Each Member receives annual funding to operate their constituency office(s). This annual funding is comprised of the following:
- Start-Up Funding (only applicable after an election or by-election): After a provincial general election or by-election, start-up funding is provided to cover costs associated with setting up a constituency office. New Members receive $2,000 and returning Members receive $1,000. This funding is automatically applied to constituency office allowance budgets by Financial Services. This allowance is intended to cover the cost of signage, office supplies, and small items such as lamps, garbage cans, and office décor.
- Constituency Office Allowance: For the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2020, the annual constituency office allowance is $144,700. This allowance is recalculated effective April 1 of each year to adjust for inflation equivalent to the increase (if any) in the British Columbia Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year. There is no downward adjustment for years of negative inflation. The annual allowance is pro-rated in election years.
- In-Constituency Travel Allowance – Constituency Assistants: This allowance varies depending on the physical size of the constituency.
In addition to the above, the Legislative Assembly pays for certain constituency office costs directly which do not come out of the constituency office allowance. These include lease costs (if stipulated in the lease agreement), insurance, telecommunications, basic internet, photocopier lease and usage, basic stationery, and the constituency office portion of certain benefits for Constituency Assistants, such as the Employee Assistance Program.
The Legislative Assembly also provides each Member with a $4,000 allowance for office furniture and equipment per three uninterrupted terms of office. Additional information on this allowance is available in the Office Furniture and Supplies section.
Use of Constituency Office Allowance
The annual constituency office allowance is available to Members to run the day-to-day operations of their respective constituency offices. The allowance covers operating expenses, including office staff payroll and discretionary expenses. Members must budget accordingly for such items as staff benefits and payroll deductions, vacation pay, overtime, staff severance payments, relief staff salaries, or any cancellation penalties associated with a lease. There are no additional funds available to Members for these types of financial obligations.
Members may also use the constituency office allowance for communications with constituents, which could be in the form of a newsletter, household flyer, or advertisement (e.g., print, online, radio, or television). The content of these advertisements and messages is restricted to announcing or reporting on constituency office activities, how to contact the Member, the role played by the Member in the legislative process, and services provided by the Member to constituents. Members may not use constituency office resources or funds to distribute or mail physical or digital content which promotes partisan or political messages or solicits financial support.
The allowance is available effective the day following the election. Please note that this is the only allowance payable beyond the actual term of a Member, to permit Members to provide proper notice to their staff and landlords should they resign mid-term or not be re-elected.
Making Payments (Invoices and Reimbursements)
The Legislative Assembly has a centralized payment and accounting system for constituency offices. Invoices should be submitted to Financial Services for payment using the Assembly’s work-flow software (DocuWare). Members or their staff may also pay for purchases personally (for example, by using a credit card) and then submit an Expense Reimbursement Form and supporting receipts to Financial Services for reimbursement. The Member must provide approval for any payment request (invoice or reimbursement) by electronically authorizing the transaction in DocuWare, before Financial Services will issue payment. Itemized invoices and expense receipts are required without exception.
For detailed information on this process, including payment steps and forms, please see the DocuWare and Invoices & Payments pages of the Constituency Office Portal. (Please note that the Portal is intranet-based and is only accessible from the Legislative Assembly network).
Financial accounts and records, including scanned copies of all invoices and receipts, are maintained by Financial Services. Please see the Information and Records Management section for additional information.
The constituency office allowance covers all day-to-day expenses for office operations. Click here for a list of typical eligible and ineligible expenses.
It is important to note that the eligible expenses document does not include all scenarios. Please consult Financial Services for clarification or advice on what constitutes an eligible expense, to ensure compliance with Legislative Assembly policy.
Members are fully responsible for managing within their respective constituency office allowances and for ensuring expenditures are in compliance with the policies consolidated in this guide. Constituency office expenses may be subject to review by internal or external auditors to ensure compliance with policy.
A Member’s unspent constituency office funds may be carried forward for use in future years. Any unspent funds remaining when the Member ceases to be a Member are returned to the Assembly. To assist Members with budget management, Financial Services provides Members with access to online monthly reports detailing their year-to-date expenditures in comparison to budget. These reports also track unspent funds carried forward from previous years. These reports are available on the Constituency Office Portal (please note that the Portal is intranet-based and is only accessible from the Legislative Assembly network).
In-Constituency Travel – Constituency Assistants
An annual allowance is provided to constituency offices in non-urban ridings to cover costs incurred by constituency office staff while travelling on a Member’s behalf within the constituency. This allowance is intended to cover normal travel expenses, such as mileage, taxis, hotels, and meals incurred by office staff while travelling on constituency business within the riding.
This allowance forms part of the constituency office budget. Constituency Assistants must submit a claim with supporting receipts, approved by their Member, for reimbursement to Financial Services. Forms and detailed steps on submitting claims for reimbursement are available on the DocuWare and Invoices & Payments pages of the Constituency Office Portal (please note that the Portal is intranet-based, and is only accessible from the Legislative Assembly network).
The annual allowance amounts vary by classification of riding.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
Oak Bay-Gordon Head
Richmond North Centre
Richmond South Centre
Langford-Juan de Fuca
Saanich North and the Islands
Mid Island-Pacific Rim
West Vancouver-Sea to Sky
Peace River South
Peace River North
Powell River-Sunshine Coast