Dear Minister LeBlanc:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.
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 Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, you will lead our engagement with other orders of government and coordinate Cabinet colleagues in this regard, prioritizing collaborative and constructive partnerships, with an immediate focus on finishing the fight against COVID-19. With this aim, you will work to deliver our significant infrastructure investments to ensure they yield meaningful results for and improve the lives of Canadians. Likewise working with the provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as Indigenous partners, you will leverage our government’s investments in public transit and infrastructure to support a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future. You will also continue to work to strengthen our democratic institutions, including combatting disinformation and examining the link between technology and democracy.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Lead our Government’s work in maintaining open and collaborative relationships with every province and territory, with the goal of working together to serve and improve the lives of all Canadians, and engage with lead ministers to ensure a well-coordinated and strategic approach on key priorities that have significant provincial and territorial implications. This will include ensuring that the priorities of municipalities are reflected in our agenda and maintaining open lines of communications with their elected leaders.
- Continue making meaningful investments in infrastructure across the country. Your focus must be on the successful and timely delivery of our growth-generating investments in public transit and green and social infrastructure. These investments should have a focus on increasing economic growth, supporting climate resilience, reducing emissions and creating good middle class jobs with infrastructure that improves Canadians’ quality of life.
- Continue to lead the engagement with provincial governments and utilities across Atlantic Canada to shape a clear path forward for the Atlantic Loop initiative to connect suppliers of clean power across Atlantic Canada to transition away from coal and help transform how we power our economy and communities. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Environment and the Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
- With the support of the Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and in close collaboration with provinces, lead the development and implementation of initiatives to advance the goals of the Atlantic Growth Strategy.
- Support the Minister of Natural Resources in advancing near-term consultations with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to develop and implement strategies to decarbonize electricity systems.
- As the Minister responsible for the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), which is now fully operational, and with the support of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, continue to ensure the CIB has the support it needs for its core purpose of attracting private sector and institutional investment to expand the scope of public infrastructure investment in Canada, in line with the Government’s public policy objectives.
- Work with provincial, territorial and industry partners to accelerate the removal of internal trade barriers and build capacity to generate open and accessible pan-Canadian data on internal trade barriers.
- Support the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Minister of Transport in their work to strengthen and secure supply chains and reduce and prevent supply chain bottlenecks in Canada’s transportation networks.
- Support communities through additional investments to increase air quality and indoor ventilation.
- Continue the transformation of public transit in Canada by accelerating major public transit projects, supporting the switch to zero-emission buses, developing rural transit solutions and continuing the roll-out of the National Active Transportation Strategy. You will also work with provinces, territories, municipalities, local governments, Indigenous communities, transit agencies, policy experts and other stakeholders on the design of the permanent public transit fund.
- Support the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority in advancing the completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, creating a vital link with our largest trading partner.
- Support major nation-building projects that will benefit people across various regions, connect our country and improve quality of life, including the Newfoundland-Labrador fixed transportation link.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to introduce a new Buy Clean Strategy to support the use of made-in-Canada low-carbon products in Canadian infrastructure projects.
- Launch Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment to help identify needs and priorities in the built environment and support long-term planning toward a net-zero emissions future.
- Create open-access climate toolkits to help infrastructure owners and investors develop projects that contribute to Canada’s path to net-zero emissions.
- With the support of the Minister of Natural Resources and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, build on the foundation of the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and continue seeking opportunities to scale the construction of climate-resilient infrastructure across Canada, with a particular emphasis on communities most at risk.
- Work with provinces and territories to develop an approach to better support the economic growth of small and medium-size communities, ensuring that the needs and aspirations of their residents are effectively championed by our Government.
- With the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, and Minister of Indigenous Services, and in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, continue to make immediate and long-term investments to support ongoing work to close the infrastructure gap by 2030, with a particular focus on expediting investments in Indigenous housing, with over half of the funding available by the upcoming summer construction period.
- Make additional investments through the Natural Infrastructure Fund to support community-led public green space projects by municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations.
- Accelerate the design and delivery of the next phase of the Smart Cities Challenge.
- Continue to lead an integrated government response to protect Canada’s democratic institutions, including the federal electoral process, against foreign interference and disinformation, working with domestic and international partners. You will also lead efforts to consider the interplay between technology and democracy.
- Consider the Chief Electoral Officer’s forthcoming legislative recommendations from the 43rd and 44th general elections to further support transparency, fairness and participation in the federal electoral process. This will include working to ensure that participating in Canadian elections continue to be safe, regardless of ongoing events.
- Consider the forthcoming report of Canada’s Leaders’ Debates Commissioner on how to improve leaders’ debates and take steps to ensure that they better serve the public interest.
- Work with the Minister of Public Safety to bolster the security of ministers and Parliamentarians.
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.