August 16, 2021 | Circular No. 11312

Dear Member,

As a result of yesterday’s dissolution of Parliament in preparation for the September 20th federal election, the government is now operating under a constitutional principle known as  the “caretaker convention,” under which Ministers and other public servants are required to act with restraint from the day the election is called to the day the new (or returning) government is sworn in.

Consequently, during this period, government officials can only undertake activities that are routine, non-controversial, and reversible by a new government without undue cost or disruption.  In practical terms, this means that the government cannot launch any new regulatory initiatives or new public consultations, nor can it make any appointments, policy decisions or announcements of new spending.

However, regulatory consultations that are already underway (such as those related to the implementation of the new Pilotage Act) can continue, particularly if limited to the receipt and compilation of written stakeholder comments (as opposed to more active stakeholder engagement).

The caretaker convention will be lifted once the election is over and a new Cabinet has been sworn in. We would therefore expect a return to normal government operations and regular parliamentary activity (e.g. introduction of new legislation, resumption of House and Senate Committees, etc.) later this fall.


Karen Kancens
Vice President