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Clerk of the Privy Council

The Clerk of the Privy Council is the most senior non-political official in the Government of Canada, and provides professional, non-partisan support to the Prime Minister on all policy and operational issues that may affect the government.



The Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet also has particular responsibilities with respect to:
  • ensuring the continuity of government between successive administrations;
  • keeping custody of the records of previous administrations; and
  • enabling the government of the day to understand and recognize the established conventions of Canadaís constitutional monarchy.
The first Clerk of the Privy Council was appointed in 1867. A second title, Secretary to the Cabinet, was added in 1940. Changes to the Public Service Employment Act in 1992 brought a third title, Head of the Public Service, and responsibility for setting the strategic directions for the Public Service of Canada.


Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister

As the Prime Ministerís Deputy Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council provides advice and support to the Prime Minister in his or her role as head of government. This includes advice on appointing senior office holders in the public service and organizing the government, on the Cabinet decision-making system, overall policy directions, intergovernmental relations, and the management of specific issues.

Secretary to the Cabinet

As Secretary to the Cabinet, he or she assists the Prime Minister in maintaining the cohesion of the Ministry and giving direction to it. In this role, the Clerk of the Privy Council provides support and advice to the Ministry as a whole to ensure that the Cabinet decision-making system operates according to the Prime Ministerís design.

Head of the Public Service

As Head of the Public Service, he or she serves as the principal link between the Prime Minister and the Public Service of Canada, and is responsible for the quality of expert, professional and non-partisan advice and service provided by the public service to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and to all Canadians.

Janice Charette

Janice Charette
Janice Charette
Janice Charette was appointed Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet by the Prime Minister on October 6, 2014. She was Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet from January 21, 2013 to October 5, 2014. She also held the position of Associate Secretary to the Cabinet and Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs from November 15, 2010 to January 2013.

From July 2006 to July 2010, Ms. Charette was Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Chairperson of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. Prior to this, Ms. Charette served as Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Associate Deputy Minister of Health. From 2001 to 2004, Ms. Charette joined the Privy Council Office as Assistant Secretary to Cabinet for Priorities and Planning, and was named Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Plans and Consultations in 2002. Previously, she held the position of Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy at the Department of Justice.

Ms. Charette worked in the private sector from 1996 to 1999, first as Principal in the management consulting firm of Ernst & Young, and as Director of the Transition Team for the newly formed Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. From 1994 to 1996, Ms. Charette worked at PCO, as Coordinator of the Base Closures Task Force, and then on the Program Review exercise. In the early portion of her career, she worked for the Department of Finance, the Office of Privatization and Regulatory Affairs, the Federal-Provincial Relations Office, and the Prime Ministerís Office.

Ms. Charette is a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. In 2008, she was national Chair for the United Wayís Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, raising over $36 million for communities and national health charities across Canada. Ms. Charette attended Carleton University, where she received a Bachelor of Commerce. She is married to Reg Charette, and they have two children - Jed and Cassie.

SOURCE: Privy Council Office.

See also
Federal Government
Privy Council
Former Clerks of the Privy Council

External Links
Clerk of the Privy Council Official Website

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt