British Columbia. Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services

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British Columbia. Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services

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The Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services was established in 1871 under its first name, the office of Colonial Secretary, by authority of The Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, the origins of this ministry were in the offices of the Colonial Secretaries for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1863-1866), the Colony of British Columbia (1864-1866) and the united colony of British Columbia (1866-1871). When British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the name Colonial Secretary remained in place until April 1872 when a Provincial Secretary was named to assume the duties and functions (SBC 1872, c. 15). The mandate of the Provincial Secretary included all the powers, duties and functions held by provincial secretaries and registrars in other provinces of the Dominion of Canada. They included being the keeper of the Great Seal of the Province, with the authority to issues letters patent and commissions, and being the keeper of all registers and archives of the province and previous governments of the province. As with other departments, it was also the duty of the Provincial Secretary to make an annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor. The first annual report was produced in 1972. At various times, different agencies have been under the direction of the Provincial Secretary such as treasury and audit branches, Bureau of Mines, gold commissioners, Returned Soldiers Commission, Provincial Library and Archives, Provincial Board of Health, Vital Statistics, Provincial Home, and others. In most instances these agencies were later transferred to the control of new ministries established to administer the specific function or functions. At various times and for varying periods, the Provincial Secretary was responsible for industrial schools, mothers pensions, administration of the Infants Act, protection of historic sites, and arbitration of labour disputes. In 1947, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary administered the Civil Service Commission, Government Printing Bureau, Superannuation Commission, mental hospitals, institution farms, homes for the aged, inspector of hospitals, and the Elections Act. In 1976, with the addition of travel and tourism functions from the Dept. of Recreation and Travel Industry, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was renamed the Ministry of the Provincial Secretary and Travel Industry (OIC 3199/76). Those functions were transferred out in 1978 to the Ministry of Tourism and Small Business Development. At the same time, the Provincial Secretary acquired responsibility for the Public Service Act, the Heritage Conservation Act, the British Columbia Buildings Corporation Act, and cultural services, library services, recreation, and fitness services functions from the Ministry of Recreation and Conservation. The ministrys name was changed to the Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services (OIC 3018/78) with the subsequent changes recorded in the revised statutes released the following year (RSBC 1979, c. 279). In 1988, the Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services was renamed the Ministry of Government Management Services. At the same time, the office of the Provincial Secretary, and some of the functions traditionally performed by the Provincial Secretary, such as protocol and special services, provincial elections, lottery grants administration, and Government House, were transferred to the Ministry of Tourism and Provincial Secretary (OIC 1312/88).


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