Public policy studies are the stock-in-trade of the Institute. Our studies are academically-rigorous examinations of important policy questions in Atlantic Canada, covering our wide range of research interests and receiving many awards for their scholarship and impact. All research papers meet academic standards for peer review and advance the public policy discussion in the region. Find below an archive of our policy studies.

Missing in Action: School Storm Days, Student Absenteeism and the Workplace

Missing in Action: School Storm Days, Student Absenteeism and the Workplace by Dr. Paul Bennett makes several recommendations to better serve the education and parents of school-age children such as adapting instructional time as a protected a provincial education priority, along with ensuring students’ safety during severe winter weather. No other region of Canada, urban or rural, comes close to the Maritimes in closing schools for weather-related reasons. Storm day cancellation numbers may go up and down, but the trend from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 is clear – school is cancelled almost twice as often as it was 20 years ago ...
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A New Canadian Partnership: The promising opportunity for interprovincial free trade

As Canadians, we earn our keep by trading. Millions of Canadian jobs contribute to our international trade, and those jobs, in turn, rely on Canadian businesses having secure access to many foreign markets. Canadians have an even longer history of getting secure access to domestic markets Canadians know a strong and principled commitment to free trade can co-exist alongside strong commitments to family, neighbourhoods and community. This means political leaders must make constant efforts to expand secure access to markets. Without a political commitment to strong rules and institutions, the normal preference for the local tends to win out. The ...
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Raising the bar and closing the gap: schools, income, and student success

Student performance can be highly varied in school systems and differences among children and teens from different classes or groups, marked by income, ethnic, or racial disparities, are commonly termed the ‘achievement gap.’ While the school board and schools have introduced programs to improve student performance, there are still hurdles to overcome. (Click on the interactive map to see where your postal code places you) The latest study from AIMS Fellow Paul Bennett shows that while children in the Halifax area currently receive a better education if they happen to live in the better parts of the city, there are ...
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Opening the Taps

Craft brewing is a burgeoning industry in Atlantic Canada, yet while the number of small breweries has expanded in the last decade, Atlantic Canadian craft brewers claim that their businesses are hampered by bad government policies. AIMS' latest study Opening the Taps: Liberating craft brewers to grow a new industry by Joseph Quesnel, Patrick Webber and Ed Hollett proposes alternatives to the policies that craft brewers in the region identify as most burdensome. The three primary policy areas reviewed in this paper are: • the relatively high tax rates on craft beer production,1 • myriad restrictions on the conduct and freedom of ...
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Dearth of Opportunity: Tax Burden and Youth Outmigration in Atlantic Canada

Young residents of all four Atlantic provinces have made clear for decades that the best economic opportunities lie outside their home province. For every year since 1985-1986, more young people in their early 20s moved out of each Atlantic province than moved into it from elsewhere in Canada. Over the past two decades, the outflow of youth from the Maritimes has been approximately steady. In Newfoundland and Labrador, previously very high levels of youth out-migration have fallen in the past decade. It is no surprise that youth have been leaving Atlantic Canada to seek economic opportunity elsewhere. A recent study ...
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