Dear Ms. Chagger:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.
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 Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, you will support the Government’s work to build a country where every person has equal opportunity to succeed, championing the full breadth of Canada’s vibrant diversity and advancing greater inclusion. This will include leading the multiculturalism and anti-racism programs and activities within Canadian Heritage and assuming responsibilities from me for policies and programs in support of LGBTQ2 and Youth.
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:
- Lead multiculturalism policy, programs and activities to ensure that Canadian diversity is celebrated and respected in all of its forms.
- Work to ensure that multicultural programs are delivered in an effective way.
- Work with your colleagues to develop policies that tackle systemic discrimination and unconscious bias in our country, including anti-Black racism.
- Expand and advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy and ensure community-based projects are prioritized and meet the goals and outcomes of the Strategy.
- Establish an Anti-Racism Secretariat.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to improve the quality and scope of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in future budgets, particularly with a focus on diversity analysis.
- Support the work of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to ensure rigorous GBA+ is performed on all Cabinet proposals from every department, with a particular focus on diversity analysis.
- Support the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in his continued investments in projects that celebrate, share knowledge of, and build capacity in our vibrant Black Canadian communities.
- Work with Ministers across government to build on the spirit of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.
- Make new investments in research, support and employment projects for visible minority newcomer women, with support from the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.
- Support the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on pilot programming to encourage more newcomers to settle in rural Canada.
- Work with other Ministers, and economic development, agricultural and trade organizations as well as directly with industry, to ensure that under-represented people and communities, such as racialized communities, are better served and more informed about the programs and services that can help them find economic opportunities.
- Continue the work of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat in promoting LGBTQ2 equality, protecting LGBTQ2 rights and addressing discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities.
- Provide additional investments to LGBTQ2 organizations to hire staff, expand services and reach more people. This includes hotlines and other support services for LGBTQ2 communities, including those that provide sexual health information.
- Work with the Minister of Health, and in partnership with Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, to build on existing progress to implement a behaviour-based model of donation that eliminates the blood ban for men who have sex with other men.
- Consult civil society representatives of LGBTQ2 communities to lay the groundwork for an LGBTQ2 action plan that would guide the work of the federal government on issues important to LGBTQ2 Canadians.
- Support the work of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to ensure that all Canadian communities feel safe by combatting online hate and harassment and combatting ideologically-motivated violent extremism and terrorist organizations.
- Continue the work of the Youth Secretariat to implement Canada’s first-ever Youth Policy and ensure that the upcoming State of Youth report adopts an intersectional approach that includes race.
- Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to enhance the Youth Employment Strategy and the Canada Summer Jobs program.
- Serve as Vice Chair of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and provide it with departmental support so that I have an opportunity to draw advice from an engaged group of young Canadians.
- Lead, with the support of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the development of a signature national youth service program within the Canada Service Corps to allow youth to gain skills and leadership experience while making a meaningful difference in their communities.
- Support me in the development of monitoring and reporting processes to ensure that the Government’s senior appointments are merit-based and demonstrate gender parity and diversity.
- Support the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy and to take other steps required with the provinces and territories to end conversion therapy in Canada.
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.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada