The source for this data is senators’ quarterly expense reports filed between September 2010 and November 2013, and posted here on the Senate of Canada Financial Reports page.  The information from those reports was compiled into a spreadsheet by researchers with the federal NDP party (Download the Excel spreadsheet here).  The fifth estate’s infographic covers all senators who filed expense reports for November 2013, and who were appointed before September 2010. 

The map and charts also include the four senators who have been charged or are under investigation by the RCMP, and who are no longer sitting in the Red Chamber. Former Liberal Senator Marc Harb resigned in August 2013, and Conservative Senators Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin, and Mike Duffy were suspended without pay in early November 2013.  Brazeau and Harb were both charged by the RCMP with one count each or fraud and breach of trust in February 2014, for allegedly claiming travel and living expenses to which they were not entitled.  Neither has admitted any wrongdoing.

During the time period covered by these expense reports, the majority of the 20 senators who reported the highest expenses are Liberal.  There are 11 Liberal senators in the top 20 spenders, eight Conservative appointees (six excluding Duffy and Wallin, who are now suspended from the Senate) and one independent.

There are several variables that may affect comparisons between senators’ expenses, including the distance between a senator’s home province or territory and the National Capital Region, how remote their primary residence is, as well as the extent of their travel for other Senate duties.  

A senator’s expenditure report includes five sections: Staff and Office expenses, Hospitality expenses, Regular Travel, Other Travel and Living expenses in the National Capital Region.  The senator’s total expenses, as seen in the map above, is the sum of all these sections for the time period covered.  The travel expenses total includes both ‘regular’ and ‘other travel’.