ministerial portfolio

* As a general point, you will be on much more solid ground if you use the template that I gave out in class. It is attached for reference. Simply turn this into your profile file and insert material under the various headings. Also attached is the original assignment note – use the references on page 3 as much as possible.
* Pages 2 and 3 of the template have headings for the nine categories of material that are being looked for in addition to the summary. Try to follow this as much as possible. The list of references on page 3 of the assignment don’t track the template exactly, but you should be able to find a link that covers all of the areas, with the possible exception of departmental predecessors. For that one, have a look at the departmental website. You can also probably find some good material simply by googling Health Canada history (but don’t forget to give the reference it)

Here are some comments on your note specifically.
* Summary – this should be a rollup of the main points in the rest of the paper. Think of an abstract for a journal article rather than an introduction. The idea is – what should the minister know from the rest of the note if they only have time to read the summary and nothing else?
* Some of the material in the summary, for example most of the third paragraph could go later, under the overview of the portfolio
* Top of page 2 you give a very approximate budget number. For that you should look at the TBS Main Estimates site and look at either the Part II Estimates or the Part III Report on Priorities and Plans. You can use 2012-13 numbers, which were available when the assignment came out or 2013-14, which have just been released.
* The tables you used are fine, although you should use more up to date ones if available. They should go in annexes, however.
* You need to reference all your data points. You have used in text citations but should be using endnotes – i.e. footnotes at the end of the paper. If you aren’t able to find them on your word processing software, regular footnotes are OK. In your endnotes, give the name of the webpage or document and then the web address (URL)
* The material starting at the bottom of page 3 (Institutional function, nature of governance and Ministerial relationship) is all generic information, mostly theoretical in nature. You need information about how this applies in the specific case of Health Canada. For example, some of the material that you give on page 4 simply doesn’t apply – Statistics Canada isn’t part of Health Canada, nor is Canada Revenue Agency and Health doesn’t have any Crown Corporations.
* Areas not covered at all include: statutory framework, direct reports, other key relationships, predecessors and hot items. You do refer to most of the others in the template, but the relevant material isn’t always easy to find – again that’s a good reason to follow the template.

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