2003-2004 Estimates
Report on Plans and Priorities

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The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada 

I  Prime Minister's Message and Management Representation Statement

II  Raison d'être

III  Strategic Outcomes

IV  Organization

V  Annexes

Other Information

I - Prime Minister's Message and Management Representation Statement

A. Prime Minister's Message

Together, Canadians have established the foundations for success in the 21st Century: fiscal sovereignty, a unified country, and a confident people. In the September 2002 Speech from the Throne, the Government set an ambitious agenda to build on this foundation to help make Canada a land of ever-widening opportunity for ourselves and for future generations.

This agenda called for Canadians to work together to:

  • put in place the health care system to meet the needs of Canadians today and in the future;
  • help children and families break out of poverty and ensure all children have a good start in life;
  • improve the life chances of Aboriginals;
  • build a healthy environment and tackle the challenge of climate change;
  • make Canada a magnet for talent and investment;
  • strengthen the partnership between government and citizens;
  • protect the security of Canadians; and
  • promote our interests and our values in the world.

We have made significant progress on this agenda. For example, First Ministers have agreed on a plan to make demonstrable progress in modernizing the health care system. The Government of Canada is taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The 2003 Budget announced measures through which the Government of Canada will help build:

  • the society Canadians value through investments in health care, families and communities, and Canada's role in the world;
  • the economy Canadians need by promoting productivity, innovation and sustainable development while staying fiscally prudent; and
  • the accountability Canadians deserve by launching an ongoing review of the relevance and efficiency of government programs, reallocating resources to highest priority areas, and enhancing transparency and reporting.

 The government will continue to advance this ambitious agenda for Canada, and to respond to issues as they emerge. I will continue to rely on the advice and support of the Privy Council Office to this end. I am pleased to present the 2003-2004 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Privy Council Office.

B. Management Representation

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2003-2004 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Privy Council Office.

To the best of my knowledge the information in this document:

  • accurately portrays the department's plans and priorities;
  • is consistent with the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of the 2003-2004 Report on Plans and Priorities;
  • is comprehensive and accurate; and
  • is based on sound underlying departmental information and management systems.

I am satisfied as to the quality assurance processes and procedures used for the RPP production.

The Planning, Reporting and Accountability Structure (PRAS) on which this document is based has been approved by Treasury Board Ministers and is the basis for accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities provided.

Alex Himelfarb
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
March 2003

II - Raison d'être

A. Our Mission

To serve Canada and Canadians by providing the best non-partisan advice and support to the Prime Minister, Ministers within the Prime Minister's portfolio, and Cabinet.

B. Our Values

We recognize the special need of the Prime Minister and Ministers within the Prime Minister's portfolio for timely advice and support. We dedicate ourselves to our work and to the effective functioning of Government. We believe that integrity, judgment and discretion are essential to achieving our mission. We believe that people are the strength of the Privy Council Office (PCO).

C. Our Role

Through the Clerk of the Privy Council, PCO provides professional, non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on questions of national and international importance, government-wide priorities and a broad range of issues relating to the management of the federation. As such, the PCO develops policy analysis and solutions to the complex emerging issues that prevail today and for the strategic challenges and choices ahead for the country.

In addition to providing advice to help the government develop its program, PCO supports the Prime Minister and the Ministry in implementing its commitments through the management of the Cabinet decision-making system. As Cabinet Secretariat, PCO also ensures that the Cabinet committee structure and processes operate effectively to provide the substantive outcomes and recommendations required by the Prime Minister.

As part of this role, the PCO provides an important challenge function to departmental policy proposals to enable Ministers to make informed decisions on the basis of high quality information and analysis. PCO works closely with the Department of Finance Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure that policy proposals are presented within the context of the government's other priorities and with their full resource implications set out. By acting as a coordinating mechanism for policy development, implementation, intergovernmental relations, and communications for federal departments and agencies, PCO helps to bring coherence to the many federal activities and initiatives underway across the country. Finally, PCO collaborates with provincial and territorial governments; the private and voluntary sectors; and other domestic and international stakeholders to help implement the government's agenda.

PCO also serves as the policy department for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Leader of the Government in the Senate. PCO provides advice and support to these Ministers on federal-provincial-territorial issues and the Government's legislative program.

Looking ahead, PCO will continue to pursue excellence in the provision of advice and will develop strategies for maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of the Cabinet decision-making system. It will continue to help bring together departments in managing key cross-cutting issues and to integrate diverse perspectives to present a coherent government-wide approach.

III - Strategic Outcomes

PCO plays a central role in ensuring the effective day-to-day functioning of the Government of Canada and acts as a source of policy continuity between changes in Governments and time frames. It fulfills these roles through its support of the Cabinet decision making process, in the strategic advice it provides to the Prime Minister and Ministers within the Prime Minister's portfolio, by building partnerships with key stakeholders and other orders of government, and by the leadership it demonstrates in the horizontal coordination of policy development and implementation.

At the present time, these activities are organized within PCO to deliver two strategic outcomes for Canadian society:(1)

  1. Efficient operation and appropriate support of the central decision-making mechanisms of the Government (this strategic outcome constitutes the core of the Privy Council Office's mandate).
  2. Increasing capacity to identify, understand and address the longer-term policy issues facing Canada and Canadians.

 The plans and priorities put forward on the following pages demonstrate how PCO will pursue its two strategic outcomes in support of effective government policy-making. Also provided, where possible, are time frames for the completion of specific plans, and indicators that can be used to assess progress towards achieving the results set out in its plans and priorities.

Strategic Outcome 1 - Efficient operation and appropriate support of the central decision-making mechanisms of the Government

 Objective: to ensure that federal resources and institutions are appropriately coordinated and managed for providing federal decision-makers with the support and advice needed to identify and address current and emerging public policy issues.

The value created by PCO is derived from its role of supporting the Prime Minister who is ultimately responsible for structuring and managing the Cabinet decision-making process, and who leads the process of setting the general directions of government policy. In its support of Cabinet, PCO facilitates the effectiveness of decision-making, supports the process through which the values and priorities of Canadians are translated into decisions and their subsequent communication, and aims to produce the highest quality analysis of policy proposals. To help in policy development, PCO serves as a professional source of non-partisan advice and helps to integrate perspectives and views across government. In order for PCO to respond to the demands placed on it by the Prime Minister and Cabinet, it demonstrates flexibility in the management of its own organization.

PCO ensures the efficient operation of the Cabinet decision-making process in accordance with the principles of responsible government, as well as the Prime Minister's prerogative by:

  • supporting Cabinet discussions of the government's agenda, defining its objectives and priorities and overseeing the development and implementation of policies consistent with that agenda, at regular meetings and through periodic Cabinet planning sessions;
  • recording formal decisions of Cabinet, preparing minutes and acting as the official custodian of Cabinet Papers;
  • facilitating substantive discussions of proposed new initiatives or proposed program, policy, parliamentary or regulatory initiatives discussed in Social, Economic, Communications and ad hoc Cabinet Committees, the Special Committee of Council, as well as at informal meetings of Ministers; and
  • engaging in the preparation of departmental initiatives destined for policy approval at Cabinet, by ensuring that thorough analysis of proposals has been completed, that appropriate consultation has been carried out, and that proposals advance the Government's overall priorities.

PCO provides advice to the Prime Minister and to other Ministers within the Prime Minister's portfolio:

  • the Deputy Prime Minister;
  • the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs;
  • the Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons;
  • the Leader of the Government in the Senate; and
  • the Federal Interlocutor for the Métis and Inuit.

This advice relates to the overall conduct of government business, including the strategic handling of major issues and subjects that are of particular interest to the Prime Minister:

  • government-wide planning;
  • appointments;
  • the roles and responsibilities of Ministers;
  • the structure and functioning of the government;
  • relations of the Government with Parliament and the Crown;
  • foreign affairs and defence policy;
  • national security;
  • official languages; and
  • the management of federal-provincial-territorial relations and issues, and the evolution of federalism within Canada.

The stakes are high, and to achieve desired results and an effective allocation of public resources, the advice must be of the highest quality to enable effective decision-making. In developing its advice, PCO endeavours to ensure that it is:

  • accurate;
  • timely;
  • relevant to the priorities of Canadians;
  • practical, including clear options;
  • coherent and comprehensive;
  • informed by many perspectives; and
  • non-partisan.

In providing this advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, PCO needs to understand and thus take into account a wide variety of external factors and public policy considerations such as:

  • the values and priorities of Canadians;
  • the changing face of the country in terms of shifting demographic trends, including increased diversity, aging and urbanization;
  • the state of the economy in terms of economic performance across the country, adaptation to a knowledge-based economy, and development of international trade opportunities in North America and the world;
  • the state of the federation and relations with other governments in Canada;
  • Canada's evolving role and place in an ever-changing geo-political context; and
  • the particular challenges faced by groups within Canadian society, such as Aboriginal people, recent immigrants, and official language communities.

The elaboration of government policy is a complex process. Ministers identify and propose priorities and initiatives on the basis of their portfolio and other responsibilities, supported through the expertise and activities of specialized line organizations. PCO supports the development of policy capacity across government for dealing with current and emerging issues, and helps provide coordination among the full range of government organizations that are essential to the successful design and implementation of government policy. This coordination also helps ensure that new proposals complement existing policies and that they are consistent with the Government's overall objectives.

The nature of the support required by the Prime Minister and the Ministry changes in response to new Cabinet decision-making structures or new demands on the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Such changes, in turn, need to be reflected in the structure and capacities of PCO, and in its relationships with other departments and agencies.

In this regard, PCO recognizes that the current environment is characterized by some trends and pressures that can challenge the effectiveness of the federal decision-making system, and that will need to be taken into account in the adjustment of PCO's approach and capacities.

  • The overall complexity of issues, such as globalization, health care, urban issues and climate change, calls for increased integration between disciplines, sectors and government portfolios in policy responses.
  • Adapting to a quickly changing environment where issues can suddenly emerge will require access to appropriate policy expertise within the federal system and an ability to quickly mobilize this expertise for providing highly responsive advice to decision-makers.
  • To meet the public's expectation for government to be efficient, resource allocation needs to be tightly linked to changing government policy priorities.
  • An integrated approach to multiple planning horizons will help enhance the relevance of short term decision-making to the government's longer term agenda.
  • Finally, effective approaches to collaboration will help establish needed partnerships with provinces, territories and other stakeholders, on issues that transcend jurisdictions and sectors.

To deliver results, the diverse needs of PCO as a Department need to be met, including:

  • recruitment and retention of competent and representative employees with the skills to meet PCO's business needs;
  • well-being in the workplace;
  • the necessary technical infrastructure and information processing tools to support the provision of timely advice, the effective functioning of the decision-making process, and to contribute to the Government of Canada's objectives in providing on-line services;
  • modern management practices within PCO consistent with the government's comptrollership modernization and human resources initiatives;
  • appropriate security environment for the Prime Minister and employees of the organization; and
  • provision of an effective and efficient system to handle the volume of correspondence Canadians send to their Prime Minister.


1. Implementing the Government's Agenda - Ongoing

In the 2002 Speech from the Throne (SFT), the Government of Canada identified a number of areas for priority action. To demonstrate progress to Canadians, the government will need to move quickly from policy development to decision-making to implementation, while maintaining high quality and coherence to its overall agenda. PCO will play an important role by bringing a "whole-of-government" approach to policy development and issues management.


  1. To make increased use of innovative policy development approaches to maximize PCO's own ability to respond quickly and efficiently to complex issues (e.g., pulling together policy teams made up of members from across PCO to allow for focused and strategic interventions and the rapid development of possible solutions).
  2. To help government organize itself to produce the needed results, advise on appropriate Ministerial responsibilities and Cabinet Committee structures, and examine the feasibility of more effective relationships between the functional areas of government (e.g., strengthen and enhance the use of Parliamentary Committees as policy instruments through examining best practices to date).
  3. To provide a coherent view on complex problems, integrate disciplines and perspectives by coordinating policy resources across government using interdepartmental policy teams and Central Agency working groups, and cultivating contacts with other players beyond government, such as with academics and think-tank research organizations.
  4. To advance the government's agenda across jurisdictions, work with departments and other central agencies to address issues of mutual interest with provinces and territories.
  5. To assist the government communicate its results to Canadians in a coordinated and coherent way as policies and programs are developed and implemented, providing strategic communications advice on communicating the government's overall agenda (e.g. coordinating the delivery of diverse federal announcements in a unified manner).
  6. To promote the collaborative development of new social policies, programs and initiatives, ensure the effective implementation of the undertakings of all governments in the Social Union Framework Agreement.

Measures of Progress

Ultimately, the results of the government's agenda will be demonstrated by an improvement in the quality of life for Canadians (for example, including the quality of life described in Canada's Performance 2002, the President of the Treasury Board's Annual Report to Parliament). Some policies may have immediate implications, while others may have an impact only in the longer term. With regard to measuring PCO's own progress in supporting the implementation of the government's agenda, some measures include:

  • Announcements of policies and regulations by the Prime Minister and/or Ministers concerning current status of priority files such as public security, Aboriginal policy, Official Languages Action Plan, the Canada-U.S. Smart Border agenda, the federal health care agenda, and Smart Regulations.
  • Introduction of legislation in Parliament, if and when appropriate.
  • Other Government announcements concerning the introduction of new policies and/or programs.
  • Completion of the three year review of the Social Union Framework Agreement.

2. Long Term Policy and Planning - Fall, 2003

By monitoring longer term trends and looking at new approaches to frame policy issues, PCO supports the government's capacity to take a longer term view.

To confirm the continued relevance of the foundational policy assumptions that shape the government's approach to specific issues, PCO engages in strategic planning and conducts longer term policy research. This work typically assesses the broad trends and pressures facing Canada.


  1. To help frame broad issues, provide a diversity of views and mobilize the varied expertise within the federal government, engage with the interdepartmental community, at both senior and working levels.
  2. To develop policies on the basis of the most up-to-date thinking and research, tap into external expertise such as academics, and business and community leaders and other orders of government.
  3. To improve issues management across time frames, increase integration of the long term work being done by the Policy Research Initiative with PCO priorities planning.

3. Enhance PCO's Internal Management Practices - next 3 years

Like any other organization, PCO's ability to deliver on its mandate depends on its own internal capacities. It must have a skilled workforce to provide high quality services and advice, which means hiring the right people and fostering an environment in which they can learn and develop their skills while contributing to meeting PCO's objectives and mandate. In addition, PCO's own internal planning must parallel the broader government planning for it to be effective. Finally, PCO will need to achieve efficiency and relevance by trying new organizational approaches and translating experience and learning into practice.


  1. To elevate PCO's ability to provide integrated advice and enhance its planning ability through the increased use of environmental scanning, scenario building and fostering a rich network of expertise.
  2. To help PCO set priorities, plan its operations, and align its resources, institute a corporate planning process and advance work on modern comptrollership.
  3. As part of the Government of Canada's commitment to reassess its programs on an ongoing basis to help ensure their continued relevance, effectiveness and affordability, in 2003-04 PCO will identify low priority activities for which resources can be reallocated to higher priorities.
  4. To maintain the needed skilled workforce, build on recent recruitment and mentoring initiatives, and continue to strengthen its Official Languages and employment equity profile.
  5. To learn from experience, develop best practices on PCO core functions, including on the role and use of an effective challenge function, planning across time frames, addressing emerging issues, and on providing leadership.

Measures of Progress

  • Comprehensive identification of priority files and associated policy development management strategies in 2004-05 RPP.
  • Corporate planning process instituted.

Strategic Outcome 2 - Increasing capacity to identify, understand and address the longer-term policy issues facing Canada and Canadians

In the coming years, the main priority of the Policy Research Initiative (PRI) will continue to be:

  • accelerate research and conduct more in-depth research in specific areas (e.g. social capital, poverty and exclusion, population aging and employment, and sustainable development - additional information can be found on the Internet at: http://www.policyresearch.gc.ca/page.asp?pagenm=pub_index&langcd=E ); and
  • integrate research findings into the policy process and strengthen the capacity of the policy community through programs such as the Policy Research Development Program and the Policy Research Data Group.

IV - Organization

A. Accountability

The Queen's Privy Council for Canada was established through the Constitution Act, 1867 to advise and assist the Queen's representative, the Governor General. The Cabinet, which acts formally as the Privy Council, carries out this role.

The Privy Council Office (PCO) also came into being at Confederation. As the Prime Minister's department, PCO provides non-partisan advice on Government policies and priorities, and on the Government's organization and its relations with Parliament, the provinces, and other institutions. PCO also advises on the breakdown of responsibilities among Ministers, appointments of Deputy Ministers, and on special matters, such as national security. As well, PCO is the secretariat for the Cabinet and its various committees.

The Prime Minister's Deputy Minister has carried the title Clerk of the Privy Council since 1867. A second title, Secretary to Cabinet, was added in 1940. Changes to the Public Service Employment Act in 1992 brought a third title, Head of the Public Service, and responsibility for setting the strategic directions for the Public Service.

The department's Program, called the Privy Council Office Program, comprises five business lines: Office of the Prime Minister, Ministers' Offices, Privy Council Office, Commissions of Inquiry, Task Forces and Others and Corporate Services. See Figure 1.

Figure 1: Departmental Structure


  • The Office of the Prime Minister Business Line is under the direction of the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff.
  • The Ministers' Offices Business Line consists of four Ministers' offices (see Figure 2). An executive assistant to each Minister is responsible for the management of each office.

 Figure 2: Ministers' Offices Business Line Organization Chart


  • The Privy Council Office Business Line constitutes the core component of the Privy Council Office Program (see Figure 3). The Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet is accountable for the management of this business line and reports directly to the Prime Minister.

 Figure 3: Privy Council Office Business Line Organization Chart


  • Presently, the Commissions of Inquiry, Task Forces and Others Business Line consists only of the Policy Research Initiative.
  • The Policy Research Initiative was created in the summer of 1996 to strengthen policy capacity to better prepare Canada and Canadians to address the increasingly complex challenges of governance. The Policy Research Initiative is an independent organization that receives administrative support from the Privy Council Office. Two Deputy Ministers oversee this initiative.
  • The Corporate Services Business Line consists of Administration, Financial Services, Informatics and Technical Services, Corporate Information Services, Human Resources and Access to Information and Privacy (see Figure 4). The Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services is responsible for the management of this business line.

 Figure 4: Corporate Services Business Line Organization Chart


B. Strategic Outcomes and Business Lines

The following provides a crosswalk showing the relationship between strategic outcomes and business lines.


Strategic Outcomes
(thousands of dollars)

Business Lines Efficient operation and appropriate support of the central decision-making mechanisms of the Government. Increasing capacity to identify, understand and address the longer-term policy issues facing Canada and Canadians. Total Business Line
Office of the Prime Minister $7,798 -- $7,798
Ministers' Offices $9,914 -- $9,914
Privy Council Office $66,261 -- $66,261
Commissions of Inquiry, Task Forces and Others $7,100 $4,536 $11,636
Corporate Services $43,457 -- $43,457
Total Program $134,530 $4,536 $139,066

 C. Departmental Planned Spending

The Departmental Planned Spending table summarises the Main Estimates plus Supplementary Estimates, the Minister of Finance's Budget 2003 and other adjustments to arrive at the total planned spending requirement for the Privy Council Office. It also identifies planned Full Time Equivalent (FTE) levels over the planning period.

Departmental Planned Spending

(thousands of dollars) Forecast Spending 2002-2003 Planned Spending 2003-2004 Planned Spending 2004-2005 Planned Spending 2005-2006
   Prime Minister's Office 7,255 7,798 7,798 7,798
  Ministers' Offices  9,312 9,914 9,914 9,914
  Privy Council Office 43,756 48,761 48,726 48,726
   Commissions of Inquiry, Task Forces and Others 18,526 4,536 3,036 3,036
  Corporate Services  33,754 43,457 41,420 41,420
Budgetary Main Estimates (gross) 112,603 114,466 110,894 110,894
Non-Budgetary Main Estimates (gross)  -   -   -   - 
   Less: Respendable revenue  -  - - -
Total Main Estimates 112,603 114,466 110,894 110,894
Adjustments ** 24,920 24,600 22,700 16,000
Net Planned Spending 137,523* 139,066 133,594 126,894
Less: Non-respendable revenue 1,068 628 628 628
Plus: Cost of services received without charge 18,483 18,860 20,157 21,634
Net Cost of Program 154,938 157,298 153,123 147,900
Full Time Equivalents 882 885 885 885

*     Reflects the best forecast of total net planned spending to the end of the fiscal year.
**   Adjustments are to accommodate approvals obtained since the Main Estimates and include Budget initiatives, Supplementary Estimates, etc.

V - Annexes

This section provides a financial overview using the following set of financial tables:

1 - Summary of Transfer Payments
2 - Sources of Respendable and Non-respendable Revenue
3 - Net Cost of Department for the Estimates Year

Table 1: Summary of Transfer Payments

(thousands of dollars) Forecast Spending 2002-2003 * Planned Spending 2003-2004 Planned Spending 2004-2005 Planned Spending 2005-2006
Business Line 3 - Privy Council Office 53 53 53 53
Business Line 3 - Privy Council Office 4,694 12,244 11,994 11,994
Other Transfer Payments  -   -   -   - 
Total Grants, Contributions And Other Transfer        
Payments 4,747 12,297 12,047 12,047

 * Reflects the best forecast of total transfer payments to the end of the fiscal year.

Table 2: Source of Respendable and Non-Respendable Revenue 

(thousands of dollars) Forecast Revenue 2002-2003 * Planned Revenue 2003-2004 Planned Revenue 2004-2005 Planned Revenue 2005-2006
Total Respendable Revenue  -   -   -   - 
Refunds of previous year's expenditures 250 250 250 250
Adjustments to prior year's payables 350 350 350 350
Proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown assets 5 5 5 5
Sale of statutory instruments pursuant to the Statutory Instruments Act 1 1 1 1
Proceeds from sales 18 18 18 18
Revenues pursuant to the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act 3 3 3 3
Policy Research Initiative (PRI) conference 440 - - -
Sundries 1 1 1 1
Total Non-respendable Revenue 1,068 628 628 628
Total Respendable and Non-respendable Revenue 1,068 628 628 628

 * Reflects the best forecast of total respendable and non-respendable revenue to the end of the fiscal year

Table 3 - Net Cost of Department for the Estimates Year

(thousands of dollars)

Departmental Total 2003-2004

Net Planned Spending 139,066
Plus:  Services Received without Charge  
Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) 8,878
Contributions covering employees' share of employees' insurance premiums and expenditures paid by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) 4,566
Workmen's compensation coverage provided by Human Resources Canada 10
Salary and associated expenditures of legal services provided by Justice Canada 5,406
Less:   Non-respendable Revenue 628
2002-2003 Net cost of Department 157,298

Other Information

List of Departmental websites which can provide additional relevant information:

Prime Minister www.pm.gc.ca
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons www.lgc.gc.ca
President of the Queen's Privy Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/aia
Leader of the Government in the Senate http://www.lgs.gc.ca
Privy Council Office www.pco-bcp.gc.ca
Indian Specific Claims Commission www.indianclaims.ca
Speech from the Throne www.sft-ddt.gc.ca
Policy Research Initiative www.policyresearch.gc.ca

1. Responsibility for providing impartial assistance to First Nations would be transferred from the Indian Specific Claims Commission, for which PCO currently serves as host department, to the Canadian Centre for the Independent Resolution of First Nations Specific Claims with the passage of Bill C-6, introduced on October 9, 2002.