Institute of Intergovernmental Relations


Working Papers

Use the links below to navigate through our working paper collection.

Working Papers

Working Papers

The Institute of Intergovernmental Relations welcomes working papers dealing with some aspect of intergovernmental relations, multi-level governance and fiscal federalism from scholars in political science, economics, history, law, geography and related fields. Authors should submit a copy by email to Papers should normally not exceed 12,000 words, should conform to general academic standards, and may be either in French or English. Following an editorial review, authors will be advised of any recommended changes and the decision respecting posting of the paper on our website. The e-mail addresses of the authors will be included with the posted working paper so that readers may communicate comments or observations directly to the authors.

Title Year Author/Editor
Party Politics and the French-English Cleavage in Canadian Federal Elections [619 KB] 2017 Jacob Robbins-Kanter
Federalism and Sub-National Protectionism: a Comparison of the Internal Trade Regimes of Canada and Australia [PDF 612KB] 2015   Andrew Smith & Jatinder Mann
A Tale of Two Ex-Dominions: Why the Procedures for Changing the Rules of Succession are So Different in Canada and Australia [PDF 595KB]   2013 Andrew Smith & Jatinder Mann
The Orange Wave: a (re) Canadianisation of the Quebec Electorate? [PDF 809KB] 2013 François Rocher
Surplus Recycling and the Canadian Federation: Reassessing the Allocation of Money and Power [PDF 993KB] 2013 Thomas J. Courchene
Federalism and Securities Regulation in Canada (Revised Nov. 24, 2013) [PDF 603KB] 2013 Eric Spink
Terms of trade changes, the Dutch disease, and Canadian provincial disparity [PDF 509KB] 2013 Serge Coulombe
The Supreme Court of Canada's Federalism as Expressed in the Securities Reference [PDF 601KB] 2012 Gordon DiGiacomo
How to Give Meaning to Canadian Citizenship [PDF 144KB] 2008 Tom Kent
The Government of Canada's Contradictory Approach to Federal-Provincial Relations [PDF 1.0MB] 2007 Gordon DiGiacomo
International Law and the Right of Indigenous Self-Determination: Should International Norms be Replicated in the Canadian Context? [PDF 135KB] 2005 Jennifer E. Dalton
Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and the Soft Budget Constraint Problem [PDF 130KB] 2005 Marianne Vigneault
Property Taxation: Issues in Implementation [PDF 120KB] 2005 Harry Kitchen
The Impact of the Centralization of Revenues and Expenditures on Growth, Regional Inequality and Inequality [PDF 115KB] 2005 Stuart Landon and Bradford G. Reid
An International Equalization Program (IEP): Rationales, Issues, and Options [PDF 123KB] 2005 Richard C. Zuker
Demographic Change and Federal Systems: Some Preliminary Results for Germany [PDF 226KB] 2005 Helmut Seitz, Dirk Freigang and Gerhard Kempkes
Accords and Discord: The Politics of Asymmetrical Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations [PDF 101KB] 2005 Kathy L. Brock
Should the Canadian Federation be Rebalanced? [PDF 66KB] 2004 Robin Boadway
The Changing Nature of Quebec-Canada Relations: From the 1980 Referendum to the Summit of the Canadas [PDF 98KB] 2004 Thomas J. Courchene
Financial Relationships between Regional and Municipal Authorities: Insights from the Examination of Five OECD Countries [PDF 145KB] 2004 Melville L. McMillan
Models of Government Structure at the Local Level [PDF 134KB] 2004 Enid Slack
Local Taxation in Selected Countries: A Comparative Examination [PDF 131KB] 2004 Harry Kitchen
Too Many Cooks? [PDF 2.6MB] 2003 Matt Jones, Bob Masterson and Doug Russell
The Web of Life [PDF 2.4MB] 2003 Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Aboriginal Governance in the Canadian Federal State 2015 [PDF 3.4MB] 2003 J. Kaufman and F. Roberge
Canada 2015: Globalization & the Future of Canada's Health & Health Care [PDF 2.2MB] 2003 M. Mendelson and P. Divinsky
Implications for the International and Canadian Financial Services Industry and their Governance of Varying International Future Scenarios [PDF 3.4MB] 2003 Edward P. Neufeld
Agriculture and Agri-Foods: Scenarios of the Future [PDF 2.6MB] 2003 W. M. Miner
Federalism and the New Economic Order: A Citizen and Process Perspective [PDF 117KB] 2003 Thomas J. Courchene
Understanding the Impact of Intergovernmental Relations on Public Health[PDF 93KB] 2003 Kumanan Wilson
Le Québec et L'intégration continentale: Les stratégies caractéristiques d'un acteur fédéré [PDF 1.6MB] 2003 Nelson Michaud
Redistribution, Risk, and Incentives in Equalization: A Comparison of RTS and Macro Approaches [PDF 870KB] 2002 Michael Smart
Revisiting Equalization Again: RTS vs. Macro Approaches [PDF 843KB] 2002 Robin Broadway
The Stabilization Properties of Equalization: Evidence from Saskatchewan[PDF 404KB] 2002 Paul Boothe
The Case for Switching to a Macro Formula [PDF 1.1MB] 2002 Dan Usher
Using GDP in Equalization Calculations: Are There Meaningful Measurement Issues? [PDF 768KB] 2002 Julie Aubut
What Do We Already Know About the Appropriate Design for a Fiscal Equalization Program in Canada and How Well are We Doing? [PDF 525KB] 2002 Paul A. R. Hobson
Macroeconomic Versus RTS Measures of Fiscal Capacity: Theoretical Foundations and Implications for Canada 
[PDF 1.0MB]
2002 Stephen M. Barro
Quiet Corporation: Relations Among Labour Ministries in Canada [PDF 427KB] 2002 Ronald Saunders
Tax Competition and the Fiscal Union: Balancing Competition and Harmonization in Canada [PDF 6.9MB] 2001 Proceedings of a Symposium edited Doug Brown
Federal Occupational Training Policy: A Neo-Institutionalist Analysis [PDF 1.5MB] 2001 Gordon DiGiacomo
Federalism and Labour Market Policy in Germany and Canada: Exploring the Path Dependency of Reforms in the 1990s [PDF 1.3MB] 2001 Thomas R. Klassen
Bifurcated and Integrated Parties in Parliamentary Federations: The Canadian and German Cases [PDF 1.5MB] 2001 Wolfgang Renzsch
The Two British Columbias [PDF 512KB] 2001 Phil Resnick
Federalism and Labour Policy in Canada [PDF 1.7MB] 2001 Gordon DiGiacomo
Quebec's Place in the Canada of the Future [PDF 1.8MB] 2001 Benoît Pelletier
The Evolution of Support for Sovereignty - Myths and Realities [PDF 2.5MB] 2001 Claire Durand
The Social Union Framework Agreement: Lost Opportunity or New Beginning? [PDF 225 KB] 2000 Harvey Lazar
The Agreement on Internal Trade: An Institutional Response to Changing Conceptions, Roles and Functions in Canadian Federalism [PDF 873KB] 2000 H. Leeson
Parliament, Intergovernmental Relations, and National Unity [PDF 2.3KB] 1999 C.E.S. Franks
The United Kingdom as a Quasi-Federal State [PDF 699KB] 1999 Gerard Horgan
The Federal Spending Power in Canada: Nation-Building or Nation-Destroying? [PDF 956KB] 1999 Hamish Telford
The Meaning of Provincial Equality in Canadian Federalism [PDF 1.4MB] 1998 Jennifer Smith
Considerations on the Design of Federations: The South African Constitution in Comparative Context [PDF 1.4MB] 1998 Richard Simeon
De Jacques Parizeau A Lucien Bouchard: Une Nouvelle Vision? Quis Mais.... [PDF 783KB] 1998 Réjean Pelletier
Canadian Federalism and International Environmental Policy Making: The Case of Climate Change [PDF 1.1MB] 1998 Heather A. Smith
Through the Looking Glass: Federal and Provincial Decision-Making for Health Policy [PDF 1.0MB] 1998 Candace Redden
Drift, Strategy and Happenstance: Towards Political Reconciliation in Canada? [PDF 1.4MB] 1998 Selected Proceedings of a Symposium, Queen's University
The Watts Collection

The Watts Collection

This selected collection of working papers are authored by Professor Ronald L. Watts during his tenure at the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations. For the results of the 2007 Watts Conference please contact us at

Title Author/Editor Year
Decentralization and Recentralization:Recent Developments in Russian Fiscal Federalism [PDF 1.38KB] Ronald L. Watts 2007
The Historical Development of Comparative Federal Studies [PDF 156KB] Ronald L. Watts 2007
Autonomy or Independence: Intergovernmental Financial Relations in Eleven Countries [PDF 249KB] Ronald L. Watts 2005

A Comparative Perspective On Asymmetry In Federations [PDF 49KB]

Ronald L. Watts 2005
Fiscal Federalism in Canada, the USA and Germany [PDF 110KB] Ronald L. Watts and 
Robin Boadway
Ronald L. Watts and Robin Boadway 2000
Ronald L. Watts and Marianne Vigneault 2000
Ronald L. Watts and Paul Hobson 2000
Intergovernmental Councils in Federations [PDF 220KB] Ronald L. Watts 2003
Processes of Constitutional Restructuring: The Canadian Experience in Comparative Context [PDF 924KB] Ronald L. Watts 1999
Federal Systems and Accommodation of Distinct Groups: A Comparative Survey of Institutional Arrangements for Aboriginal Peoples [PDF 2.66MB] Ronald L. Watts 1998
Fiscal Imbalance Series 2007

Working Papers on Fiscal Imbalance 2007

The Institute is publishing a series of online papers on equalization, fiscal imbalance and Canadian federalism. The initial papers were drawn from the IIGR conference Fiscal Federalism and the Future of Canada held in September 2006.

Title Author/Editor Year
Strengthening Canada's Territories and Putting Equalization Back on Track: The Report of the Expert Panel on Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing [PDF 116KB] Al O'Brien 2007
Reconciling the Irreconcilable Addressing Canada's Fiscal Imbalance [PDF 93KB] Council of the Federation 2007
Is Equalization Broken? Can Equalization be Fixed? [PDF 108KB] Janice MacKinnon 2007
Natural Resource Shocks and the Federal System: Boon and Curse? [PDF 143KB] Robin Boadway 2007
Equalization Reform in Canada: Principles and Compromises [PDF 132KB] Joe Ruggeri 2007
Fiscal Federalism and the Burden of History [PDF 136KB] Garth Stevenson 2007
Spending Power Series 2007

Spending Power Working Papers 2007

The Institute is compiling a new series of working papers on the federal spending power, an issue which has become more salient in the lead up to the Speech from the Throne.

The Institute welcomes submissions to the working paper series. To submit a paper or for further information, please e-mail

Title Author/Editor Year
Fiscal Federalism and the Future of Canada: Can Section 94 of the Constitution Act, 1867 be an Alternate to the Spending Power? [PDF 108KB] Marc-Antoine Adam 2007
The Federal Spending Power is now Chiefly for People, not Provinces [PDF 196 KB] Tom Kent 2007
Public Health Series 2008

Public Health Working Papers 2008

Federalism and the Public's Health

The safety of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. Canadians expect their governments to work together to ensure that these and other basic aspects of their public health security are provided for. However, recent history, most notably the response to the SARS outbreak, has shown that this can be problematic. Fundamentally, the ability of governments to work together to protect the public's health is strongly linked to the effectiveness of the intergovernmental relations that exist in this area. And while the study of federalism has been a mainstay of the Canadian research community for many years, one subject that has received scant attention is the manner in which the different levels of government interact to protect the public's health.

The Institute of Intergovernmental Relations is therefore pleased to announce a new Working Paper series to help fill this void: the first systematic analysis of federalism in public health. It is based on a project that the Institute launched several years ago when public health was not a policy priority of governments.  Since then, unfortunately, Canadians have been exposed to several major health protection crises and concerns, ranging from SARS, to the growth of smog, the return of vaccine preventable diseases and most recently the listeriosis outbreak. All of these issues raise questions of "who is responsible for what" among orders of government. Moreover, unlike many issues in Canada, these files typically involve more orders of government than just federal and provincial/territorial levels. Local and Aboriginal governments often play or should play an important role. Foreign governments and international organizations like the World Health Organization may also be involved in making or implementing the rules that are supposed to protect Canadians.

Kumanan Wilson and Harvey Lazar are the editors of this working paper series. Dr. Wilson holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Health Policy at the University of Ottawa and is a Research Associate at the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations.  Dr. Lazar is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations and Adjunct Professor in Public Administration and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Global Studies, both at the University of Victoria. This project was launched while Lazar was director of Institute of Intergovernmental Relations. We would like to thank the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada for funding.

Any questions regarding the series should be directed to Dr. Wilson or Dr. Lazar.

Title Author/Editor Series Number
Creative Federalism and Public Health [PDF 214KB] Kumanan Wilson and Harvey Lazar 2008-01
Concurrency in Public Health Governance:The Case of the National Immunization Strategy [PDF 341KB] Jennifer E. Keelan 2008-02
Understanding the Role of Intergovernmental Relations On Public Health Policy: A Case Study of Emergency Preparedness and Response [PDF 341KB] Christopher MacLennan 2008-03
Canada-Wide Standards for Particulate Matter and Ground-level Ozone: A Shared Approach to Managing Air Quality in Canada [PDF 299KB] Karen Thomas 2008-04
Intergovernmental Relations in Food Biotechnology Governance:Complementary Disentanglement in Regulation with Collaborationin Food Safety and Inspection [PDF 376KB] Melissa Gabler 2008-05
Jurisdictional Ambiguity or Lack of Political Will? Intergovernmental Relations, Public Health, and Tuberculosis Control Among Aboriginals In Manitoba and  Saskatchewan [PDF 272KB] Michael Orsini 2009-01
Still Waiting for a Comprehensive National Epidemic Surveillance System: A Case Study of How Collaborative Federalism Has Become a Risk to Public Health [PDF 305KB] Christopher W. McDougall 2009-02
Asymmetric Federalism Series 2005

Special Series on Asymmetric Federalism 2005

Series Introduction: Asymmetrical Federalism in Canada: When is it a Good Idea?

The federal Liberal Party's 2004 general election platform heavily emphasized issues that are wholly or mainly subject to provincial competence under the constitutional division of legislative powers (e.g. health care, child care, cities/communities). Since the federal government lacks the authority to implement detailed regulatory schemes in these subject areas, acting on these election commitments necessarily requires federal-provincial or increasingly federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) agreements (based at least in part on the use of the federal spending power). The much publicized September 2004 FPT agreement on health care and its financing was one example of such an agreement.

A crucial and controversial question that arises is whether the FPT agreements that flow out of this potentially large intergovernmental agenda should treat all provinces and territories similarly or whether the agreements should  e expected to differ from one province/territory to another. This issue of symmetry or asymmetry raises questions at two levels. The first is whether all provinces should be viewed as "equal" in legal and constitutional terms and, if so, how does one reconcile such equality arguments with explicit constitutional provisions that are geared to the specificity of particular provinces? The second relates to the political and administrative level and the plethora of intergovernmental agreements it generates. When should Canadians expect all provinces/territories to be treated similarly in these agreements and when should difference be the rule? The health care agreement referred to above, for example, included a separate bilateral Canada-Quebec side deal. Should Canadians applaud or be worried about this kind of asymmetry? What about the anticipated intergovernmental arrangements to create a Canada-wide system of child care? Should all provinces be treated identically on child care or should we anticipate differences from one jurisdiction to another? Similar questions arise in relation to revenue sharing arrangements in the aftermath of the off-shore financing agreements that Ottawa has reached with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Given this context, it is timely to make available to Canadians the considerations that are relevant to the issue of symmetry/asymmetry. We are doing this by publishing a series of short commentaries over the first half of 2005. These papers will explore the different dimensions of this issue- the historical, the philosophical, the practical, the comparative (how other federations deal with asymmetrical pressures), and the empirical (both public opinion and what has been happening recently in relation to the issue of asymmetry in intergovernmental relations). We do this in the hope that the series will help improve the quality of public deliberation (and for that matter private deliberation given how much of intergovernmental relations is effectively closed to public scrutiny) on this issue. The authors are mainly from different parts of Canada (the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, and British Columbia) and hold varying viewpoints on Canadian federalism. A few authors are not Canadians, however, and they too will add to our perspective. Together, they will provide Canadians with much of the knowledge base and argumentation that is relevant to analyzing the role of asymmetry in Canadian federalism.

Harvey Lazar
February 2005

Title Editor/Author Year
Asymmetry in Canada, Past and Present [PDF 48KB] David Milne 2005
Public Opinion On Asymmetrical Federalism: Growing Openness Or Continuing Ambiguity? [PDF 103KB] F. Leslie Seidle
Gina Bishop
Some Asymmetries are More Legitimate than Others - And Subsidiarity Solves Most Things Anyway [PDF 40KB] Gordon Gibson 2005
A Comparative Perspective On Asymmetry In Federations [PDF 49KB] Ronald L. Watts 2005
Equality Or Asymmetry? Alberta At The Crossroads [PDF 28KB] F.L. (Ted) Morton 2005
The Case of Asymmetry in Canadian  [PDF 27KB] Jennifer Smith 2005
Speaking of Asymmetry. Canada and the 'Belgian Model' [PDF 28KB] André Lecours 2005
The Historicial and Legal Origins of Asymmetrical Federalism in Canada's Founding Debates: A Brief Interpretive Note [PDF 54KB] Guy Laforest 2005
Beyond Recognition and Asymmetry [PDF 205KB] Jocelyn Maclure 2005
The Scope and Limits of Asymmetry in Recent Social Policy Agreements [PDF 59KB] Peter Graefe 2005
German Federalism -- Still A Model of Symmetry?  [PDF 65KB] Saskia Jung 2005
Western Asymmetry  [PDF 40KB] Roger Gibbons 2005
Survivance Versus Ambivalence: The Federal Dilemma in Canada [PDF 56KB] Hamish Telford 2005
Asymmetrical Federalism: Magic Wand or "Bait and Switch" [PDF 34KB] Hon. John Roberts 2005
Asymmetrical Federalism: A Win-Win Formula! (French) [PDF 55KB] Benoît Pelletier 2005
Asymmetrical Federalism: A Win-Win Formula (English) [PDF 52KB] Benoît Pelletier 2005
Who's Afraid of Asymmetric Federalism? - A Summary Discussion [PDF 69KB] Douglas Brown 2005
Federal Asymmetry and Intergovernmental Relations in Spain [PDF 112KB] Robert Agranoff 2006
Interdependence of Democracy Initiatives and Federalism Initiatives Series 2005

Special Series on the Interdependence of Democracy Initiatives and Federalism Initiatives 2005

In May 2004, the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations (IIGR) convened a conference to analyze: (1) developments in intergovernmental relations; (2) various democracy initiatives; and (3) the interaction between the democracy and federalism reform agendas. The underlying assumption was that the democracy and federalism agendas might be structurally interdependent. For example, changes in executive-legislature relationship being proposed in several jurisdictions could diffuse effective authority from executive to legislature. This could influence the dynamics of intergovernmental relations with executives having to enter into the intergovernmental arena more constrained by their legislatures than has historically been the case.

Conversely, much strengthened relations among first ministers, doing business as usual, might be seen as reinforcing a system of governance that is weak in transparency, uneven in accountability and undermining the ability of legislatures to influence their executives. All of this would seem inconsistent with a democracy reform agenda.

The IIGR has made available most of the conference papers. Taken together, we believe they will help stimulate public debate on the interdependence of the democratic and federalism reform agendas.

Harvey Lazar

Title Author/Editor Year
The Creation of the Council of the Federation [PDF 28KB] Marc-Antoine Adam 2005
Speaking Notes [PDF 28KB] John Milloy 2005
Turning Voters into Citizens: The Citizens' Assembly and Reforming Democratic Politics [PDF 78KB] R. Kenneth Carty 2005
Reform of Democratic Institutions: Quebec's Comprehensive Plan [PDF 19KB] Andre Fortier 2005
Democratic Reform: A Work in Progress [PDF 24KB] Kathy O'Hara 2005
Democracy, Parliamentary Reform and Federalism [PDF 39KB] Herman Bakvis & Gerry Baier 2005
The Supreme Court Appointments Process: Improved Federal-Provincial Relations vs. Democratic Renewal? [PDF 42KB] Sujit Choudhry 2005
Combining the Agendas: Federalism and Democracy [PDF 27KB] Richard Simeon 2005
Linking the Democratic and Intergovernmental Agendas: Legitimacy and Effectiveness [PDF 23KB] Grace Skogstad 2005
Council of the Federation Series 2003

Special Series on the Council of the Federation 2003

Canada's Provincial and Territorial Premiers agreed in July 2003 to create a new interprovincial-interterritorial Council of the Federation to better manage their relations and ultimately to build a more constructive and cooperative relationship with the federal government. The Council met on October 24, 2003 in Quebec City and on December 5, 2003 in Charlottetown where the premiers signed a Foundation Agreement. This initiative holds some significant promise of establishing a renewed basis for more extensive collaboration among governments in Canada while also raising some important questions and challenges.

In the weeks leading up the October and December meetings, the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University and the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal jointly published a series of commentaries to encourage wider knowledge and discussion of the proposed Council, and to provoke further thought about the general state of intergovernmental relations in Canada today. These commentaries are included here together with the Foundation Agreement itself.

We have also included as an appendix a paper written some years ago by Tom Courchene that helped to encourage the events leading to the establishment of the Council.

This series was edited by Douglas Brown at Queen's University in collaboration with France St-Hilaire at the IRPP.

English Versions

Title Author/Editor Year
Getting Things Done in the Federation:Do We Need New Rules for an Old Game? [PDF 213KB] Douglas M. Brown 2003
Intergovernmental Councils in Federations [PDF 220KB] Ronald L. Watts 2003
The Council of the Federation: From a Defensive to a Partnership Approach [PDF 228KB] André Burelle 2003
Expanding the Partnership: The Proposed Council of the Federation and the Challenge of Globalization [PDF 197KB] Hamish Telford 2003
Managing Interdependencies in the Canadian Federation: Lessons from the Social Union Framework Agreement [PDF 204KB] Harvey Lazar 2003
The Council of the Federation: Conflict and Complementarity with Canada's Democratic Reform Agenda [PDF 185KB] Roger Gibbins 2003
Quebec and Interprovincial Discussion and Consultation [PDF 203 KB] Claude Ryan 2003
The Health Council of Canada Proposal in light of the Council of the Federation [PDF 222KB] Gregory P. Marchildon 2003
Council of the Federation: An Idea Whose Time has Come [PDF 267KB] J. Peter Meekison 2003
The End of a Model? Quebec and the Council of the Federation [PDF 210KB] Alain Noël 2003
Counsel for Canadian Federalism: Aboriginal Governments and the Council of the Federation [PDF 216KB] Frances Abele & Michael J. Prince 2003
Some Personal Reflections on the Council of the Federation [PDF 160KB] Bob Rae 2003
A Short Path to Revitalized Federalism [PDF 169KB] Tom Kent 2003
ACCESS: A Convention on the Canadian Economic and Social Systems [PDF 108KB] Tom Courchene 2003
Council of the Federation Founding Agreement [PDF 219KB] Premiers of Canada 2003

French versions

Title Author/Editor Year  

Conseil de la fédération:du réflexe de défense à l'affirmation partenarial [PDF 209KB]

André Burelle


Réponse à deux critiques: Conseil de la fédération et droit à la différence du Québec [PDF 104KB] André Burelle 2003
Le Québec et la Concertation Inter-provinciale [PDF 199KB] Claude Ryan 2003
Conseil de la Fédération Entente Fondatrice [PDF 220KB] Les Premiers Ministres des Provinces et des Territoires 2003