;
  • giving advice to committee chairs and members; and
  • providing research support throughout the federal budget financial cycle.
2,453
research requests
from parliamentary committees and associations

In 2015–2016, Library analysts were assigned to all 49 committees in the Senate and the House of Commons, and to all 13 recognized parliamentary associations. They completed 2,086 research requests for parliamentary committees and 367 for associations and delegations.

The four-member team of analysts assigned to the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations completed more than 1,325 projects. They reviewed government regulations based on a statutory list of criteria and reported deficiencies to the committee for its consideration.

Research services for international activities
Analysts and librarians also provided a full range of research and information services to support the international activities of parliamentarians, including:

  • strategic advice;
  • tailored media monitoring;
  • background papers;
  • draft resolutions and amendments for interparliamentary assemblies;
  • briefing books and speaking notes;
  • delegation reports;
  • programs for international meetings and conferences; and
  • support for parliamentary delegations during 25 missions in Canada and abroad.

Support  for the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum
The Parliament of Canada hosted the 24th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Vancouver, which brought together 24 parliaments from across the Asia-Pacific region. In partnership with the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate, the Library provided the secretariat function, which included developing the program and all supporting documentation.

Keeping parliamentarians informed

The Library played a central role in keeping parliamentarians and their staff informed about current issues and events. Library tools and expert staff provided access to Canadian and international news and current affairs in multiple formats – many of which could be accessed from mobile devices. We also ran seminars on topics of interest to the parliamentary community.

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Curated media-related publications
The Library’s media monitoring experts curated compilations of materials on current affairs.

Salient Numbers for 2015–2016

185
quorum editions
A daily compilation of top Canadian news stories
  34
quorum – world news editions
A weekly compilation of top world news stories
888
newsdesk subscribers
A media monitoring tool offering full-text access to Canadian and international news sources
  20
radar editions
A compendium of reports, articles and other documents on issues of interest to parliamentarians

Expanded access to news
The Library expanded its important subscriptions to the Hill Times and to Press Reader – which includes more than 5,000 international newspapers and magazines – to give all parliamentary users easy access to news content in the office, at home or on their mobile devices.

Canadian Parliamentary Review
The Library regularly supports this publication, providing reading lists that highlight information of interest to parliamentarians.

Preserving Parliament’s documentary heritage

The Library served an important function by continuing to preserve its collections for future generations. We did this, as always, in a manner that provided parliamentarians and all Canadians with the best possible access to Parliament’s documentary heritage.

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Sharing Parliament’s documentary heritage on Twitter
The Library’s @LoPInformation and @BdPInformation Twitter accounts highlight the important events and people that have shaped the Parliament of Canada since 1867, using facts from the Library’s historical database, quotations from historical debates from the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources public portal, and books in our collection. Of particular note were the 62 tweets posted February 1 to 12 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Centre Block fire of February 3, 1916, and its aftermath.

Discovering Sessional Papers
The Library digitizes unpublished Sessional Papers in order to preserve them and make them available more broadly. Over 500 of these Sessional Papers were digitized in 2015–2016, and 327 have been made available in the Library’s online catalogue.

SPOTLIGHT

A rare and precious holding

Illustration of birds from John James Audobon's book, Birds of America

Images in one of the most impressive publications in the Library’s collection were brought to life in 2015–2016 in a production hosted by La Grande Bibliothèque in Montréal. Some of the very rare composite images in our double elephant folio edition of John James Audubon’s masterwork Birds of America were featured in “This Library at Night,” an exhibition by Robert Lepage and his Ex Machina production company. The virtual reality exploration was shown as part of a virtual experience of 10 of the world’s great libraries – including Canada’s Library of Parliament – from October 2015 to August 2016.

informing Canadians about Parliament

The Library continued to offer programs at Parliament, such as guided tours of Centre Block and East Block and the 19th edition of the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy, in addition to online and print resources.

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Increasing awareness about rewarding programs
The Library undertook a national campaign to build awareness among Canadians about the Parliamentary Guide program and the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. As a result, participation in these on-site programs increased.

Engaging young Canadians
The Library employs young university students from across the country as Parliamentary Guides. This employment program offers bilingual students a unique opportunity to work at the centre of Canadian democracy and helps them perfect their public speaking and second-language skills.

More than 350 young people applied for the summer work program, and 40 youths from seven provinces were hired. The Library also hired nine alumni Parliamentary Guides to deliver tours of East Block.

327,000+
visitors
discovered Centre Block through guided tours
17,000+
visitors
explored East Block on guided tours

Highlights of the Library’s guided tours

Centre Block tours: Visitors discovered the people, history, functions, art and architecture of Parliament, including those of the Senate and House of Commons Chambers and the Main Library.

  • Guided tours for more than 327,000 visitors, which included tours for about 51,000 students and teachers.

East Block tours: From July 2 to September 7, visitors explored four heritage rooms restored to their appearance in 1872.

  • Guided tours for more than 17,000 visitors (an increase of 38% over the previous year).


Self-guided tours: Timed entry tickets were introduced in order to reduce wait times for visits to the Peace Tower observation deck and the Memorial Chamber. Parliamentary Guides offered free, informal interpretation that focused on Canada’s military contributions and the Books of Remembrance, which commemorate those who died in service to Canada.

Educating teachers
During the 19th Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy, the Library welcomed 85 outstanding educators from across Canada for an intensive examination of how Parliament works – providing them with knowledge they could bring to their classrooms. This professional development opportunity gave educators the opportunity to meet parliamentarians – including their own Members of Parliament – the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons, parliamentary experts, journalists and lobbyists, among others.

Redesigning public and educational resources on the web
We launched three updated resources on the Parliament of Canada public website: the education section for Canadian teachers; a new classroom activity, called Parliament in the News; and the Parliamentary Guide Program web pages.

SPOTLIGHT

Centennial of Centre Block fire

On February 3, 1916, the Main Library was saved from the fire that destroyed the original Centre Block of Parliament and permanently changed the character of Parliament Hill. In February 2016, we marked the centennial online and on-site at Parliament.

The Library posted albums of historical imagery and illustrations to its Facebook pages and Flickr galleries, posted a new video about the fire to the Parliament of Canada YouTube channel and, from @LoPInformation and @BdPInformation, live-tweeted the fire continually over 24 hours as it had unfolded 100 years earlier.

The photo album is the Library’s most popular Facebook post yet, with more than 1,100 shares. Over two weeks, our Twitter campaign resulted in significant retweets and gained us many new followers.

In the Main Library, we installed a temporary exhibit called Resilience: The Fire of 1916. Throughout February 2016, all guided tours of Centre Block were thematically focused on the history and legacy of the fire. Over 17,500 visitors took part.

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer provides economic and financial analysis to parliamentarians and the committees on which they serve. In 2015–2016, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) supported parliamentarians with a number of reports that helped them make informed decisions about the government’s work.

A new and improved website
The PBO took steps in 2015–2016 to make his work more accessible and useful to parliamentarians in preparation for the 42nd Parliament. As one example, in October the PBO launched a new website, which includes a “blog portal” that summarizes the findings of new reports and includes tables and infographics that illustrate the reports’ conclusions.

Reporting for new parliamentarians
Among the reports published by the PBO in 2015–2016 were several that sought to provide new parliamentarians with a sense of Canada’s economic and financial context and help them scrutinize the policy choices of the new government formed in October 2015.

  • In November, shortly after the general election, the PBO provided his economic and fiscal outlook for the coming year.
  • In December, the PBO provided an update highlighting the differences between his outlook and the government’s projections.
  • In January, the PBO published an analysis of the fiscal and distributional impact of the government’s changes to personal income tax rates, which were made through the budget implementation bill.

Greater access to information
Among the most significant challenges faced by the PBO since 2008 is access to information. In March 2015, the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament stated that when federal departments refuse to provide information, the PBO should refer the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance and the House of Commons Standing Committees on Finance and on Public Accounts. The PBO did not have to resort to this remedy in 2015–2016, when a marked increase over previous years was seen in successful information requests: 12 of the 14 requests made were complied with, while the two requests that weren’t successful received proper justification.

The prospect of reform
In October 2015, the new government committed to reforming several aspects of the financial cycle, including many that affect the work of the PBO. Commitments include bolstering the PBO’s independence, refocusing the PBO’s mandate on such costing issues as election promises made by political parties in future general election campaigns, and providing the PBO with both the information required to fulfill an expanded mandate and an associated increase in resources.

The PBO recognizes that these commitments are in line with the principles set out by international organizations for independent fiscal institutions. The PBO looks forward to working with all parliamentarians as they consider how best to implement these commitments.

Financial information

Library of Parliament Budget, 2015–2016

Expenses
Planned Spending
Approved Authorities
Actual
Spending
 sdffd
$
$
FTEs**
$
Salaries and wages*
34,661,515
34,184,147
326
35,026,765
Operations
8,078,080
8,078,080
6,591,859
Total
42,739,595
42,262,227
326
41,618,624

* Includes contributions to employee benefit plans.
** Full-time equivalents. Does not include guides and students.

View the audited financial statements

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Library of Parliament Spending Trends
($ millions )

about the library

Vision

To be Parliament’s preferred and trusted source of information and knowledge.

mission

The Library of Parliament contributes to Canadian parliamentary democracy by creating, managing and delivering authoritative, reliable and relevant information and knowledge for Parliament.

strategic outcome

An informed and accessible Parliament.

Organizational Structure

Vested with the direction and control of the Library of Parliament in accordance with the Parliament of Canada Act.

SPEAKERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Vested with the direction and control of the Library of Parliament in accordance with the Parliament of Canada Act.
AND
STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT
Composed of Senators and of Members of Parliament, responsible for advising the Speakers on the operations of the Library.

LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARIAN
Exercises control and management of the Library, and has the status of a Deputy Head, reporting to the two Speakers.

Service Areas
PARLIAMENTARY INFORMATION AND RESEARCH SERVICE
Provides parliamentarians with news, reference, research and analysis services and oversees the Library’s public education programs and the seminars for parliamentarians and their staff. This service area is also the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER
Provides independent analysis to Parliament about the state of the nation’s finances, government estimates and trends in the national economy.
INFORMATION AND DOCUMENT RESOURCE SERVICE
Builds, manages, preserves and optimizes access to the Library’s resources and collections; compiles and disseminates historical information about Parliament and parliamentarians.
BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES
Provides business support and services to the Library of Parliament.

What we do
The Library of Parliament has five key responsibilities:

  1. Provide customized research and analysis to parliamentarians and their staff
  2. Supply parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and associations with the information they need to examine the issues of the day, consider legislation and hold the government accountable
  3. Preserve Parliament’s documentary heritage and ensure access to its collections
  4. Keep parliamentarians informed and up to date, and deliver relevant news and information
  5. Help parliamentarians inform Canadians about Parliament, its role and traditions, and the people and events that have shaped the institution since 1867

Who we serve

  1. Parliamentarians and their staff
  2. Parliamentary committees and associations
  3. Organizations that support Parliament
  4. The Canadian public on behalf of parliamentarians
Parliamentarians supported by the Library of Parliament*
Senators
105
Members of Parliament
338**
Total
443

* These numbers can vary from year to year due to Senate or House of Commons seats becoming vacant.
** The number of Members of Parliament increased to 338 for the 42nd Parliament.

Committees* and associations supported by the Library of Parliament
Parliamentary committees
49
Senate committees
17
House of Commons committees
30
Joint committees
  2
Parliamentary associations
13

* Includes special committees and subcommittees other than those focused on agenda and procedure.