The Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC) reports to the Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie in the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (MCE). It advises the Québec government on all questions pertaining to Canadian relations. It defends and promotes Québec’s interests in Canada. It is responsible for the implementation of the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations unveiled on June 1, 2017.
The policy targets proactive domestic diplomacy in the conduct of Canadian relations. In this spirit, the SQRC has a mandate to coordinate all Québec government activities in Canada in order to position and publicize Québec among the representatives of civil society and Québec’s federative partners. It therefore fosters dialogue and contributes to exchanges at all levels, including between individuals and groups in Québec civil society and elsewhere in Canada.
Moreover, the SQRC coordinates the Canadian relations units that guide government departments and bodies in the conduct of their Canadian relations. In collaboration with them, the SQRC participates in the deliberations of intergovernmental forums. What is more, it contributes to the negotiation and implementation of agreements with the federal government and the governments of the other provinces and territories. In its capacity as an advisor to Québec government departments and bodies, the SQRC participates in the elaboration of policies and policy positions that affect relations with the other governments of Canada.
The SQRC also ensures monitoring and strategic reflection on key issues pertaining to Canadian relations and federated governance. It supports the development and dissemination of knowledge in fields related to changes in Canadian federalism through the implementation and management of the Research Support Program (PAR).
The SQRC is responsible for constitutional questions and assumes on behalf of the Québec government all negotiations in this field. It ensures respect for Québec’s constitutional powers and the integrity of its institutions. It analyzes federal government legislation, policies and programs in light of their impact on Québec. It strengthens the coherence of government action by ensuring, in collaboration with the sectoral ministerial bodies responsible, the implementation of the policy respecting Québec’s territorial integrity.
The SQRC also coordinates relations with the Canadian francophonie and ensures the implementation of the Politique du Québec en matière de francophonie canadienne. Furthermore, it manages the intergovernmental francophonie cooperation and support programs that stem from the policy.
Lastly, the SQRC administers Québec’s representation network in Canada, comprising two offices located in Moncton and Toronto. The network ensures ties between the Québec government and federal government representatives and those of the provinces and territories.
The Bureau du secrétaire général associé (BSGA) supports the Associate Secretary General in the fulfilment of his responsibilities. It ensures liaison with the office of the Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie and that of the Premier, and with the Secrétariat général du ministère du Conseil exécutif, the other administrative entities of the SQRC, and the offices of deputy ministers in government departments. In collaboration with the Direction générale de la gouvernance et de l’administration du ministère du Conseil exécutif, it administers the SQRC’s human, financial, physical and information resources.
What is more, it responds to requests for authorization to travel outside Québec in Canada, subject to the approval of the SQRC by government departments and bodies.
The BSGA is also the depository of Canadian intergovernmental agreements. Lastly, it applies, on behalf of the SQRC, the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information.
The Direction des relations intergouvernementales (DRI) oversees, together with government departments and bodies, the promotion and defence of the interests and powers among the other governments in Canada of North America’s only French-speaking jurisdiction. To this end, it plans, coordinates and monitors Canadian intergovernmental relations in all of the Québec government’s sectors of activity, except for the Canadian francophonie.
In addition to coordinating and managing the Réseau des unités de relations canadiennes, stemming from the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations, its team guides government departments and bodies in the conduct of their intergovernmental relations. It advises them in the context of the elaboration of the positions, strategies and initiatives that Québec intends to promote and implement in the Canadian intergovernmental sector and analyzes the attendant documents such as agreements and briefs. It is also incumbent upon the DRI to provide opinions and advice to the SQRC on any question pertaining to Canadian intergovernmental relations. Its team also contributes to the preparation and organization of numerous Canadian intergovernmental meetings, especially those of the Council of the Federation and the Canadian premiers. It prepares and coordinates ad hoc Québec and Ontario cabinet meetings. Lastly, it participates in the negotiation and implementation of intergovernmental agreements and analyzes federal government policies and programs in light of their impact on Québec.
The Direction de la francophonie, de la réflexion stratégique et des affaires publiques canadiennes (DFRAP) advises the government on matters concerning the Canadian Francophonie, performs geostrategic monitoring and analysis, and coordinates public diplomacy in the area of the Francophonie and Canadian relations.
The DFRAP is responsible for the implementation of the Politique du Québec en matière de francophonie canadienne, and oversees the application of cooperation agreements on the Canadian Francophonie signed with other provincial and territorial governments in Canada. It maintains close ties with hundreds of organization from Francophone and Acadian communities in Canada and their partners, including the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques, which is under the responsibility of the Minister Responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie.
The direction’s strategic monitoring and analysis mandate aims at gathering relevant information. It then uses it to define a comprehensive view that can be applied in forward-looking geopolitical analyses to identify key issues and underlying trends in the area of Canadian relations and federative governance. While working with other directions and, if necessary, the concerned government of Québec’s departments and bodies, the DFRAP defines possible approaches and actions and, proposes strategies which SQRC authorities can apply in areas with significant intergovernmental dimensions.
The DFRAP coordinates the SQRC’s public diplomacy component, in particular with respect to the Francophone and university communities, and civil society in general, to ensure that Québec and its actions in the field of Canadian relations are better known and understood.
For this purpose, the DFRAP coordinates the creation and implementation of a structured and integrated vision for communications and Canadian public affairs. It is responsible for supporting Québec offices in Canada and their public affairs activities, and for advising the government regarding the strategic deployment of the Québec representations network within Canada. The Québec offices promote Québec's interests in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres in their respective territories, and ensure that broadcast information concerning Québec society is realistic, dynamic and factual.
The DFRAP administers the SQRC's financial assistance programs. The Canadian Francophonie Support Program (PAFC) target the creation of partnerships and networks connecting Francophones in Québec with those in other provinces and territories in Canada. The Research Support Program (PAR) supports the creation and dissemination of academic knowledge that will lead to a better understanding of Québec, its intergovernmental relations within Canada, and the Canadian Francophonie. The Canadian Relations Support Program (PARC) supports transfers of expertise and promotes citizen dialogue between civil society in Québec and elsewhere in Canada.
The Direction des politiques institutionnelles et constitutionnelles (DPIC) conducts analyses focusing on the constitutional facets of government activities in Canada. The practice of the jurists and professionals that it employs is highly varied, ranging from questions related to the division of powers to those concerning Québec’s borders and including real estate transactions with the federal government and agreements concluded between the government and Québec’s Aboriginal nations. The DPIC also has a mandate to monitor federal draft legislation and constitutional jurisprudence. It is in part through such active monitoring that the Québec government can decide to intervene from an intergovernmental or legal standpoint to ensure respect for its constitutional interests.
The DPIC coordinates the implementation of the intergovernmental facets of the policy respecting Québec’s territorial integrity. Lastly, it monitors reflection in the universities on federalism and constitutional law.