Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, as an administrative entity, was created in 1961 with An Act to establish the Department of Federal-Provincial Affairs. The minister was made responsible for promoting full provincial autonomy and facilitating intergovernmental collaboration with respect for the constitution.
In 1967, An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Affairs Department Act and certain related acts extended the minister’s powers to the coordination of all the activities of the Government of Québec outside the province.
In 1974, the minister was invested with the responsibility of ensuring that the constitutional authority of Québec is respected. The notion of intergovernmental agreements was also specified.
The Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes (SAIC) was established in 1984. It became part of the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, with the exclusive mandate of dealing with Canadian affairs. This decision demonstrated the growing importance of Canadian intergovernmental relations and the priority given to coordinating them at the highest level of government.
In 1988, the SAIC’s responsibilities were expanded to include analyzing the policies and laws of other governments and evaluating the implications for Québec. The SAIC also became the depository for Canadian intergovernmental agreements.
In 2002, amendments made to An Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif as regards Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs specified the nature of the agreements and organizations concerned.
In October 2017, the SAIC became the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC) in order to confirm the broadening of its mandate beyond intergovernmental relations alone. The SQRC’s core mandate remains the defence of Québec’s interests and fields of jursdiction among the other governments of Canada, broadening knowledge and understanding of Québec in Canadian civil society, and support for the vitality of the Canadian Francophonie.
Some 60 employees devote themselves to this mission.