Janice Charette, Canada’s high commissioner in the United Kingdom, will serve as interim Clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to the cabinet starting March 9 when Ian Shugart goes on leave to undergo cancer treatment.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Monday.
Trudeau thanked Shugart for his “exceptional leadership over the past year in mobilizing the public service to quickly deliver support to Canadians during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We are all pulling for him as he faces these health challenges.”
Shugart, who became the country’s top public servant in 2019, told colleagues in an e-mail last month that he would be taking leave to seek treatment following a cancer diagnosis.
Charette is “well positioned” to take on the role given her “exceptional” career in the public service — including serving as Clerk of the Privy Council from Oct. 2014 to Jan. 2016, according to the statement.
The Clerk of the Privy Council is the principal public service advisor to the prime minister and head of the public service.
Charette, a graduate of Carleton University, was previously deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and associate secretary to the cabinet as well as deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs.
She has held leadership positions in eight departments with files including skills development, labour markets, immigration, citizenship, social security, health, and justice, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
A former principal at consulting firm Ernst & Young, Charette was director of the transition team that set up the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. She chaired the public service’s United Way campaign in 2008.