Members of the Legislative Assembly are provided with office space, equipment, services, and supplies to support their work at the Parliament Buildings. This section contains information on setting up and managing a legislative office, including telecommunications equipment and other services.
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The caucus of each recognized political party and Independent Members are provided with resources to support Members in carrying out their parliamentary functions. Operating and capital budgets for caucuses and Independent Members are approved by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee on an annual basis. Budget allocations are formula driven and subsequently adjusted to reflect any mid-year changes in a caucus (e.g., in the event of the resignation of a Member, or a cabinet shuffle which changes the number of Ministers and Private Members in a caucus, or following a provincial general election). Funding for caucus and Independent Member budgets is provided from the Legislative Assembly’s annual Vote 1 budget, as approved by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee and submitted to the Minister of Finance for inclusion in the annual provincial Estimates.
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Each caucus determines the number of staff to be hired, their classifications, salaries, and other terms and conditions of employment. The costs are charged to the global caucus budget, which is under the control of the Caucus Chair. This budget cannot be exceeded and is based on a formula established each year by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
The same conditions apply to Independent Members.
The Office of the Speaker assists in the allocation of space within the Parliament Buildings. Furniture and equipment are supplied to Members and their staff from Legislative Facility Services.
The Information Technology Department arranges for telephone and fax lines and supplies a multi-function printer unit. Requests for service should be coordinated through caucus staff, and the costs are covered by centralized funds overseen by the Speaker. Specialized equipment may be purchased with caucus funds at the discretion of the Caucus Chair. All items remain the property of the Legislative Assembly.
Each Member is provided with personalized letterhead, business cards, envelopes and other stationery from centralized funds. For information on how to order personalized stationery please refer to the Office Furniture and Supplies section under Managing Your Constituency Office.
Generic office supplies are available through the Sergeant-at-Arms Supply Office. Orders should be coordinated through caucus staff.
Members are permitted to send an unlimited amount of personally addressed mail to support their parliamentary responsibilities. The cost of postage is paid from centralized funds overseen by the Speaker. The intent of this service is to permit Members to correspond with their constituents and other individuals. Please note that bulk mailings are a communications expense that must be paid from the constituency office allowance.
The Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for the receipt and dispatch of courier items, as well as security screening of incoming courier items at the Legislative Assembly. Members and staff can telephone 250-356-8236 for assistance. Deliveries must be dropped off at the courier office in the back of the building located at 431 Menzies Street. Courier employees are not permitted to make deliveries to or pick up items within the Parliament Buildings.
Desktop Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephones and facsimile equipment are provided in the Parliament Buildings. The cost of both the equipment and usage is paid from centralized funds.
The Information Technology Department supports Members and their staff with legislative office data management and the disposal of computer hardware and hard drives following a hardware failure.
There are two types of data: email and data files (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint and images). Both can exist in the Assembly’s email server or backup storage, PCs/Notebooks, iPads or smartphones. Additionally, data files can exist in the Assembly’s central data storage.
Email and data files stored on Legislative Assembly servers are backed up by the IT Department via the email server, central data storage or backup storage, using a combination of daily, weekly and monthly data backups to ensure that lost data can be restored, if required. PC notebook, iPad and smartphone use local storage and backups are managed by the user.
Daily and weekly backups allow the restoration of a file from any day in the previous 10 weeks. Monthly backup files are kept for 13 months and then they are deleted.
Data Backup and Restoration
For the period beyond the 10 weeks covered by the daily and weekly backups, files can only be recovered if they existed when the monthly backup was run on the first weekend following the end of the month. The IT Department is unable to recover any file deleted more than 13 months ago, although Members or their staff may be able to access such files if they remain in an email or network drive.
Members and their staff should contact the IT Department for support regarding hardware issues in legislative offices. In the case of a hard drive issue, the IT Department will have the computer repaired. The IT Department will remove the hard drive, insert a new hard drive, re-image the computer and return it to the user. The serial number of the old hard drive is recorded, and the old hard drive is then disposed in a secure manner.
Use of Email Accounts
All Legislative Assembly business should be conducted using the Member’s Legislative Assembly email account. The use of personal email accounts for official Legislative Assembly business is strongly discouraged.
Use of Cloud Storage
The use of Cloud Storage solutions such as iCloud and DropBox is not permitted for the storage of Legislative Assembly emails and data files due to security concerns, including the risk that the data will be stored outside of Canada. Data stored in another jurisdiction may be subject to that country’s legislation. This may impact a Member’s ability to protect the integrity, security and privacy of the data being posted or collected. However, these services can be used to backup photographs stored on Legislative Assembly tablets and mobile phones.
The Digital Information Office (DIO) can advise and support Members, constituency offices and caucuses on the day-to-day management of information and is available to support Members and staff in developing effective practices when creating, receiving, organizing, securing, retrieving, transmitting, storing and disposing of electronic and physical records. The DIO also supports policy development and training in related areas, including the protection of privacy, confidentiality, and vital records.
For more information, contact Mary McIntosh, Records Information Management Specialist, at 250-356-5352 or email DIO@leg.bc.ca.