Raison d’être, mandate and role - Canadian Heritage

Raison d’être

The Department of Canadian Heritage (the Department) and its Portfolio organizations play a vital role in the cultural, civic and economic life of Canadians. Our policies and programs promote an environment where Canadians can experience dynamic cultural expressions, celebrate our history and heritage and build strong communities. The Department invests in the future by supporting the arts, our official and indigenous languages and our athletes and the sport system.

Departmental Results Framework

While sectors and branches make up the Department’s organization structure, the Departmental Results Framework (DRF) is based on a set of core responsibilities that reflect the Department’s mandate.

The DRF includes five core responsibilities:

  • Creativity, arts and culture
  • Heritage and celebration
  • Sport
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Official languages

Internal Services are grouped as a final responsibility, serving the Department as a whole.

Our service commitment

At Canadian Heritage, we are committed to excellence in the delivery of our programs and services to Canadians.

Read about this commitment in our Client Service Charter.

Results for Canadians

Canadian Heritage’s objectives and the results achieved are available in two main public reports.

The Departmental Plan presents the Department’s planned initiatives and expenditures. It provides details on what we do: our main priorities, human resource requirements, major capital projects, grants and contributions, and net program costs.

The Departmental Results Report tells us what results were achieved following the expectations set out in the Departmental Plan and on InfoBase, an online results website hosted by Treasury Board Secretariat.

Mandate and role

The Department’s mandate is set out in the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and centres on fostering and promoting “Canadian identity and values, cultural development, and heritage.” The Act includes the specific responsibilities of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities as set out in federal statutes and regulations, as well as Orders in Council.

To achieve its objectives, Canadian Heritage collaborates with a wide range of partners from the private sector, creative enterprises, public institutions and non-governmental organizations to enrich cultural experiences, strengthen identity, and promote participation in sport and communities. The Department also engages with Canadians through programs that support a wide range of activities from youth exchanges, through commemorations and celebrations, to high performance sports and multiculturalism. These programs are delivered through Headquarters and five regional offices across the country.

Operating context

The work of Canadian Heritage will continue to play an important role in the lives of Canadians in a dynamic and evolving context.  Globalization is creating new domestic and international markets that provide significant opportunities to promote and invest in Canadian creative industries and Canadian creators. The rise of new technologies and digital platforms are changing the way Canadians create, access and experience culture. As the Canadian population becomes increasingly diverse there is an opportunity to build on Canada’s strength in achieving inclusive diversity. In international surveys, Canadians are amongst the most likely to say they are “very proud” of their country. Canada can play an influential role in promoting diversity globally and to share the lessons of its unique historical experience as a multicultural, bilingual, treaty nation with the shared values of human rights. Given the mandate and responsibilities of the Department, Canadian Heritage will continue to play a key role in promoting and celebrating an inclusive society that strengthens and sustains the Canadian social contract and promotes innovation and economic prosperity.

As Canadian Heritage continues to ensure that its work is relevant and responsive to these drivers of change, it must also meet the changing expectations and needs of Canadians with respect to how we deliver our programs. The Government of Canada is committed to openness, transparency and modern service delivery. Canadians want their business with government to be user-friendly, timely and efficient and our programs to achieve concrete results that make a difference in their lives. The Department is taking action and leading efforts for one-stop government services that are digital, transparent and can demonstrate concrete results for Canadians.

One way that the Department is trying to increase its efficacy and impact is through engaging in experimentation. As set out by the Privy Council Office and Treasury Board Secretariat, experimentation is a deliberate and rigorous process that is used to test, measure and compare the results of new interventions against traditional approaches. Canadian Heritage is well positioned to conduct small but instructive experiments in across all business lines, and all programs have committed to detailed experimentation plans for 2018-19 that build off the exploratory work of previous years. The lessons the Department learns from these experiments will help to inform future policy and program design, and may also identify opportunities to scale up successful pilots into larger initiatives.

Key risks

In light of this operational context, there are certain key risks that the Department is actively managing. Though there are potential negative consequences for the Department and Canadians if these risks materialize, the risk responses outlined below serve not only as risk mitigation approaches, but also as opportunities to go well beyond the status quo and improve the Department’s current processes and results.

1. Policy and program impact

Risk: Canadian Heritage’s funding programs and policy suite become:

  • less relevant to a shifting social and economic context;
  • insufficient in properly addressing the social or economic outcomes that the policies and programs are trying to contribute to; or,
  • inflexible or stagnant to respond to emerging social or economic challenges.

Response: the Department proactively renews, adjusts, and iterates with its policy and program design approach through:

  • experimentation across all business lines, including individual experiments in every program;
  • medium-term policy development which informs strategic direction through critical analysis of social, technological and demographic trends; and,
  • ongoing evaluation and Terms and Conditions renewal efforts.

2. Service delivery and Canadians’ expectations

Risk: funding applicants and recipients experience problems with processing grants and contributions due to the Department’s operational shortcomings.

Response: continue to advance the Department’s grants and contributions modernization agenda by:

  • employing a risk-based approach to reduce low-value administrative burden;
  • using design-thinking to map and improve the applicant journey; and,
  • consulting applicants and recipients through design workshops and client satisfaction surveys.

3. Meaningful engagement with Canadians

Risk: the Department is challenged to develop relevant and representative methods of meaningfully engaging with Canadians from all walks of life.

Response: continue to follow-through with citizen-oriented consultation and engagement efforts. Additionally, continue to develop innovative mechanisms of collaboration, such as the co-development of Indigenous languages legislation with the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: