The Crown

November 11, 2013

Lawyers often refer to the Crown and the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate with Aboriginal peoples in Canada. But who is the Crown? The short, practical answer is either the provincial or federal government. The longer answer is a bit more complicated.

In Canada, the executive branch of government is considered the authorized representative of Queen Elizabeth II (who wears the Crown so to speak). This means that the executive branch, who has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the government and execution of the law, acts as the Crown. Parliament, a separate branch of government, is not considered the Crown in legal matters primarily because parliament answers to the people, not to the Queen.

Within the executive branch of government, the representative of the Crown depends on the situation. Generally, the Minister of a government is considered the Crown since he/she is an employee of the Crown that makes final decisions. The Minister often delegates such decision-making power to a variety of public servants within his/her ministry which means that they then exercise the authority of the Crown.

– Jessica Davies, Intermediate Advisor, Aboriginal and Stakeholder Engagement, Communica Vancouver