Officers of Parliament support both houses in their accountability and scrutiny functions by carrying out independent oversight responsibilities assigned to them by statute. These officers are responsible directly to Parliament rather than to the government or a federal minister. While no statutory definition exists of what constitutes an officer of Parliament, they should not be confused with officials who assist Parliament in procedural and administrative matters.
The main criteria used to identify officers of Parliament in this publication are as follows: their appointment is made by the Governor in Council by commission under the Great Seal; their appointment is approved by one or both houses of Parliament through a resolution; the term of their appointment is guaranteed by statute; they can be removed from office by a resolution of one or both houses; their reports are submitted to the Speakers of one or both houses; and they have independence from the government of the day.
According to this definition, this publication describes the roles of the Auditor General of Canada, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Information Commissioner of Canada, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner and the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Read the full text of the HillStudy: Appointment of Officers of Parliament
Author: Andre Barnes, Library of Parliament