Since it prescribed its first regulatory policy in 1986, the Federal government implemented a consultation process with stakeholders and the general public during the rule-making process. This process is not legally mandatory (unlike in the province of Quebec). However, failure to conduct a consultation process results in an administrative sanction: the refusal to approve the new regulation by Cabinet.
This article reports on the results of an empirical research project we conducted in 2004 within the Immigration Division of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Department (CIC). Our general research question was exploratory in nature. We wanted to know how CIC civil servants understood their obligation to consult with citizens. Our case-study indicates that it is difficult to implement a consultative culture within a department that has a strong long-term commitment to protect the integrity of the Canadian territory.