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Annex B

Background on the Working Group

This annex contains:

  • background on the Working Group;
  • the membership of the Working Group; and,
  • a list of the outside experts who contributed to the working group.


In recent years, several high profile events, such as the diminution of fish stocks off the east and west coasts, the tainted blood tragedy and the subsequent Krever inquiry and, more generally, the concern about adequate preparedness for Y2K, have served to raise awareness of the importance of managing risk effectively in a decision-making context.

In the public policy environment, risks to health and safety, environmental integrity and economic vitality are increasing, in part due to factors such as:

  • ever more rapid technological adoption of scientific advances;
  • population increases and migration;
  • globalization of trade and environmental phenomena; and,
  • pressure on public sector resources (financial and human).

In addition to the many external influences, government has made a conscious effort to enhance the public policy process by meeting challenges such as citizen engagement, consistent ethical practice, improved reporting to Parliament, and a focus on results rather than rules.

Taken together, these trends and pressures create an environment where public policy:

  • must deal with risk on a more frequent basis;
  • is subject to greater scrutiny; and,
  • often has increasingly critical implications for future social, economic and environmental well-being.

Creation of the Working Group

In light of this evolving environment, the issue of risk management arose in several discussions among deputy ministers in the latter part of 1998. At that time, the Clerk of the Privy Council indicated that the level of interest expressed by deputies merited a closer look at risk management concepts.

Accordingly, the Privy Council Office convened a working group of assistant deputy ministers to consider horizontal issues associated with managing risk in the public policy process. It was anticipated that such a working group could expand the knowledge base on risk management, enrich further discussions and assist in identifying key areas for attention.

The Working Group on Risk Management was organized and chaired by Ruth Dantzer, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Social Development Policy, Privy Council Office. Participants in the Working Group were nominated by members of the Deputy Ministers’ Challenge Team on Regulatory Reform (now called the Deputy Minister’s Challenge Team on Law-Making and Governance), ensuring representation of a cross-section of policy responsibilities within the government; science-based departments as well as those with a socio-economic perspective. A membership list is attached.

The Group met monthly between January and November 1999. During that time, several special sessions were also convened to expand the Group’s general working knowledge on risk management and establish linkages with outside experts. A list of these outside experts is attached. In April the Clerk’s ADM Forum was dedicated to the topic of risk management. Various sub-groups also met over the period to develop and refine aspects of the work undertaken by the Group, including background papers and this report.

Membership -- ADM Working Group on Risk Management

Ruth Dantzer
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet
Social Development Policy
Privy Council Office

Jane S. Billings
Chief Executive Officer, Consulting and Audit Canada
Public Works and Government Services


Bill McCann
Director General, Consulting
Consulting and Audit Canada
Public Works and Government Services

Tony Campbell
Executive Director, Intelligence Assessment Secretariat
Privy Council Office

Jean Chartier
Vice-President, Public and Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Bob Connelly
Vice-President, Policy Development
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Liseanne Forand
Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy
Fisheries and Oceans

Jonathan Fried
Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade and Economic Policy
Foreign Affairs and International Trade


Andre Dulude
Director General, Technical Barriers and Regulations Division
Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Outside Experts Who Contributed to the Working Group

Bill Stanbury
University of British Columbia

Bill Leiss
University of Calgary

Michael Trebilcock
University of Toronto

David Lewis
Hickling Lewis Brod Inc.

Jean François Girard,
Conseil d’État
Paris, France

Mark Neal
University of Reading
United Kingdom

Tammy Tengs
University of California
Irvine, USA


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