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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > B, C > Central Agencies

Central Agencies 

Bodies that engage in the coordination of government policy rather than in the delivery of particular services to the public.

(Malcolmson, Patrick  and Richard Myers. 2005. The Canadian Regime:  An Introduction to Parliamentary Government in Canada, 3rd ed. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, p. 117.)


In the Canadian context, Central Agencies consist of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Privy Council Office (PCO), the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and the Ministry of Finance. Their collective functions include:

§  Analyzing, planning and strategizing

§  Providing advice on both specific and broad government policy

§  Providing administrative, fiscal and political direction

§  Allocating resources to, coordinating and holding to account other agencies

Some roles, responsibilities and important features of particular central agencies and the actors within them are described below.


Mike Joyce, Queen's, MPA 809.


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School of Public Policy and Governance