9 MAY 2012

Coalition of groups to put federal transfers to provinces on national agenda

HALIFAX: An informal coalition of not-for-profit and think tank organizations has agreed the issue of federal transfers to the provinces needs to be placed firmly on the national agenda.

“For 15 years AIMS has explored and exposed the unintended harm caused by the well meaning policies around regional transfers and equalization,” said AIMS President and CEO Charles Cirtwill. “Now a national coalition of groups have banded together to ensure the facts about the harm done get discussed in the lead up to renewing these transfers in 2014.” AIMS was pleased to be invited to participate in this coordinated effort to seek out evidence-based analysis of what has gone wrong, and how we might avoid similar errors going forward, while actually solving some of the problems we set out to solve with these national programs.

As the current equalization agreement is set to expire in 2014, the coalition is hoping to shed some light on the current equalization scheme as well as the entire transfer system. Educating the public on these types of issues is the main contribution of Canadian think tanks. Public knowledge and awareness helps to ensure future agreements are both fair and equitable to all provinces and Canadians. Each of these organizations is working on independent research ideas that policy makers can consider in dealing with the imbalances created by the current system.

The Coalition members include:  the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Reseau Liberte-Quebec, Montreal Economic Institute, The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, The Frontier Centre for Public Policy and The Manning Center for Building Democracy. 

“The current equalization system does not encourage poorer provinces to develop certain of their natural resources because the ‘claw back,’ that is to say, the financial penalty, is too large. Over the course of the next few months, we intend to present a constructive proposal to remedy this situation,” said Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).

“Imbalances caused by the current system are damaging to recipient and donor provinces alike,” said Gregory Thomas, Federal and Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Policy makers don’t appear to have a plan to fix the system. If this issue is not put on the national agenda now we risk another seven plus years of the same.”

Each of the coalition members’ mandates includes making positive contributions to Canadian public policy debates by educating the public and policy makers alike on public policy issues and potential alternatives.

Each of these organizations will be independently publishing commentaries, briefings and reports over the next year discussing alternatives to the current equalization and transfer scheme. Member organizations will also be launching public awareness efforts to ensure Canadians understand how important this issue is to the long-term economic health of the nation.

Coalition members will continue to work independently on their own projects both related and not to the issue of transfers. The coalition will work to give these member organizations’ work additional attention throughout the country.


For more information, please contact:

Charles Cirtwill
President and CEO
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]
902.429.1143 ext. 225

Paige MacPherson
Communications Officer
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected] 
902.429.1143 ext. 228