While there are not formal inter-ministerial committees or intergovernmental networks responsible for promoting intercultural coordination in Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage engages in inter-ministerial communications with other federal departments such as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), the Department of Justice Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Treasury Board of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Industry Canada, Transport Canada, the Department of National Defence, Health Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Department of Finance Canada on matters affecting the department. For example:
- Industry Canada established the Information Highway Advisory Council in the late 1990s but content-related issues were handled by the Department of Canadian Heritage;
- Policies and programmes affecting concentration of ownership and competition in the cultural sector involves both the Department of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada as well as the Canadian Radio-Television Commission in relation to broadcasting;
- copyright legislation is split between Industry Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage;
- the promotion of international cultural activities including culture and trade is shared by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and the Department of Canadian Heritage;
- Sections 41 and 42 of the Official Languages Act (OLA):Section 41 commits the federal government to enhancing the vitality of official-language minority communities (OLMC), as well as fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. Section 42 mandates the department of Canadian Heritage, through interdepartmental coordination, to promote and encourage a coordinated approach to this commitment (see chapter 2.5.4);
- l’entente pour le développement des arts et de la culture de la francophonie canadienne which promotes arts and culture within the Canadian minority Francophone population is a result of a partnership with the Fédération culturelle francophone canadienne, Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Film Board and National Arts Centre;
- the Department of Canadian Heritage works closely with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada on Aboriginal cultural matters; and
- the department shares with Health Canada certain provisions relative to sport under the Physical Activity and Sport Act (2003).
Federal cultural institutions take part in task forces and working groups that address government-wide horizontal issues. Regional Executive Directors represent the Department of Canadian Heritage on 13 Regional Federal Councils across the country. The Councils are composed of senior officials of federal departments and agencies in each province and territory. As well, regional managers and staff are involved in the work of Council Sub-Committees on a wide range of management and policy issues. Councils serve as a forum for information exchange, and are a valuable vehicle for regional management of horizontal policy issues, collaborative initiatives across departments, integrated and improved service delivery, two-way communication with the central agencies on regional perspectives, and cooperation with other jurisdictions.
The Department of Canadian Heritage also participates alongside ministries of culture from the provinces and the territories in committees of Ministers and senior public servants. For example, Canadian Heritage participated from 2002 to 2005 along with the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Partnership (ACCEP) to stimulate economic development in Atlantic Canada (including four provinces) through culture and to celebrate the history and cultural diversity of that region. Currently, Canadian Heritage is working with all provincial and territorial colleagues on several leading-edge issues represented by the following federal-provincial working groups: the enhancement of culture / heritage tourism (this initiative was renewed for a two-year period in October 2006); the impact of new innovative technologies on the creative cultural process, cultural consumption and cultural policy; the instrumental and intrinsic benefits of the arts, culture and heritage; cultural statistics; and historic places.To date, however, there has been relatively little scholarly or governmental research examining how the three levels of government actually interact on cultural matters in specific communities (see chapter 1.3.3).