Crown corporations in Canada are government organizations with a mixture of commercial and public-policy objectives. They are directly and wholly owned by the Crown (i.e. the government of Canada or a province).
Crown corporations represent a specific form of state-owned enterprise. Each corporation is ultimately accountable to (federal or provincial) Parliament through a relevant minister for the conduct of its affairs. They are established by an Act of Parliament and report to that body via the relevant minister in Cabinet, though they are "shielded from constant government intervention and legislative oversight" and thus "generally enjoy greater freedom from direct political control than government departments."
Crown corporations have a long-standing presence in the country and have been instrumental in its formation. They can provide services required by the public that otherwise would not be economically viable as a private enterprise or that do not fit exactly within the scope of any ministry. They are involved in everything from the distribution, use, and price of certain goods and services to energy development, resource extraction, public transportation, cultural promotion, and property management.
In Canada, Crown corporations within either the federal or provincial level are owned by the Crown as the institution's sole legal shareholder. This follows the legal premise that the monarch, as the personification of Canada, owns all state property.
Although these corporations are owned by the Crown, they are operated with much greater managerial autonomy than government departments. While they report to Parliament via the relevant minister in Cabinet, they are "shielded from constant government intervention and legislative oversight" and thus "generally enjoy greater freedom from direct political control than government departments." Direct control over operations are only exerted over the corporation's budget and the appointment of its senior leadership through Orders-in-Council.
Further, in the federal sphere, certain Crown corporations can be an agent or non-agent of the Crown. One with agent status is entitled to the same constitutional prerogatives, privileges, and immunities held by the Crown and can bind the Crown by its acts. The Crown is thus entirely responsible for the actions of these organisations. The Crown is not liable for Crown corporations with non-agent status, except for actions of that corporation carried out on instruction from the government, though there may be "moral obligations" on the part of the Crown in other circumstances.
Crown corporations are generally formed to fill a need that the federal or provincial government deems in the national interest or not profitable for private industry. Some Crown corporations are expected to be profitable organisations, while others are non-commercial and rely entirely on public funds to operate.
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Prior to the formation of Crown corporations as presently understood, much of what later became Canada was settled and governed by a similar type of entity called a chartered company. These companies were established by a royal charter by the Scottish, English, or French crown, but were owned by private investors. They fulfilled the dual roles of promoting government policy abroad and making a return for shareholders. Certain companies were mainly trading businesses, but some were given a mandate (by royal charter) to govern a specific territory called a charter colony, and the head of this colony, called a proprietary governor, was both a business manager and the governing authority in the area. The first colonies on the island of Newfoundland were founded in this manner, between 1610 and 1728.
Canada's most famous and influential chartered company was the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), founded on May 2, 1670, by royal charter of King Charles II. The HBC became the world's largest land owner, at one point overseeing 7,770,000 km2 (3,000,000 sq mi), territories that today incorporate the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon. The HBC were often the point of first contact between the colonial government and First Nations. By the late 19th century, however, the HBC lost its monopoly over Rupert's Land and became a fully privatised company.
The first major Canadian experience with directly state-owned enterprises came during the early growth of the railways. The first Canadian Crown corporation after confederation was the Canadian National Railway Company, created in 1922.
During the earlier part of the century, many British North American colonies that now comprise the Canadian federation had Crown corporations, often in the form of railways, such as the Nova Scotia Railway, since there was limited private capital available for such endeavours. When three British colonies joined to create the Canadian federation in 1867, these railways were transferred to the new central government. As well, the construction of the Intercolonial Railway between them was one of the terms of the new constitution. The first section of this entirely government-owned railway was completed in 1872.
Western Canada's early railways were all run by privately owned companies backed by government subsidies and loans. By the early twentieth century, however, many of these had become bankrupt. The federal government nationalised several failing Western railways and combined them with its existing Intercolonial and other line in the East to create Canadian National Railways (CNR) in 1918 as a transcontinental system. The CNR was unique in that was a conglomerate, and besides passenger and freight rail, it had inherited major business interests in shipping, hotels, and telegraphy and was able create new lines of business in broadcasting and air travel. Many of the components of this business empire were later spun off into new Crown corporations including some the most important businesses in the mid-20th-century economy of Canada, such Air Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Via Rail, and Marine Atlantic.
Provincial Crown corporations also re-emerged in the early 20th century, most notably in the selling of alcohol. Government monopoly liquor stores were seen as a compromise between the recently ended era of Prohibition in Canada and the excesses of the previous open market which had led to calls for prohibition in the first place. Virtually all the provinces used this system at one point. The largest of these government liquor businesses, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (founded 1927), was by 2008 one of the world's largest alcohol retailers. Resource and utility companies also emerged at this time, notably Ontario Hydro and Alberta Government Telephones in 1906, and SaskTel in 1908. Provincial governments also re-entered the railway business as in Northern Alberta Railways in 1925 and what later became BC Rail in 1918. A notable anomaly of this era is Canada's only provincially owned "bank" (though not called that for legal reasons) Alberta Treasury Branches, created in 1937.
The federal Post Office Department became a Crown corporation as Canada Post Corporation in 1981, and Canada's export credit agency, Export Development Canada, was created in 1985. Perhaps the most controversial was Petro-Canada, Canada's short-lived attempt to create a national oil company, founded in 1975.
The heyday of Crown corporations ended in the late 1980s, and there has been much privatisation since that time, particularly at the federal level.
Not only the federal government was involved, but also the provinces, who were in engaged in an era of "province building" (expanding the reach and importance of the provincial governments) around this time. The prototypical example is Hydro-Québec, founded in 1944 and now Canada's largest electricity generator and the world's largest producer of hydro-electricity. It is widely seen as a symbol of modern Quebec, helping to create the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s where French-speakers in Quebec rose to positions of influence in the industrial economy for the first time, and Quebec nationalism emerged as a political force. This model followed by SaskPower in 1944 and BC Hydro in 1961. Other areas provinces were active in included insurance (Saskatchewan Government Insurance, 1945)
List of federal Crown corporationsEdit
List of provincial crown corporationsEdit
- Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
- Alberta Capital Finance Authority (ACFA)
- Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission
- Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation
- Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo)
- Alberta Pensions Services Corporation
- Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission (APMC)
- Alberta Innovates (AI)
- Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB Financial)
- Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (Alberta) (CUDGC)
- Travel Alberta
- BC Assessment Authority
- B.C. Council for International Education
- BC Games Society
- British Columbia Housing Management Commission (BC Housing)
- BC Hydro (formed in 1961) — took over the assets of the British Columbia Electric Railway.
- BC Immigrant Investment Fund
- BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB)
- BC Innovation Council (BCIC)
- BC Lottery Corporation
- BC Liquor Distribution Branch
- BC Pavilion Corporation — originally created to manage the BC Pavilion during Expo 86, PavCo operates BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
- BC Pension Corporation
- BC Transit
- BC Transportation Financing Authority
- British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC)
- British Columbia Public School Employers' Association
- British Columbia Railway Company
- British Columbia Securities Commission
- Columbia Basin Trust
- Columbia Power Corporation
- Community Living BC
- Community Social Services Employers' Association
- Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area
- Crown Corporations Employers' Association
- Destination BC
- First Peoples' Cultural Council
- Forestry Innovation Investment
- Health Employers Association of British Columbia
- Industry Training Authority
- Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC; formed in 1973)
- Knowledge Network
- Legal Services Society
- Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society
- Oil and Gas Commission (formed in 1998)
- Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia
- Pacific Carbon Trust
- Partnerships British Columbia Inc.
- Post-secondary Employers' Association of British Columbia
- Private Career Training Institutions Agency
- Ridley Terminals, Inc. — Port of Prince Rupert
- Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM)
- Transportation Investment Corporation (formed in 2008)
- Efficiency Manitoba
- Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation
- Manitoba Arts Council
- Combative Sports Commission (formerly Manitoba Boxing Commission)
- Manitoba Film and Music
- Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation
- Manitoba Hydro
- Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation
- Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation
- Atlantic Lottery Corporation
- Financial and Consumer Services Commission
- NB Power
- New Brunswick Liquor Corporation
- Service New Brunswick
- New Brunswick Community College
- New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation
Newfoundland and LabradorEdit
- Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited
- Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nalcor Energy
- Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation
- Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
- Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation
- Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation
- Research & Development Corporation
- Defence Construction Canada
- Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
- Develop Nova Scotia (formerly Waterfront Development Corporation Limited)
- Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia
- Halifax Convention Centre Corporation (operating as Events East Group)
- Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission
- Harbourside Commercial Park Inc. (HCPI)
- Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation — created by statute but independent of government
- Nova Scotia Arts Council
- Nova Scotia Beef Commission
- Nova Scotia Business Incorporated
- Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission
- Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board
- Nova Scotia Fisheries & Aquaculture Loan Board
- Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation
- Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation
- Nova Scotia Harness Racing Incorporated
- Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation
- Nova Scotia Lands Incorporated (NSLI)
- Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC)
- Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation (NSMFC)
- Nova Scotia Power Finance Corporation
- Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency
- Nova Scotia Resources Limited
- Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc.
- Renova Scotia Bioenergy Inc. (former Bowater Mersey assets)
- Rockingham Terminal Inc.
- Sydney Environmental Resources Limited
- Tidal Power Corporation
- Tourism Nova Scotia
Crown corporations in Ontario are sometimes referred to as Crown agencies. A Crown agency includes any board, commission, railway, public utility, university, factory, company or agency owned, controlled or operated by the King in Right of Ontario or the Government of Ontario, or under the authority of the Legislature or the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council.
- Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario
- Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario
- GroupeMédia TFO
- Independent Electricity System Operator
- Infrastructure Ontario
- Liquor Control Board of Ontario
- Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
- Niagara Escarpment Commission
- Niagara Parks Commission
- Northern Ontario Heritage Fund
- Ontario Agricorp
- Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion
- Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation
- Ontario Clean Water Agency
- Ontario Educational Communications Authority
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
- Ontario Northland Transportation Commission
- Ontario Health
- Ontario Power Generation
- Ontario Science Centre
- Ontario Securities Commission
- Royal Ontario Museum
- Science North
- St. Lawrence Parks Commission
Prince Edward IslandEdit
- Charlottetown Area Development Corporation
- Innovation PEI
- Island Investment Development Inc.
- P.E.I. Student Financial Assistance Corporation
- Island Waste Management Corporation
- P.E.I. Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Initiative Inc.
- Prince Edward Island Agricultural Insurance Corporation
- Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation
- Prince Edward Island Grain Elevators Corporation
- Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission
- Prince Edward Island Self-Insurance and Risk Management Fund
- Summerside Regional Development Corporation
- Agence du Revenu du Québec
- Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
- Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
- Investissement Québec (merged with the Société générale de financement in 2010)
- Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
- Musée de la civilisation
- Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (founded in 1933) — became a société d'État in 1983, and changed back in 2003)
- Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec
- Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ)
- Société de développement des entreprises culturelles
- Société de la Place des arts de Montréal
- Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec
- Société des casinos du Québec
- Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq)
- Société des traversiers du Québec
- Société du Centre des congrès de Québec
- Société du Grand Théâtre de Québec
- Société du Palais des congrès de Montréal
- Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan (CIC)
- eHealth Saskatchewan
- Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority
- Global Transportation Hub (GTH)
- Municipal Financing Corporation of Saskatchewan (MFC)
- Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation (DLC)
- Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)
- Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC)
- Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)
- Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO)
- Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency
- Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)
- Tourism Saskatchewan
- Water Security Agency
- Northwest Territories Hydro Corporation
- Northwest Territories Power Corporation
- NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation
- NWT Housing Corporation
- Aurora College
Former Crown corporationsEdit
Several private Canadian companies were once Crown corporations, while others have gone defunct.
|Company||Privatized/defunct (year)||Former jurisdiction||Notes|
|Air Canada||privatized (1988)||federal|
|Alberta Government Telephones / BCTel||privatized||AB; BC||now Telus Communications|
|BC Rail Communications||privatized (1993)||BC||formed in 1972 and sold in 1993 as Westel|
|Blue Water Bridge Authority||defunct (2015||federal||amalgamated with St. Mary's River Bridge Company to form the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited,|
|British Columbia Electric Railway||privatized||BC||private company from 1891 to 1961, when it was nationalized and formed into BC Hydro before the rail portion was sold in 1989|
|British Columbia Resources Investment Corporation||defunct (1997)||BC|
|Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board (CEIFB)|
|Canadair||privatized (1946; 1986)||federal||formed as a Crown corporation in 1944; privatized in 1946 (sold to Electric Boat Company); re-acquired by government in 1976; privatized in 1986 (sold to Bombardier Inc. and merged into Bombardier Aerospace in 1989)|
|Canadian National Railway||privatized (1995)||federal|
|Cape Breton Growth Fund Corporation|
|Clairtone Sound Corporation Limited||defunct||NS|
|CTV Two Alberta||privatized (1995)||AB||formed in 1973; formerly Access TV and Alberta Educational Communications Corporation|
|de Havilland Canada||privatized (1986)||federal||formed as a private company in 1928, nationalized during World War II, then privatized in 1986|
|Eldorado Nuclear Limited (previously Eldorado Resources)||privatized||federal||merged with the Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation and privatized into Cameco Corporation|
|Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation|
|Hydro One||privatized (2016)||ON|
|Industrial Estates Limited||NS|
|Intercolonial Railway||defunct (1918)||merged into the Canadian National Railway|
|Manitoba Telephone System||privatized (1996)||MB||now Bell MTS; formerly MTS and MTS Allstream|
|Northern Transportation Company Limited||federal|
|Nova Scotia Agricultural College||NS||now merged into Dalhousie University|
|Nova Scotia Power||1992||NS||formed in 1918|
|Ontario Highway 407||1999||ON|
|Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS)||privatized (1989)||SK|
|Saskatchewan Communications Network||SK|
|Saskatchewan Government Airways||SK|
|Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation||privatized||SK||merged with the federally-owned Eldorado Nuclear Limited (formerly Eldorado Mining and Refining) and privatized into Cameco Corporation|
|Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Corporation||SK|
|Sydney Steel Corporation||dormant||NS||dormant; remediation and redevelopment of former SYSCO estates now conducted by NSLI and HCPI.|
|Teleglobe||1987||formed in 1950; privatized in 1987 (to Memotec, later to BCE and finally VSNL) and absorbed into Tata operations in Canada|
|Tourism British Columbia||BC||formed in 1997|
|Trade Centre Limited||NS||succeeded by Halifax Convention Centre Corporation|
|TrentonWorks||NS||sold to Daewoo|
- Canada Development Corporation
- Structure of the Canadian federal government
- Executive Agency
- Statutory corporation, a term used in many Commonwealth countries
- State monopoly capitalism
- State-owned enterprise
- State-owned enterprises of the United States
- Crown entity, equivalent bodies in New Zealand
- "Overview of federal organizations and interests". Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 2012-09-28. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
- Tupper, Allan. 2006 February 7. "Crown Corporation." The Canadian Encyclopedia (last edited 2021 March 18). Retrieved 2021 May 19.
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. "Aboriginal Peoples and Communities > Governance > Tools for Governance > Governance Tools for Institutions > Establishing and Operating as a Federal Crown Corporation - The DIAND Experience". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Canada Development Investment Corporation (2008), Annual Report 2008 (PDF), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 13, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 August 2010, retrieved 21 April 2010,
Canada Development Investment Corporation... is wholly-owned by Her Majesty in Right of Canada
- Stastna, Kazi. "What are Crown corporations and why do they exist?". CBC. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- "Directors of Crown corporations: an introductory guide to their roles and responsibilities - What is a Crown Corporation". Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 2002-12-20. Archived from the original on 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
- Secretariat, Treasury Board of Canada (2007-05-15). "List of Crown corporations". www.canada.ca. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
- Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "Government Operations Sector > Governance > Agent Status and Crown Corporations". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Galbraith, John S. (1957). The Hudson's Bay Company As An Imperial Factor 1821-1869. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
- https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/rev-exa/gfcc-cgse-eng.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "List of Crown corporations". Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 2021-03-29. Archived from the original on 2020-04-01. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
- "About | Canadian Museum of History". Retrieved 2021-05-19.
- "How the Alberta government works". Government of Alberta. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
- BC Pavilion Corporation Official website
- "Crown Services | Province of Manitoba". Province of Manitoba - Crown Services. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
- "Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC)". www.masc.mb.ca. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
- Financial and Consumer Services Commission
- Crown Agency Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. 48.
- "About Infrastructure Ontario".
- Finances Québec (June 2017). "Liste des sociétés d'État" (PDF). Finances.Gouv.Qc.ca (in French). Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- Société d'énergie de la Baie James (1987). Le Complexe hydroélectrique de La Grande-Rivière : réalisation de la première phase [The La Grande hydroelectric complex : phase one development] (in French). Montréal: Éditions de la Chenelière. p. 2. ISBN 978-2-8931-0010-4. OCLC 17477765. OL 15247561M.
- Library of Congress. "Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF): Musée du Québec". id.loc.gov. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
...founded in 1933; became a 'société d'état' Dec. 22, 1983;...
- "Sydney Steel Corporation Business Plan 2011–2012" (PDF). Sydney Steel Corporation. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
The plan for Sysco during the 2011–2012 fiscal year is to continue to wind up activities and have the corporation remain dormant.
- Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: 2001 Annual Report To Parliament - Crown Corporations and Other Corporate Interests of Canada
- Canadian Heritage Performance Report; March 31, 1998
- Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: 2007 Annual Report to Parliament - Crown Corporations and other Corporate Interests of Canada