Royal Commission on Government Organization

Government Organization, Royal Commission on (Glassco Commission), was appointed in 1960 under J. Grant Glassco, a prominent businessman and chartered accountant, to inquire into the organization and methods of the departments and agencies of the federal government.

Government Organization, Royal Commission on

Government Organization, Royal Commission on (Glassco Commission), was appointed in 1960 under J. Grant Glassco, a prominent businessman and chartered accountant, to inquire into the organization and methods of the departments and agencies of the federal government. It investigated 23 departments, the armed forces, 21 statutory boards and 42 corporations. The commissioners also visited the UK and the US. Taking testimony from former US president Herbert Hoover the commissioners earned themselves the sobriquet "the Canadian Hoover commission," after the aggressive inquiries conducted by Hoover into the American administrative structure. The 5-volume commission report (released 1962-63) recommended that government should "let the managers manage"; that departments should be free of inappropriate central control and should be allowed to devise management methods suited to their needs; that TREASURY BOARD should be reorganized to control and harmonize government operations; and that senior officials should rotate from department to department. A special Bureau of Government Organization was created to implement the recommendations, many of which were put into practice through the Transfer of Duties Act and later consolidated in the Government Organization Act (1966). Most observers acknowledge that the Glassco reforms did not work, particularly regarding the role of Treasury Board; that the commission did not address the operations of the executive and Parliament; and that the result was a growth of CENTRAL AGENCIES lacking effective control and unity.