The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) meets once a year at its Plenary Assembly.

Every two years (on odd-numbered years), the Bishops elect from among their midst the members of the Permanent Council (a minimum of 12 members) and the Executive Committee (four members: the President, Vice President and two Co-Treasurers). Every third year, the Bishops also elect the Chairmen of their six Episcopal Commissions.

A General Secretariat serves the Conference, doing the day-to-day work and ensuring the execution of the decisions taken by the members of the Conference.


Plenary Assembly

The Plenary Assembly constitutes the essential structure and the highest authority within the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, gathering over 80 Bishops every fall. For the past few years, this five-day meeting has been held in Cornwall, Ontario, and Saint-Adèle, Quebec.

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Permanent Council

The Permanent Council’s authority is derived from the Plenary Assembly to which it reports. The principal responsibility of the Permanent Council is to oversee the general work and orientation of the Conference and to prepare and carry out the main undertakings of the Plenary Assembly.

The Permanent Council is elected for a two-year term by the members present at the Plenary Assembly. It is composed of a minimum of 12 members, equally represented by Bishops from the English and French sectors. The Council meets at least three times a year.

Its composition:

Members of the 2019–2021 Permanent Council

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Executive Committee

The Executive Committee holds its authority from the Permanent Council, to which it is accountable. Between meetings of the Permanent Council, the Executive Committee:

The Executive Committee is made up of the President, Vice President and two Co-Treasurers. They are elected every two years by those present at the Plenary Assembly.

Executive Committee members for 2019–2021 are

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Episcopal Commissions, Standing Committees and Indigenous Council

Six Episcopal Commissions, five Standing Committees and one Indigenous Council are at the service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Each Commission and Standing Committee specializes in one pastoral area, to assist and support the Bishops in their pastoral ministry. Led by the work and expertise of the Bishops and assisted by one secretary (consultants and observers may also be invited to help), each Commission and Standing Committee studies current events, analyzes the needs of the Church in Canada, and organizes projects aimed at supporting our Catholic communities.

Three of the Commissions are national – formed by Bishops equally distributed between the French and English sectors. The three others are named “sectoral” because they report either to the English or French sector.

The Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council, established in 1998 by the Bishops of Canada, advises the Conference on Indigenous questions.

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General Secretariat

To assist them in their pastoral work, the Bishops have established a permanent bilingual Secretariat in Ottawa that includes various offices and services.

As directed by the Executive Committee and coordinated by the General Secretary, the General Secretariat assists in coordinating activities and information; maintains contacts with the Holy See and with other Episcopal Conferences, as well as with Churches, ecclesial communities, faith groups and government authorities at the national and international levels; and also works in collaboration with the four Regional Episcopal Assemblies in Canada.

The General Secretary is Msgr. Frank Leo, Jr., C.S.S.