Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Aracelly Denise Granja – The effectiveness of fiscal transfers between the federal and provincial governments continues to be a topic of debate amongst scholars and public officials alike. As such, the sixth and final panel of the Fiscal Federalism in Canada virtual conference culminated with a discussion regarding the Canadian fiscal transfer system. The panel was moderated by Linda Cardinal and was composed of three academics who specialize in the field of fiscal federalism: James Feehan, Kyle Hanniman and Geneviève Tellier. As the closing panel of the conference, the dialogue centred around the programs and institutions that could be implemented in order to improve the fiscal intergovernmental relationship between the federal and provincial governments.
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Silvana Gomes – Balance, fairness, and equality are the key ideas behind the Canadian transfer system, which is structured around three main components: the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), the Canada Social Transfer (CST), and the Equalization program. These components are the building blocks of an intergovernmental framework that governs the federal-provincial flow of resources that supports funding for many policies.
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Lydia Zhou – In Canada, the constitutional allocation of powers gives federal and provincial governments the most important and broad-based sources of taxation. As a result, the federal and provincial governments are the most influential and studied players in the arena—but they are not alone. It was, therefore, interesting to see speakers highlight the importance of actors such as Indigenous peoples and municipal governments at the Fiscal Federalism in Canada Conference’s second panel on Emerging Issues.
The Road Ahead: Fiscal Federalism in Canada and the Challenges of Multi-Level Governance, Population Aging and Universal Education Financing
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Pauliana Borgella – The cohesion of collective action remains a constant quest for any government concerned with results. This search for cohesion is an essential lever of public management and is increasingly important in a federation such as Canada, where public powers are shared between the federal government, the provinces and territories and the municipalities. It is visible in the institutional arrangements linking the different tiers of Canadian public governance, of which fiscal federalism is an essential element.
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Jackson Reggie – According to former senior federal public servant and academic Matthew Mendelsohn, equalization and other ﬁscal transfers are the “primary way we ensure that many of the social beneﬁts of Canadian citizenship are enjoyed by residents of all regions, including those that are less prosperous” (2013, p. 7). Payments from the federal government distributes revenue collected from “have provinces” to “have not provinces” to support the provision of public services at “reasonably comparable” levels between provinces (Flanagan, 2021; Dahlby, 2014).
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Julien Doris – Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has had to resort largely to its spending power to support the provinces and territories. In opening the first panel of the Conference on Fiscal Federalism, Gilbert Charland, Quebec’s Deputy Minister for Canadian Relations, highlighted two central issues for the future: the anticipated imbalance in health care spending (Conseil de la Fédération, 2021) and the updating of equalization parameters (The Globe and Mail, 2021). While discussing the constitutional elements and historical advancements of fiscal federalism, the following sections will also highlight some short- and longer-term economic issues.
Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Éric Desrochers – Opening session: Wednesday, April 21 (1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET)
The opening session of the “Fiscal federalism in Canada” virtual conference was a panel of scholars and practitioners of fiscal federalism, featuring Louis Lévesque, Richard Bird, and Jim Dinning as panellists, and Madeleine Drohan as moderator. The panel centred on current issues in Canadian fiscal federalism and their interactions with the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as an introduction to two full days of discussions about fiscal federalism.
Author: Éric Desrochers – The regional autonomy of federations has added an extra layer of complexity to governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic-era relations between Ottawa and the provinces have been more cooperative than in United States, but less institutionalized and more ad hoc than in some other federations. The Canadian response to the pandemic has thus been dominated by the usual pattern of executive federalism, making it unlikely that it will lead to major changes in this area.