Could European Governance Ideas Improve Federal-provincial Relations in Canada? EDAP 6/2013
Author(s)Wood, Donna E.
Keywordsgovernance: EU & national level
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AbstractOver the past seventeen years Canada has decentralized many social programmes, moving responsibility from the federal government to 13 provinces and territories through bilateral federal-provincial agreements. In contrast, the European Union (EU) has moved in the opposite direction, building pan-European approaches and establishing new processes to facilitate multilateral collaboration among the 28 EU member states. This has been done through a new governance approach called the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). Using a detailed case study − employment policy − this paper explores whether Canada could learn from OMC governance ideas to re-build a pan-Canadian dimension to employment policy and improve the performance of its intergovernmental relations system. Concrete lessons for Canada to improve decentralized governance are suggested: consolidating the different bilateral agreements; using benchmarking instead of controls in fiscal transfers; undertaking research, analysis, and comparisons in order to facilitate mutual learning; revitalizing intergovernmental structures in light of devolution; and engaging social partners, civil society and other stakeholders. Post-devolution Canada is not doing badly in managing employment policy, but could do better. Looking to the EU for ideas on new ways to collaborate provides a chance for setting a forward looking agenda that could ultimately result not only in better labour market outcomes, but also improvements to one small part of Canada’s often fractious federation.
Wood, Donna E. (2013) Could European Governance Ideas Improve Federal-provincial Relations in Canada? EDAP 6/2013. [Working Paper]