Role of federal-provincial relations


The diverse and multifaceted power networks that have formed between Canadian central and provincial government ties are federal-provincial ties. These relations have become a key component and a fundamental characteristic of Canadian federalism in Canadian government and policies.

The result is that the two levels of government are interdependent. In many, if not most, areas of public policy, Central and provincial government activities are intertwined with a pattern of shared and overlaying responsibility, shared authority and shared funding.

The cooperation between federal and provincial regions

Many of the modern government's concerns cross the uncompromising jurisdiction of the Constitution. Often it is only with provincial cooperation that national purposes can be achieved; provincial objectives often require federal aid. The need for collaboration and communication and the costs of failure to do this often increased with the governmental positions in social, economic and other policy fields.

The government is actively active in sectors, primarily within regional boundaries, through its Federal-Provincial ties and the associated tools of intergovernmental financing, general expense schemes and the like; and provinces have gradually attempted to control federal policy in sectors such as international exchange and transportation.

Federal-provincial relations have thus developed mainly as a result of changing government roles within Canadian federalism. More political factors also supported them. The weaknesses of regional representation mechanisms within the federal government, as well as the regional concentration of support to major national parties over much of past history, have strengthened provinces' ability to act as primary regional interests articulators. The difficulty of changing constitutional power allocations has been a pre-eminent factor in informal housing mechanisms.

Common areas of interest

There are many arenas for federal-provincial relations. They include numerous informal daily contacts among bureaucrats, and more formal, fixed-point meetings between ministers and prime ministers. The multilateral meetings of representatives of all 11 governments are the main focus, but there are also many exchanges that are bilateral or that involve only a few governments. The federal or provincial ties are generally referred to as the exchange of bureaucrats and ministers as a descriptive word 'executive federalism,' although governmental ties are always affected by trends around the political spectrum, and governments always take unilateral action without thorough consultation with others.

Terms of mutual cooperation

The federal and provincial tone and style of connections differ significantly over time. The word "cooperative federalism" in the post-war period applied to federal political and financial leadership. In the 1960s and the 1970s, with provinces becoming stronger and more affirmative, ties were more equitable and federal / provincial ties became generally perceived as a vehicle for the exhibition of successful demands for a greater share of fiscal funds, expanded ability to enact provincial reform proposals, and expanded federal jurisdictional control.

The advent of a more assertive Quebec nationalism and resulting interregional energy strains in the 1960s and 1970s coupled with deep constitutional divides contributed to many finding intergovernmental forms less a venue for peace and collaboration and more a place to expand discord.

In its attempts to reduce the position of federal-provincial affairs in the joint decision-making phase, the Liberal Government of 1980-84 attempted to take unilateral action in many ways and to create direct ties with people and groups throughout the provinces, without moving through the provinces. In comparison, "social unity" has become the primary priority of the Conservative Government and has aimed to restore harmonious ties, through consulting a number of topics.


The first minister meeting, presided by the Prime Minister, is the most relevant federal-provincial process. These conventions have been big public affairs that draw interest from mainstream media and sometimes go-to-go TV coverage.

 Nonetheless, a number of the rough talks are conducted at closed sessions and in ministers and officials' back rooms. Below and commenting on the first ministerial conferences are a great deal of ministerial conferences, several gatherings on an ad hoc basis, and some, such as a US free trade ministerial commission.

The discussions outside Ottawa were regularly conducted and were watched over by regional ministers. There are many concurrent committees of authorities, the Continuing Committee on Economic and Fiscal Matters formed in 1955, the most relevant of which is.

The accomplishment of policy harmonization and a systematic solution to new issues at such meetings is somewhat different. The intergovernmental entity, the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat, offer operational and secretariat facilities at several federal-provincial meetings. With federal-provincial relations gaining significance, the province's intergovernmental interactions have been controlled in both administrations, with the first minister in charge.


Assessments of federal-provincial ties are very complex in significance and importance. Almost all analysts conclude on the crucial value of a high degree of cooperation between the 2 tiers of government for successful decision making and on the inability to achieve many important initiatives. But a lot of critique has been made.

Firstly, federal-provincial conventions too frequently have been fora in which governments worsen tensions by vying for public attention and funding. Second, so much focus on intergovernmental agreement is proposed to contribute to unnecessary delays and the subordination of legislation to the lowest common denominator.

Stronger federal government proponents believed that widely prominent federal-provincial conventions offer disproportionate prominence, weakening federal government power, to provincial governments as national policymakers.

Others claim that the anonymity and the closed door existence of certain federal-provincial operations inhibit the engagement of stakeholders and limit the capacity to communicate efficiently with interest organizations that serve non-territorial interests.

The mechanism is felt to weaken good governance and parliamentary autonomy, to the degree that intergovernmental arrangements have been successful in the federal-provincial arena and then are framed as evidence accomplished for 11 legislatures. It has been suggested that the high level of involvement with financial and policy issues often reduces the transparency of governments.


Such critique appeared to claim that there was less emphasis on comprehensive intergovernmental coordination and that each government was more empowered to function unilaterally within its authority. This 'economic federalism' paradigm shows that government reaction and policy success are more to be expected in robust rivalry than in the hunt for government consensus on their own behalf.

In contrastfederal-provincial_relations, advocates of a more collaborative or partnership model highlight the cost of competition and the sense that governments can achieve their objectives effectively alone in only a few areas. Cooperation is regarded as necessary by two strong and equitable orders of government.


1056 Words


Jan 27, 2021


3 Pages

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