Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat

… a core term used in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100


The Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (CICS, reference below) describes itself as an institution dedicated to supporting senior level intergovernmental conferences, an important feature of Canadian federalism.

CICS states:

“It is an agency of the federal and provincial governments, funded by both level of governments and its staff includes federal and provincial/territorial public servants and, as such, acts as a neutral intergovernmental body. The primary objective of CICS is to relieve client departments in virtually every major sector of intergovernmental activity, of the numerous technical and administrative tasks associated with the planning and conduct of multilateral conferences.”


CICS states:

In Canada, the power to govern is shared between the federal and provincial governments. With such a constitutional arrangement, there is a great need for governments to communicate, to consult each other, to harmonize their policies and programs, coordinate their activities, resolve conflicts, and, in some instances, develop policies jointly.

“Over the years, an elaborate framework of intergovernmental relations has arisen with hundreds of daily contacts and transactions and with meetings at every level – bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally. The most visible and important way of conducting formal multilateral relations is by that most Canadian of institutions – the intergovernmental conference. The majority of the high-level intergovernmental conferences are served by the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (CICS).

“In addition to serving federal-provincial First Ministers’ meetings, CICS also serves the Annual Premiers’ Conference, the Eastern Canadian Premiers’ and New England Governors’ Conference and the Western Premiers’ Conference. The core of the Secretariat’s work, however, is providing services to multilateral meetings of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in virtually every sector of government activity.

The Secretariat’s services are available to federal, provincial and territorial departments that are called upon to organize and chair such meetings. The agency’s mandate and sole program are designed to relieve its clients of the numerous and various technical and administrative tasks associated with the planning and conduct of senior level intergovernmental conferences.

“The CICS also maintains through its Information Services section, a document archives for the use of governments and the general public. Containing over 40,000 conference-related documents spanning every sector of conference activity, this collection is unique. The information contained in the archives is made available, as appropriate, to government institutions at the federal, provincial and territorial levels while unclassified material is also available to the public on request.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Federalism (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat, at, accessed 5 September 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 5 September 2016.