Privy Council | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Privy Council

Privy Council is a common name for the King’s Privy Council for Canada. It is also known as His Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada. It was established (as the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada) under the Constitution Act, 1867. Its purpose is to advise the Crown (the reigning monarch).

Privy Councillors are appointed for life by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation. They include the chief justice of the Supreme Court, provincial premiers, former and present federal cabinet ministers, and speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate. Recent years have seen the occasional appointment of a public figure or a senior public servant. However, only those Privy Councillors in the federal cabinet can act formally as the Privy Council through Orders-in-Council issued in the name of the governor-in-council.

See also Parliamentary Procedure; Parliament; Constitutional Monarchy.