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Intergovernmental Economic & Social Policy

The Mowat Centre’s research on intergovernmental economic and social policy looks at issues that matter to Ontarians and to Canadians through the lens of our federal system. Canada’s federal character shapes the economic and social policies that are essential to Canadians’ prosperity and well-being. Our research is focused on informing strong debates and sound decision-making on public policy for our federation. This includes a strong emphasis on Ontario’s unique place in the federation.

View all Intergovernmental Economic & Social Policy publications


Latest research

June 16, 2017 | Andrew Parkin, Erich Hartmann, Michael Morden

How to Build a Skills Lab

A new model of institutional governance in Canada

To better align the skills of Canada’s workers with the needs its of employers, significant shortcomings with respect to labour market information need to be overcome. More
June 15, 2017 | Donna E. Wood

The Seventy-Five Year Decline

How government expropriated employment insurance from Canadian workers and employers and why this matters

In the latest paper from the Mowat Centre, University of Victoria's Donna Wood — one of Canada's foremost experts on EI — argues that Canada's employment insurance system has in effect been expropriated by the federal government at the expense of workers and employers. More
June 1, 2017 | Erich Hartmann

Ontario, Oil & Unreliable Data

The complex problems confronting equalization and simple solutions to address them

The Equalization program plays an important role in the fiscal arrangements that underpin Canada’s federal system. However, the program is and will continue to be beset by problems. In this report, the Mowat Centre examines the most critical of these problems: the issues of unpredictability and unequalized fiscal capacity. More
May 25, 2017 | Michael Crawford Urban, Christine Yip

Basic Impact

Examining the potential impact of a basic income on social entrepreneurs

In this report, we examine the potential impact of a basic income on social entrepreneurship. The paper presents the results of a new survey administered to 1,473 members of Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) as well as a focus group and several individual case study interviews. More
February 8, 2017 | Peter S. Spiro

Tax Exemptions for Investment Income

Boon or Bane?

The Canadian tax system is riddled with tax exemptions and preferences for many different types of income and taxpayer characteristics. These allow people to pay lower rates of tax, or no tax at all, on some types of income. More
January 4, 2017 | Erich Hartmann, Jordann Thirgood

Mind the Gap

Ontario’s Persistent Net Contribution to the Federation

Ontarians have consistently contributed more to the federal government in total tax revenue than they have received in federal spending in return. Using newly-updated StatsCan data, this report undertakes a quantitative analysis of the elements of the federal government’s revenue raising and spending practices to identify which of those elements lead to net contributions or benefits to the federation, with a particular focus on Ontario. More
September 20, 2016 | Evelyn L. Forget, Dylan Marando, Tonya Surman, Michael Crawford Urban

Pilot Lessons

How to design a basic income pilot project for Ontario

This report makes a series of recommendations for how to design the Basic Income (BI) pilot that the Government of Ontario has proposed to conduct. More
September 9, 2016 | Erich Hartmann, Alexa Greig

Partnership Renewed

Transforming Canada’s Health Funding Arrangements

A rapidly aging population will strain provinces’ current health care delivery models. Transformation in the sector is urgently needed. More


A series of research papers that look at the social architecture — the  suite of social programs and policies familiar to generations of Canadians — that offer some fresh ideas on how to introduce change and renewal.