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Robarts Lecture and Reception by Daniel Beland

The Changing Politics of Fiscal Federalism in Canada:
Recent Challenges and Potential Policy Solutions  

13 December 2022  |  519 Kaneff Tower  |  16:00–17:00 EST  |  Reception to follow

This is a hybrid event. To attend via Zoom:


Canada is one of the most decentralized federal countries in the world, a fact that makes fiscal federalism an especially crucial political and policy issue. In recent years, three main realities have generated much debate about the future of fiscal federalism in the country. First, the COVID-19 pandemic has created much stress within fiscal federalism while forcing the federal government to adopt temporary measures to help the provinces and the territories cope with emergency health and social spending. Second, in the aftermath of the pandemic and in light of ongoing health care challenges on the ground, the 13 premiers have united to request a major increase in the scope of the Canada Health Transfer. Finally, in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan, political leaders have called into question the legitimacy of the federal equalization program, which is a major yet widely misunderstood aspect of fiscal federalism in Canada. The objective of this talk is to assess these three political realities while putting forward potential policy solutions with the aim of improving both federal health care financing and Canada’s equalization program.

Biographical Sketch

Daniel Béland is Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and James McGill Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. He has held visiting academic positions at Harvard University, the University of Bremen, the University of Nagoya, the University of Southern Denmark, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Professor Béland currently serves as Executive Editor of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis and President of the Research Committee 19 (Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy) of the International Sociological Association. A student of both fiscal federalism and social policy, he has published more than 20 books and 170 peer-reviewed journal articles. Recent books include Universality and Social Policy in Canada (2019; co-edited with Gregory P. Marchildon and Michael Prince) and Fiscal Federalism and Equalization Policy in Canada: Political and Economic Dimensions (2017; with André Lecours, Gregory P. Marchildon, Haizhen Mou, and Rose Olfert).



Dec 13 2022


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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