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Report shows steep drop in sponsored trips in 2020

​​​​​NEWS RELEASE

Ottawa, March 11, 2021

The List of Sponsored Travel 2020 has been released by Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. It was tabled in the House of Commons today. 

The report shows a steep drop in the number of sponsored trips taken by Members of Parliament last year compared to previous years. In 2020, Members accepted just seven ​sponsored trips for themselves and their guests. 

A supplement that reflects changes to the List of Sponsored Travel for the previous two years is included in the 2020 document. 

QUOTES FROM COMMISSIO​N​​ER DION 

“The number of sponsored trips taken by Members of Parliament was down significantly in 2020, likely because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel. Members reported over 40 sponsored trips in 2019, when the federal election may also have curtailed travel by parliamentarians, and more than 90 such trips in 2018."

​“Public declarations of sponsored travel are posted throughout the year in the public registry maintained by our Office, but the annual list of sponsored travel is a one-stop shop. For each trip listed, the report identifies the Member and any guests who accompanied them, where they went, why and for how long, travel and accommodation costs, and who paid the bills." 

“The Code's disclosure requirements for sponsored travel and its requirement to produce an annual list of sponsored travel support accountability and transparency." 

Addit​​ional ​Facts 

  • Members who are not ministers or parliamentary secretaries may accept, for themselves and their guests, sponsored travel related to their position.

  • ​Under subsection 15(1) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, sponsored travel is any travel worth more than $200 that is not fully paid by the government, a political party, a recognized parliamentary association or by Members themselves. It must be disclosed within 60 days after the end of a sponsored trip. Public declarations of sponsored travel are posted throughout the year on th​e public registry.

  • Subsection 15(3) of the Code requires the Commissioner to prepare an annual List of Sponsored Travel and submit it to the Speaker of the House of Commons by March 31.

  • Sponsored trips are not considered gifts under the Code. They are therefore excluded from its gift rule prohibiting Members from accepting gifts or other benefits that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence them. However, all benefits (including gifts) received during sponsored trips must be disclosed in a Public Statement of Sponsored Travel by Members.​

  • Ministers and parliamentary secretaries are prohibited from accepting sponsored travel by the Prime Minister's guidance document, Open and Accountable Government. Under the Conflict of Interest Act, with which they must also comply, such travel would be considered a gift or other advantage and would therefore be subject to the Act's acceptability test for gifts and other advantages.

The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was created under the Federal Accountability Act. The Commissioner applies the Conflict of Interest Act for public office holders and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. 

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The List of Sponsored Travel is available in HTML and PDF formats and as an Excel spreadsheet. 

For more information, please call 613-995-0721 or email ciemedia@cie.parl.gc.ca


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