Dear Mr. Bains:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
On Election Day, Canadians chose to continue moving forward. From coast to coast to coast, people chose to invest in their families and communities, create good middle class jobs and fight climate change while keeping our economy strong and growing. Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most, from making their lives more affordable and strengthening the healthcare system, to protecting the environment, keeping our communities safe and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. People expect Parliamentarians to work together to deliver these results, and that’s exactly what this team will do.
It is more important than ever for Canadians to unite and build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. The Government of Canada is the central institution to promote that unity of purpose and, as a Minister in that Government, you have a personal duty and responsibility to fulfill that objective.
That starts with a commitment to govern in a positive, open and collaborative way. Our platform, Forward: A Real Plan for the Middle Class, is the starting point for our Government. I expect us to work with Parliament to deliver on our commitments. Other issues and ideas will arise or will come from Canadians, Parliament, stakeholders and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to the Government’s agenda when appropriate. Where legislation is required, you will need to work with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Cabinet Committee on Operations to prioritize within the minority Parliament.
We will continue to deliver real results and effective government to Canadians. This includes: tracking and publicly reporting on the progress of our commitments; assessing the effectiveness of our work; aligning our resources with priorities; and adapting to events as they unfold, in order to get the results Canadians rightly demand of us.
Many of our most important commitments require partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Even where disagreements may occur, we will remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government and it is in everyone’s interest that we work together to find common ground. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories.
There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We made significant progress in our last mandate on supporting self-determination, improving service delivery and advancing reconciliation. I am directing every single Minister to determine what they can do in their specific portfolio to accelerate and build on the progress we have made with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
I also expect us to continue to raise the bar on openness, effectiveness and transparency in government. This means a government that is open by default. It means better digital capacity and services for Canadians. It means a strong and resilient public service. It also means humility and continuing to acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect; they expect us to be diligent, honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.
As Minister, you are accountable for your style of leadership and your ability to work constructively in Parliament. I expect that you will collaborate closely with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. You will also meaningfully engage with the Government Caucus and Opposition Members of Parliament, the increasingly non-partisan Senate, and Parliamentary Committees.
It is also your responsibility to substantively engage with Canadians, civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. You must be proactive in ensuring that a broad array of voices provides you with advice, in both official languages, from every region of the country.
We are committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make.
Canada’s media and your engagement with them in a professional and timely manner are essential. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, ask necessary questions and contribute in an important way to the democratic process.
You will do your part to continue our Government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure that people of all gender identities, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, persons with disabilities and minority groups are reflected in positions of leadership.
As Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, you will continue to help Canadian businesses innovate and grow so that they can create good quality jobs and wealth for Canadians. The new Innovation Superclusters Initiative is an anchor of this work. You will also take steps to support consumer choice and competition to make life more affordable for middle class families. The full responsibilities for science are in your portfolio, including the relationship with the post-secondary research community and the integration of scientific considerations in the Government’s decision-making processes, as well as the transformation of science into commercially successful innovation, new economic opportunities and the industries of tomorrow.
I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will:
- Continue to support innovation ecosystems across the country, particularly those based on partnerships between businesses and post-secondary institutions, to support job creation, technology adoption, investment and scale-up.
- Continue to support Canada’s traditionally strong industries – including, but not limited to, automotive, aerospace and agri-food – to increase productivity and innovation, especially as we transition to a low-carbon economy. The ongoing work of the Economic Strategy Tables can guide your work in this regard.
- Support the Chief Science Advisor to ensure that the government’s pure and applied science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work and that scientific analysis from across Canada and around the world is considered when the Government makes decisions. Ensure that Cabinet and I receive regular briefings from the Chief Science Advisor on cross-government science priorities.
- As the Minister responsible for the National Research Council, work to continue to drive mission-oriented research to address the great challenges of our age, including climate change, clean growth and a healthy society.
- Continue to advance Canada’s commitment to promoting gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the Sciences, and provide funding to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to create academic research grants for studies on race, diversity and gender in Canada.
- Use all available instruments, including the advancement of the 2019 Telecom Policy Directive, to reduce the average cost of cellular phone bills in Canada by 25 per cent. You will work with telecom companies and expand mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) in the market. If within two years this price target is not achieved, you can expand MVNO qualifying rules and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission mandate on affordable pricing.
- Award spectrum access based on commitments towards consumer choice, affordability and broad access. You will also reserve space for new entrants.
- With the support of the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance and the Minister of Seniors, create a new Canadian Consumer Advocate to ensure a single point of contact for people who need help with federally regulated banking, telecom or transportation-related complaints. Ensure that complaints are reviewed and, if founded, that appropriate remedies and penalties can be imposed.
- Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and the Minister of Canadian Heritage to deliver high-speed internet to 100 per cent of Canadian homes and businesses by 2030.
- Co-lead work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to modernize the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, examining how best to support Canadian content in English and French and ensure quality affordable internet, mobile and media access.
- Work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to introduce legislation by the end of 2020 that will take appropriate measures to ensure that all content providers, including internet giants, offer meaningful levels of Canadian content in their catalogues, contribute to the creation of Canadian content in both Official Languages, promote this content and make it easily accessible on their platforms. The legislation should also consider additional cultural and linguistic communities.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to position Canada as a global leader in clean technology.
- In partnership with industry and communities, work with the Minister of Natural Resources to install up to 5,000 additional charging stations along the Trans Canada Highway and other major road networks and in Canada’s urban and rural areas, track toward our zero-emission vehicles targets, and expand the existing zero-emission vehicle incentive by providing a 10 per cent rebate on a used zero-emission vehicle up to a maximum value of $2,000.
- Work with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Canadian Heritage to advance Canada’s Digital Charter and enhanced powers for the Privacy Commissioner, in order to establish a new set of online rights, including: data portability; the ability to withdraw, remove and erase basic personal data from a platform; the knowledge of how personal data is being used, including with a national advertising registry and the ability to withdraw consent for the sharing or sale of data; the ability to review and challenge the amount of personal data that a company or government has collected; proactive data security requirements; the ability to be informed when personal data is breached with appropriate compensation; and the ability to be free from online discrimination including bias and harassment.
- With the support of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, create new regulations for large digital companies to better protect people’s personal data and encourage greater competition in the digital marketplace. A newly created Data Commissioner will oversee those regulations.
- With the support of the Minister of Digital Government, continue work on the ethical use of data and digital tools like artificial intelligence for better government.
- As the Minister responsible for Statistics Canada:
- Prepare for the long-form census in 2021, including the collection and analysis of disaggregated data;
- Support the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth by improving the quality and amount of data collection done by Statistics Canada regarding hate crimes to help create effective and evidence-based policies to counteract these crimes; and
- Support the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance to better incorporate quality of life measurements into government decision-making and budgeting.
- Work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to review the Copyright Act.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and interested provinces and territories and communities to establish a national approach to beneficial ownership so that law enforcement and the Canada Revenue Agency have the tools to crack down on financial crime in real estate while respecting Canadians’ privacy rights. With the support of the Minister of Finance, conclude consultations with the provinces and territories on the creation of a pan-Canadian public registry for beneficial ownership and prepare legislation reflecting the outcome of those consultations.
- Work with the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to support continued gender equality and diversity in Canadian companies.
- Support the Minister of Public Services and Procurement in bringing forward analyses and options for the creation of Defence Procurement Canada.
- As the Minister responsible for the Competition Bureau, work with the Minister of Northern Affairs to ensure that savings from the Northern Resident Deduction for travel costs benefit citizens in the North rather than transportation providers.
These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. As mentioned, you are encouraged to seek opportunities to work across Parliament in the fulfillment of these commitments and to identify additional priorities.
I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on the many daily decisions necessary to ensure the achievement of your priorities, the effective running of the government and better services for Canadians. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions so that they are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our Government.
Our ability, as a government, to implement our priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it, including elements that have been added to strengthen it, and ensure that your staff does so as well. I expect that in staffing your offices you will hire people who reflect the diversity of Canada, and that you will uphold principles of gender equality, disability equality, pay equity and inclusion.
Give particular attention to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.
I will note that you are responsible for ensuring that your Minister’s Office meets the highest standards of professionalism and that it is a safe, respectful, rewarding and welcoming place for your staff to work.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. It is incumbent on you to turn to me and the Deputy Prime Minister early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada