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Gary W. O'Brien
Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments

As its chief operating officer, I oversee the Senate Administration, an organization of some 420 employees who serve the Senate, senators and Senate committees. We enable the efficient running of all aspects of the Senate’s work.

Though we are not part of the federal public service, we are servants of Parliament. We take this literally and seriously. In all our products and services, we consider how to best serve the senators we support in their work to improve Canadian society. In all our administrative practices, we also consider how to best serve that society by being accountable for the money we spend and responsible in how we manage our programs.

These priorities have been laid bare for us by the economic turmoil of the past few years. Like everyone else, we have pledged to do more with less. Because of this, we have found ways to be more efficient. For instance, this year a management subcommittee was tasked with re-allocating resources between sectors. Where one directorate had a budgetary lapse, the Human Resources and Finance Subcommittee could shift it to fund necessary projects in another directorate. Because of this process, we managed to function within our salary envelope this year. A Management Assessment Framework review proves that this, along with other subcommittees created this year, is improving our corporate governance structure.

Despite the climate of restraint, our policy framework was also significantly advanced this year. Our internal audit process is showing us where we can improve and where we can be more efficient. Several gaps were identified and filled this year. Policies on official languages, information technology security, Senate committee working meals, discipline, use of taxis, annual leave for senators’ staff, grievances, and health and safety were all approved and implemented. Filling these gaps is helping to create a solid base from which to build a more efficient institution and a healthier workplace for our people.

The rolling internal audit plan established in 2009 will ensure that these improvements to corporate governance keep coming. It allows us to set goals and evaluate whether we’re meeting them. This clarifies the striving for excellence that characterizes our institution and convinces us that regardless of the challenges of the future, we are prepared to serve senators to our utmost.

Gary W. O'Brien Signature