Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretary Essays

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Guidelines for the
Preparation of Correspondence

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Ministerial Correspondence and Corporate Services (MCCS)

SERVICE CANADA

June 4, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS

General 4
Format 4 Margins 4 Font and size 4 Style 4 Minister, Minister’s staff and Parliamentary Secretary 4 Secretary of State (Seniors) 5 Deputy Head 5 Spacing 5 Minister, Minister’s staff and Secretary of State (Seniors) 5 Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Head 5 Dates 5 Numbers 6 Address blocks 6 Minister, Minister’s staff and Deputy Head 6 Salutations 7 Opening paragraphs 7 Multi-purpose opening sentences 7 Letters referred from the Prime Minister’s Office 7 Letters addressed to the Minister for departmental signature 8 Letters referred from the Parliamentary Secretary 8 Letters from Members of Parliament’s or cabinet minister’s assistants 8 Body of the letter 8 Closing paragraphs 8 Closing salutations and signature block 9 Enclosures 9 Carbon Copies 9 Language of response 10 General 10 Federal Members of Parliament 10 Official Languages Commissioner and House of Commons and Senate Committee Members 10 Mass mailings 10 Internet reply 10
Grammar and Style 11 Tone and length 11 Acronyms and initialisms 11 Abbreviations and contractions 11 Apologies 12 Minister, Minister’s staff, Deputy Head, Parliamentary Secretary 12 Secretary of State (Seniors) 12 Capitalization 12 Department 12 Office 12 Punctuation 12 Names and Titles 12
Tips and Hints 13 Miscellaneous 13 Gallicisms 14
Authorities 14 Primary references 14 Secondary references 14
General

The following guidelines are specific to the correspondence addressed to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, the Minister’s staff, the Parliamentary Secretary, the Secretary of State (Seniors) and the Deputy Head of Service Canada.

All replies to French correspondence prepared for the Minister’s or the Minister’s staff’s signature must be accompanied by an English translation. The subject in WebCIMS also needs to be translated.

The MCCS Quality Control unit has sole responsibility for this document. Questions and comments can therefore be addressed, by telephone or by e-mail, to the following person:

• Kim Fauteux – 819-994-6018 – kim.fauteux@servicecanada.gc.ca

Format

Margins • The left and right margins are always set at 2.54 cm (1"). • The top and bottom margins are set according to the length of the letter.

Font and size
The following table indicates which font and point size to use when drafting ministerial correspondence, depending on who signs the letter.

|Signatory |Font |Size |
|Minister |Times New Roman |12 point |
|Minister’s staff | | |
|Parliamentary Secretary | | |
|Secretary of State (Seniors) | | |
|Deputy Head |Arial |12 point |

Style
Minister, Minister’s staff and Parliamentary Secretary
The indent style is used, as follows: • The salutation is punctuated with a colon. • The first line of each new paragraph starts at 2.54 cm (1") from the left margin. • The complimentary closing begins three hard returns (two blank lines) after the last paragraph, is indented 7.62 cm (3") from the left margin (except in Internet replies), and is punctuated with a comma. • The signature block is indented…