The Role and Structure of the Privy Council Office
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Policy
- Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Operations
- Administration Division
- Financial Services Division
- Informatics and Technical Services Division
- Corporate Information Services Division
- Human Resources Division
- Access to Information and Privacy Office
The Privy Council Office (PCO) reports directly to the Prime Minister and is headed by the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. It is both the Cabinet secretariat and the Prime Ministers source of public service advice across the entire spectrum of policy questions and operational issues facing the Government, including matters relating to the management of the federation and constitutional development.
The PCO also provides the necessary support to the Deputy Prime Minister, Government Leaders in the House of Commons and in the Senate, the President of the Privy Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs as well as the Minister designated as the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians.
This document provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the current senior staff of PCO in carrying out these functions.
PRIVY COUNCIL OFFICE
As the senior public servant supporting the Prime Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet has three primary responsibilities:
- as the Prime Ministers Deputy Minister, provides advice and support to the Prime Minister on a full range of responsibilities as head of government, including management of the federation;
- as the Secretary to the Cabinet, provides support and advice to the Ministry as a whole and oversees the provision of policy and secretariat support to Cabinet and Cabinet Committees;
- as the Head of the Public Service, is responsible for the quality of expert, professional and non-partisan advice and service provided by the Public Service to the Prime Minister, the Ministry and to all Canadians.
The Associate Secretary to the Cabinet and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council assists the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet and can act on his or her behalf on the full range of policy and operational issues before the Privy Council Office.
The Deputy Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs) is responsible for providing advice and support on policies and communications related to federal-provincial relations and aboriginal affairs, the evolution of the federation and Canadian unity. The Deputy Minister directs and manages the Intergovernmental Affairs office which serves the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and, through the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
This includes four broad areas:
- policy advice and strategic planning related to national unity, the broad federal provincial agenda, as well as constitutional and legal issues;
- liaison and advice on relations with the provinces, including assessment of provincial priorities, monitoring of policy files with important intergovernmental dimensions, and renewal of the federation;
- communications support on issues and initiatives with important federal-provincial dimensions.
Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Policy
The Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Policy, is responsible for the development of strategic planning, integrated analysis, and intergovernmental relations policy options and advice.
Director General, Policy and Research
The Policy and Research Division is responsible for conducting policy analysis and providing advice on issues related to the medium and long-term evolution of the Canadian federation; for conducting research on social, economic, fiscal and other issues, including public opinion, that impact on intergovernmental relations, the operation of the federation and Canadian unity; and for monitoring relevant information and research in the academic and policy communities across Canada.
Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Operations
The Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Operations is responsible for providing an integrated view of relations with the provinces, across the governments broad policy agenda and options and advice on communications issues related to intergovernmental relations. The Deputy Secretary works with the Operations and Plans Branches of the PCO to integrate federal-provincial considerations in the assessment of policy options.The Director general of Provincial Analysis and Sectorial Analysis support.
Director General, Provincial Analysis
The Provincial Analysis group provides the Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs with strategic and tactical advice on the overall management of the federation. This group develops and maintains working relations with provincial intergovernmental affairs officials and private sector interests, monitors the changing federal-provincial and interprovincial relations dynamic, identifies emerging issues and trends and assesses the interplay of federal and provincial positions on issues with significant implications for national unity and management of the federation. It has lead responsibility for developing strategies and briefing the Prime Minister on management of bilateral and multilateral First Ministers meetings.
Director General, Sectorial Analysis
The Sectorial Analysis Division undertakes strategic analyses of pan-Canadian federal-provincial issues and approaches that affect the federation. It also provides strategic advice on non-constitutional means of modernizing the federation, and on the management of policy initiatives key to the governments national unity agenda.
Director, Intergovernmental Communications
The Intergovernmental Communications Division provides strategic advice on the intergovernmental aspects of government-wide communications activities and initiatives. The Division is also responsible for preparing speeches and other communications material and contributing to letters related to intergovernmental relations. In addition, the Division oversees parliamentary affairs and prepares material related to intergovernmental issues.It is also responsible for the IGA Website and for developing an Electronic Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agreement Registry.
The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultation), is responsible for considering all matters of government policy from the standpoint of the Governments key priorities and plans and provides direction to the following secretariats:
- Priorities and Planning Secretariat
- Liaison Secretariat for Macroeconomic Policy
- Communications and Consultation Secretariat
The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet provides advice on strategic policy issues. The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet is also responsible for providing secretariat support to Cabinet and for providing advice on communications and consultation across the government.
Particular attention is paid to the Budget, the Speech from the Throne and other special or priority issues that may arise from time to time. Emphasis is placed upon ensuring that Ministers are apprised of interrelationships between issues in the context of the Governments strategic priorities.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Priorities and Planning)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Priorities and Planning) is responsible for assisting the Government in defining its objectives and priorities, for overseeing the development of policies consistent with these priorities, and for liaison on these matters with all other parts of the Privy Council Office and with other government departments. The secretariat also provides staff support for meetings of the full Cabinet, Deputies Breakfast and the Coordinating Committee of Deputy Ministers on Policy.
Assistant Secretary (Liaison Secretariat for Macroeconomic Policy)
The Assistant Secretary (Liaison Secretariat for Macroeconomic Policy) provides strategic policy advice and analysis on economic and fiscal matters and also works closely with the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and other PCO secretariats in providing analysis and advice on the economic and financial aspects of a number of major policy files, including the Budget.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Communications and Consultation)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Communications and Consultation Secretariat) provides advice and support on communications issues and is responsible for coordinating government-wide communications and consultations. The secretariat also provides staff support for meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee of Cabinet on Government Communications.
The Operations Branch, under the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) is primarily accountable for providing policy advice for the effective operation of the Cabinet Committee for the Social Union, the Cabinet Committee for the Economic Union and the Special Committee of Council.
The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) and senior staff are also responsible for ensuring appropriate linkages and interdepartmental coordination on major policy and program issues of concern to the Prime Minister and/or the Clerk of the Privy Council.
The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet has overall responsibility for three secretariats:
- Economic and Regional Development Policy
- Social Development Policy
- Regulatory Affairs and Orders in Council
The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet also has responsibility for the Cabinet Papers System Unit.
The Economic and Regional Development Policy Secretariat and the Social Development Policy Secretariat work with the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board Secretariat, and with line departments, on key policy and related funding issues. They also participate in or coordinate interdepartmental work and provide advice on federal-provincial aspects of the Governments policies and programs.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Economic and Regional Development Policy)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Economic and Regional Development Policy) is accountable for monitoring, coordinating and advising on specific issues in economic and regional development policy and trade policy and priorities, and their implications for federal-provincial relations.
The policy sector includes the following areas: natural resources, agriculture, fisheries and oceans, environment, privatization, regulatory affairs, science and technology, industrial and regional development, transport, communications, trade, investment and competition policy. The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet is accountable for the effective functioning of the Cabinet Committee for the Economic Union and various ad hoc committees as required including supporting the government in strengthening the Canadian economy.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Social Development Policy)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Social Development Policy) is responsible for monitoring, coordinating, and providing advice on social development policy issues and priorities including their implications for federal-provincial relations.
The policy sector covers: culture, income security, employment insurance and related labour market measures, labour relations, aboriginal issues, justice and human rights, policing, corrections, citizenship, immigration, health, northern political development, veterans affairs, national revenue, official languages, multiculturalism and policies with respect to children, housing, seniors, persons with disabilities and status of women. The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet is also responsible for the effective functioning of the Cabinet Committee for the Social Union and for ad hoc committees as required, including assisting the government in strengthening and modernizing the social union.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Regulatory Affairs and Orders in Council)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Regulatory Affairs and Orders in Council) is responsible for monitoring, coordinating and advising on regulatory and Orders in Council issues and policies, and their consistency with economic, social and federal-provincial policies. The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet is also responsible for the effective functioning of the Special Committee of Council and for ad hoc committees on regulatory and Orders in Council matters as required, including supporting the government in meeting economic and social objectives.
Regulatory Affairs Division
The Regulatory Affairs Division provides substantive support to the Special Committee of Council through analysis, briefing and strategic advice in respect to government department and agency regulatory proposals encompassing a wide range of economic and social policy sectors. The Division serves as a focal point on regulatory matters for queries and liaison with other PCO secretariats and government departments. It also supports the development and management of the governments regulatory reform and research agendas.
Orders in Council Division
The Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council provides secretariat services to the Special Committee of Council and is responsible for the approval of Orders in Council, regulations and other Statutory Instruments, and for providing advice on the use of Orders in Council and/or Instruments of Advice. The Orders in Council Division produces and distributes Orders in Council (including certificates of appointment), prepares a weekly agenda for submission of these documents to the Special Committee of Council, and transmits Orders and Instruments to the Governor General for final approval. The Division administers the Statutory Instruments Act regarding the registration and publication of regulations in Part II of the Canada Gazette. The Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council is also responsible for planning swearing-in ceremonies at Rideau Hall, including Cabinet shuffles. The Division maintains records of approved Orders in Council, the Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments, and a number of Oath Books.
Chief, Cabinet Papers System Unit
The Chief, Cabinet Papers System Unit provides administrative support services to Cabinet and Cabinet committees. It is responsible for the format, distribution and control of Cabinet Papers, Cabinet Committee meeting agendas, Memoranda to Cabinet and other documentation, produces the schedule for Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings and assists in arranging these meetings. The unit also provides advice and training on the preparation of Cabinet documents.
The Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Foreign and Defence Policy) has two major functions. The first derives from the Prime Ministers responsibility as head of government to be actively involved in the formulation and execution of foreign and defence policy. The Foreign Policy Advisor supports the Prime Minister in dealings with other heads of government and heads of state (e.g., correspondence, visits to Canada, and foreign travel). In addition, he/she communicates directly, on behalf of the Prime Minister, with foreign government representatives in Canada and with senior officials of foreign leaders offices. The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet provides advice to the Cabinet on major foreign policy and defence issues.
The Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Counsel is responsible for providing legal advice to PCO, for the coordination and management of the Governments legislative program, for the provision of advice related to Parliamentary issues, and for the provision of policy advice on electoral issues.
The Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Counsel provides advice on the framework of our institutions of government, and the interrelationships between the institutions, and the key officialselected and appointedwho staff them.
In carrying out these functions, the Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Counsel is supported by two secretariats: the Legislation and House Planning/Counsel Secretariat and the Machinery of Government Secretariat.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Legislation and House Planning/Counsel)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Legislation and House Planning/Counsel) is responsible for the Legislation and House Planning/Counsel Secretariat. This secretariat is responsible for coordination and management of the Governments legislative program. The secretariat provides services to the Government House Leader in the process of approving legislation for introduction in Parliament and advice on legislation, Parliamentary practices and procedures, Parliamentary Committee matters and on any issues that arise in Parliament. The secretariat also provides advice to Government House and Senate Leaders on any related issue and is responsible for policy advice to the Government House Leader on the Elections Act and other electoral legislation and parliamentary issues.
The secretariat also provides legal advice on a wide variety of issues to other secretariats in the Privy Council Office in particular with respect to Cabinet confidences, conventions, the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, Commissions of Inquiry, senior personnel issues and issues related to the deliberations of Cabinet. It also is involved in court cases with government-wide implications and all federal electoral litigation.
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet is also responsible for the office of Parliamentary Returns which ensures that all the information or material sought by both Houses pertaining to written questions, petitions and notices of motions for the production of papers is provided in the most efficient and satisfactory manner and tabled forthwith.
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Machinery of Government)
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Machinery of Government) provides advice and support on matters related to the Prime Ministers prerogative and responsibilities as architect and umpire of our system of Cabinet Government. The business of the secretariat includes providing advice and support on:
- the structure, organization and functioning of government;
- ministerial mandates and responsibilities;
- transition from government to government, including organizing Cabinet and its committees; and
- issues related to the role of the Crown, the Governor General, Government House and the honours policy.
As well, support is provided to the Cabinet Committee system on specific Public Service policy issues and priorities.
The Deputy Secretary, Security and Intelligence has four main functions:
- To support the Prime Minister by providing information, advice and recommendations on security and intelligence policy matters;
- To ensure the effective coordination among the members of the security and intelligence community;
- To be responsible, together with the Deputy Minister of National Defence, to the Minister of National Defence, for the Communications Security Establishment, (an agency which provides the government with foreign intelligence and guidance on the security of government telecommunications and electronic data processing); and
- To oversee the intelligence assessment function, a service based on interdepartmental contributions, which produces and coordinates intelligence assessments on a wide range of subjects for the Prime Minister, other Ministers and senior officials of government.
In carrying out these functions, the Deputy Secretary is supported by two Secretariats:
Security and Intelligence Secretariat
The Security and Intelligence Secretariat provides overall coordination and policy direction to the security and intelligence sector. It supports the Interdepartmental Committee on Security and Intelligence (ICSI), which is a committee of Deputy Ministers, chaired by the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet and Vice-Chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Security and Intelligence. The Secretariat plays a coordinating role in the overall management and priorities of intelligence organizations and provides policy guidance to the intelligence community.
Within the Secretariat, the Security Operations Unit is responsible for the physical and personnel security of the Prime Ministers Office and PCO, including matters such as the security of classified documents and security clearances for personnel. The unit provides security for Cabinet meetings and other conferences which the Prime Minister chairs, and briefs Cabinet Ministers and their key staff members on security requirements. The unit also coordinates personal protection for the Prime Minister and security of official residences with the RCMP.
Intelligence Assessment Secretariat
The Intelligence Assessment Secretariat produces foreign intelligence assessments. It coordinates the interdepartmental activities and assessments of the Intelligence Assessment Committee, chaired by the Executive Director, whose membership is composed of senior officials from the departments and agencies most concerned with intelligence matters.
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Management Priorities and Senior Personnel Secretariat) is responsible for strategic management of senior public service and public sector personnel in support of the Governments management agenda. The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet provides advice and support on the selection, appointment, career planning, compensation, performance review and termination of Governor in Council (GiC) appointees, with particular emphasis on Deputy Ministers, Associate Deputy Ministers and Heads of Agencies. The secretariat also provides advice on human resource policy and planning in the Public Service and the GiC community.
The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet also supports the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet as Head of the Public Service in advancing the Governments public service management agenda, with particular emphasis upon public service reform. A major responsibility is the overall coordination and monitoring of the strategic management agenda including progress on specific files requiring the leadership of PCO.
The Assistant Deputy Minister (Corporate Services) is responsible for the provision of administrative, financial, human resources, information, informatics and technical services to the Prime Ministers Office, the Privy Council Office and associated Ministers Offices. Some of these services are also available to Commissions of Inquiry.
In addition to these standard services, the Corporate Services Branch also responds to requests for access to information under the Access to Information and Privacy Acts and is responsible for processing mail addressed to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The responsibilities of the divisions are described in more detail below.
The Administration Division is responsible for the provision of general administrative services to the Department. The various sections of the Division and a brief description of the services they provide are as follows:
- Accommodation and Building Services - This section provides services relating to office space allocation and planning, allocation of parking spaces and conference room reservations as well as coordinating the provision of building services for maintenance, repairs and renovations for the facilities occupied by departmental staff. Maintenance services include elevator, heat, air-conditioning, lighting, electrical, plumbing, housekeeping, etc.
- Telecommunications Services - This area is responsible for the provision of telephone services including the installation/removal/configuration of all unclassified voice and data telephone sets, voice mail and production of telephone directories. The unit also manages the Prime Ministers switchboard operations.
- Procurement and Contracting Services - This section provides a centralized service for the procurement of goods and services utilized in the department as well as for the administration and preparation of contracts for consulting and professional services.
- Mail and Messenger Services and Conference Services - This section is responsible for providing both internal and external mail and messenger services and the assignment of attendants at Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings as well as other meetings held in the departmental conference rooms.
- Printing Services and Graphics Services - The printing unit provides for all printing related services which include duplication of documents, reports, press releases, etc., as well as the procurement of printed stationery and publications. The graphics section provides creative design and illustration services for use in presentation material, reports and publications. The unit also provides desktop publishing services.
- Inventory Management Services - This section is responsible for managing the control, movement, tracking and disposal of all departmental assets as well as maintaining an inventory of equipment and furniture. It also manages a stockroom of general office supplies and coordinates the requirements for movers.
Financial Services Division
The Financial Services Division provides a full range of financial management and accounting services.
The Financial Planning and Analysis Section plays a key advisory role in all aspects of financial administration within the Department. It is responsible for corporate financial planning, administers the annual resource allocation exercise and any program review that may occur. It also coordinates and prepares the submissions to the Treasury Board of the Programs Business Plan, the Annual Reference Level Update (ARLU), the Estimates documents (including Main and Supplementary Estimates, Reports on Plans and Priorities and Performance Reports). It also provides departmental management with financial reports on salary and other operating costs.
The Accounting Operations and Financial Systems Section provides financial accounting services (including accounts payable and receivable, petty cash, distribution of pay and other cheques, travellers cheques, issuance of travel cards and acquisition cards and taxi vouchers) and advisory services, including advice on the interpretation and application of accounting policies and directives such as travel advances and expenses, hospitality claims, relocation and other special expenses. The section also maintains the departmental financial system and oversees the departmental financial coding structure and the delegation of financial signing authorities.
Informatics and Technical Services Division
The Informatics and Technical Services Division provides computer and audio-visual support services to the department including the acquisition of all hardware, software and communications facilities. In addition to the core facilities in eleven buildings, these services are extended to remotely support Cabinet Meetings, Ministers Offices in their ridings and the Prime Minister when travelling.
The Workstation Support Group furnishes and maintains all corporate desktop computer equipment including personal computers, laptops, printers, projectors and related peripheral equipment. The unit provides a standard desktop suite of computer programs including word processing, spreadsheet and presentations software. Online technical support is provided through the Help Centre and technicians are on call around the clock. Training is provided on all corporate systems.
The Network Services Group provides computer network facilities for access to corporate information and applications. Electronic mail provides internal communications and access to external Internet and X.400 mail services. The unit maintains three separate networks. The main corporate network is available to all employees and handles information up to the Secret level. A second network is reserved for the processing of Top Secret information and a third provides open access to the Internet where required. The group also provides secure facsimile and telephone equipment for the department and maintains the electronic security and surveillance systems.
The Application Support Group develops and maintains over fifty custom applications for the department to meet specific storage and retrieval information requirements. Applications range from small desktop databases to corporate wide information systems. The group also maintains databases for off-the-shelf corporate applications.
The Audio-Video Services Unit provides cable television services and television news recording services to the department. It also provides the equipment and technical support for translation systems and multimedia presentation systems for corporate meeting rooms, including the Cabinet Room. It maintains a library of all the Prime Ministers speeches and provides the technical support for the recoding and distribution of video messages.
The Tour Support Group provides informatics and technical support whenever the Prime Minister travels. Services include the provision of secure telephone and facsimile systems, workstation and computer network systems, and broadcast sound and lighting systems.
Corporate Information Services Division
The Corporate Information Services Division is accountable for all aspects of information management within the Privy Council Office. This includes the development and promulgation of policies, guidelines, standards, procedures and processes for effective and innovative approaches to collecting, storing, accessing, sharing and disposing of the organizations information resources.
The Division consists of the following service areas:
Information, Research and Media Services
Information and Research Services provides library and information related research services such as information and document acquisition, organization, retrieval and dissemination of published materials, regardless of format.
In addition, the unit plays a lead role in the implementation and use of the Internet/Intranet (Communicator) in the Department as well as managing departmental publications and disseminating electronic information tools such as the Virtual Library.
Info-Media Services provides media monitoring services including newspaper clippings in paper and electronic formats, personalized media subject profiles, online/manual information searches, electronic media summaries and headline reviews.
Information and Records Management Services
Information and Records Management Services provides for the implementation of PCOs information management program including the development of related policies, guidelines, standards and procedures.
The unit is also responsible for managing PCOs retention, disposition and essential records program including record organization, classification, access and retrieval.
Executive Correspondence Services
The Executive Correspondence Services consists of two units: the Executive Correspondence Unit (ECU), which is responsible for processing mail addressed to or from the Prime Minister as Head of Government; and the Departmental Correspondence Unit (DCU), which is responsible for processing mail addressed to or from the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Leader of the Government in the House in their roles as Ministers of the Crown.
The two units work closely with officials in the Prime Ministers Office and the Ministers office to ensure the quality and timeliness of all replies.
Mail which is personal or political (dealing with constituency business, party political matters or the private life or personal affairs of the individual) is sent to the designated officer in either the Prime Ministers Office or the Ministers Office.
Human Resources Division
The Human Resources Division provides personnel services and advice to managers and employees. It also develops and implements initiatives related to La Relève and organizational change within PCO, such as the Universal Classification System.
There are four main activity centres. They are staffing and classification, and employee relations; compensation and benefits; human resources policies and programs, including PCOs La Relève initiatives, career management and professional training, employment equity, official languages and the PCO awards and recognition program; and human resources records management and data systems.
Employees are invited to contact the Division for information on these and other programs such as Occupational Health and Safety and the Employee Assistance Program.
Access to Information and Privacy Office
The Access to Information and Privacy Office is responsible for administering the departmental programs concerning the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act for the Privy Council Office. A reading room is provided where the public may examine departmental records and manuals and Cabinet Agenda title lists from 20 years ago.
The Access to Information and Privacy Office is also responsible for coordinating the provision of responses to written Parliamentary questions which have been referred to this Department and for reviewing 30-year old Cabinet Records prior to their transfer to National Archives.
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