According to its statutes, together the Bishops exercise certain pastoral functions for Catholics in Canada, respecting the autonomy of each Bishop in the service of his particular Church.
Through the work of its members, the Conference is involved in matters of national and international scope in areas such as ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, social justice, aid to developing countries, the protection of human life, liturgy and Christian education. It also provides the bishops with a forum where they can share their experience and insight on the life of the Church and the major events that shape our society.
The members of the Episcopal Conference include: all diocesan bishops in Canada and those equivalent to them in law, all Coadjutor Bishops, and Auxiliary Bishops. Also included in the Episcopal Conference are Titular Bishops of any rite within the Catholic Church who exercise in the territory a special office assigned to them by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal Conference.
In the Ottawa, Ontario offices of the CCCB, a staff of about 40 people, laypersons, priests and religious, are at the service of the bishops. The National Liturgy Office of the CCCB is located in Montreal.
The Secretariat assists in coordinating activities and information, and in maintaining contacts with the Holy See and other Episcopal Conferences, as well as with Churches, ecclesial communities, faith groups and government authorities at the national and international levels. It also works in collaboration with the four regional Episcopal Assemblies in Canada.
Each commission specializes in one pastoral area, to guide and support the Bishops in their ministry. Driven by the work and expertise of four bishops and one secretary (consultants and observers can also join the groups), each commission studies current events, analyses the needs for the Church in Canada, and organizes projects aimed at supporting Christian communities.
Six of the Commissions are national – formed by Bishops equally distributed between the French and English sectors -, while the five others are named “sectoral” because they are divided depending on the language of the member bishops. Three of those commissions are from the English sector, while two originate from the French sector.
The Catholic Aboriginal Council, established in 1998 by the Bishops of Canada, encourages Aboriginal leadership in the Christian community, supports healing and reconciliation, and advises the bishops on Aboriginal questions. Eight Aboriginal Catholics from all parts of Canada are members, as well as Most Reverend Albert LeGatt, Bishop of Saskatoon, and Most Rev. Claude Champagne, O.M.I., Auxiliary Bishop of Halifax.