Public Administration, Institutions, and Law
Factors Influencing Organisational Structure
Gregory Inwood: 3 Major Factors:
a. Capitalist Democracy
- Canada is a capitalist state, meaning it’s more pro-market. Influenced by
- P3 Canada Inc – public-private partnership – created to ensure the market
influences government’s decisions and actions.
- Key issue: Private Property rights
- Collective Rights
b. The Federal System
- Two basic systems in different countries: Unitary System – ex: Britain,
and Federal System – ex: Canada, USA
- One central government
- A political organisation in which the activities of government are divided
between regional governments and a central government in such a way that
each kind of government has some kind of activities on which it makes final
- Each level of government has more or less complete authority over
specific spheres of activities.
- The various levels of government (regional, central) obtain their respective
powers from the country’s constitution and not from each other.
- Citizens owe some loyalty to more than one level of government, and both
levels may act directly on the citizens.
c. Cabinet-Parliamentary System
- Executive – Legislature – Judicial: are all separate in US, strict separation
of power. Checks and balances – checking each separate entity, each one
checks the others.
- In Canada, the Executive and Legislature are not separate, they are
fused. Judicial is independent.
- Executive branch: under this branch is the Crown/Queen, Governor
General, and Cabinet. Section 9 of the Canadian Constitution says that the
Executive government and the authority of and over Canada is vested in the
The Bureaucratic Executive
- Section 9 of the Canadian Constitution says that the Executive
government and the authority of and over Canada is vested in the Queen.
Queen – Governor General. 2
- Constitutionally, the elected executive of the federal government is
responsible for formulating and implementing public policies.
- The process of implementing these policies is entrusted to permanent
state officials employed by the government.
- The Executive Branch is governed by the Queen
- The bureaucracy is part of an arm of the executive branch. Its duty is to
implement policies that are made by the cabinet. It also provides a bias on the
formulation of the policies to the cabinet.
- The only thing that parliament can’t do is change a man into a woman.
They can do anything else they want.
- The Cabinet is comprised of the current (cabinet) ministers.
- Constitutes the real executive power in Canada.
- All public servants act under the direction and control of the Cabinet.
- The Cabinet is accountable to parliament and may continue to govern only
as long as they retain the confidence of parliament.
- In parliamentary democracy, parliament is the most important institution.
- This branch receives its power to govern from the legislature. The
executive branch is accountable to the Legislative Branch. Government needs
the approval of parliament to legitimize its policies and activities, particularly for
the expenditure of public funds.
The Judicial Branch
- Consists of the Supreme Court and all other courts, and judges below it in
the federal and provincial court system.
- The Supreme Court rules in disputes or conflicts about the Constitution or
The Bureaucratic Executive
a. Operating Departments or Ministries
b. Crown Corporations
c. Regulatory Agencies
d. Semi-Independent Agencies
e. Advisory Bodies
Departments or Ministries
- *A department is an administrative unit in comprising one or more organisational
components over which a minister has direct management and control.
- Ex: Jim Flarhaty is the minister of the Finance Ministry.
- Under the Constitution, ministers are supposed to have close and direct control over
the actions of a department. This differs from the Minister’s relationship with 3
regulation agencies and crown corporations. Arm’s length relationship – farther than
“direct” – responsible, but not accountable. 4
Classification of Departments/Ministries
a. Horizontal Policy Coordinative Departments
- Tend to be most politically influential.
- Ex: Ministry of Finance, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Department
of Justice, Privy Counsel, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
- These departments have high policy influence because of the formal authority
given to them, and also because they can afford those who work there.
- They have the highest number of strategic opportunities to intervene in almost
any policy issue that they wish.
- They are small, in terms of number of employees and size of budget, but very
strong in terms of responsibility.
b. Horizontal Administrative Coordinative Departments
- These are less influential, because they are considered the nuts and bolts
departments that provide the means for other departments to operate.
- Ex: Public Works and Government Services Canada
c. Vertical Constituency Departments
- These are departments that generally provide direct services to the public.
- They are high profile departments, in that they have the largest budgets, and
deal with a large number of constituencies.
- They lack the power to intervene in the affairs of other departments, but their
large budget and vocal constituencies give them a significant amount of
- Ex: Ministry of Environment
Functions of Departments
a. Program Administration
- The relevant department is given the responsibility for transforming a policy
into a program.
b. Policy Development
- They do not only implement policies, they develop them. Especially for new
- Each department is seen as an expert in the process of policy making.
c. Research, Analysis, and Record Keeping
- To gain knowledge about the activities that will enable them to better deliver
services or programs and develop policies, all departments gather and
maintain information regarding their activities. They do research, collect data,
and keep it to make analysis. 5
d. General Liaison and Communication
- Departments communicate their activities with a host of government and
nongovernmental organisations to policy and program stakeholders;
parliamentary actors/MPs, media, and the people. Such communication may
involve the provision of information to citizens who are entitled to the
- A central agency is any agency that has a substantial amount of continuing
legitimate authority to direct and intervene in the activities of other departments.
- Central agencies obtain their power either from legislative authority to operate in a
particular area or from proximity to someone with legitimate authority such as the
Four Main Central Agencies:
1. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
2. The Privy Council Office (PCO)
3. The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)
4. The Department/Ministry of Finance
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
- The PMO works directly for the PM and has overtly partisan political role.
- Its major responsibilities is to serve the PM by providing advice on how
policy initiatives will be viewed politically in the country, and to assist in other ways
that will cast the PM in the best political light.
Functions of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO):
1. Planning and coordinating major new policy initiatives
2. Liaison with the party machinery across the country
3. Maintaining good relations with the media
4. They write speeches for the Prime Minister
5. Advising on appointments and nominations
6. They brief the Prime Minister about issues that could come up
during Question Period
7. Housekeeping – making arrangements for the Prime Minister for
travel, invitations, and other requests
The Privy Council Office (PCO)
- A relatively small organisation that provides policy advice and administrative support
to the PM, cabinet, and cabinet committees.
- Not partisan – anyone can work here. Unlike the PMO – if you support the
Marijuana Party, you can’t work in the PMO.