The Secretariat was established in 1973 at a First Ministers’ Conference. Governments at the time recognized the need for a mechanism in the Federation to serve, on a continuing basis, conferences of First Ministers and a growing number of senior-level intergovernmental meetings. Since then, the agency has played a key and pivotal role in the domain of intergovernmental machinery in Canada.
Although CICS was designated a department of the federal government by an Order-in-Council dated November 29, 1973, it is in fact an agency of the federal, provincial and territorial governments. As such, it acts as an impartial intergovernmental body with its budget supported by both orders of government and its staff made up of federal, provincial and territorial public servants. The Secretary reports to all governments annually and reports to Parliament through the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
In order to effectively and efficiently provide services to senior level federal-provincial-territorial and provincial-territorial meetings, CICS is continually transforming its service delivery model and is recognized among governments for its knowledge and expertise in conference protocol and in the utilization of evolving technologies to support those meetings.