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Policies for Ministers' Offices - January 2011


Appendix A: Exempt Staff Position Structure

Chief of Staff (EX-02, EX-03, or EX-04)


  • is the most senior political advisor to the minister;
  • is responsible for the overall management of the minister's office, including managing the office budget and staff;
  • is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans in order to assist in delivering the department and minister's mandate;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister, for liaising with senior departmental officials in order to ensure a positive working relationship between the minister and the Public Service;
  • must ensure that the minister is properly briefed and advised on all issues that relate to the government's mandate and the department's objectives; and
  • must liaise, on behalf of the minister, with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' chiefs of staff in order to address government‑wide issues.

Director of Policy (EX-02)


  • is responsible, in collaboration with the department, for overseeing policy development on behalf of the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister's purview.

Director of Communications (EX-02)


  • is responsible for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister;
  • is also responsible for leading comprehensive communications plans on behalf of the minister;
  • must consult regularly with the Prime Minister's Office in order to better co-ordinate government-wide communications;
  • should oversee, and co-ordinate with the department, the development of communications initiatives to ensure that they are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the media; and
  • is the leading official spokesperson for the minister; at the behest of the director of communications, the role of spokesperson to the minister may be assigned to other exempt staff members.

Director of Parliamentary Affairs (EX-02)


  • is responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all legislative issues;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister, for overseeing all phases of the legislative approval process from the development of legislation within the department to Royal Assent;
  • is the point person within the minister's office for implementing the government's parliamentary reform initiative, which includes consulting committee members on proposed legislation;
  • is responsible for liaising with caucus and the office of the minister's parliamentary secretary to discuss the department's legislative agenda;
  • must liaise with the Prime Minister's Office, other ministers' offices, and caucus members to ensure co-ordination of government-wide legislative issues; and
  • must work closely with the director of policy to ensure consistency between policy and legislative initiatives.

Press Secretary (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications, for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister on departmental issues;
  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications and in collaboration with the department, for communications products on specific issues;
  • is responsible for managing media inquiries for the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on relevant media relations issues;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that communications products are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the media; and
  • may be designated by the director of communications as the leading official spokesperson, for the minister.

Policy Advisor (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the director of policy and in collaboration with the department, for policy reviews on specific issues;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform and/or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister's purview.

Senior Special Assistant (AS-07)


  • provides political advice and support on particular policy issues, communications, and parliamentary affairs at a greater level of complexity and responsibility than special assistant; and
  • provides political advice and assistance in relation to regional responsibilities.

Special Assistant, Communications (AS-05)


  • is responsible for providing communications support to the minister and director of communications;
  • is responsible for overseeing the timely development of communications products by the department, such as press releases and speeches;
  • must consult, in collaboration with the director of communications, with other ministers' offices in order to better co-ordinate government-wide communications;
  • establishes and maintains a positive relationship with the media; and
  • may report to the director of communications.

Special Assistant, Parliamentary Affairs (AS-05)


  • provides general support to the minister and the director of parliamentary affairs;
  • is responsible for briefing and preparing the minister for Question Period;
  • assists the director of parliamentary affairs in implementing the government's Parliamentary Reform Initiative;
  • liaises with caucus and the office of the minister's parliamentary secretary to discuss the department's legislative agenda;
  • liaises, in collaboration with the director of parliamentary affairs, with the other ministers' offices and caucus members to ensure co‑ordination of government-wide legislative issues; and
  • may report to the director of parliamentary affairs.

Special Assistant, Regional Affairs / Regional Desk (AS-05)


  • is responsible for providing political advice and support to the minister for an assigned specific province or region of the country;
  • will liaise extensively with caucus members within their province or region of responsibility in order to advise and consult them on departmental policies and programs;
  • is responsible for liaising with stakeholders within their province/region of responsibility to ensure a thorough understanding of departmental policies and programs;
  • is responsible for all logistical, travel, and advance operations when the minister travels in the province or region of the assistant's responsibility; and
  • under the guidance of the director of policy, may be required to manage policy files, especially files with a provincial or regional focus.

Minister's Private Secretary (AS-06)


  • provides the primary liaison and communications links between the minister and his or her staff, deputy minister, other ministers, and outside government;
  • manages the minister's schedule in a constant state of changing priorities and high pressure; assesses the need for meetings and manages the planning, preparation, and logistics of appointments, meetings, speaking engagements, and other functions to be attended by the minister;
  • assesses the priority of incoming and outgoing material to ensure the minister receives accurate and relevant information on a timely and often urgent basis;
  • maintains an understanding of an extensive range of current and emerging government-wide issues and an extensive and effective network of contacts within and external to government; and
  • provides timely and quality responses to internal and external clients on a wide variety of issues concerning the minister and the government.

Support Staff (up to AS-05)


  • positions include individually or in combination such administrative functions as reception, scheduling, organizing meetings, record keeping, information management, and document processing and control—salaries should be commensurate with complexity of functions and level of responsibility;
  • positions should require a knowledge of departmental and governmental processes, procedures, systems, and policies; and
  • positions could include chauffeuring responsibilities in combination with administrative functions.

Driver (CR-07)


  • position provides transportation services for the Minister, and, at the request of the Minister, to the staff of the Minister, dignitaries, senior departmental officials, parliamentary and/or government officials;
  • conveys classified papers, cabinet documents, classified messages, and other printed material between the offices of the Minister and a variety of destinations;
  • maintains and services the automobile of the Minister; and
  • provides support services in the office of the Minister.

Parliamentary Secretary's Assistant (AS-05)


  • is responsible for advising and briefing the parliamentary secretary on all legislative issues;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the parliamentary secretary, for working closely with the minister's office on all phases of the legislative approval process from the development of legislation within the department to Royal Assent;
  • is the point person within the parliamentary secretary's office for ensuring adherence to the government's Parliamentary Reform Initiative, which includes consulting committee members on proposed legislation; and
  • is responsible for liaising with caucus and the office of the minister to discuss the department's legislative agenda.

Regional Affairs Director (EX-01)


  • senior ministerial staff member in a minister's regional office assisting the regional minister with the role of senior government spokesperson for the region;
  • is responsible, in collaboration with regional offices of federal departments, for overseeing policy integration on behalf of the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all relevant regional issues;
  • works closely with other ministers and MPs in the region in order to assist in the co-ordination of policies and programs within the region; and
  • is responsible for briefing and preparing the minister on regional issues.

Regional Press Secretary (AS-07)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications, for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister for the region;
  • should co-ordinate, with the director of communications, the development of regional communications initiatives to ensure that they are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the regional media; and
  • is the leading official spokesperson, under the direction of the director of communications, for the minister at the regional level.

Regional Communications Advisor (IS-05)


  • senior communications staff member in the minister's regional office assisting the regional minister with the role of senior government spokesperson for the region;
  • is also responsible for environmental scans and advising and briefing the minister on all relevant regional concerns and threats;
  • works closely with other ministers and MPs in the region in order to assist in the co-ordination of messaging within the region; and
  • is responsible for preparing communiqués, press releases, and communications strategies for the minister on regional issues.

Chief of Staff to the Minister of State (EX-01 or EX-02)


  • is the most senior political advisor to the minister of state;
  • is responsible for the overall management of the minister of state's office, including managing the office budget and staff;
  • is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans in order to assist in delivering the minister of state's mandate;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister of state, for liaising with senior departmental officials in order to ensure a positive working relationship between the minister of state and the Public Service;
  • must ensure that the minister of state is properly briefed and advised on all issues that relate to the government's and their minister's mandate; and
  • must liaise, on behalf of the minister of state, with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' and ministers of state's offices in order to address government‑wide issues.

Director to the Minister of State (e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Issues Management, Director of Parliamentary Affairs) (AS-08)


  • For guidance, refer to descriptions for ministers' offices.

Policy Advisor to the Minister of State (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the chief of staff to the minister of state and in collaboration with the department, for policy reviews on specific issues that are within the scope of responsibility of the minister of state;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister of state on relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office, the office of the minister responsible for the portfolio and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister of state's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister of state's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform and/or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister of state's purview.

Note: Different areas of responsibility may exist for the positions of Director, Senior Special Assistant and Special Assistant.



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