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Canadian Documents Gallery

Privy Council

Photograph of Centre Block of Parliament, seen from the east, ca. 1870

Centre Block of Parliament, seen from the east, ca. 1870
Source ]

Canada's Privy Council, established at Confederation under the Constitution Act, 1867, is the successor to the Executive Council of the United Provinces of Canada. Its members include ministers of government departments who form the administration of the day. Although one becomes a privy councillor for life, the Governor General acts on the advice of the Cabinet, not of the whole Council. The most important documents produced by the Governor General in Council are orders-in-council.

Since 1867, Privy Council's responsibilities have changed considerably. Gradually, sub-committees were created with specific responsibilities. For example, Treasury Board was established in 1867 as a permanent sub-committee of Cabinet to deal with financial expenditure decisions, but in 1966, it became a separate department. Another committee, the Railway sub-committee, was created in 1869; it was replaced in 1903 by the Board of Railway Commissioners.

Petition of the sons and grandchildren of the late Joseph Bouchette, RG 2, series A-1-c, volume 5115, file 1672-1690, 11 pages
Source ]

Further Research

ARCHIVED - By Executive Decree. Library and Archives Canada.
(accessed June 13, 2010).

"History of Departments: Privy Council." Parliament of Canada.
(accessed June 13, 2010).

Privy Council Office.
(accessed June 13, 2010).

Privy Council Office fonds. Library and Archives Canada. fuseaction=genitem.displayItem ?=eng&rec_nbr=1&rec_nbr_list=1