Under the aegis of the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (MCE), the Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes (SAIC) reports to the Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie. The SAIC advises the Government of Québec on all matters affecting Canadian intergovernmental relations. It drafts, proposes, and implements a policy to this effect. It analyzes federal government programs and policies in terms of their effects on Québec, and is responsible for the constitutional file. It therefore helps ensure the defence and promotion of Québec’s interests, and the respect of its constitutional jurisdictions. The SAIC is also responsible for relations with provincial and territorial governments in Canada and coordinates all Québec government activities in the rest of Canada.
The SAIC is responsible for the constitutional file and, on behalf of the Government of Québec, all negotiations in this area.
In cooperation with sector-based departments, the SAIC participates in Canadian intergovernmental conferences. In addition, it contributes to the negotiation and implementation of agreements with the federal government and governments of the other provinces and territories. As an advisor to Québec public organizations and departments, it helps prepare policies and positions affecting relations with other governments in Canada.
The SAIC also supports the development and dissemination of knowledge in areas related to the evolution of Canadian federalism, through the implementation and management of the Research Support Program on Intergovernmental Affairs and Québec Identity.
The SAIC also coordinates relations with the Canadian Francophonie and oversees implementation of the Politique du Québec en matière de francophonie canadienne. It manages Francophonie support and intergovernmental cooperation programs derived from the policy.
The SAIC administers the Québec representation network in Canada, which consists of two offices in Moncton and Toronto. The network maintains ties between the Government of Québec and representatives of the federal government and other provinces and territories.
The SAIC’s mandate is set out in the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil Exécutif. Its strategic goals and accountability are described in the Ministère du Conseil exécutif’s 2015-2017 strategic plan and its annual management report.
This office supports the associate secretary general in his or her various responsibilities. It ensures liaison with the Minister and Premier’s offices, and with the Ministère du Conseil exécutif’s Secrétariat général, other administrative branches of the SAIC, and the offices of deputy ministers from different departments. In cooperation with the Ministère du Conseil exécutif’s Direction générale de l’administration, it ensures administration of the SAIC’s human, financial, material, and information resources.
Among other duties, it responds to authorization requests for travel outside Québec within Canada, submitted by government departments and agencies to the SAIC for approval.
This office is also the depository for Canadian intergovernmental agreements. On behalf of the SAIC, it is responsible for applying the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information.
This branch is responsible for overseeing defence of the interests and jurisdiction of the only Francophone state in North America, within relations between Government of Québec departments and agencies and their counterparts throughout Canada. It ensures the planning, coordination, and monitoring of Canadian intergovernmental economic, cultural, and social affairs.
Its team advises the government’s departments and agencies in the development of positions, strategies, and actions they intend to promote and implement on the Canadian intergovernmental scene, and it analyzes the related documents (agreements, briefs, etc.). It guides the departments and agencies in the preparation and organization of Canadian intergovernmental meetings, ensures preparation of the Premier’s participation in meetings of the Council of the Federation and other meetings of the premiers and Prime Minister on the pan-Canadian stage. It also participates in the negotiation of intergovernmental agreements and analyzes the federal government’s programs and policies in terms of their effects on Québec.
The Direction de la francophonie et des Bureaux du Québec au Canada ensures implementation of the Politique du Québec en matière de francophonie canadienne. It oversees application of the 12 cooperation agreements on the Canadian Francophonie between all provincial and territorial governments in Canada. It also manages the two Canadian Francophonie financial support programs—the Programme d’appui à la francophonie canadienne (PAFC) and the Programme de coopération intergouvernementale (PCI)—in addition to maintaining privileged ties with hundreds of organizations in the Acadian and Francophone communities. It also ensures coordination with the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques, which falls under the Minister’s responsibility.
Geopolitically, it carries out relevant analyses and monitors major current affairs on the Canadian scene. The two offices of Québec—in Moncton and Toronto—are also tied to this team. They promote Québec’s political, economic, social, and cultural interests and ensure that information disseminated about Québec society is realistic, dynamic, and factual.
This branch carries out analyses related to the constitutional aspects of activities by governments in Canada. The practice of jurists and professionals working for the branch is highly varied, ranging from division of powers to Québec borders, via real estate transactions with the federal government and agreements between the Government of Québec and Aboriginal nations. The Direction des politiques institutionnelles et constitutionnelles also has the mandate to monitor draft legislation by the federal government and constitutional jurisprudence. Thanks in part to this active oversight, the Government of Québec is able to determine its intergovernmental and judicial interventions to ensure respect for its constitutional interests.
The branch coordinates implementation of Québec’s territorial integrity policy in terms of its intergovernmental aspects. It also follows the evolution of academic perspectives on federalism and constitutional law.
The Direction de la réflexion stratégique ensures geo-strategic monitoring of major issues and trends in intergovernmental affairs. It carries out prospective analyses, provides avenues for study and action, and proposes strategies for the management of issues involving major intergovernmental dimensions.
The branch is also responsible for the Research Support Program on Intergovernmental Affairs and Québec Identity, which supports the development and dissemination of knowledge that contributes to a better understanding of Québec and its intergovernmental relations.