Minister’s Responsibilities

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Minister has a broad array of statutory duties, functions and  responsibilities which are set out in a wide range of federal statutes. The Minister has sole responsibility for a series of statutes, and shared responsibility with other ministers for many others. The legislation administered by the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Public Safety Canada) and portfolio agenciesFootnote1 includes over 100 federal statutes and their regulations. Each portfolio agency has its own governing legislation which sets out its statutory authority and to various degrees, the role of the Minister.

In addition, the Governor in Council may, through an Order in Council (OIC), make the Minister responsible for additional duties or provide the authority to take certain actions (e.g. to enter into an agreement with a province, territory, municipality or First Nation community). 

The Prime Minister will also assign additional responsibilities to the Minister through a mandate letter and through Cabinet and committee roles. It is important to note that these responsibilities are not statutory in nature, but rather are responsibilities relating to the Minister’s official mandate and role as a member of Cabinet.

Notable Statutory Responsibilities

Notable legislation and statutory responsibilities include:

Authority For Others to Exercise the Minister’s Statutory Responsibilities

Not all the Minister’s responsibilities need be personally exercised by the Minister.  Most of the Minister’s statutory duties are exercised by officials on the Minister’s behalf, either because of a specific designation or delegation, or because of authority granted by the Interpretation Act to officials occupying a position appropriate to carrying out the Minister’s responsibility.  As a consequence, many authorities and responsibilities assigned by statute to the Minister may be exercised by the Deputy Minister or other departmental officials who occupy positions appropriate to carry out the functions.


Ministerial Authority to Give Direction to Agency Heads

The Minister has an overall direction power not only with respect to Public Safety Canada, but also the RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, and CSC. Under the various statutes establishing the agencies, the Minister has the authority to provide “direction” to the Agency Heads, who are responsible for the “control and management” of the agency, “under the direction of the Minister”.   Direction is sometimes provided through formal instruments known as “Ministerial Directives”.


Departmental officials will work with our office to schedule a more details briefing about your legal responsibilities.


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    The Public Safety portfolio is composed of five agencies: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Correctional Services Canada (CSC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), Parole Board of Canada (PBC); as well as three review bodies: the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC), the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI), and the RCMP External Review Committee (ERC).

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