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Highlights from New Ministerial Mandate Letters

Highlights from New Ministerial Mandate Letters

August 30, 2018

On August 28, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly released ministerial mandate letters of the six ministers affected by the July 18 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 Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism (Pablo Rodriguez)

As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, your goals are to implement and build on our government’s plan to strengthen and promote our cultural and creative industries as well as celebrate Canada’s diversity and foster greater inclusion. Our cultural sector is an enormous source of strength to the Canadian economy. Canada’s stories, shaped by our immense and vibrant diversity, should be celebrated and shared between Canadians and with the world. Our plan will protect our important national institutions, promote the industries that reflect our unique identity as Canadians, and provide good middle class jobs and economic opportunities in our cultural and creative sectors.

In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

  • Work with all cultural and creative sectors on the successful delivery of initiatives and $3.2 billion of new funding announced in previous Budgets. Work with creators and artists on new ways in which the government can strengthen this important component of our economy and identity.
  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to continue work on the modernization of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act. This work should examine how best to support the creation, production and distribution of Canadian content in both English and French, while ensuring high-quality and affordable access for Canadians to the Internet, mobile technologies and media channels.
  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to review the Copyright Act. This review should build on the work of Parliament and ensure Canada has a comprehensive copyright framework where Canadian creators are valued for their work, users benefit from choice, and businesses grow and succeed.
  • Lead in the delivery of the Creative Export Strategy with the support of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion.
  • Work with the Minister of Finance to implement Budget 2018 commitments to support local journalism and developing business models that better facilitate private giving and philanthropic support for trusted, professional non-profit journalism and local news.
  • Work with media organizations to consider how the government can further support the transition to digital media.

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities (François-Philippe Champagne)

As Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, your goal is to continue implementing our historic Investing in Canada Plan. You should work collaboratively, appreciating that provincial, territorial, municipal governments and Indigenous communities are partners in successful infrastructure projects. I expect you to engage municipal governments as key partners in the implementation and execution of our plans and to ensure that across our government we collaborate with municipalities on issues that affect them. I also expect you to align our efforts with existing provincial, territorial and municipal priorities, so long as these are in the long-term public interest.

  • Continue to work with other Ministers to implement the Investing in Canada Plan. Your focus must be on the successful, timely delivery of our growth-generating investments in public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, as well as key strategic infrastructure that will increase trade. The key objectives of this plan are increasing economic growth and creating good middle class jobs.
  • Ensure that Canadians have access to accurate and timely information about infrastructure investments in their communities, and work with your Ministerial colleagues to improve financial reporting to Canadians and the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
  • Engage with provinces and territories to identify priorities that achieve a fair balance of provincial, territorial, and municipal projects to benefit communities of all sizes, from rural and remote to our largest cities. This includes implementing an environmentally-friendly lens and community employment benefits in accordance with the integrated bilateral agreements.
  • Work with the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government to ensure that we account for and flow infrastructure investment as construction work takes place. Appropriations for infrastructure each year are the government’s and Parliament’s expectation for investment flow. Funding should not lapse, and it should only be re-profiled to ensure funding committed to projects continues to be available until completion. If annual investment levels are not met, I expect bilateral agreements to be honoured and transparent reporting to Canadians on why funding floors have shifted and short-term plans to deliver promised investments without drawing down future funding levels. If no investments are identified for use from allocated infrastructure funds, work with the Minister of Finance to ensure those funds are automatically transferred to municipalities through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund.
  • Collaborate with provincial and territorial partners to explore possible alternatives to the current infrastructure funding terms and conditions to address the timeliness of the flow of funds while maintaining appropriate oversight and accountability for federal investments.
  • Continue to support the Minister of Indigenous Services to improve essential physical infrastructure for Indigenous communities including improving housing outcomes for Indigenous Peoples.
  • Continue to work with the Ministers of Status of Women, Indigenous Services, and Families, Children and Social Development to ensure that no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn to by growing and maintaining Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.
  • Utilize the innovative ideas generated by the finalists of the Smart Cities Challenge to select winners from communities of all sizes, and collaborate with the Minister of Indigenous Services to test new, Indigenous-led projects through the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge.
  • Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in a review of existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber-threats.

Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie (Mélanie Joly)

As Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, your goals are to promote and increase tourism in Canada which is a fast growing sector that employs nearly two million Canadians, and to harness the full economic potential of this key sector of our economy; safeguard and promote our two official languages as well as ensure Canada’s strong and sustained engagement in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

  • Continue to implement the Action Plan for Official Languages that you developed, which embodies the government’s commitment to support and promote our two official languages and the vitality of our official languages minority communities. In parallel begin an examination towards modernizing the Official Languages Act.
  • Prepare celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.
  • Establish a free, online service for learning and retaining English and French as second languages – the name of this service should honour our late colleague the Honourable Mauril Bélanger, P.C. who developed the idea. The President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government will support you as required.
  • Work with the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government to ensure that all federal services are delivered in full compliance with the Official Languages Act.
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