Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
, a deputy minister
is the senior civil servant in a government department. He or she takes political direction from an elected minister. Responsibility for the department's day-to-day operations, budget and program development lie with the deputy minister. The deputy minister is the functional head of the department in question, while the Minister is the department's political master. Deputy ministers serve at the pleasure of the government, and can sometimes lose their positions as a result of a change in the party in power, particularly if they are seen as too closely identified with the policies of the previous government. This should not be confused with the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
The Deputy Prime Minister of Canada is an honorary position in the cabinet, conferred at the discretion of the prime minister. There is currently, , no deputy prime minister....
who is not a deputy minister at all but a politician and senior member of the Cabinet.
The Canadian position of deputy minister is equivalent to the British position of permanent secretary
The Permanent secretary, in most departments officially titled the permanent under-secretary of state , is the most senior civil servant of a British Government ministry, charged with running the department on a day-to-day basis...
(made famous in the television satire Yes Minister
Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC Television between 1980–1982 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. The sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran from 1986 to 1988. In total there were 38 episodes—of which all but...
) and the Australian position
of departmental secretary
A departmental secretary is the head of an Australian Commonwealth or state government department especially in Victoria...
Associate deputy ministers are deputy ministers in waiting, often assigned to a specific project or initiative pending appointment to lead a department.
Assistant deputy ministers are operational positions, usually carrying responsibility for particular functions or budgets with a Department.
The most senior deputy minister in the federal government is the Clerk of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada who is also deputy minister to the Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...
. In the provinces and territories the position fulfills a similar function as the most senior public servant and is called the cabinet secretary or clerk of the Executive Council. The Australian equivalent is the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is an Australian Government department. The Department was first established in 1911...
, and the British equivalent is the Cabinet Secretary
A Cabinet Secretary is almost always a senior official who provides services and advice to a Cabinet of Ministers. In many countries, the position can have considerably wider functions and powers, including general responsibility for the entire civil service...
. This person, along with their staff, typically develops agendas for regular Cabinet meetings, reconciles differences between departments, guides major policy initiatives and coordinates the appointments of departmental heads. The position reports directly to the Prime Minister or Premier and is typically among the most seasoned, influential, and low profile of public servants.
There are several individuals who have deputy minister rank and are known by other titles such as president of an agency or crown corporation, secretary or commissioner.
Provincial governments also have deputy ministers who serve the same function as their federal counterparts.
In French texts and within the province of Quebec, the equivalent title is "sous-ministre".