The Parliament of Canada Act is the enabling legislation that creates the position of Senate Ethics Officer and establishes the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer.
The SEO has the rank of a deputy head of the Government of Canada and has the control and management of his office. The SEO operates the office independently of the Senate and its Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. These aspects of the law confer on the SEO a status of independence and autonomy and they provide an effective shield against improper or inappropriate influence.
The Act provides that the SEO is required to perform the duties and functions assigned to him by the Senate for governing the conduct of members of the Senate when they are carrying out the duties and functions of their office. The Act provides that the SEO is cloaked with the privileges and immunities of the Senate and its members when carrying out those duties and functions.
The Act also refers to a committee of the Senate under the general direction of whom the SEO shall carry out his duties and functions. This Committee is the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.
Finally, the Act requires the SEO to submit an annual report on his activities for the year to the Speaker of the Senate, who in turn is required to table the report in the Senate.