The Privy Council Office (PCO) is the hub of non-partisan, public service support to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and its decision-making structures.
Led by the Clerk of the Privy Council, PCO helps the Government implement its vision and respond effectively and quickly to issues facing the government and the country.
In today's world of complex economic and social issues, much of this work involves consultation and coordination – both inside and beyond the federal government. The PCO secretariats play a key role in ensuring this collaboration.
To this end, PCO works to achieve the highest professional and ethical standards in the federal Public Service.
What We Do
PCO has three main roles.
Advisor to the Prime Minister
PCO brings together quality, objective policy advice and information to support the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This includes:
- Non-partisan advice and information from across the Public Service
- Consultation and collaboration with international and domestic sources inside and outside government (including the provinces and territories)
- Information on the priorities of Canadians
Secretary to the Cabinet
PCO facilitates the smooth, efficient and effective functioning of Cabinet and the Government of Canada on a day-to-day basis. This includes:
- Management of the Cabinet's decision-making system
- Coordination of departmental policy proposals to Cabinet (with supporting policy analysis)
- Scheduling and support services for meetings of Cabinet and Cabinet committees
- Advancing the Government's agenda across federal departments and agencies and with external stakeholders
- Advice on government structure and organization
- Preparation of Orders-in-Council and other statutory instruments to give effect to Government decisions
- Administrative services to the Prime Minister's Office, PCO Ministers and, in some cases, to Commissions of Inquiry
Public Service Leadership
PCO ensures that Canada and Canadians are served by a quality public service – that delivers advice and services in a professional manner, and strives to meet the highest standards of accountability, transparency and efficiency. This includes:
- Management of the appointments process for senior positions in federal departments, Crown corporations and agencies
- Setting policy on human resources issues and public service renewal
- Ensuring the Public Service has the capacity to meet emerging challenges and the changing responsibilities of government
- Drafting and submitting an annual report to the Prime Minister on the state of the Public Service
PCO is staffed by career public servants and its activities are guided by our mission and values.
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