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Image: Flags of Canada / Des drapeaux du CanadaDecision-Making Processes
Central Agencies
in Canada

Federal, Provincial and
Territorial Practices


The Privy Council Office
Government of Canada


The Canadian Cabinet Secretaries agreed at their meeting at Kananaskis, Alberta on June 26-27, 1997, on a project to gather and exchange information on decision-making processes and central agencies of the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

As Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet of the Government of Canada, I wrote to my provincial and territorial counterparts on July 28, 1997, asking them to provide notes on the practical operations of their respective governments that could provide the basis for a comparative study.

After a preliminary analysis of this material, James Hurley of the Privy Council Office followed up with each Cabinet Secretary’s Office to prepare comparable profiles for each province and territory. He was assisted by the following officers of the Machinery of Government Secretariat: Catherine Hawara (Newfoundland, Alberta, the Yukon, British Columbia, Québec, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Canada), Marie-France Kingsley (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and Stacey Gillis (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick). Philippe Lajeunesse was responsible for the final editing of the text. Renée Guérette formatted the book.

Draft profiles were prepared for consideration, comment and approval by each government. The results of the exercise are set out in this document which constitutes an initial attempt to set out the decision-making processes and describe central agencies of the federal, provincial and territorial governments in a comparative perspective. Individual profiles respect the wishes of each government with regard to substance and presentation.

This document formed the basis for a discussion of central agencies and decision-making processes by Canadian Cabinet Secretaries at our meeting in Bouctouche, New Brunswick, on June 29-30, 1998. At the meeting, we agreed that it would be useful to make the document available to the public, both to enable Canadians to gain a better understanding of how governments operate in Canada and to stimulate debate on questions of governance.

Governments are continuously reflecting on their organization and methods of operation and changes occur quite frequently. This document provides a "snapshot" of the state of play in the first week of June 1998; changes may have occurred in some jurisdictions since then.

I wish to take this opportunity of thanking my colleagues, the provincial and territorial Cabinet Secretaries, for their invaluable cooperation and support, without which this study could not have been done. We, the Cabinet Secretaries, all gain from this sharing of information. The people of Canada will, I believe, also benefit from its publication.

Jocelyne Bourgon
Clerk of the Privy Council and
Secretary to Cabinet

Table Contents




Nova Scotia

New Brunswick


British Columbia

Prince Edward Island



Newfounland and Labrador


Northwest Territories

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication