Imminent Canadian Federal Cabinet Shuffle

As we enter the midway point of the summer and traditionally slowing down of activity at the federal government level, this is generally a good time to anticipate what may be coming in advance of the house resuming in September. The Prime Minister recently swore in a new cabinet just several months ago, so a cabinet shuffle may not be top of mind for most observers, however, there is reason to believe one will come, and come sooner than we may expect. Let’s explore why that may be.

An Overview

First off, with the quickly approaching naming of the new Conservative leader, the federal Liberals will look to ‘take some wind’ out of the sails of a newly named leader and shift the focus back onto their agenda and work to date. How can this be achieved? well, the first that comes to mind is to plan big-ticket announcements for the coinciding timeline between August 30th – September 30th. However, with most of the budget 2022 announcements behind us, what may be more likely to shift attention back to the governing party(s) would be to change the deck chairs and insert some new and fresh faces into new portfolios. A well-timed cabinet shuffle has the ability to hone Canadians’ attention back on the agenda of the government and away from the political discourse if the new names are intriguing enough to garner the necessary interest.

To predict which ministers may be shuffled into new portfolios is certainly about reading the attitudes of the Canadian electorate over the time which has passed since the 2021 general election. I believe some departments to watch for a change are, Public Safety, one or more ministers with responsibilities under ESDC, and Transport. I would predict where we may see a steadfast stay-in-place approach would be with ISED, Defence & Finance.

The Timing

The desire for the governing liberals to inject new life into portfolios, re-position ministers for an aggressive fall sitting, and to take some potentially realized momentum from underneath the official opposition suggests that a potential shuffle would likely come before September 10th or soon thereafter. 

Furthermore, it would not necessarily be advantageous to announce over the dog days of summer. Cabinet retreat would be a good time to have your new lieutenants embrace the coming legislative agenda of their newly appointed cabinet posts, and a retreat will take place likely the first full week of September.

With this in mind, one can discern that a movement of sorts would come in the window of end of August / early September. I would conclude that the week of August 29th – September 2nd is the most likely timing of a shuffle as this window best represents for the governing Liberals to achieve the desired boost from a shuffle.

The Implications

With any cabinet shuffle what may not be immediately clear is what this means for your dealings / relations with the federal government. What to expect is a newly rejuvenated push for some sort of change in procedures from departments that see new ministers. A new minister in a new portfolio often is coming into an underperforming, perceived or otherwise department, and there will certainly be a louder voice pushing for action in a top-down approach. 

Deputy and Assistant Deputy ministers will be tasked by their new bosses to review stated objectives of mandate letters and compare results to stated desired results. By making mandate letters public, the governing Liberals have a higher benchmark of achievement. CHG’s advice, would be to work to strongly align your business objectives with the governments stated mandates. This means that the best path to a desired partnership from the private sector to the public one is to implement a malleable plan to keep pace with stated and changing government plans.

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