On September 21st, 2017 the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) became a distinct office with a reformed mandate when certain sections of the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 came into force.
The PBO is an officer of the Senate and the House of Commons appointed to hold office during good behaviour for a once renewable term of not more than seven years.
The PBO’s mandate is to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the budget, the estimates and other documents, as well as matters of particular significance relating to the nation’s finances or economy listed in the PBO’s annual work plan; and at the request of a committee or a parliamentarian, to estimate the financial cost of any proposal that relates to matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction. Certain committees can also request analyses of the nation’s finances or economy or the estimates.
In the months before a general election, the PBO has an additional mandate of responding to requests from political parties or independent members of the House of Commons to estimate the financial cost of any election campaign proposal that the party or member is considering making.
The PBO’s purpose is to support Parliament by providing analysis, including analysis of macroeconomic and fiscal policy, for the purposes of raising the quality of parliamentary debate and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability.
The PBO’s legislative mandate and powers are set out in the Parliament of Canada Act.