Dear Minister Rodriguez:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Canadian Heritage.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Canadian Heritage, your immediate focus will be to ensure artists and cultural industries have the supports they need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure Canada’s laws reflect our evolving digital world, you will work to introduce legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act, ask web giants to pay their fair share and combat serious forms of harmful online content. You will also move early to take steps with Indigenous partners to create a national monument to honour residential school Survivors. Since arts and culture draw us together and help tell us who we are, you will also prioritize efforts to promote cultural and creative industries in both official languages, increase funding to empower Indigenous, Black and racialized artists and journalists to tell their own stories and work with Indigenous partners to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Support artists and the cultural sector to recover from the impacts of the pandemic by:
- Holding a national summit on plans to restart and position the arts, culture and heritage sectors for the future;
- Ensuring sufficient compensation is available for media production stoppages related to COVID-19;
- Launching an Arts and Culture Recovery Program to mitigate the impacts of reduced capacity in cultural venues; and
- Implementing a COVID-19 transitional support program to provide emergency relief to artists and cultural workers.
- To honour residential school Survivors and all the children who were taken from their families and communities, work with Indigenous leadership, Survivors, families, communities and experts on the planning, design and construction of a national monument in Ottawa.
- Work with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation to ensure that the Indigenous Languages Act continues to be fully implemented and is supported by long-term, predictable and sustainable funding in order to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada.
- As our Government’s Quebec Lieutenant, you will work to ensure the needs and aspirations of all Quebecers are reflected in our agenda and act as a key interlocutor between our Government and Quebecers.
- Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to amend the Copyright Act to further protect artists, creators and copyright holders, including to allow resale rights for artists.
- Reintroduce legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act to ensure foreign web giants contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian stories and music.
- Swiftly introduce legislation to require digital platforms that generate revenues from the publication of news content to share a portion of their revenues with Canadian news outlets to level the playing field between global platforms and Canadian outlets. This legislation should be modelled on the Australian approach and introduced in early 2022.
- Continue efforts with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to develop and introduce legislation as soon as possible to combat serious forms of harmful online content to protect Canadians and hold social media platforms and other online services accountable for the content they host. This legislation should be reflective of the feedback received during the recent consultations.
- Support Canadian music, film and television by:
- Increasing funding to Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund to support Canadian feature films and television productions;
- Increasing the proportion of funding for French audiovisual content at Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund from 33 per cent to 40 per cent to increase the presence of French-language productions;
- Providing the Indigenous Screen Office with additional ongoing funding so more Indigenous stories can be told and seen; and
- Increasing annual contributions to the Canada Music Fund to ensure better and more stable funding for the music sector.
- Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to launch a new cultural diplomacy strategy and ensure Canadian artists realize benefits from this initiative.
- Support the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development to help Canadian cultural industries succeed at home and abroad by issuing a mandate to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to support the growth of creative industries in existing and new markets.
- Support Canadian authors and book publishers by increasing funding for the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Public Lending Right Program.
- Empower racialized artists and journalists by:
- Supporting productions led by people from equity-deserving groups in the Canadian audiovisual industry;
- Investing in the Local Journalism Initiative to support the production of news in underserved communities; and
- Developing a new Changing Narratives Fund to provide diverse communities with the tools to tell their own stories and to promote diverse voices in arts, culture and media.
You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion.
- Modernize CBC/Radio-Canada, proceeding in a manner that respects the public broadcaster’s independence by:
- Updating CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of Canadian audiences, with unique programming that distinguishes it from private broadcasters;
- Reaffirming its role as public broadcaster in protecting and promoting the French language and francophone cultures in Quebec and across the country;
- Increasing the production of national, regional and local news;
- Strengthening Radio Canada International, so that it can continue to advocate for peace, democracy and universal values on the world stage;
- Ensuring that Indigenous voices and cultures are present on our screens and radios;
- Bringing Canada’s television and film productions to the world stage; and
- Providing additional funding to make it less reliant on private advertising, with a goal of eliminating advertising during news and other public affairs shows.
- Modernize the institutions and funding tools that support Canada’s audiovisual sector, including video games, to make funding platform-agnostic and open to more traditionally under-represented storytellers, while promoting Canadian productions and ensuring that Canadians are better equipped to own, and benefit from, the content that they produce.
- Increase the funding for the Court Challenges Program, which supports Canadians in legal cases of national significance that clarify official language rights and human rights.
- Working with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, take steps to build an international coalition to develop a new UNESCO convention on the diversity of content online.
- Continue to contribute to the funding of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations in Quebec and across the country, while also supporting other important celebrations for French language communities in Canada.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and 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
*This Ministerial Mandate Letter was signed by the Prime Minister in the Minister’s first official language.