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Cabinet Operations

How Cabinet Works

A Cabinet Submission is the key instrument of written policy advice to Cabinet. Staff within Departments and Agencies prepare Cabinet Submissions (also referred to as Memorandum to Executive Council).

The Minister responsible approves the Submission and it is submitted to the Cabinet Secretariat. The signed Submission is circulated to all Cabinet Ministers. The Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council reviews the Submission for routing to one of the five Standing Committees of Cabinet.

Following the preparation of an analysis of the Submission, a recommended course of action is presented to the Committee of Cabinet to which the Submission is routed by Cabinet Secretariat. The Committee prepares a recommendation for the consideration of Cabinet.

Following Cabinet consideration, a Minute of Council and, where required, an Order in Council is prepared outlining the approved course of action for departmental or agency implementation.

Committees of Cabinet

There are five standing committees of Cabinet:

In addition to the standing committees, ad hoc committees may be convened as necessary to deal with specific issues. The formation and organization of ad hoc committees is the prerogative of the Premier.

Planning and Priorities Committee

The Planning and Priorities Committee is convened by the Premier to discuss strategic issues facing the government and to coordinate priorities across departments and agencies.

Treasury Board

The Treasury Board is established under the Financial Administration Act. This committee has the authority to make decisions without referring to full Cabinet for matters relating to routine financial transactions, human resources, or information technology. The Treasury Board also reviews Cabinet submissions and makes recommendations to Cabinet. Treasury Board cannot make decisions on the appropriation of new funds.

Social Policy Committee

The Social Policy Committee is responsible for reviewing Cabinet submissions on issues involving social policy departments (i.e., Children, Seniors and Social Development; Education and Early Childhood Development; Justice and Public Safety; Health and Community Services; Municipal Affairs and Environment; and Service NL), and for providing recommendations to Cabinet. This committee does not have the authority to make decisions without reference to Cabinet.

Economic Policy Committee

The Economic Policy Committee is responsible for reviewing issues involving economic policy departments (i.e., Advanced Education, Skills and Labour; Finance; Fisheries and Land Resources; Natural Resources; Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation; and Transportation and Works), and for providing recommendations to Cabinet on Submissions. This committee does not have the authority to make decisions without reference to Cabinet.

Committee on Routine Matters and Appointments

The Cabinet Committee on Routine Matters and Appointments has the authority to make decisions on matters which require Cabinet authority, but which are relatively straightforward in nature (e.g., land approvals, promulgating regulations, minor housekeeping amendments), as well as some Government appointments to Boards, Agencies, and Commissions. In most cases, Minutes of Council are recorded from the committee meeting, and there is no further deliberation by full Cabinet. To ensure that all Cabinet members are aware of committee decisions, and to provide opportunities for non-members to raise any concerns, Minutes of Council and Orders in Council are distributed to all Cabinet members for consideration, and are not officially effective until seven days subsequent to the decision. Should the Committee on Routine Matters and Appointments feel it necessary, they may refer a matter to Cabinet.

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