OTTAWA — The Prime Minister's Office has quietly published mandate letters for two ministers who were given new portfolios in the Liberal government's summer cabinet shuffle, but it won't be updating its prescriptions for jobs that already existed.
The letters for the ministers in charge of the newly minted citizens' services and sport and physical activity portfolios were posted online earlier this week, and serve as a guide to what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants them to accomplish.
Other ministers are not getting new mandate letters despite many of them having switched jobs, even though the last batch of instructions was given in 2021 during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In these most recent letters, specific commitments are outlined related to the elements of the ministers’ portfolios that are new cabinet positions," Trudeau's press secretary Mohammad Hussain said in a statement.
"Ministers are expected to continue to work and deliver on the priorities listed in the letters from 2021."
The letter for Citizens' Services Minister Terry Beech says he should seek to improve the way the government delivers services to Canadians, with an emphasis on digitizing services and preventing problems like last year's passport processing backlog.
Public frustrations hit a boiling point in 2022 as the government struggled to issue passports on time, jeopardizing Canadians’ travel plans and leaving people to camp out in long lines for hours outside their passport offices.
The problems led the prime minister to strike a task force made up of cabinet ministers to address serious delays in passport and immigration applications, as Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre coined the phrase "everything is broken."
"Serve as our government's champion for service delivery excellence, ensuring we place Canadians at the core of how we design and deliver their services, with emphasis on delivering services where and when Canadians need them," Trudeau wrote to Beech in the letter.
Sport Minister Carla Qualtrough is being asked to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being, and ensure that Canadians have equitable access to sports and physical activity.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2023.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press