The office of the solicitor general has its historic roots in England. In Canada the office varies substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some provinces the office of the solicitor general is subsumed under one or more different portfolios, but in most it is separate and distinct. In the former situation, functions of the solicitor general are likely to be assumed by the office of the ATTORNEY GENERAL. Federally the office of the solicitor general is separate and distinct from other Cabinet portfolios.
Generally speaking, a provincial solicitor general is responsible for matters relating to POLICING in the province, corrections, motor vehicles and liquor licensing. However, the functions assigned to the solicitor general's office differ from province to province. Federally, the solicitor general of Canada is responsible for the Correctional Service of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the National Parole Board. As of July 1984 the federal solicitor general was made responsible for the CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, now established separate and apart from the RCMP; however, one of the controversies concerning the enactment of the new security legislation relates to considerable independence of the service from the minister responsible.
Federally, there is a close working relationship between the offices of the attorney general and the solicitor general as their functions somewhat overlap.