Cabinet Ministers and their Mandates

Last week, Premier Horgan announced his new cabinet and released the mandate letters for each minister. The Federation board and staff team had been eagerly awaiting this information and, in the days since the announcement, have been in high gear. We have been reviewing the mandates for each social care ministry through our strategic lens and setting up meetings with ministers, deputies, ministers of state, and parliamentary secretaries.

You can review a copy of the letter we sent to each social care minister here and our letter to Premier Horgan here. We are already taking steps to make sure the issues that are most important to Federation members are on the desks of decision-makers and discussed in some of their earliest briefings. You can view a list of the full cabinet here. A collection of the mandate letters and minister bios can be found here.

The diversity of The Federation’s membership means that our advocacy and engagement efforts span nine different ministries. Your board members and I are preparing for many, many meetings with new ministers and deputies and we are preparing to discuss both broad issues (e.g., recruitment and retention, reconciliation) and service-specific considerations (e.g., children in care, supports for older adults). What follows is an overview of what stood out in the mandate letters and the priorities that we will bring forward over the coming weeks. This is by no means an exhaustive list; if you would like to discuss any of the ministry’s mandate’s in more detail, feel free to contact me.

Our priorities

At the core of our approach to working with government remains our commitment to (1) reconciliation and resurgence and (2) building a strong and sustainable community social services sector. These are our foundational priorities and they are fundamentally interrelated. I do not believe that it is possible to create the truly strong and sustainable community social services sector that we desire without also fully committing to social justice and equity and decolonizing the structures and systems we work within.

The highlights

As we reviewed the mandate letters of each social care ministry, we looked for—and found—a commitment to action that lives into reconciliation, including a dedicated secretariat that will coordinate the government’s efforts and the expansion of support to Friendship Centres. This was the first thing that stood out to us.

We were also excited and motivated by the fact that several new ministers have a long-standing familiarity with the social services sector (e.g., Minister Dean of MCFD and Minister Simons of MSDPR). We are encouraged by the focus on children and youth with special needs within the MCFD mandate letter as well as the attention to family supports and the consideration of individual needs when determining placements for young people in care. The mandate letter for Minister Malcolmson (Mental Health and Addictions) also suggests that there will be a more active and operational approach to things like increasing treatment options for youth and implementing Pathways to Hope.

However, there are also issues and areas of concern where we will need to remain somewhat cautious. Supports for seniors are limited (somewhat understandably, given our current context) to long-term care facilities. The commitment to move responsibility for childcare from MCFD to the Ministry of Education is something that has been long been advocated for by childcare advocates; however, it will need to be managed and transitioned in a way that does not hinder early learning and family support principles of care. And while involuntary care (or secure or stabilization care) was not mentioned explicitly in any mandate letter, there is still public demand for such legislation in spite of its many problems.


Ultimately, we are heartened and hopeful by the ministers that were named and the mandate letters that they were handed. Our new government colleagues have been tasked with building intentional and sustainable relationships through public and stakeholder engagement plans that incorporate the perspectives of organizations like ours early on in the policy development process. Active dialogue, measurable outcomes, and ongoing outreach are no longer things we have to demand of our government partners; they are now built into each social care ministry’s priorities.

As you can read in my letter to Premier Horgan, I feel like the current relationship between the social services sector and the government is stronger and more collaborative than it has ever been before. And now, at this moment, we have before us an opportunity for the community social services sector to work for, design, and create some of the biggest and most substantial changes we have been working towards for a long time.

Yes, the pandemic and the added stressors that resulted have put extra pressure on our organizations, our staff teams, and our partners in the provincial government. But I have no doubt that we will rise to the occasion. It will not be easy work, but we are well prepared for it and we are more than ready.

Get in touch

As always, if you have any questions about our approach to advocacy or engagement with the government, the issues we are raising, or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find contact information for The Federation staff team here and for your Board of Directors on the member’s page of our website.

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director