Library of Parliament  

Annual Report 2016–2017


Message from the
Parliamentary Librarian

In 2016–2017, the Library shifted from welcoming Canada’s 42nd Parliament to actively responding to the requirements of parliamentarians. With 225 new parliamentarians elected or appointed, the shift came with a 25% increase in demand for research, information and reference services. This required us to extend ourselves as an organization and stretch our resources so we could continue to provide the high level of service parliamentarians expect.

Most new parliamentarians brought with them an interest in exploring increasingly complex issues. That meant the Library’s year was characterized not only by more requests for information and reference, but also by more challenging requests. Many new parliamentarians were eager to learn about the issues that were pertinent to their constituents, and members from all parties sent us complex queries for research and analysis as they sought to deepen their understanding of key issues.

This high level of interest in the Library’s services was largely a result of our successful efforts to reach out to the new Parliament. We invited parliamentarians to work with us, and work with us they did! After renewing the Library Ambassador Program in 2015 – the program introduces parliamentarians and their staff to the Library’s products and services – we continued in 2016–2017 to emphasize this key outreach activity. By fiscal year end, we had paid 53 visits to parliamentarians; this was in addition to our initial 135 visits immediately after the 2015 general election.

By capturing and tracking key usage data, the Library provided solid evidence of the 25% increase in demand for our research, information and analysis services. Equipped with hard numbers, we were able to secure additional resources to respond to a higher volume of requests and sustain an expanded service offering in future years.

The year 2016–2017 also marked the final phase of the Library’s five-year strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2012–2017. I am proud to report that the Library achieved its goals in each of the plan’s four priority areas: we continued to become more digitally connected with every new product we released; our client outreach priority established a new benchmark for success following our busiest year on record; we managed the Library’s talent so that employees had the expertise and learning they needed to fulfill the Library’s mandate; and we continued to improve our offering by modernizing our in-person services and restructuring the collection in anticipation of the closure of Centre Block, and by producing more visually appealing products.

The title page of the Library of Parliament’s Strategic Outlook 2017–2022 shows the three strategic priorities: relevance, agility and a healthy workplace.

During 2016–2017, we prepared Strategic Outlook 2017–2022, the Library’s strategic plan for the next five years. It establishes a new set of priorities, and it builds on both the Library’s culture of agility and its commitment to evolve in order to remain responsive to parliamentarians’ needs. With Centre Block closing for renovations, the Library will continue to develop the best ways to serve parliamentarians wherever they are – in their offices, in Chambers or on the road.

What is clear looking back on 2016–2017 is that parliamentarians have found in the Library a trusted and indispensable resource for doing their jobs. As we work to realize the Library’s new strategic plan, we will continue to scrutinize the precise nature of the demand for our products and services. That means continuing to synthesize and deliver information in innovative ways, and ensuring that parliamentarians have access to the information and services they require to work effectively on behalf of their constituents.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that, at the end of this fiscal year, Parliament was considering legislative amendments that would remove administrative responsibility for the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) from the Library and that subsequently, Parliament adopted those amendments. Under the amended legislation, the Library and the PBO, as separate entities, will cooperate to avoid unnecessary duplication of the resources and services they provide to parliamentarians and parliamentary committees. We welcome this collaboration.

As our services evolve, we maintain our commitment to provide our users with high quality information and resources that meet their needs.


Sonia L’Heureux
Parliamentary Librarian

Continue reading...


The Library
by the numbers

in-person visits to the Library’s branches

visitors welcomed
on tours

inquiries about Parliament from the public

3.8 million
page views of the Library’s parliamentary historical database

e-journals made
available to
library users

requests for information and reference services from parliamentarians and their staff

requests for research and analysis from parliamentary users

Library by the numbers


3.8 million
page views of the Library’s parliamentary historical database


in-person visits to the Library’s branches

visitors welcomed on tours


inquiries about Parliament from the public

e-journals made available to library users


requests for information and reference services from parliamentarians and their staff

requests for research and analysis from parliamentary users


Strategic Priorities

Improving access, outreach, talent and quality

The Library’s strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2012–2017, sets out the four priorities that drive our improvement activities. In this final year of the plan, the Library continued to refine systems to create a high-quality user experience. This included reaching out to parliamentarians wherever they are working, and improving their digital access to Library resources and products.

Strategic Priority 1

Increasing digital access and service

The Library understands the work of Parliament, and we use this knowledge to deliver tailored, non-partisan information to parliamentarians and their staff.

Increasingly, parliamentarians require quick and easy access to digital resources so they can find what they need, wherever they happen to be – in Chambers, in their offices, on the road or overseas.

In 2016–2017, as in previous years, providing service digitally was a key focus of our work.

A redesigned website

In 2016–2017, the Library began to renew all of its content on the Parliament of Canada website. Completing this renewal is a multi-year project, during which we are collaborating closely with the Senate and the House of Commons to identify their needs and expectations. We are also migrating Library content to new platforms and architectures.

The Library’s goal for its web content is to provide the public with modern, mobile-friendly, streamlined access to information.

  • The updated Library home page, with a design and navigation consistent with those of the Senate and House of Commons websites, provides access to research publications, historical information about Parliament, and corporate information.
  • The link Learn About Parliament leads to information about how Parliament works and to educational resources, while the link Visit Parliament points to details about planning a visit to Parliament.
Renewing Parlinfo

Parlinfo is the Library’s historical database that informs Canadians about the people, events and institutions that have shaped Parliament since 1867.

In 2016–2017, the Library began to develop a renewed Parlinfo that will improve the user experience while retaining the Library’s ability to preserve and enrich its holdings of historical information.

Parlinfo continued to be a high-traffic site in 2016–2017, with 18.5 million page hits.

In 2016–2017, the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal received more than 681,000 searches and nearly 3.8 million page views.

Access to parliamentary historical resources

In collaboration with, which aims to present Canada’s cultural heritage online in a user-friendly and accessible way, the Library of Parliament provides access to Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources, a portal that leads to full-text, searchable debates and journals for the Senate and House of Commons, back to 1867.

The Library renewed its partnership with in 2016–2017. One objective of the partnership is to develop an automated tool to identify and fix a number of files in the portal, improving the user experience and providing more consistent search results.

Another objective of the renewed partnership is to digitize 147 historical volumes of bills dating back to 1974, for posting on the web.

Strategic Priority 2

Improving client outreach and awareness

Following the federal election in late 2015 and the appointment of new Senators in 2016, the Library welcomed 225 new parliamentarians, serving them as they adjusted to their roles and transitioned to a new Parliament.

To deliver relevant information, we met face-to-face with as many new parliamentarians as possible through the Library Ambassador Program, which we promoted throughout 2016–2017. We also worked to deliver products and information at times and in ways that best suited parliamentarians.

Welcoming new parliamentarians

The Library Ambassador Program introduces Senators, Members of Parliament and their staff to the Library’s products and services. In 2016–2017, ambassadors paid 53 visits to parliamentarians, helping to build productive relationships.

We produced a special edition of the Library Newsletter for Senators, and we contacted all 27 of the Senators appointed in the 42nd Parliament to inform them about the Library’s services.

Constructive exchanges with parliamentarians

As always, Library staff met regularly with all parliamentary committee and association chairs. In addition, representatives of the Library’s senior management team met with chairs of parliamentary committees and associations to learn what they expect from us now and in the future. These meetings helped to ensure that parliamentarians understood the services the Library provides and the role of Library analysts assigned to committees and associations.

The Library also supported the work of the Liaison Committee and the Joint Interparliamentary Council and their subcommittees. These bodies each have important responsibilities – mostly related to budgets, funding allocation and administrative issues – that help ensure the proper functioning of parliamentary committees and associations.

Outreach and training

The Library conducted nearly 140 technical outreach sessions, providing orientation and training on the Library’s resources and services. Most sessions involved in-person visits or face-to-face training, which reflects our users’ preference for direct contact with Library staff.

The most popular sessions focused on general Library products and services, and explained the Library’s suite of mobile applications (apps).

Celebrating Confederation’s sesquicentennial

The Library integrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation into its collections and activities.

  • We launched a youth speech-writing contest hosted by the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons that asked participants, “What does Parliament mean to you?” Canadians between the ages of 12 and 17 submitted 240 speeches.
  • Guided tours of Centre Block and East Block in 2016–2017 focused on celebrating Confederation and 150 years of Canada’s Parliament.
  • Using documents on loan from Library and Archives Canada, the Library of Parliament installed a new interactive exhibit in the Main Library.
Documents that transformed Canada

The Library built a new interactive exhibit, Foundations: The Words That Shaped Canada. It brought some of the most important documents in Canada’s history to the Library of Parliament, including the British North America Act and the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Strategic Priority 3

Managing talent

As the need for our services continued to increase, the Library provided its employees with the tools and resources they needed to maintain their high level of knowledge and expertise. Recognizing that a healthy and respectful workplace plays a significant role in our employees’ ability to deliver on their objectives, the Library took steps to enhance its healthy and respectful workplace programs.

Performance management and succession planning

As part of its multi-year effort to improve its resource planning systems, the Library built an improved model of employee competency profiles that makes it easier for managers and employees to understand what is expected from each employee.

The refreshed profiles – which help managers and employees identify learning needs, achieve optimal performance and engage in effective succession planning – will be integrated into the human resources resource planning system that is being established.

A new learning strategy

The Library developed a learning framework that enables us to identify learning opportunities relevant to our work environment. The framework also allows for a learning strategy that is business-driven – critical for an organization that is knowledge-based, where each service area relies on expert knowledge to fulfill the Library’s mandate.

A respectful and supportive workplace

Over several years, the Library has focused on building tools and support to promote a safe and respectful workplace.

In 2016–2017, the Library renewed its Occupational Health and Safety Policy, incorporating mental health as a component. This was a first step toward recognizing that physical and mental health are both essential parts of occupational health and safety.

We invited Health Canada to deliver the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s “The Working Mind” courses to managers and employees. The commission built the sessions through partnerships with experts at the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Husky Energy and others. The Library also added a new learning event focused on preventing harassment in a client-centred environment.

In addition, the Library consulted with managers when developing a new “healthy workplace” strategic priority, to be included in our new strategic plan.

Strategic Priority 4

Ensuring product quality

The Library is uniquely positioned to deliver up-to-date, non-partisan products and services to parliamentarians and Canadians through a wide range of media.

We continued to ensure that all Library products – from written research documents and analyses of public policy issues to instructional videos and infographics – are accurate and accessible. This included introducing visual content in new and innovative ways, which makes information in our products easier to absorb.

Ensuring consistent, accurate communication

Consistent editorial style and presentation are important if an organization is to communicate clearly across all its products. The Library reviewed and updated its style guide to help ensure consistency in its materials. One significant addition to the style guide is a section that supports the production of online geographic information system maps, which the Library uses to create interactive visuals for parliamentarians.

Because the Library releases all its documentation in both official languages (except documents requested by individual parliamentarians, who are provided with materials in the language of their choice), producing high-quality translated materials is a key concern. An effective concordance service ensures that translated and original documents match each other, and that translations are done accurately.

To meet the increased demand for research, information and reference services, the Library reallocated resources to its editorial services, expanding them to handle the concordance of a number of large parliamentary committee reports. The adjusted process brought efficiency by allowing Library analysts more time to focus on work for committees to which they were assigned or to respond to individual parliamentarians’ requests.

Reporting via interactive charts

The Library improved its reporting in 2016–2017 by building interactive charts that we posted online. Interactive charts give parliamentarians easy access to key data and more flexibility to explore material in detail. Examples are found in the Library’s popular Trade and Investment series.

Restructuring the Library’s collection

In 2016–2017, the Library revised its policy and methods for acquiring and managing its collection to help ensure that it continues to meet the needs of parliamentarians while delivering maximum return on investment.

We continued to shift from print to electronic subscriptions, which has resulted in increased access to online commercial legal resources and streamlined access to newspaper subscriptions. Overall, our electronic research databases saw a significant increase in use in 2016–2017: 28% over the previous year.

Other priorities

While addressing its four strategic priorities, the Library devoted attention to achieving results in other priority areas. This meant looking ahead to develop our new strategic plan. It also involved attending to key elements of our activities in ways that would meet both current and future needs.

A new strategic plan

The Library’s strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2012–2017, has been our touchstone for guiding management and aligning service-area planning, resource allocation and other activities since the document’s release in 2012.

In fall 2016, the Library began the process of identifying future challenges, opportunities and strategic priorities to build our new strategic plan, Strategic Outlook 2017–2022, which the Parliamentary Librarian presented to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons early in the 2017–2018 fiscal year.

Enhanced record management

In 2016–2017, the Library continued to elaborate its processes for managing records. Staff undertook large-scale migrations of Library documents and records from legacy systems to our institutional repository.

The Records Management team also handled more than 300 requests – an increase of more than 30% over the previous year – from Library staff to provide guidance and training on simplifying the management of records and information within the institutional repository. The increase is encouraging, because it demonstrates greater awareness among our staff members of the importance of good records management, and the availability of our Records Management team to support them.

Ensuring a secure environment

Since the October 2014 shooting on Parliament Hill, the Library has helped to institute a number of new security protocols. In 2016–2017, we continued to oversee the 90 Wellington Bag Screening/Check Operations and facilitated the Tour Guide Radios initiative in partnership with the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Protective Service.

We also worked with the House of Commons to integrate important changes, such as digital fingerprinting, into the process of screening employees for security clearance. These changes are in line with current processes in the federal public service.

Phoenix implementation

In 2016–2017, the Library implemented the new Phoenix pay system. While the system continues to face challenges, the Library has ensured the timely and accurate pay of its employees with minimal disruption.



Supporting parliamentarians, informing Canadians

In 2016–2017, the Library experienced high demand for its services. With 225 new parliamentarians since the start of the 42nd Parliament, requests for research, information and reference services increased by 25%. The Library supports parliamentarians, either individually or as members of parliamentary committees, associations and delegations.

Requests for Research and Analysis, and for Information and Reference Services, by User Group, 2016–2017
User Group Research and Analysis* Information and Reference**
Parliamentarians and their staff (including constituency staff) 1,980 12,621
Senators 403 1,981
Members of Parliament 1,577 10,640
Parliamentary committees, associations and delegations 4,486 233
Senate committees 779 40
House of Commons committees 1,509 44
Joint committees 1,727
Associations and delegations 471 149
Employees of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament 5,129
General public 43,427
Other authorized users*** 57 2,593
Total 6,523 64,003

* 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 services are the Governor General, senior parliamentary officials and, to some extent, caucus research staff. Other authorized users for information and reference services are 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, other parliaments and legislatures, legislative libraries and research organizations, and parliamentary employees.

Research and analysis, and information and reference services

The Library answered requests for research, information and reference services, and to check facts, find statistics and locate documents and other information. We did this in ways that were most convenient for Library users: in person, over the phone or online.

The Library also used social media to deliver timely and reliable information about current issues, products and services.

A sample infographic from the Library of Parliament’s publication entitled Electoral Systems and Electoral Reform in Canada and Elsewhere: An Overview shows the process for the single transferable vote electoral system.
A greater need for service

The Library expected an increase in demand for its services during Canada’s 42nd Parliament, with its 27 new Senators and 198 Members new to Parliament. The increase included high profile, complex initiatives. One example was committee work on electoral reform, which required the Library to use new and innovative tools and approaches. For instance, the Library created visual products to help communicate an analysis of various electoral systems in its publication Electoral Systems and Electoral Reform in Canada and Elsewhere: An Overview. These visuals were also used in toolkits for parliamentarians to run town hall meetings on electoral reform in their ridings.

  • Analysts responded to 1,980 requests for research and analysis support from individual parliamentarians and their staff.
  • Reference librarians and library technicians answered 12,621 requests for service from parliamentarians and their staff.
  • Information officers responded to 43,427 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 on 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 2016–2017


Legislative Summaries

Plain-language explanations of the purpose and history of government bills and private members’ bills



Concise overviews of current and emerging issues of immediate interest to parliamentarians



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


Trade and Investment Series profiles

Information on Canada’s trade relationships with other countries

Increased demand for GIS mapping

Using geographic information system (GIS) mapping, the Library creates interactive, content-rich, easy-to-understand visuals for parliamentarians. We produce GIS maps for parliamentary committee and association reports, in response to individual requests, and for the Library’s research publications.

GIS mapping has been particularly useful for responding to parliamentarians’ strong interest in national, regional, provincial and riding-based information on such diverse subjects as wind farms, pipelines, locations of cellular towers, and supply management.

The “Voting Around the World” map indicates the type of electoral system and percent voter turnout for most national legislatures.
Research publications on Twitter

The Library’s research publication Twitter accounts @LoPResearch and @BdPRecherche, which help parliamentarians and their staff to stay connected with Library research, increased their following in 2016–2017. Among the most retweeted maps were the revised version of the “Voting Around the World” map, and a map related to how Canadian immigration patterns changed between 1911 and 2011.

Easy access to resources

Subject guides give parliamentarians and their staff access to reliable and authoritative resources on specific subjects, curated by the Library. The guides communicate information about the Library’s collections and offer direct links to books, websites and databases.

The Library chooses subjects based on topics that parliamentarians most frequently ask about, such as access to information, citizenship and immigration, and employment insurance and benefits. In 2016–2017, all subject guides saw an increase in use, which validates the Library’s plans to expand the current offering.

Preparing for the closing of Centre Block

Centre Block will close for renovations in the coming years, and because the Main Library is located so near the planned work, it too will close for the duration. In anticipation of the closure, the Library is working to ensure that it continues to be ready and equipped to serve users, building on its ongoing efforts to modernize its in-person reference service.

Multiple projects with parliamentary and departmental partners were in the planning stages in 2016–2017, including a major relocation of the Library’s physical collections. This work, which includes a refit of our off-site storage facility, will enable the Library to maintain and manage collections securely, and ensure that materials remain available to users while the Main Library is closed.

The Library also opened a new branch, at 180 Wellington Street, and it completed substantial work to plan and prepare for a refit of existing service points at our 125 Sparks Street and Confederation branches. The renovations will result in modern library facilities – including access to emerging technologies, flexible meeting rooms and informative media walls – where parliamentarians and their staff can work, collaborate with colleagues, and consult with Library staff.

Opening the Wellington Branch library

In January 2016, a new branch of the Library opened at 180 Wellington Street. Located at the heart of the newly refurbished building that is housing offices for Members of Parliament during the lengthy renovation of the Parliament buildings, it reflects the Library’s service model, which focuses on proactive service delivery and inviting spaces.

Support for committees and associations

The Library employs subject-matter experts who provide 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 conduct research and analysis, synthesize materials and provide reliable, authoritative and neutral information to support the committees’ work.

Support for parliamentary committees

Library analysts assigned to parliamentary committees were tasked with giving ongoing support 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
  • providing research support throughout the federal budget financial cycle

The analysts were assigned to over 50 committees in the Senate and House of Commons, and to all 13 recognized parliamentary associations. They completed 2,288 research requests for parliamentary committees and 471 for associations and delegations.

Analysts assigned to the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations completed 1,727 projects.

Research services for international activities

The Library assigned analysts to each parliamentary association to provide ongoing support and accompany delegations to international meetings. Analysts and librarians helped by preparing:

  • 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
Enhanced visuals for decision making

In 2016–2017, the Library expanded its infographics service, producing a high number of visuals for research publications. For example, we created infographics to explain various voting systems being considered by the Electoral Reform Committee. The fact that other government entities requested permission to use the visuals in their products attests to the effectiveness of the infographics.

Keeping parliamentarians informed

The Library plays a central role in keeping parliamentarians and their staff informed about current issues and events.

The Library’s tools and expert employees provided access to Canadian and international news and current affairs across multiple formats – many of which could be accessed from mobile devices.

Curated media-related publications

The Library’s media monitoring experts curated compilations of materials on current affairs. Here are some salient numbers:


Quorum editions

A daily compilation of top Canadian news stories


Quorum – World News editions

A weekly compilation of top international news stories



NewsDesk subscribers

A media monitoring tool offering full-text access to Canadian and international news sources


Radar editions

A compendium of reports, articles and other documents on issues of interest to parliamentarians

Promoting the Library’s apps

The Library promoted its suite of mobile applications to parliamentarians, which resulted in a 51% increase in traffic over the previous year to the Library’s popular intranet page providing access to the following apps:

  • Press Reader, which provides access to more than 6,000 newspapers and magazines via desktop or mobile devices
  • Quorum, a daily compilation of top news stories
  • Zinio for Libraries, which provides access to more than 30 digital magazines covering news, business, science and technology, and the social sciences
Preserving Parliament’s documentary heritage

The Library puts considerable resources into preserving its collections for future generations, ensuring at the same time that parliamentarians and Canadians enjoy the best possible access to Parliament’s documentary heritage.

Sharing documentary heritage on Twitter

The Library now has more than 1,000 followers for its @LoPInformation and @BdPInformation Twitter accounts, which highlight the events and people that have shaped the Parliament of Canada since 1867.

Of our 250 tweets in 2016–2017, the most popular series was the Treasures of the Library of Parliament, which featured rare and historic items from the collection.

We glean information for these tweets from Parlinfo, historical debates on the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources public portal, and books in our collection.

Sessional Papers

The Library continued to digitize Sessional Papers to make them available more efficiently and easily. In 2016–2017, 1,367 Sessional Papers were added to the online catalogue available to parliamentary users.

The Library applied its subject taxonomy to each Sessional Paper, which means users can now subscribe to a subject feed and receive alerts when new papers are catalogued. This functionality also enables the Library to feed new Sessional Papers into its intranet “Browse by Subject” page, further enabling parliamentary users to serve themselves.

Digitizing The Birds of America

Digitizing the 435 stunning images in one of the Library’s most prized holdings – John James Audubon’s personal copy of his historic masterwork, The Birds of America – will ensure that the images are accessible during the multi-year renovation of Centre Block.

The double elephant folio edition of the work will be stored in our preservation facility, away from the parliamentary precinct, for the duration of the renovation project. We completed the first phase of the project, which will produce research-quality, digitized versions of the images, in August 2016.

Informing Canadians about Parliament

In 2016–2017, the Library continued to provide tours of Centre Block and East Block, as well as informal interpretation for the Peace Tower observation deck and Memorial Chamber. The Library also continued to plan how public programming managed on behalf of Parliament will adapt during the future closure of Centre Block.

Communicating clearly about our programs

The Library developed and delivered a national advertising campaign via Facebook, YouTube and Google AdWords to specific public audiences. The goal was to increase awareness and use of Parliament’s resources, products and services.

The campaign’s success was reflected in increased attention to a number of our sites in 2016–2017:

  • about 5,000 new followers on the Library’s Youth Connection Facebook page, bringing the total to around 24,000
  • more than 110,000 views on the PARLyouth YouTube channel
  • about 550,000 and 350,000 views respectively for Our Country, Our Parliament and Discover How Canadians Govern Themselves, two flagship Library resources

Parliament 101 sessions informed teachers and students in Iqaluit, Nunavut, about the Library’s resources and programs. We presented to 30 pre-service teachers at Nunavut Arctic College and 50 high school students at Inuksuk High School.

Engaging young Canadians

Nearly 360 young people applied for the Library’s Parliamentary Guide summer work program in 2016–2017. This program offers bilingual students a chance to work at the centre of Canadian democracy and helps them perfect their public speaking and second-language skills.

The Library hired 40 university students from seven provinces to participate in the program. The Library also hired nine alumni Parliamentary Guides to deliver tours of East Block.

Centre Block Tours


students and

Highlights of the Library’s guided tours

Centre Block tours: More than 334,400 visitors – including about 58,000 students and teachers – discovered the people, history, functions, art and architecture of Parliament.

East block tours: During the summer period (July to September 2016), more than 18,400 visitors explored four heritage rooms restored to their appearance in 1872.

Visits to the Peace Tower observation deck and Memorial Chamber: Continuing the initiative begun last year, the Library provided tickets for individual visits to the Peace Tower observation deck and the Memorial Chamber. Guides provided free, informal interpretation focused on Canada’s military contributions and the Books of Remembrance, which commemorate those who died in service to Canada.

New web resources

The Library developed a new, mobile-friendly web resource called Parliamentary Primer that gives Canadians an overview of how the Senate and the House of Commons operate, as well as an introduction to the art and architecture of Centre Block.

The Library also introduced a new and improved website for the Parliamentary Boutique that features hundreds of products for sale on-site or via email order. The boutique introduced 70 new products in 2016–2017 and increased sales by 20%.

Long-term planning for public education

All of the Library’s visitor service programs will be affected by the closure of Centre Block, which will last for a number of years. Planning continued in 2016–2017 to realign and reconfigure the Library’s programs so that the public can continue to visit and connect with Parliament, both on-site and across multiple online platforms, as construction activities unfold.

We worked with several partners to confirm the requirements and fit-up for the Library’s visitor services functions, which will be offered in the current Government Conference Centre (home to the interim Senate Chamber) and the West Block (home to the interim House of Commons Chamber). Public access to Parliament, including guided tours of these two new spaces and East Block, will continue after Centre Block closes.

We also collaborated with partners on work for the new Visitor Welcome Centre on Parliament Hill.

Supporting the work of the Poet Laureate

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 Library continued in 2016–2017 to support the work of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke. Mr. Clarke, who is a distinguished Canadian poet, playwright and author, was appointed to the post in January 2016.

Celebrating 20 years of educating teachers

The milestone 20th Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy was held in the fall of 2016. The Institute, which welcomes 85 outstanding educators from across Canada, is an intensive professional development opportunity that gives teachers an inside view of how Parliament works, enabling them to bring new knowledge to their classrooms.

Teachers heard a keynote address from Jean Augustine, the first black woman elected to Canada’s Parliament, and met the Governor General and the Prime Minister.


Report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer provides economic and financial analysis to parliamentarians and committees in both houses of Parliament. In 2016–2017, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) continued to provide parliamentarians with analyses aimed at helping them perform their constitutional functions and hold the government to account.

Supporting Parliament by providing analysis

In 2016–2017, the PBO published 33 reports, which presented economic and financial analysis – including costings – to the Senate and the House of Commons.

The PBO’s regular reports, including the semi-annual economic and fiscal outlook, analyses of the main and supplementary estimates and the annual fiscal sustainability report, provide parliamentarians with broad economic and financial insights. The PBO’s topical reports, which are prepared at the request of parliamentarians or committees, as well as on the PBO’s own initiative, provide more specific insights into bills, policy proposals and policy fields. When the PBO released reports in 2016–2017, the Office generally provided briefing sessions open to parliamentarians and their staff or, upon request, personal briefings.

The PBO’s reports are frequently used as references in debates and committee proceedings. In 2016–2017, the PBO and his staff appeared before parliamentary committees on 11 occasions: six times before standing Senate committees and five times before House of Commons standing committees.

Continued challenges accessing information

Since 2008, the PBO has faced challenges gaining access to the government information required to fulfill the mandate of the position. In 2016–2017, the PBO saw an improvement in access to information consistent with that noted in 2015–2016: the PBO made 65 requests, and received the requested information in 59 cases.

Two of the remaining six requests were abandoned by the PBO. In two other cases, a department refused to provide the requested information because it was in draft form, classified and commercially sensitive. In the final two instances, departments refused to provide information that they claimed could be obtained only in a confidence of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. None of these justifications are fully grounded in the Parliament of Canada Act.

These cases cause concern. The PBO continues to work with parliamentarians and the government to ensure that the PBO has access to all the information required to fulfill the mandate of the position.

Reforms to the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer

As the 2016–2017 fiscal year ended, Parliament was considering legislation that would have the PBO report directly to Parliament, rather than to the Library. The Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, which contained the relevant amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, subsequently received Royal Assent.

With the proclamation into force of the relevant provisions by the Governor in Council, the PBO will operate as a distinct office under a reformed mandate, which will include a statutory parliamentary remedy for refusals to provide access to information. The legislation also provides that the PBO and the Parliamentary Librarian shall take all reasonable steps to cooperate with each other to avoid any unnecessary duplication of resources and services provided to parliamentary committees and members of the Senate and the House of Commons.


About the Library


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


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

How the Library is organized
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

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

Parliamentary Librarian

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

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; acts as 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*


105      Senators


338**  Members of Parliament


443      Total



Members of



* 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


17  Senate committees


30  House of Commons committees


4    Joint committees


51  Total


13  Parliamentary associations


Senate committees

House of Commons

Joint committees




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


Financial Information

Library of Parliament Budget, 2016–2017

Expenses Planned Spending Approved Authorities Actual Spending
  $ $ FTEs** $
Salaries and wages* 35,243,159 34,640,769 330 35,134,372
Operations 7,828,080 7,828,080 7,307,296
Total 43,071,239 42,468,849 330 42,441,668

* Includes contributions to employee benefit plans.

** Full-time equivalents. Does not include guides and students.

View the audited financial statements PDF version 398 kB, 22 pages


Library of Parliament Spending Trends
($ millions)