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Highlights from New Ministerial Mandate Letters

October 4, 2017

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly released ministerial mandate letters of the six ministers affected by the August 28 cabinet shuffle.

The mandate letters from the Prime Minister provide a framework for what Ministers are expected to accomplish, including specific policy objectives and challenges to be addressed.

As with the mandate letters issued in 2015, the new letters include wording about openness and transparency

We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government.  It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves.  Government and its information should be open by default.  If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.  It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them.  Canadians do not expect us to be perfect – they expect us to be honest, open, and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.

A number of letters include priorities of interest to the Canadian library and information management community:

Minister of Indigenous Services (Jane Philpott)

As Minister of Indigenous Services, your overarching goal will be to ensure a consistent, high quality, and distinctions-based approach to the delivery of services to Indigenous Peoples.  I expect you to continue the progress that has been made on improving the delivery of services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.  You should adopt a rigorous results and delivery approach.  This work will require delivering real and improved results in the short term, improving outcomes over the longer term, and supporting the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to modernize our institutional structures and governance so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples can build capacity that supports implementation of their vision of self-determination.

  • Identify the best models for delivering improved services to Indigenous Peoples and improve accountability to Indigenous Peoples for the quality of services delivered, including:
    • work to leverage the ingenuity and understanding of Indigenous Peoples as well as experts from the private sector, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and international experts on service delivery. I expect you to assess how Indigenous Peoples experience the delivery of government services on a day-to-day basis and identify ways to improve delivery that are holistic, community-based, and put the needs of the person first; and
    • ensure that we are working with Indigenous Peoples to measure progress and improve service delivery on an ongoing basis. Please work across government and with the Privy Council Office’s Central Innovation Hub to co-create new and meaningful partnership models with Indigenous communities and civil society partners.
  • As we move towards greater Indigenous self-government, continue to oversee the provision of existing services to Indigenous Peoples, and particularly First Nations under the Indian Act, including the provision of community infrastructure, emergency management, water, education, moneys and trusts, and registration.
  • Ensure the successful delivery of the significant investments made in Indigenous services through Budget 2016 and Budget 2017. This includes new and repaired housing, ensuring First Nations children on reserve receive a quality education, and eliminating all long-term boil water advisories by 2021 as a key measure in ensuring First Nations people on reserve have access to clean drinking water.
  • Implement Budget 2017 enhancements to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, and work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour as well as Indigenous partners to undertake a review of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students choosing to pursue post-secondary education. The purpose of the review is to ensure these programs meet the needs of individual students while supporting completion of a post-secondary credential.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement (Carla Qualtrough)

As Minister of Public Services and Procurement, your overarching goal will be to ensure that the services provided by your portfolio are delivered efficiently, and in a way that makes citizens feel respected and valued.  At the same time, I expect that you will ensure that the government’s internal services are held to an equally high standard and that procurement processes reflect modern best practices.  The delivery of government services, including procurement practices, should reflect public expectations around transparent, open, and citizen-centred government and should serve our policy goals of sustainable economic growth that grows the middle class.

  • Ensure that public servants are paid accurately and promptly for the highly valued work they do on behalf of Canadians. Working with the President of the Treasury Board, the Working Group of Ministers on Achieving Steady State for the Pay System, the Privy Council Office, and our public service union partners, you will help ensure the pay system is stabilized and able to perform within service standards.
  • Bring forward a new vision for Canada Post to ensure it provides the high-quality public service that Canadians expect at a reasonable price. This should build on the recent work of the Task Force on the Future of Canada Post, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and additional input the Government has received from Canadians to date. Critical to fulfilling this commitment will also be the renewal of the organization by filling vacant leadership positions through timely, open, transparent, and merit-based selection processes, and the development of a stronger and more constructive relationship between the Corporation, its workers, and the communities in which it operates.
  • Work with the President of the Treasury Board to improve the delivery of information technology within the Government of Canada, including the renewal of Shared Services Canada (SSC) so that it is properly resourced and aligned to deliver common IT infrastructure that is reliable and secure, while at the same time providing departments what they need in order to deliver services that are timely, citizen-centred, and easy to use. This work should build on and complement recent reviews of SSC and the Government’s IT strategic plan.
  • Support the Minister of Science to bring forward a new vision for federal science infrastructure, including recapitalization, taking into account the advice of the Chief Science Advisor.

Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities (Kent Hehr)

As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, your overarching goal will be to promote healthier Canadians through sport and recreation, and to ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities. You will work to ensure that the Canadian sport system provides all Canadians the chance to get involved in sport at all levels and in all forms of participation. Your accessibility mandate is also critical, as all Canadians benefit from accessibility when we and our family members, friends, neighbours, classmates, and co-workers are able to fully participate and contribute in our communities and workplaces without barriers.

  • Develop and introduce new federal accessibility legislation. You will build on the significant consultations that have already taken place involving provinces, territories, municipalities, many organizations, and thousands of Canadians. The legislation should be ambitious, lead to more consistent experiences of accessibility across Canada, and apply across matters under the responsibility of the Government of Canada, and ensure that the government leads by example. To do this, I expect you to work closely with your ministerial colleagues who have responsibility for areas covered by the legislation, in particular the President of the Treasury Board.
  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to advance work on accessibility as a catalyst for new ideas and business strategies through technology and design.
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