UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA ALEX TREBEK FORUM FOR DIALOGUE
APRIL 21-23, 2021
Analysis, Evaluation, Prescription
PURPOSE OF THE CONFERENCE
Fiscal federalism in Canada is a complex and multi-dimensional system; it is also at the core of the functioning of the federation and aims to strike a delicate balance between some core principles: fairness, efficiency, solidarity, and provincial autonomy. Yet, in recent years, fiscal federalism has become a particularly contentious issue in intergovernmental relations, and in Canadian politics more broadly. All signs are that this situation will remain for some time. Furthermore, the national emergency triggered by COVID-19 has stressed the importance of coherence and multi-level collaboration between federal, provincial, territorial, and local governments. Thus, it is timely and appropriate to examine and debate Canadian fiscal federalism in the context of a major conference, and to produce a resource book that can become a primary reference for scholars, students, policy-makers, and informed citizens alike.
This conference features some of the most prominent Canadian scholars and experts on a wide range of topics related to fiscal federalism. The conference, and subsequent edited book, will accomplish four objectives:
1. Analyze fiscal federalism in Canada, that is, understand how its various components work together as a system but also the political forces that shape and put pressure on it.
2. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Canadian fiscal federalism in relation to both the core values cited above and the experiences of other developed federal countries.
3. Take stock of the impact of COVID-19 on intergovernmental relations.
4. Put forward ideas for reforming Canadian fiscal federalism, both its specific components and the system as a whole.