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A.P. Low and his team picnicking on Lake Winokapau, Hamilton River, Labrador, 1894
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The Department of the Secretary of State was established at Confederation and assumed the responsibilities -- primarily civic and cultural affairs -- of the pre-Confederation Provincial Secretary. An Act was passed in 1868 confirming these responsibilities.
The Department was originally the official channel of communication between the Dominion of Canada and the government of Great Britain and had the responsibility for state and ceremonial occasions. Early responsibilities also included management of Indian and Crown Lands and the duties of the Registrar General. At various times, it was responsible for the RCMP, the Public Service Commission, Patents, Copyrights, Trade Marks and Industrial Designs, Elections, Government Printing and Stationery, Arts and Culture, Citizenship and Naturalization, Multiculturalism, Education support, and the application of the Official Languages Act. Although many of its duties have changed, its primary functions of communication and registration did not alter during the years following Confederation. In 1993, the responsibilities of the Secretary of State were transferred to the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Department of the Secretary of State of Canada fonds. Library and Archives Canada.
"History of Departments: Secretary of State." Parliament of Canada.
(accessed June 13, 2010).
"Politics and Government." Library and Archives Canada. www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/politics-government/Pages/politics-government.aspx (accessed June 13, 2010).