The Minister of Transport is responsible for one of the largest appointments portfolios in the federal government. Currently, all appointments across the federal government are based on open, transparent, and merit-based selection processes intended to reflect Canada’s diversity. For both Governor-in-Council (GiC) appointments (those requiring Cabinet approval) and Ministerial appointments, (those requiring approval only from the Minister), open positions are posted publically, candidates are reviewed and interviewed by a committee, and the Minister is provided a shortlist of candidates who have qualified based on merit.

There are two basic types of appointments for which the Minister of Transport is responsible, amounting to 317 in total, as follows (please see the annexes for a complete breakdown):

  • GiC appointments requiring Cabinet approval; and,
  • Ministerial appointments not requiring Cabinet approval.

Governor-in-Council Appointments

As GiC appointments require Cabinet approval, the Privy Council Office (PCO) is engaged in all steps of the process. Each Notice of Appointment Opportunity, including selection and eligibility criteria, is posted on the central GiC appointments website ( in addition to being distributed through other channels in order to maximize outreach to Canadians.

Selection committees for GiC processes include representatives from the Office of the Minister of Transport, Transport Canada, the PCO, and the Prime Minister’s Office – as well as chairpersons for some Crown corporations. The selection committee screens resumes, conducts interviews, and reviews reference checks in order to prepare a short list of qualified candidates. This short list is presented to the Minister who then selects candidates for recommendation to the GiC.

Terms and conditions of Governor-in-Council appointments

The terms and conditions of each GiC appointment are made through an Order in Council (OiC), which also sets out whether the appointee holds office on a full- or part-time basis. The majority of appointees serve on a part-time basis (for example, directors of a Crown corporation). The tenure of an appointment can be either “during good behavior” (may only be removed for cause) or “during pleasure” (may be removed at the discretion of the GiC).

The term of an appointment is for a specific period, and the appointment lapses upon term expiry, unless there is a legislative provision to the contrary. The appointee may be reappointed to the same position at the discretion of the GiC. In some cases, statutory provisions prohibit or set limits on reappointment to the same position.

Remuneration and terms and conditions for most appointees are fixed by the GiC. Established policies and frameworks help to ensure fairness and equity among appointees.

Guidelines for Governor-in-Council Appointees

Specific statutes and guidelines govern the conduct and actions of GiC appointees while in office.

The Conflict of Interest Act establishes conflict of interest and post-employment rules and compliance measures for public office holders. The Act is administered by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. The Ethical Guidelines and Statutory Standards of Conduct outline ethical principles that must be adhered to by all public office holders. They are based on the general principle that public office holders should not participate in any political activity that might impair, or be seen to impair, their ability to discharge their duties in a politically impartial manner or cast doubt on the integrity or impartiality of the office.

Ministerial Appointments

Ministerial appointments follow a similar open, transparent, and merit-based selection process, but with less involvement from PCO. Notices of Appointment Opportunity are posted on Transport Canada’s website in addition to being distributed broadly through other means (Transport Canada's Current Selection Processes Website). Selection committees include only representatives from the Office of the Minister of Transport and various relevant matter groups within Transport Canada.

Terms and conditions of ministerial appointments

The terms and conditions of Ministerial appointments are set out in federal or provincial/territorial legislation and the by-laws of the various organizations. For Airport Authorities and shared-governance organizations, the terms and conditions of appointments are set in the organization’s by-laws.

Harbour masters and wharfingers

Pursuant to section 69(1) of the Canada Marine Act, the Minister of Transport has the authority to appoint harbour masters and wharfingers to act as on-site representatives at public ports and public port facilities administered by Transport Canada. Transport Canada regional staff train appointed harbour masters and wharfingers and assign duties and responsibilities accordingly. Harbour masters and wharfingers are responsible for monitoring activities at public port and public port facilities in order to ensure compliance with the Canada Marine Act, and for gathering information for the collection of fees owed, including harbour dues and berthage, wharfage, and storage fees. With respect to the appointment of harbour masters and wharfingers at public ports and public port facilities, the Minister has discretion over the length of the term and may remove appointees for cause.

The Minister also appoints one member to the Canadian North Advisory Board, which is a temporary entity mandated to report to the Minister on matters related to the merger of Bradley Air Services Limited (First Air) and Canadian North Inc. and the competitive behavior of the merged entity.

Canadian North Advisory Board

The Minister also appoints one member to the Canadian North Advisory Board, which is a temporary entity mandated to report to the Minister on matters related to the merger of Bradley Air Services Limited (First Air) and Canadian North Inc., and the competitive behavior of the merged entity.

Priority Portfolio Appointments

The vast majority of the 317 appointments you are responsible for are currently filled, but there is an ongoing need for are currently filled, but there is an ongoing need for selection processes to keep them filled. Right now, there are six high-priority vacancies or upcoming expiries in five organizations within the Transport portfolio that will require ministerial direction by early 2020 in order to secure timely approvals from the Governor in Council:

  1. Canadian Transportation Agency: The Chairperson’s term expires in July 2020; an early launch of the replacement or re-appointment process is recommended, given the importance of this position.
  2. Canadian Air Transport Security Authority: The Chief Executive Officer’s term expires in April 2, 2020; you may need to seek another interim re-appointment if Canadian Air Transport Security Authority transition is delayed.
  3. Great Lakes Pilotage Authority: The Chairperson position is currently vacant following an unexpected resignation; an early decision will be required on the best approach to fill this position.
  4. Pacific Pilotage Authority: The Chair’s term expires in June 2020; a decision will be required on whether to appoint or replace.
  5. Buffalo and Fort Erie Peace Bridge: Two of the five Canadian members' terms are set to expire in March and June 2020; direction is required on whether to re-appoint or replace so as to avoid an imbalance in Canadian and United States membership.

Annex A - Distribution of Appointments Across Type of Organization

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Governor in Council appointments (225)


Ministerial appointments (92)

Note: Hover or press each slice of the chart to see a breakdown of the appointments...


Annex B - Summary of Governor-in-Council and Ministerial Appointments in the Transport Portfolio

Organization Maximum Appointments
Governor in Council appointments  
Crown Corporations  
Atlantic Pilotage Authority 7
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority 12
Federal Bridge Corporation Limited 7
Great Lakes Pilotage Authority 7
Laurentian Pilotage Authority 7
Marine Atlantic Inc. 10
Pacific Pilotage Authority 7
VIA Rail Canada Inc. 13
Sub-total 70
Port Authorities 90
Administrative tribunals and agencies  
Canadian Transport Agency 5
Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund 2
Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods 2
Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada 50
Sub-total 59
Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority 5
Québec Port Warden 1
Sub-total 6
Total (GiC) 225
Ministerial appointments  
Airport Authorities (21 entities) 42
Harbour masters and wharfingers 46
NAV Canada 3
St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation 1
Total (Ministerial) 92
Total (Portfolio) 317

1This assumes that Ridley Terminals Inc. is divested.
2Number of members varies according to caseload.
3Appointment authority delegated to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy.