Law Branch

The Law Branch manages and administers all legal services to the Department of Finance. It provides legal advice and legislative services with respect to a range of areas, including financial institutions, federal financial transfers to the provinces and territories, tax policy, trade issues, securities and capital markets regulation, financial administration and Crown corporations, as well as the development and implementation of the federal budget. It also instructs on and monitors major litigation of concern to the Department, including litigation with potential significant fiscal implications.

The Assistant Deputy Minister and Counsel to the Department of Finance serves as chief legal adviser to the Department and oversees the work of the four divisions of the Law Branch. The Assistant Deputy Minister is also Head of the Central Agencies Portfolio of the Department of Justice, which comprises the legal services units located in Finance Canada, the Treasury Board, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, and the Public Service Commission of Canada.

The General Legal Services Division serves all branches of the Department, with the exception of the Tax Policy Branch, through the provision of legal advice. Its responsibilities include:

  • Identifying legal issues and providing legal advice in all matters within the jurisdiction of the Minister, other than those related to tax;
  • Providing legal advice on, and assisting in, the drafting and implementation of non-tax budgetary measures;
  • Assisting in the drafting and the preparation of legislation and regulations within the mandate of the Minister, other than tax measures; and
  • Assisting in the development of policy options.

The Tax Counsel Division primarily serves the Tax Policy Branch of the Department of Finance through the provision of legal advice and legislative drafting. The Tax Counsel Division team is composed of both legal counsel and legislative drafters. Among its many responsibilities are:

  • Providing advice to officials and the Minister on legal issues relating to tax policy;
  • Participating in the drafting of tax legislation, regulations and amendments;
  • Providing advice on tax collection agreements and provincial tax law; and
  • Assisting litigation counsel on cases where tax legislation is an issue.

The Access to Information and Privacy Division is responsible for administering the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act for the Department. The Division also provides advice and guidance to departmental officials on matters that concern the legislation.

This division is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring, and improvement of plans to ensure compliance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Department of Finance Code of Conduct. It also provides advice and guidance to employees on values and ethics issues. It is also responsible for the disclosures of wrongdoing under the Public Service Disclosure Protection Act.

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