Provincial Secretary and Registrar of Ontario


Provincial Secretary and Registrar of Ontario

The Provincial Secretary and Registrar of Ontario was a senior position in the provincial cabinet of Ontario from before Canadian Confederation until the 1960s.

The Provincial Secretary and Registrar was originally the second highest position in the provincial cabinet, equivalent to the position of Deputy Premier. The Provincial Secretary was the equivalent of the former Canadian Cabinet position of Secretary of State for Canada. Like its federal counterpart it included an eclectic variety of responsibilities that were not assigned to other ministers, most of which would eventually evolve into portfolios of their own. The provincial secretary was also responsible for official communications between the provincial government and the Colonial Office in London as well as with other provincial and colonial governments (and after 1867 the federal government). As well, the position also included various duties related to ceremonial occasions, visits by dignitaries, protocol, relations between the government and the office of lieutenant-governor and commemorative events particularly in relation to the monarchy.

Generally, the Provincial Secretary acted as a province's Registrar-General and was responsible for formal documents and records such as licences, birth and death certificates, land registries and surveys, business registrations and writs. As well, the position was generally responsible for the administration of the civil service and of elections. Provincial secretaries were usually the most senior member of the provincial cabinet outside of the Premier, and the office holder was often designated as Acting Premier when the Premier was out of province, ill or otherwise unavailable. The last individual to hold the position of Provincial Secretary and Registrar (renamed Provincial Secretary and Minister of Citizenship in 1961) was John Yaremko who left office in 1975.

In 1972 the Progressive Conservative government of Bill Davis adopted the provincial secretary title for a non-departmental cabinet portfolio in which the occupant either having responsibility spreading over sevearl ministries, assisting a senior minister in an area or as a secondary portfolio for a senior minister giving him a broader responsibility or mandate area. The three positions created were Provincial Secretary for Social Development, Provincial Secretary for Justice and Provincial Secretary for Resource Development. These positions were unrelated to the original Provincial Secretary position except for the common name. The positions were retained by Davis' successor, Frank Miller, in 1985 but were abolished when the Progressive Conservatives lost power to David Peterson's Liberals in 1985.

Provincial Secretary and Registrar

*Matthew Crooks Cameron (1867-1871) Conservative
*Stephen Richards (1871) Conservative
*Alexander Mackenzie (1871) Liberal
*Peter Gow (1871-1872) Liberal
*Timothy Pardee (1872-1873) Liberal
*Christopher Fraser (1873) Liberal

*Samuel Wood (1875-1877) Liberal
*Arthur S. Hardy (1877-1889) Liberal
*John Gibson (1889-1896) Liberal
*William Balfour (1896) Liberal
*Elihu Davis (1896-1899) Liberal
*James Stratton (1899-1904) Liberal
*George Graham (1904-1905) Liberal
*William Hanna (1905-1916) Conservative
*William McPherson (1916-1919) Conservative
*Harry Nixon (1919-1923) United Farmers of Ontario
*Lincoln Goldie (1923-1930) Conservative
*Leopold Macaulay (1930-1931) Conservative
*George Challies (1931-1934) Conservative
*Harry Nixon (1934-1942) Liberal
*Norman Hipel (1942-1943) Liberal
*Harry Nixon (1943) "as Premier" Liberal
*George Dunbar (1943-1946) Progressive Conservative
*Roland Michener (1946-1948) Progressive Conservative
*Dana Porter (1948-1949) Progressive Conservative
*George Welsh (1949-1955) Progressive Conservative
*William Nickle (1955) Progressive Conservative
*George Dunbar (1955-1958) Progressive Conservative
*Mackinnon Phillips (1958-1960) Progressive Conservative
*John Yaremko (1960-1961) Progressive Conservative

Provincial Secretary and Minister of Citizenship

*John Yaremko (1961-1966) Progressive Conservative
*Robert Welch (1966-1971) Progressive Conservative
*John Yaremko (1971-1975) Progressive Conservative

Provincial Secretaries for Social Development

*Robert Welch (1972-1974)
*Margaret Birch (1974-1983)
*Bruce McCaffrey (while Minister of Community and Social Services) (1983)
*Gordon Dean (1983-1985)
*Larry Grossman (1985)

Provincial Secretaries for Justice

*Allan Lawrence (1972)
*George Kerr (1972-1974)
*Robert Welch (while Attorney-General) (1974-1975)
*John Clement (while Attorney-General and Solicitor General) (1975)
*John MacBeth (1975-1978)
*George Kerr (while Solicitor-General) (1978)
*Gordon Walker (1979-1982)
*Norm Sterling (1982-1983)
*Reuben Baetz (1985)

Provincial Secretaries for Resource Development

*Albert Lawrence (1972-1974)
*Allan Grossman (1974-1975)
*Donald Irvine (1975-1977)
*Rene Brunelle (1977-1981)
*Russell Ramsay (1981-1982)
*Lorne Henderson (1982-1983)
*Norm Sterling (1983-1985)
*Ernie Eves (1985)


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