Equalization is so central to the dynamics of Canadian federalism that it is protected in the Constitution. Based on their recent IRPP Insight on this topic, authors Daniel Béland and André Lecours outline the principles and modalities of equalization and discuss current funding pressures. They also explain their proposal, which draws on Australia’s experience with the Commonwealth Grants Commission, that Canada create an arm’s-length agency to recommend the level of equalization payments.
Daniel Béland holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Policy (Tier 1) at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan. A specialist in fiscal and social policy, he has published 15 books and more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is the co-editor (with Pierre-Marc Daigneault) of Welfare Reform in Canada: Provincial Social Assistance in Comparative Perspective (2015).
André Lecours is professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. His main research interests are Canadian politics, European politics, nationalism (with a focus on Quebec, Scotland, Flanders, Catalonia and the Basque country) and federalism. He is the co-author (with Daniel Béland) of Nationalism and Social Policy: The Politics of Territorial Solidarity (2008).
Leslie Seidle is Research Director of the research program Canada’s Changing Federal Community at the IRPP and a public policy consultant. He has edited/co-edited 13 books, including Immigrant Integration in Federal Countries (2012), and he has published numerous articles on constitutional reform, electoral processes, immigration, public management and political finance.