In 2017, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) was provided with a legislative mandate to estimate the financial cost of the election proposals of political parties upon request (Appendix A).
Over four months in 2019 (June 24 to October 20), PBO successfully costed over 200 requests from political parties. Over 100 were ultimately published by the PBO.
PBO has undertaken a comprehensive review of the content and process underpinning Canada’s first Election Proposal Costing (EPC) service. This review is informed by our experience, as well as consultations with political parties, journalists, the Federal Public Service and the academic community.
Overall, there is a consensus that the EPC service provided to political parties enhanced the credibility of the democratic process. At the same time, some adjustments are desirable.
This report offers nine recommendations:
- Eight recommendations build on effective practices (Appendix B).
- Seven of these are administrative in nature and can be implemented under the existing remit of the PBO.
- One recommendation (clarifying the legislative framework) will require Parliament to approve legislative amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act (Appendix C).
- In addition, there is one recommendation regarding how PBO could tailor the EPC process to accommodate a shorter time period as would be the case if the current Parliament is dissolved before the next fixed election date.