PARLINFO

Federal government Section
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

The designation, Deputy Prime Minister, is strictly an honorary title conferred at the discretion of the Prime Minister on a member of the Cabinet. It has no standing in law, and does not carry any formal duties or tasks, though the Prime Minister may negotiate or assign specific tasks in conjunction with the title.

The title originates with Prime Minister Trudeau who first coined it when he designated the Hon. Allan J. MacEachen Deputy Prime Minister as well as Government House leader in an interview with the press subsequent to the nomination of his Cabinet, September 16th, 1977. Since then, only two Prime Ministers - the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark and the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper - have chosen to not name a Deputy Prime Minister.

Instrument of Advice

From the Hon. Erik Nielsen's designation as Deputy Prime Minister, current practice holds that this title be assigned by "instrument of advice". An instrument of advice is essentially a private letter addressed to the Crown or its duly appointed representative, the Governor General, by the Prime Minister directly. Instruments of advice are usually used when the Prime Minister wishes to inform or solicit the Crown in matters related to the Royal Prerogative. In Canada, there are in general 5 instances where this applies: 1. Dissolution of Parliament - recommendation and request of consent; 2. Nominations to the Cabinet and Senate; 3. Appointment of a Governor General; 4. Grants under the Queen's own personal fund; 5. Changes to the Crowns prerogative - e.g. garnishment of civil servants wages.

Instruments are not public and are not gazetted, though they may lead to a notice which is gazetted. At present, PCO retains all instruments from 1953 on. Instruments prior to this period have been transferred to the Public Archives where they may be consulted.

Sources

  • House of Commons Debates and Journals;
  • Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation, July 1, 1867 - February 1, 1982;
  • Supplement to Guide to Canadian Ministries, 1980 to date;
  • press releases and press clippings.
Search Criteria
 
^ 27th Ministry (2003.12.12 - 2006.02.05)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
McLellan, A. Anne Written into instrument of advice 2003.12.12 - 2006.02.05 Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness 2005.04.04 - 2006.02.05
Solicitor General of Canada 2003.12.12 - 2005.04.03

^ 26th Ministry (1993.11.04 - 2003.12.11)
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Manley, John Paul Written into instrument of advice 2002.01.15 - 2003.12.11 Minister of Finance 2002.06.02 - 2003.12.11
Minister of Infrastructure 2002.06.02 - 2002.08.06
Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations 2002.01.15 - 2002.06.01
Minister with political responsibility for Ontario 2002.01.15 - 2003.12.11
Gray, Herbert Eser (Herb) Written into instrument of advice 1997.06.11 - 2002.01.14 Minister responsible for the Millenium Bureau of Canada 1998.03.12 - 2002.01.14
Copps, Sheila Maureen Written into instrument of advice 1996.06.19 - 1997.06.10 Minister of Amateur Sport 1996.07.12 - 1999.08.02
Minister of Canadian Heritage 1996.07.12 - 2003.12.11
Minister of Communications 1996.06.19 - 1996.07.11
Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship 1996.06.19 - 1996.07.11
Minister of Communications 1996.01.25 - 1996.04.30
Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship 1996.01.25 - 1996.04.30
Minister of the Environment 1993.11.04 - 1996.01.24

^ 25th Ministry (1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Charest, Jean J. Written into instrument of advice 1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03 Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs 1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03
Minister of Industry, Science and Technology 1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03
Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec 1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03

^ 24th Ministry (1984.09.17 - 1993.06.24)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Mazankowski, Donald Frank Written into instrument of advice 1986.06.30 - 1993.06.24 Minister of Finance 1991.04.21 - 1993.06.24
Minister of Agriculture 1988.09.15 - 1991.04.20
Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs 1987.08.27 - 1989.01.29
President of the Treasury Board 1987.08.27 - 1988.03.30
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons 1986.06.30 - 1988.12.30
President of the Privy Council 1986.06.30 - 1991.04.20
Nielsen, Erik Written into instrument of advice 1984.09.17 - 1986.06.29 Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (acting) 1985.09.24 - 1985.11.19
Minister of National Defence 1985.02.27 - 1986.06.29
President of the Privy Council 1984.09.17 - 1985.02.26

^ 23rd Ministry (1984.06.30 - 1984.09.16)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean 1984.06.30 - 1984.09.16 Minister responsible for La Francophonie 1984.06.30 - 1984.09.16
Secretary of State for External Affairs 1984.06.30 - 1984.09.16

^ 22nd Ministry (1980.03.03 - 1984.06.29)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
MacEachen, Allan Joseph 1980.03.03 - 1984.06.29 Secretary of State for External Affairs 1982.09.10 - 1984.06.29
Minister of Finance 1980.03.03 - 1982.09.09

^ 20th Ministry (1968.04.20 - 1979.06.03)
Prime Minister:
Government Party:

NameTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Other portfolios held in conjonctionTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
MacEachen, Allan Joseph 1977.09.16 - 1979.06.03 Leader of the Government in the House of Commons 1976.09.14 - 1979.03.26
President of the Privy Council 1976.09.14 - 1979.06.03
^

Updated on: 2009.11.09

Revised on: 2009.11.09

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