Thursday, August 17, 2006

New U.S. Government Manual and Its Canadian Equivalent

Quite a number of blogs I monitor (beSpacific, Resourceshelf, Peter Scott, etc.) mentioned the release of the 2006-2007 online edition of the U.S. Government Manual:

"As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions, and committees."

I was just using it the other day, before the new edition was announced. Quite useful for a quick overview of the mandate and structure of American government departments and agencies.

There is no direct or perfect Canadian equivalent. The closest one would be the Sources of Federal Government Information 2005-2006 section on Info-Source, most of which was updated in early June 2006.

Infosource describes Government of Canada agencies, their organization, and their information holdings and as such it is mainly used as a reference tool to help Canadian citizens in exercising their rights under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act by informing them of who in the government bureaucracy has compiled what kinds of files and maintains what types of document systems.

But it does also serve as a manual describing the structure of the Canadian government: take the chapter for the Department of Justice for example. In the navigation bar along the lefthand side is a section called "General Information" with links to Background (history), Responsibilities (mandate), Legislation (statutes for which the department is responsible) and Organization (internal structure). There can be quite a lot of descriptive detail.

Here is an excerpt from the Organization section describing the Federal Prosecution Service:

"The Federal Prosecution Service (FPS) is a national entity within the Department of Justice. It encompasses all staff counsel and prosecution agents engaged in the delivery of prosecution and criminal law advisory services at the federal level across Canada. Headed by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Law), the FPS consists of a central component (FPS-Headquarters), a regional component (prosecutors working in the Department's twelve regional offices and sub-offices and the legal agents working under their supervision), and the prosecutors with the Competition and Consumer Law Division within the Departmental Legal Services Unit at Industry Canada."

"Headquarters is comprised of the Criminal Law Section, which includes the Federal Prosecution Service / Ottawa-Gatineau and the International Assistance Group; the e-prosecutions Secretariat; the Executive Services Office; the Renewal Secretariat; and the Strategic Prosecution Policy Section, which includes the Agent Affairs Unit and the National Security Group."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm

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