Reorganization of PCO

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Remarks by Kevin G. Lynch,Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

May 16, 2006


Dear colleagues:

I am writing to advise you of changes to the organization of the Privy Council Office. As you know, a key priority for me is strengthening and renewing the Public Service. As part of this, I have given considerable thought to the organizational structure of the PCO and have concluded that the time is opportune for the PCO to "return to basics". The changes that will be implemented represent a stronger emphasis on the PCO's traditional responsibilities, greater clarity of the respective roles of the PCO and relevant departments, and will result in a smaller organization that more effectively supports the Prime Minister.

To better align the PCO's activities more directly with the Prime Minister's core responsibilities, the number of Secretariats will be reduced, and their responsibilities and resources will be transferred to Departments whose mandate they would better support. These changes are detailed below:

  • National Science Advisor - to be transferred to Industry Canada
  • Policy Research Initiative - to be transferred to the Department of Human Resources and Social Development (with multi-department DM governance structure)
  • Smart Borders Task Force - to be transferred to Public Safety
  • Regulatory Affairs and the Smart Regulations Strategy - to be transferred to the Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Regional Communications - to be transferred to the Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Official Languages Secretariat - transferred to Canadian Heritage
  • Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat - moved to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

In addition, there will be some adjustments to the Foreign Policy and National Security Advisors' areas of responsibility to align them more effectively with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Public Safety respectively. Finally, we will merge the Democratic Reform Secretariat into a

nother Secretariat in the PCO while continuing to manage this issue as an important priority.

Overall, the changes we are implementing will both reduce the number of secretariats significantly, and will enable the PCO to refocus the work of the policy secretariats to the traditional challenge and strategic stewardship function. This is in keeping with Departments having the overall leadership of policy and program files for which their Ministers are responsible.

The changes will be phased in during the coming months and will be completed by September. I have expressed my thanks and appreciation to those employees who will be moving on to other Departments. Their contributions during challenging periods are commendable and worthy of recognition. I trust that those of you who will be receiving employees from the PCO will extend them a warm welcome.

Thank you all for your advice and I look forward to your continued support as we move forward.