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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Minister of Canadian Heritage Mandate Letter

December 13, 2019

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Guilbeault:

Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Canadian Heritage.

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 Canadian Heritage, you will lead work to celebrate Canada’s heritage as well as promote Canada’s cultural and creative industries in both Official Languages. This vital position helps bring Canadians together and strengthens the fabric of our country and communities. You are also responsible for the promotion and support of amateur sport, supporting our athletes as they represent Canada and encouraging young people to be active and engaged in sports.

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:

  • Work with all cultural and creative sectors on the successful delivery of initiatives and new funding announced in previous Budgets.
  • Create new regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech, within 24 hours or face significant penalties. This should include other online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda.
  • Co-lead work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry 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 Innovation, Science and Industry 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.
  • Continue to fully implement the Indigenous Languages Act in order to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada, with long-term predictable and sufficient funding to support the implementation of the Act.
  • Co-develop, with Indigenous Peoples, a framework for repatriating Indigenous cultural property and ancestral remains.
  • Provide funding and support for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Métis Nation entering Confederation.
  • Strengthen the regional mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada to broadcast more local news and require CBC/Radio-Canada to open up its digital platform.
  • Increase annual funding for Telefilm Canada.
  • Make the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre a national museum.
  • Review our national museums policy to ensure that people can access Canadian history across the country, with better access to digital collections. Introduce the Culture Pass, a $200 credit that every Canadian child will receive when they turn 12 years old to be used to access theatres, museums, galleries, workshops and other cultural venues and local Canadian content.
  • Work with the national museums to increase Canadians’ awareness of climate change.
  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 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.
  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in reviewing the Copyright Act.
  • Support the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to create new regulations for large digital companies to better protect people’s personal data and to encourage greater competition in the digital marketplace. A newly created Data Commissioner will oversee those regulations.
  • Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to introduce a new Cultural Diplomacy strategy with at least one international mission each year to promote Canadian culture and creators around the world.
  • Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who is the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, to provide clearer direction on how national heritage places should be designated and preserved and to introduce new comprehensive heritage legislation on federally owned heritage places.
  • Support local journalism and develop business models that facilitate private giving and philanthropic support for professional journalism and local news.
  • Work with the Minister of Health to implement the pan-Canadian Concussion Strategy and raise awareness for parents, coaches and athletes on concussion treatment.
  • Lead preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and future international sporting events.
  • Create greater links between our elite athletes and young Canadians to promote health and achievement among youth.
  • Continue to work with partners, including provinces and territories, to foster an environment that is safe, welcoming and inclusive in the sport and cultural industries.
  • Foster a national culture of safe sport, including physical safety, sporting environments free of harassment, promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and research into injury prevention.
  • Develop additional programming to increase Canadians’ participation in sport, with a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples. This should increase awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of participation in sport.

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.

Sincerely,

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.