To assist Members with lease negotiations, the Legislative Assembly has arranged to provide the services of a Leasing Consultant. Leasing information is available in the package describing the services offered to all Members immediately following the election, and in this narrated presentation provided by Shared Services.
Members are strongly encouraged to work with the Leasing Consultant to identify and obtain space for their constituency offices. At minimum, it is required that all Members have lease agreements reviewed by the Leasing Consultant and Financial Services before finalizing their constituency office lease. This requirement applies to both new leases and lease renewals. Lease rates should be based on fair market value for their location. Constituency office space should be wheelchair accessible and provide adequate security for staff (preferably with a front and rear exit and a security gate or alarm). Please note that the lease agreement is between the Member (not the Legislative Assembly) and the landlord, and the Legislative Assembly is not liable for any penalties or fees associated with a Member’s lease.
Leases must contain a “termination clause” in the event the Member ceases to hold office. The following is a sample of an appropriate “termination clause”:
“At the option of the Tenant and upon thirty (30) days written notice to the Landlord, the Tenant or personal representative may terminate this Lease upon death, total disability, resignation, the loss of the Member’s seat in a provincial general election or by-election, or otherwise.”
Once reviewed by the Leasing Consultant and Financial Services, a signed copy of the Member’s lease should be submitted to Financial Services for direct payment to the respective landlord. The documents should clearly state the following:
- Amount of rent to be paid
- Term of the lease – all leases must end no later than November 30, 2024 (one full month after the anticipated end of the 42nd Parliament)
- Name and current mailing address of the landlord or payee
- A termination clause, as noted above
- Signatures of the landlord (or their associate) and the Member
All lease payments will be processed around the 15th of each month for the following month. Payment can be either by cheque or direct deposit.
The full lease costs, including normal occupancy expenses such as heat, light, apportioned amount of property taxes, common area expenses, parking, etc., will be paid provided these are stated in the lease. Please note that the Legislative Assembly does not pay for security deposits, make advance rent payments (post-dated cheques) to the landlord/payee, or provide automatic withdrawals. The Legislative Assembly does provide direct deposits by using this form.
For additional lease resources and guides, please visit the Constituency Office Portal (please note that the Portal is intranet-based and is only accessible from the Legislative Assembly network).
Lease Renewals and Amendments
Once reviewed by the Leasing Consultant and Financial Services, Members are required to forward a signed copy of their renewed or amended lease to Financial Services. Any rent adjustments will be made on the next available rent payment unless otherwise noted.
Tenant improvements are covered if they are specified in the lease agreement. In some cases, this may mean that the lease will need to be re-negotiated, or an addendum provided. Any material changes will require authorization from Financial Services prior to any work being done. In some cases, a business case may be required, and authorization obtained from the Speaker. The Legislative Assembly does not provide advance payments to the landlord or contractors, and repairs and/or improvements are to be amortized over the remaining term of the lease.
Members representing very large or diverse constituencies may decide to open a secondary office. Members do not receive any additional funding to support a secondary office, and all furniture and equipment must be acquired within the existing allowance. In the event a second office is needed, Members should follow the same process as for the primary constituency office to secure a lease. Financial Services will pay the lease and any normal occupancy expenses stated in the lease agreement. Phones and Internet access will be provided.
As an economical alternative to opening a secondary office, a common practice has been for a Member to book a boardroom or conference area as required. Payment options can be either on a monthly schedule with a signed agreement or by invoice. Members can contact Financial Services for more details.
Sharing of Constituency Office Space
Constituency office accommodation may be shared with a federal Member of Parliament or an elected municipal representative. Members may also share a constituency office with another Member. A formal agreement should be made and signed by all parties. Members wanting to opt into an agreement of this kind should contact Financial Services regarding the options for cost recovery.
Members required to move their constituency offices due to electoral district boundary changes will have all associated moving costs covered by the Legislative Assembly. Members can contact the Information Technology Department to assist with coordinating the move of phones, computers, and multi-function printer units. All other furniture and equipment can be dealt with at the local level.
Members wanting to voluntarily move their office for any other reason will have the cost of the phones, Internet, and multi-function printer units covered by the Legislative Assembly. Any other related costs are the responsibility of the constituency office. It is important that Members ensure they are not violating their existing lease conditions prior to committing to a move. The Legislative Assembly is not liable for any penalties or fees associated with a Member’s lease – these are the personal responsibility of the Member.
Constituency Office Insurance
The Legislative Assembly provides blanket insurance coverage through the General Liability Policy for each constituency office from its central budget. This policy consists of coverage for “all risks” (fire/smoke, water damage, theft, vandalism) of $50,000 office contents; $25,000 valuable papers and records; $5,000,000 commercial liability (personal injuries sustained by persons visiting a constituency office); and $100,000 tenants’ legal liability. All offices will be provided with a copy of their policy certificate each year. The General Liability Policy has an endorsement that includes the landlord as an additional insured party, and a separate certificate can be provided to the landlord, if required. The full policy details will be retained in Financial Services.
The insurance coverage also covers liability for public forums or events. An insurance “rider” certificate can be provided to the event organizer by contacting Financial Services and providing the date, address and third-party name, as well as a general description of the event. An additional insured request form is available on the Constituency Office Portal (please note that the Portal is intranet-based and is only accessible from the Legislative Assembly network). Any additional insurance premiums required for public forums or events will be covered from the constituency office allowance.
The constituency office is responsible for the first $250 of the deductible for any insurance claims. The balance of the deductible (maximum $750) will be paid by Financial Services. Financial Services should be contacted prior to contacting the insurance company for claims resulting in damages of $1,000 or less. These claims will be handled internally. All material claims are to be handled through the insurance company. The contact information is located on each insurance certificate. Offices with claims involving replacement or repair of computer equipment can notify the Information Technology Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org so that system support can be provided.
The insurance coverage may not cover the significant loss or repair of personal equipment or furniture belonging to either a Member or an employee. In the event of loss or damage to personal belongings, claims are to be made against the Member or employee’s home insurance policy.
Constituency offices are designed to encourage communication between the Member and all constituents, and therefore the office must be operated on a strictly non-partisan basis and cannot be used to engage in or host partisan, political activities. In keeping with this guideline and in order to provide constituents with a non-partisan venue, the exterior signage located at any constituency office should not:
- Display the name or logo of a political party;
- Contain statements of a partisan political nature; and,
- Use political party colours in any recognizable partisan form.
The exterior sign should contain the name of the MLA or constituency as the primary focus. The style, form, and size of the sign are left to the discretion of the individual Member, subject to restrictions placed upon the Member by the constituency office landlord.