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 et des Bureaux du Québec au Canada (DFBQC) ensures the implementation of the Politique du Québec en matière de francophonie canadienne. It oversees the administration of the 12 cooperation agreements in the realm of the Canadian francophonie, concluded with all of the governments of the provinces and territories of Canada. Moreover, it manages two financial support programs in the realm of the Canadian francophonie, the Programme d’appui à la francophonie canadienne (PAFC) and the Programme de coopération intergouvernementale (PCI), in addition to maintaining special relations with hundreds of French-speaking and Acadian community agencies. It also ensures coordination with the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques (CFA), under the responsibility of the Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie.
From a geopolitical standpoint, the DFBQC conducts geopolitical analyses and monitors key facets of Canadian current affairs. The two Québec government offices in Canada, located in Moncton and Toronto, also report to this team. They thus ensure the promotion of Québec’s political, economic, social and cultural interests and that the information disseminated on Québec society is realistic, dynamic and factual.
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.
The Direction de la veille et de la réflexion stratégiques (DVRS) engages in geostrategic monitoring to pinpoint key issues and basic trends in the realm of Canadian relations and federated governance. It carries out the integrated processing of monitoring information compiled by the SQRC, the Québec government offices in Canada and government departments and bodies overall in order to establish a comprehensive perspective.
Based on the information thus compiled and research, the DVRS engages in horizon scanning, provides avenues for reflection and action, and proposes to officials in the SQRC, in collaboration with the DRI, strategies to deal with questions with a significant intergovernmental dimension.
The DVRS coordinates public diplomacy activities pertaining to Canadian relations, in particular in the universities and civil society, except for the Canadian francophonie.
As such, it supports initiatives to draw Quebecers and other Canadians closer together and, more specifically, exchanges on federalism and Canadian relations.
It is also responsible for the Programme de soutien à la recherche en matière d’affaires intergouvernementales et d’identité québécoise (PSRAIIQ), which seeks to support the development and dissemination of knowledge that contributes to broader understanding of Québec and its Canadian intergovernmental relations.