Les services de garde subventionnés : l’exception du Québec dans le contexte fédéral

Compared with other Western countries, Canada has devoted far fewer resources to child daycare services. In contrast, since the late 1990s, Quebec has invested a significant amount in an accessible daycare program, initially limiting the fee paid by parents to $5 a day for each child. Twenty years later, Quebec is still a leader among the provinces in this field.

Until now, researchers have focused on understanding why the federal government has failed to implement an ambitious daycare program. Very few have looked at why the provinces, aside from Quebec, have not acted in this domain, even though some studies have compared Quebec with Ontario or British Columbia. This study is the first to attempt to explain “Quebec’s exceptionalism” in child care services.

Based on an exhaustive and critical survey of the literature, Gabriel Arsenault, Olivier Jacques and Antonia Maioni find that three factors explain Quebec’s distinct path: (1) the presence of a centre-left party that could act as the “protagonist” by introducing a major reform in child care; (2) a party system in which no right-wing party was able to form the government and act as the “antagonist” to abolish the progressive program created by a left-wing party; and (3) the fact that child care is considered a provincial responsibility by all political parties and civil society actors.

Quebec is the only province where all three conditions exist. Thus, the Parti Québécois was able to implement an ambitious child care reform, which the Quebec Liberal party has largely maintained. In Quebec, interest groups in the area of early childhood voice their demands to the provincial government. In the rest of Canada, civil society actors tend to turn to the federal government.

This study also advances our knowledge of public policy in a federal context. In this respect, the debate over the mixed results of Quebec’s child care policy has hindered the adoption of a similar policy by the other provinces. As well, the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the provinces and the structure of federal tax credits probably do not encourage the provinces to invest in child care services. Finally, this study evaluates the role of cooperation between the state, unions and employers in the field of child care. Such cooperation does not seem to have played a major part in the implementation of Quebec’s child care policy.

British Columbia-Indigenous Nation Agreements: Lessons for Reconciliation?

  • There are few historical or modern treaties with Indigenous nations in British Columbia.
  • Since the early 2000s, the BC government has signed several hundred bilateral agreements governing relations with more than 200 Indigenous nations.
  • Although these agreements do not have the constitutional protection of treaties, they are steps toward reconciliation in an evolving relationship with Indigenous peoples.

Interpreting Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Legislation

Uncertainty about the meaning of specific terms in the Canadian medical assistance in dying (MAiD) legislation puts Canadians at risk in a number of ways. Eligibility for MAiD may be determined too broadly or too narrowly, and there may be arbitrary inequality of access when the various MAiD assessors and providers interpret the law differently, say Jocelyn Downie and Jennifer A. Chandler.

Until the courts step in with definitive interpretations, they propose interpretations of six key phrases in the current law that urgently need clarification. The authors do not seek ways to expand or restrict access to MAiD but rather to determine the most defensible interpretations of the legislation, using the tools of statutory interpretation supported by the relevant clinical and other forms of expertise.

In conclusion, they invite all responsible authorities to adopt, endorse and/or disseminate the proposed interpretations in the report, in an effort to provide needed guidance to patients and health care practitioners and move the public discussion toward potential consensus on the meaning of the terms in the legislation.

In particular, they call on:

  • The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to publicly state that the proposed interpretations are consistent with (or not inconsistent with) the government’s policy intentions when crafting the legislation.
  • The federal government to reflect the proposed interpretations in an update to the glossary that the Department of Justice posted on the Internet to accompany the legislation when it was introduced.
  • The federal government to reflect the proposed interpretations in the regulations establishing the federal monitoring system.
  • The directors of public prosecution and attorneys general in each province and territory to reflect the proposed interpretations in guidelines for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the context of MAiD.
  • The regulators of physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to reflect the proposed interpretations in their MAiD practice policies or standards.
  • Regional health authorities and hospitals and their MAiD teams to reflect the proposed interpretations in their MAiD policies and standards.
  • Professional liability protection providers to reflect the proposed interpretations in their advice to physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.
  • The Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers to reflect the proposed interpretations in their clinical practice guidelines and educational programs.
  • The Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Nurses Association to reflect the proposed interpretations in their educational programs and guidance documents.
  • Civil society groups such as Dying With Dignity Canada to reflect the proposed interpretations in their public education materials and programs.

The Emerging Policy Relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation

  • The Supreme Court of Canada decided in 2016 that the federal government’s jurisdiction over First Nations and Inuit people extends to the Métis.
  • Initiatives such as the 2017 Canada-Métis Nation Accord suggest the federal government is committed to deepening its relationship with the Métis.
  • A true government-to-government relationship will require an ongoing commitment to respect the Métis as partners in policy-making.

A Federation within a Federation? Devolution and Indigenous Government in the Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories (NWT) is on the leading edge of political, constitutional and administrative changes that are fundamentally redefining the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state. In this study, Jerald Sabin shows how the territorial and Indigenous governments of the NWT have been developing institutions with executive, fiscal and regulatory functions to mediate and regularize intergovernmental relations, in what is becoming, in effect, Canada’s first federation within a federation.

Two forms of government restructuring have taken place concurrently in the NWT. First, the devolution of land and resource management from the federal government to the territory, completed in 2014, has expanded the executive, legislative and administrative scope of the public territorial government. Second, new governance and fiscal arrangements within the territory have empowered communities and brought decision-making power closer to the local population. For Sabin, the speed of federalization and the peaceful means through which power has been dispersed have been striking. The emergence of constitutionally entrenched Indigenous governments has nevertheless created a complex policy environment with shared and overlapping responsibilities.

Sabin examines three instances of institution building that affirm the political authority of public and Indigenous government while facilitating their policy interdependence: (1) the creation of the Intergovernmental Council, (2) the introduction of significant resource revenue sharing with Indigenous governments, and (3) attempts to harmonize regulatory oversight in the territory. His analysis relies on a review of government reports, court documents, budget material and secondary sources, interviews with key participants, and communications with federal, territorial and Indigenous government officials and political observers. The study also compares the political development of the NWT with those of Canada’s two other northern territories — Yukon and Nunavut.

The study provides several lessons for the understanding of Indigenous-settler and intergovernmental relations in Canada. The accomplishment of northern peoples in peacefully negotiating, designing and implementing this model of power sharing should be underscored. These developments are a further example of how the Canadian federation is incorporating diverse nations within its borders. Internationally, this model is unprecedented.

However, the NWT model may not be appropriate for all jurisdictions across Canada. The statutory basis for territorial government makes its structure more malleable, and the model is politically viable — even necessary — in the NWT due to its large Indigenous population. More broadly, the NWT’s federation within a federation is a significant step toward embedding Indigenous and treaty rights in the public governance framework as well as the reconciliation of Indigenous and settler societies.

Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global’s Realities

This text was translated into French

International trade and investment are central to economic prosperity. But new global realities, including rising antitrade sentiment, are challenging long-held policy approaches in these areas. With the global trading system at a critical juncture, now is the time to examine new trade realities and explore appropriate responses. In this volume, the culmination of a comprehensive interdisciplinary research initiative, the Institute for Research on Public Policy has brought together groundbreaking contributions from more than thirty experts in eight different countries. Together, they analyze how longer-term changes and emerging trends in international commerce, technology and economic power are affecting Canada, and what these changes mean for public policy.

The authors take an in-depth, firm-level look at Canada’s trade, and assess its integration in global value chains. They provide a rigorous analytical framework, supported by new empirical evidence, that will help readers better understand the global economy. Among the topics they examine are the new business models driving the more fragmented and global nature of production; the technological developments that are allowing new traders to expand their reach; and the shift in economic activity toward emerging markets that is dispersing power and raising new challenges for trade negotiations. The editors’ conclusion distills the research findings into a forward-looking policy agenda for more inclusive trade.

Given the profound transformations taking place in the international trade environment, this volume is essential reading for all those interested in the high-stakes debate over globalization and the best way forward for Canada.

A Road Map for More Inclusive Canadian Trade Policy

International trade and investment are central to economic prosperity. But new global realities, including rising antitrade sentiment, are challenging long-held policy approaches in these areas. With the global trading system at a critical juncture, now is the time to examine new trade realities and explore appropriate responses. In this volume, the culmination of a comprehensive interdisciplinary research initiative, the Institute for Research on Public Policy has brought together groundbreaking contributions from more than thirty experts in eight different countries. Together, they analyze how longer-term changes and emerging trends in international commerce, technology and economic power are affecting Canada, and what these changes mean for public policy.

The authors take an in-depth, firm-level look at Canada’s trade, and assess its integration in global value chains. They provide a rigorous analytical framework, supported by new empirical evidence, that will help readers better understand the global economy. Among the topics they examine are the new business models driving the more fragmented and global nature of production; the technological developments that are allowing new traders to expand their reach; and the shift in economic activity toward emerging markets that is dispersing power and raising new challenges for trade negotiations. The editors’ conclusion distills the research findings into a forward-looking policy agenda for more inclusive trade.

Given the profound transformations taking place in the international trade environment, this volume is essential reading for all those interested in the high-stakes debate over globalization and the best way forward for Canada.

Sovereignty at an Impasse: The Highs and Lows of Quebec Nationalism

Observers of the Quebec political scene tend often attribute the decline of the sovereigntist movement in recent years to issues about party leadership or tactical errors. However, this article shows there are deeper reasons for the drop in support. Francophones’ less favourable economic situation has given way to prosperity for the majority of the population, partly because of policies promoted by the sovereignists. Demographically, the growth of the Allophone population has weakened the Anglophone-Francophone linguistic divide that traditionally fuelled Quebec nationalism. As for Quebec’s supposed dominance by the federal government, it must be acknowledged that Canada is one of the world’s most decentralized federations. And, in Quebec as elsewhere, citizens have grown jaded about government and politics, and have serious misgivings about grand political projects such as Quebec sovereignty.

This article explores the fault lines that divided Quebec society and sent shockwaves across the country. The author’s examination of the Quebec nationalist movement over an extended period shows that it is marked by ambivalence and paradox. The ambivalence derives from the difficulty Quebecers have in piecing all the elements of their situation together into a coherent whole and the fact that, when the pros and cons are weighed, the scale never tips decisively to one side.

This analysis suggests it is likely the sovereigntist vote will continue to fragment in next year’s Quebec election and that the federalist-sovereigntist divide will be even less central.

 

Does Canadian Federalism Amplify Policy Disagreements?

Federations have to strike a delicate balance between unity and regional diversity. In the Canadian case, the highly decentralized nature of the federal system enables the provinces and regions to exercise considerable autonomy. In this context, policy disagreements have often been interpreted through the prism of regionalism. Some observers of Canadian politics have expressed concerns that this amplifies disagreement and could undermine the legitimacy of national policies and institutions.

The significance of regionalism in Canada has long been debated and studied. In this paper, the authors’ approach is different from that of much literature in this field: they explore whether disagreements stemming from value cleavages are made worse by Canada’s regional nature. Their analysis is based on an original survey that measures the degree to which Canadians are divided along three value inclinations: egalitarianism, traditionalism and legal rigorism (a belief that laws should apply strictly and uniformly to everyone). The survey was conducted in early 2015, in five regions: British Columbia, the three Prairie provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the four Atlantic provinces. The samples comprised around 1,000 respondents.

The authors carried out detailed empirical analyses of 7 public spending domains, as well as 12 policy issues ranging from restrictions on religious symbols to support for oil pipelines. Their principal finding is that Canadians are first and foremost divided over values, not regions. Disagreements on policy issues exist because of Canadians’ differing values, not because of territorial fracture lines. In other words, the three value inclinations and the conflicts they generate are present in every region.

Moreover, individuals who share the same values, regardless of where they live, have similar policy preferences. For example, whether they live in Quebec or the Prairie provinces, proponents of social justice show similar levels of support for environmental spending.

Based on their findings, the authors present three implications for policy. First, to be successful, policy should be designed, framed and promoted to appeal primarily to values, not regions. Although the composition of values varies among regions, this does not prevent the formation of cross-regional alliances that could foster some level of national acceptance. Second, those who seek countrywide support for national policies will nevertheless sometimes need to adopt regionally sensitive communications strategies, notably to appeal to values that have been overlooked in the past in given regions by policy-makers. Third, provincial policy-makers may find it beneficial to exchange with their counterparts in other provinces when developing policies and strategies.

More broadly, the authors conclude that there may have been a tendency to exaggerate fears that disagreements among Canada’s regions will be harmful to policy acceptance and institutional legitimacy. Regional differences should not be ignored, but more systematic attention to value disagreements within regions seems warranted.

Indigenous Consent and Natural Resource Extraction

  • Controversy over the meaning of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is a major roadblock to Canada’s implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • We have to move beyond debates over FPIC as a veto right. To do this, a relational approach to FPIC is needed, one that commits governments to fully engage Indigenous peoples as co-equals in the decision-making process.
  • This collaborative decision-making process must be linked to internal Indigenous community deliberation.