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President of the Treasury Board Mandate Letter

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December 16, 2021

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Minister Fortier:

Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as President of the Treasury Board.

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 President of the Treasury Board, your immediate priority is to implement the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and ensure high vaccination uptake across the Public Service to protect government employees and all Canadians. I also expect you to advance measures to foster a more diverse and inclusive Public Service. You will also ensure we continue to deliver results for the middle class and those working hard to join it, through your leadership of the Government’s management agenda, and advancing the implementation of the climate lens and quality of life indicators. As well, you will further the Greening Government Strategy and lead our efforts to advance digital government, which will include ensuring that consideration is given to leveraging digital delivery approaches to improve services to citizens. 

To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.

  • To support the health and safety of public servants and their communities, ensure vaccination across the Public Service and work with responsible ministers to ensure vaccination is enforced for workers at Crown corporations and separate agencies.
  • Continue taking action to ensure that Public Service workplaces are free from sexual harassment and violence, as well as racism and all forms of hate.
  • Ensure government policy continues to be developed through an intersectional lens, is reflective of the needs and aspirations of Canadians and supports our path to net-zero through:
    • Continuing to refine and strengthen the quality of life framework to ensure that we achieve long-term outcomes that benefit people, and that progress towards those aims is rigorously reported;
    • Working with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the application of a climate lens to ensure climate adaptation and mitigation considerations are integrated throughout federal government decision-making; and
    • Supporting the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth in the evaluation process of GBA Plus with the goal of enhancing the framing and parameters of this analytical tool and with particular attention to the intersectional analysis of race, indigeneity, rurality, disability and sexual identity, among other characteristics.
  • Continue to bargain in good faith with Canada’s public sector unions.
  • Advance work to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce by ensuring the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse talents throughout the Public Service, including by:
    • Working with the Clerk of the Privy Council to support departments in implementing the plans outlined in their responses to the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Public Service and ensuring the use of disaggregated data to track our progress;
    • Continuing to build a whole-of-government approach for the improved collection, analysis, availability and publication of disaggregated data, with the support of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; 
    • Creating a Diversity Fellowship to mentor and sponsor diverse groups of public servants and implementing an action plan to increase representation in hiring, appointments and leadership development;
    • Creating a fellowship for 1,000 students and new graduates and offering language training to post-secondary students to reduce barriers to recruitment;
    • Ensuring that progress is made to fulfill our commitment to hire 5,000 new public servants with disabilities by 2025;
    • Offering language programs to racialized employees and expanding recruitment programs to international students and permanent residents;
    • Helping community organizations support students to enter the Public Service;
    • Establishing a mental health fund for Black public servants and supporting career advancement, training, sponsorship and educational opportunities;
    • Continuing to advance the implementation of the Pay Equity Act across the Public Service; and
    • Supporting the Minister of Labour in their work to accelerate the review of the Employment Equity Act and ensuring timely implementation of improvements.

You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion.

  • Work with the Clerk of the Privy Council, and in consultation with public sector unions, to strengthen and modernize the Public Service for the twenty-first century by:
    • Bringing forward a coherent and coordinated plan for the future of work within the Public Service, including developing flexible and equitable working arrangements;
    • Developing a long-term, government-wide Public Service Skills Strategy to ensure we have the capacity to support Canadians in an increasingly changing world. This will include exploring potential pathways to improve recruiting from outside of the Public Service for short-term or permanent roles and a particular emphasis on increasing the number of public servants with modern digital skills; and
    • Continuing to work with the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, as Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, to reduce the time it takes to hire new public servants.
  • Working with Ministers responsible for Crown corporations, continue to promote diversity in corporate governance by advancing our commitment to require Crown corporations to implement gender and diversity reporting, starting in 2022.
  • Continue to take action to improve government whistleblower protections and supports. This will include exploring possible amendments to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
  • Building on the vision outlined in Canada’s Digital Government Strategy, lead our Government’s work to advance digital government to better serve Canadians by:
    • Taking steps to ensure that full consideration is given to leveraging digital delivery approaches throughout the development of major projects;
    • Continuing leadership to update and replace outdated IT systems and modernize the way government delivers benefits and services to Canadians;
    • Serving as the champion for Digital Standards, encouraging your colleagues to utilize more agile, open and user-focused methods when designing services for Canadians;
    • Further expanding open data initiatives and making more data available digitally;
    • Supporting the Canadian Digital Service in accelerating and expanding the use of their services across government, with an aim of improving the digital experience for Canadians, including through increasing the number of digitally-accessible government services; and
    • Working towards a common and secure approach for a trusted digital identity platform to support seamless service delivery to Canadians across the country.
  • Initiate a comprehensive and continuous strategic policy review of government programs to examine how major programs and policies contribute to meeting the biggest challenges of our time, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, improving fairness and equality and promoting quality of life and growth for everyone.
  • Accelerate our Greening Government commitments to electrify the entire federal fleet of light duty vehicles by 2030.
  • Strengthen federal procurement policies to integrate human rights, environment, social and corporate governance principles and supply chain transparency principles, and ensure they apply to federal departments and agencies, while working with Ministers responsible for Crown corporations to require adherence to such policies.
  • Continue leading our regulatory reform efforts in collaboration with your Cabinet colleagues to improve transparency, reduce administrative burden and lead our efforts to harmonize regulations that maintain high safety standards and improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.
  • Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to resolve outstanding Phoenix pay system issues for public servants once and for all, while advancing work on the Next Generation Pay and Human Resources System.
  • Continue to ensure that Canadians across the country can receive services from federal institutions in both official languages and support the Minister of Official Languages in fully implementing measures outlined in the White Paper, English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada that are related to the Public Service.
  • Work with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to develop a plan to both make Parliament a more inclusive place for families and to respond with greater agility in the event of a future national health crisis.

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.