Transparency and accountability are just some of the topics covered by AIMS in our research on municipal affairs and economic development.

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Municipal Affairs & ED Publications

Research Overview: Municipal Affairs & Economic Development

Even though news cycles do not pay as much attention to municipal policies, many of the most important policy decisions that affect Canadians and their families most directly are made at the municipal level. AIMS research on Municipal Affairs focuses on identifying the policy choices that help cities and towns thrive and develop economically and which ones lead to stagnation and decline. This research area also deals with one of the most important objectives of public policy – to enable Economic Development and growth. Given the fiscal challenges we face in our region, and the social challenges flowing from rates of poverty and unemployment that are above the national average, the need for pro-growth economic policy in Atlantic Canada is especially urgent.

Research Focus

Specifically, in the year ahead we will publish a series of commentaries by our Senior Fellow Patrick Luciani, a leading global expert on urban policy design. These commentaries will focus on a wide range of issues, including how best to measure the success of municipal policy choices, strategies for improving public transit while reducing costs, the impact of city design on obesity and public health, and the reasons for the lack of policy innovation in Canadian cities. This year, we will focus on measuring the impact of different types of government spending (ie infrastructure), on economic growth, in an effort to help policymakers and citizens recognize that all types of government spending are not created equal. We will also look at other efforts by provincial governments in Canada to identify “winning” industries and become directly involved in them, through subsidies and as a competitor to private sector.


Papers and Studies

2nd Annual Nova Scotia Municipal Performance Report
June 2011
Jamie Newman & Rick Audas

Reforming Atlantic Fisheries: Lessons from Iceland
March 2014
Shaun Fantauzzo, Policy Analyst

Shaun Fantauzzo analyzes the federal government’s response to Newfoundland and Labrador’s cod stock collapse in the 1990s compared to the government of Iceland’s response to the collapse of its herring stock in the 1960s. He concludes that, “The most obvious lesson is relinquishing managerial control of Canada’s fisheries to the provinces, which are invariably familiar with managing their local resources.”

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Equalization Policy Crutch
December 2014
Ben Eisen, Director of Research
Mark Milke, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

Ben Eisen and Mark Milke argue that the structure of Canada’s equalization program discourages economic development in recipient provinces, particularly Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the two provinces that are actively foregoing onshore natural resource development. They conclude that, “Simply put, as currently designed, equalization creates perverse fiscal incentives. Existing incentives … are still not strong enough for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to pursue resource development that would have the potential to result in higher incomes, additional royalty and tax revenues for both provincial governments, and a reduction in the noticeably high tax levels there.”

Opinion Pieces

These provinces can expect more unemployment, less investment, and lower income
5 January 2015 in the Huffington Post
Ben Eisen, Director of Research & Mark Milke, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

Do city rankings carry any real value?
9 March 2015
Patrick Luciani, Senior Fellow in Urban Policy

Economic growth requires education reform
3 November 2014 in the Guardian
Jeff Collins, Research Associate

Nova Scotia fracking ban hampers innovation
26 September 2014 in the Chronicle Herald
Marco Navarro-Génie, President and CEO

Universities would be wrong to shun energy companies
15 July 2014
Marco Navarro-Génie, President and CEO

Focus on income inequality misguided
25 April 2014 in Troy Media

Round doorknob ban could end up harming kids
17 January 2014 in the Chronicle Herald
Marco Navarro-Génie, President and CEO

CPP boost could hurt small firms, jobless
13 November 2013 in the Chronicle Herald Shaun Fantauzzo, Policy Analyst

Eye on the Economy Success depends on leveraging our towns
20 August 2012 in the Nova Scotia Business Journal
Don Mills, AIMS Fellow in Municipal & Urban Affairs

Media Coverage

Schneidereit: UNSM must find way out of property taxes box
3 June 2014 in the Chronicle Herald

Economy, transit key areas of focus for Savage
The Chronicle Herald
28 Dec 2012

Internal trade barriers ignite heated debate
18 August 2014 in the Daily Business Buzz

Did Nova Scotia just give up on its young people?
29 August 2014 in Maclean’s Magazine

Does Canada need a program of subsidized universal daycare?
26 September 2014 in the CBC

Debating how to make the tax system fairer (Audio)
2 December 2014 on CBC “Information Morning”

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