Biography of Michael Wernick

Photo of Michael Wernick

Michael Wernick was appointed Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet on January 22, 2016.

He was Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet from October 6, 2014 to January 21, 2016. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Wernick was Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada from May 2006 to July 2014, and Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office from July to September 2014.

Since joining the federal public service in 1981, Mr. Wernick has worked at the Social Policy Division of the Department of Finance, Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada, the Economic and Regional Development Policy Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, and the Constitutional Affairs Secretariat of the Federal-Provincial Relations Office. From 1996 to 2003 he served as Assistant Deputy Minister and then as Associate Deputy Minister at the Department of Canadian Heritage. From 2003 to 2006 he served three Prime Ministers as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Plans and Consultations, at the Privy Council Office.

In an eight year tenure at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development from 2006 to 2014, Mr. Wernick assisted four Ministers in advancing the Government’s Aboriginal and Northern agendas. Highlights include the passage of 23 pieces of legislation, as well as parts of five Budget Implementation Acts; the approval and ongoing implementation of the Indian Residential Schools settlement; conclusion of several modern treaties and new self-government arrangements; creation of the Specific Claims Tribunal; rapid expansion of the First Nations Land Management Act; deep structural reforms to child and family services, income assistance, and water/wastewater; extending human rights protections and matrimonial property protection to reserves; and an initiative to reform on-reserve education. Northern highlights include International Polar Year, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station; devolution of federal land management responsibilities to the Government of the Northwest Territories; reform of northern regulatory regimes; and replacement of “food mail” by the Nutrition North program.

Mr. Wernick has the unique distinction of having been deeply involved in the transition process and start up of three new governments, and attending the swearing in and first Cabinet meeting of three Prime Ministers (Martin in 2003, Harper in 2006, Trudeau in 2015).

Mr. Wernick has developed many public service leaders. Fifteen members of his management teams have been promoted to or within the Deputy Minister community.

Mr. Wernick received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Economics from the University of Toronto. Mr. Wernick is member of the Board of Governors of Carleton University, and the Board of Directors of the Institute on Governance.

In November 2012 Mr. Wernick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.