Canada in Cities: The Politics and Policy of Federal-Local Governance 9780773596290

A revealing look at how and why federal actors intervene in municipal politics.

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Canada in Cities: The Politics and Policy of Federal-Local Governance

Table of contents :
Canada in Cities
Tables and Figures
1 Introduction
2 The Federal “Communities Agenda”: Metagovernance for Place-based Policy in Canada?
3 Reforming the Multilevel Governance of Emergencies: Municipalities and the Discursive Politics of Canada’s Emergency Management Policy
4 Homelessness on the Federal Agenda: Progressive Architecture but No Solution in Sight
5 The Federal Gas Tax Cession: From Advocacy Efforts to Thirteen Signed Agreements
6 Institutional Arrangements and Planning Outcomes: Inter-agency Competition on the Toronto Waterfront
7 Tracking the Growth of the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program under Different Political Regimes
8 Cities and Child Care Policy in Canada: More than a Puppet on (Intergovernmental) Strings?
9 Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement
10 Federal Urban Aboriginal Policy: The Challenge of Viewing the Stars in the Urban Night Sky
11 Conclusion

Citation preview

Canada in Cities

FIELDS OF GOVERNANCE: POLICY MAKING IN CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES Series editor: Robert Young Policy making in the modern world has become a complex matter. Much policy is formed through negotiations between governments at several different levels, because each has particular resources that can be brought to bear on problems. At the same time, non-governmental organizations make demands about policy and can help in policy formation and implementation. In this context, works in this series explore how policy is made within municipalities through processes of intergovernmental relations and with the involvement of social forces of all kinds.   The Fields of Governance series arises from a large research project, funded mainly by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, entitled Multilevel Governance and Public Policy in Canadian Municipalities. This project has involved more than eighty scholars and a large number of student assistants. At its core are studies of several policy fields, each of which was examined in a variety of municipalities. Our objectives are not only to account for the nature of the policies but also to assess their quality and to suggest improvements in policy and in the policy-making process.   The Fields of Governance series is designed for scholars, practitioners, and interested readers from many backgrounds and places. 1 Immigrant Settlement Policy in Canadian Municipalities Edited by Erin Tolley and Robert Young

5 Federal Property Policy in Canadian Municipalities Edited by Michael C. Ircha and Robert Young

2 Urban Aboriginal Policy Making in Canadian Municipalities Edited by Evelyn J. Peters

6 Multilevel Governance and Emergency Management in Canadian Municipalities Edited by Daniel Henstra

3 Sites of Governance Multilevel Governance and Policy Making in Canada’s Big Cities Edited by Martin Horak and Robert Young 4 Image-building in Canadian Municipalities Edited by Jean Harvey and Robert Young

7 Canada in Cities The Politics and Policy of FederalLocal Governance Edited by Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

Canada in Cities The Politics and Policy of Federal-Local Governance Edited by

Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

McGill-Queen’s University Press Montreal & Kingston • London • Ithaca

© McGill-Queen’s University Press 2014 ISBN ISBN ISBN ISBN

978-0-7735-4403-1 (cloth) 978-0-7735-4404-8 (paper) 978-0-7735-9629-0 (ePDF) 978-0-7735-9630-6 (ePUB)

Legal deposit fourth quarter 2014 Bibliothèque nationale du Québec Printed in Canada on acid-free paper that is 100% ancient forest free (100% post-consumer recycled), processed chlorine free McGill-Queen’s University Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. We also acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for our publishing activities.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication   Canada in cities : the politics and policy of federal-local governance / edited by Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew. (Fields of governance : policy making in Canadian municipalities ; 7) Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued in print and electronic formats. ISBN 978-0-7735-4403-1 (bound). – ISBN 978-0-7735-4404-8 (pbk.). – ISBN 978-0-7735-9629-0 (ePDF). – ISBN 978-0-7735-9630-6 (ePUB)   1. Federal-city relations – Canada – Case studies.  2. Urban policy – Canada – Case studies.  3. Municipal government – Canada – Case studies.  4. Cities and towns – Canada – Case studies. I. Andrew, Caroline, 1942–, author, editor  II. Graham, Katherine A., 1947–, author, editor  III. Series: Fields of governance ; 7 JS1711.C26 2014   307.760971   C2014-904351-1 Typeset by Jay Tee Graphics in 10.5/13 Sabon


Tables and Figures  vii Foreword by Robert Young, Katherine A.H. Graham, and Caroline Andrew  ix 1 Introduction  3 Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew 2 The Federal “Communities Agenda”: Metagovernance for Placebased Policy in Canada?  10 Neil Bradford 3 Reforming the Multilevel Governance of Emergencies: Municipalities and the Discursive Politics of Canada’s Emergency Management Policy  39 Luc Juillet and Junichiro Koji 4 Homelessness on the Federal Agenda: Progressive Architecture but No Solution in Sight  75 Fran Klodawsky and Leonore Evans 5 The Federal Gas Tax Cession: From Advocacy Efforts to Thirteen Signed Agreements  102 Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove 6 Institutional Arrangements and Planning Outcomes: Inter-agency Competition on the Toronto Waterfront  131 Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson 7 Tracking the Growth of the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program under Different Political Regimes  164 Eric Champagne

vi Contents

8 Cities and Child Care Policy in Canada: More than a Puppet on (Intergovernmental) Strings?  193 Rianne Mahon 9 Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement  227 Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima 10 Federal Urban Aboriginal Policy: The Challenge of Viewing the Stars in the Urban Night Sky  250 Frances Abele and Katherine A.H. Graham 11 Conclusion  270 Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew Contributors 279 Index 281

Tables and Figures

Tables .1  4 4.2 5.1 5.2 .3 5 6.1 7.1 9.1 .2 9 9.3 .4 9 9.5

The National Homelessness Initiative, 1999–2000  87 Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative  89 Signing Schedule for Participants in the Gas Tax Program  112 Allocation of Funds from 2005 to 2010, by Province and Territory 114 Allocation of the Three Funds in British Columbia  119 Major Inter-agency Tensions in the Redevelopment of the Toronto Waterfront 150 Evolution of Strategic Outcomes and Priorities from 2002 to 2010 187 Government of Canada – Planned Spending by Program Areas 230 Social Affairs Planned Spending, by Objectives 2008–09  231 Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Expenditures by Program Activity 231 Details on Transfer Payment Programs  232 Federal-Provincial/Territorial Agreements  239

Figures 3.1 Reformed Intergovernmental Governance Structure for Emergency Management 62 6.1 Toronto Central Waterfront  139 7.1 Total Financial Resources, Infrastructure Canada, 2002–12  173 7.2 Full-time Equivalent Employees, Infrastructure Canada, 2002–10 174


This collection is a major contribution to the study of both municipal and federal government in Canada. More centrally, it advances our understanding of federal-municipal interaction and of how this relationship shapes policies that are important to all Canadians. The chapters presented here depict the changing role of the federal government and show the importance of leadership and political considerations in policy making. Two types of policy field are examined here. First are traditional areas under the domain of federal departments – infrastructure, immigrant settlement, emergency management, and urban Aboriginal policy. Second are newer, “horizontal” policy areas where federal interventions target particularly complex and difficult problems such as homelessness, child care, and community economic development. Together, these thorough case studies greatly expand our knowledge of federal initiatives and how they affect municipalities. The analyses in this volume are concerned with three main aspects of policy. The first is demographic change. Many important policies devised by Ottawa are responses to the changing composition of the citizenry and to anticipated trends. The second policy dimension is how issues are framed by different governments and leaders. Finally, once the problems have been defined, is the choice of policy instruments that are deployed to solve them. While these concerns inform the studies gathered here, one of the strengths of this work is its historical coverage. Every chapter traces the context and evolution of the policy in considerable detail. This is one reason why the research should be of interest not only to scholars, students, and policy makers but also, we hope, to citizens. Part of our goal is that suggestions for improving policy and the policy-making process will benefit citizens.

x Foreword

This collection presents original research that stands alone, making a big advance in the study of federal-local governance. But it is also part of a larger project, Multilevel Governance and Public Policy in Canadian Municipalities. This project has several components – studies of how major cities fit the structure of other federations, in-depth explorations of several policy fields, and work that concentrates on Canada’s major cities. The overall objectives of the project are to document the policies that exist in many places and to analyze the processes of intergovernmental relations and the pressures of social forces that have produced them. We also aim to draw conclusions about how better policies could be made. More information about the project is available at Some acknowledgements are appropriate here. The first debt is to the authors. It is almost a decade since the idea for this volume was conceived. Not surprisingly then, it is the product of a great deal of effort and patience by many. We would like to thank our authors and co-authors for their contributions to the volume. Aside from your diligence as scholars, you were patient with the sometimes slow pace of our work and responsive when we needed quick action. Your commitment and support for this project has been remarkable. Nothing would have been accomplished, however, without the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through its Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program. Katherine Graham and Caroline Andrew were both instrumental in advancing this project, along with Andrew ­Sancton and ­Harvey Lazar. We especially thank sshrc’s Jean-François F ­ ortin, who worked with the project and supported it over several years. The University of Western Ontario contributed generously to the project, and Carleton University and the University of Ottawa also helped. We thank McGill-Queen’s University Press for its commitment to and for supporting this project. Special thanks go to ­Jacqueline Mason, who shepherded the work through the editorial approval process. Ms Kelly McCarthy has served as project manager for the whole research project. And thanks are due to Amy C ­ unningham of Carleton University, who facilitated the editor-author-publisher shuffle in the preparation of this volume. Robert Young Katherine Graham Caroline Andrew

canada in cities

1 Introduction Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

This book discusses the ways in which the federal government and federal policy interrelate with local-level needs, practices, and policies. It is part of the collective project on Public Policy and Municipalities headed up by Professor Robert Young of the University of Western Ontario and funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada under their former program, the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives. For the past six years, a large team of scholars from Canadian universities and abroad has been undertaking a research program on public policy and municipalities. Our basic goal has been to develop better understanding of the role of governments and social forces in shaping public policy in Canadian municipalities. A large number of studies of the federal government’s role in public policy and municipalities were undertaken as part of the research. They included a series of background overviews of the way the federal government has historically organized itself and accorded prominence to municipal issues as part of its overall responsibilities and policy agenda. These studies were published in the fall 2009 edition of Canadian Public Administration. But this book turns the perspective of the overall project upside down by starting with federal programs, not municipal ones, and seeing how these programs influenced local policies and worked with local authorities and local civil societies. We set out to understand how federal policies had evolved over time, through changes in who was in power in the federal government, in provincial governments, and at the municipal level. In addition, and casting the net still wider, we wanted to understand the role of changes in the issues of civil


Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

society and of Canadian ­society more largely, and we wanted to understand how these factors could be understood through our examination of federal policies. The context of the study makes clear the period covered by this book. The chapters were written in the period of the Harper minority government and reach back to different periods, depending on their particular focus. But none extends into the period of the Harper majority government. For this reason we see the chapters less as descriptions of policy and more as models of analysis, with the objective of understanding the factors underlying policy development during a particular period and within a particular context. Existence of a minority government at the federal level does indeed affect federal-local relations as federal programs are developed. In this situation, the federal government must simultaneously keep one eye on its status within Parliament while worrying about the way in which the program advances the federal interest and while being conscious at the same time of the need for local willingness to participate in the program. A recent book by Marc Gervais, Challenges of Minority Governments in Canada (2012), provides much more detail about the context of minority governments, whereas this volume is more concerned with explaining federal policy development within the context of multilevel governance. So given this concern, how can we understand the ways in which the federal government does policy development in a multilevel governance system? In examining the rich case studies that our authors had produced, we realized that they had built a framework by which we could read the evolution of federal policies. Three interrelated themes build this framework: the role of frames, the instruments used by the federal government in these programs, and the underlying significance of demographic changes in Canadian society. The role of frames is central, both for governments and for other actors, including social forces. How programs have been framed has changed over time, often as the result of changes in political leadership at the federal level. These changes have occurred within the federal government, as new political leaders have sought to put their stamp on issues, and in the policy repertoire of other actors, as they have sought a more visible and prominent role in the marketplace of policy ideas. One simple illustration of the power of frames is the change, even within the period of the Liberal federal government, from the New Deal for Cities to the New Deal for Cities and Communities. The framing of

Introduction 5

the program may still sound sensitive to local needs, but in fact it leads to a very different system of the distribution of program funds and can be seen as a realpolitik reaction to provincial concerns. So the federal government can frame or reframe policies to either suggest continuity or radical change, and this gives it an important resource. It need not actually change the program, but it can reframe it in a way that links it to the government’s politics. Three of our chapters, in particular, illustrate the importance of frames as a way of understanding federal policy evolution: those discussing place-based community development, emergency planning, and homelessness. Neil Bradford (chapter 2) examines place-based community development by focusing on four programs and illustrating that the programs that were or could most easily be framed within the Conservative government’s preoccupation with economic development were continued and that the programs that were more socially oriented and characterized by efforts to work through genuine multilevel partnerships, such as the Vancouver Agreement and Action for Neighbourhood Change, were terminated. In the same vein, the social economy initiative, which was already clearly framed as an initiative of Paul Martin and was difficult to frame as conventional economic development programming, was also terminated. The chapter on emergency planning, by Luc Juillet and Junichiro Koji (chapter 3), explicitly uses the idea of frames to explain the outcome of the parliamentary debates on amending the legislation on emergency planning. The frames were simple – classic federalism and multilevel governance – and classic federalism won. Municipal actors, in particular, argued that effective and successful action in the area of emergency planning called for tri-level policy implementation and therefore a greater role for municipalities in the federal legislation on emergency planning. However, unlike what happened in some of the other program studies here, tri-level involvement was explicitly rejected, and the legislation continued to follow the pattern of classic federalism: the federal government dealt only with the provinces and left the provinces to deal with “their” municipalities. Had the framing of the debate been about effective action, the outcome might have been different, but explicitly framing the debate as between multilevel governance and classic federalism explains the outcome. The third area in which framing is central is the chapter on homelessness (chapter 4), written by Fran Klodawsky and Leonore Evans.


Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

Indeed the whole issue of homelessness can be seen as a reframing of housing policy. The federal government at the time of the ­Chrétien government had helped to solve its fiscal problems by moving out of the social housing field, “remembering” that housing was a provincial policy. The authors take up the story of the origins of the federal homelessness policy, which was influenced by Toronto municipal politics (led by the role of the then Toronto alderman Jack Layton) and civil-society advocacy, the feeling of a homeless “crisis” strengthened by the impact of media attention, and the very clear influence of a federal political actor, Claudette Bradshaw. The chapter then goes on to address a number of implementation issues, influenced by place-based thinking and by the shift in framing from cities to cities and communities, which took the program from a focus on the ten largest cities to include sixty-one municipalities, again an example of the power of frames. The authors conclude in coming back to the broad context for understanding this policy area that successful action on homelessness can come only through a housing policy framed as such. The chapter also indicates the close relationship between framing, the first of our three themes, and the choice of policy instruments by the federal government, our second theme. The authors had argued that two frames, the influence of placebased thinking and the shift to cities and communities, had been influential in defining the policy instruments used in the program. Thus the choices made around policy instruments provide another way in which the federal government can target policy within a multilevel governance framework. Moving to the theme of policy instruments, choices made about which instruments to use will also affect the actors that will be mobilized, the roles these actors will play, and whether or not responsibility for the key implementation decisions will be shared or centrally controlled. The gas tax program is described in chapter 5, by Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove, as “the most significant federal fiscal intervention into urban affairs in more than a quarter of a century,” and their description of the initiation of this program underlines two factors: the broader context of building a federal policy on communities and the increasing strength of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) as a lobbyist for municipal governments. The authors outline some of the innovative features of the policy but also argue that it is important not to overemphasize the innovative nature of this policy or to assume that it will fundamentally alter

Introduction 7

federal-provincial-municipal relations in Canada. The conclusion is that it is more continuity than innovation, although one can point to some innovative implementation choices. In chapter 6, on the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront, Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson also deal with choices about policy instruments. The authors argue that it was not the failure of land-use planning but rather the failure of inter-agency coordination and collaboration that led to the less than successful outcome of this planning exercise. The authors apply an institutional theory perspective to the description of program implementation and argue that by keeping the idea of agency as part of the approach, it is possible to mitigate the tendency towards path dependency of an institutional approach. It was therefore not the instrument that led to the lack of success but rather the processes of implementing that instrument through collaboration that did not work. Finally, chapter 7, on the infrastructure program, focuses on the question of whether federal political changes affect policies. In answering this question, Eric Champagne pays great attention to the issues of implementation of policies, to the specific tools used, and to the issues of accountability that have arisen. In answer to this central question, it is clear that the Conservative government has continued the policy tool of its predecessors in funding infrastructure expenditures at the local level. Indeed Champagne’s argument is basically that the continuation has more to do with the fact that municipalities are increasingly relevant policy actors and that this change is shifting traditional Canadian federalism towards a model of multilevel governance. The policy instruments were chosen to entice local participation and therefore to increase pressure from the local level on the provincial level. The federal government gets to be very visible in its policy implementation through choices of policy instruments. This has involved a stronger role as a lobbyist for the FCM and a willingness of the provinces, in difficult economic times, to tolerate federal activity. Our third theme moves away from the active decisions of governments and/or of civil society actors and focuses on the importance of major underlying demographic shifts in Canadian society. They suggest that, irrespective of ideological predilections or changes in the framing of the policies, major changes in the organization and composition of Canadian society may explain public policy evolution and its continuation in spite of political changes. The chapter on


Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

child care policy, by Rianne Mahon (chapter 8), can be seen in this context. The evolution of child care policy obviously relates to the increase in the percentage of women with young children who are part of the paid labour force and particularly to the large numbers of such women who are working in the larger metropolitan centres. This policy issue is not always seen as having an urban or community lens, but as Mahon argues, “childcare forms an important part of local social infrastructure, and it is at the local level that the pieces can be brought together to form an integrated whole.” Her chapter describes the situations in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary and compares the places with a mandated municipal role (Toronto and Calgary), an unofficial but real role (Vancouver) and a neighbourhood-level integration within a strong upper-level role (Montreal). However, Canadian policy in this area is described by Mahon as having neither a coherent national framework nor a real local role through devolution. The area can be seen as one of continuing federal policy failure. Another major demographic shift has been the rapidly changing nature of immigration to Canada, with increasing difficulties, over the past ten to twenty years, of recent immigrants integrating economically but also socially, culturally, and politically. Chapter 9, by Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima, examines the increasingly multilevel nature of immigration policy, and particularly two dimensions: the growing role of municipalities in immigrant settlement policies and the growing involvement of minority francophone communities and organizations in this policy area. Theses developments require both vertical and horizontal coordination of the major players. One of the interesting aspects of this policy field is that, despite Prime Minister Harper’s views about federalism, as stated by him following his electoral victory, the federal government funded an immigrant settlement community strategic planning and implementation program in Ontario (the Local Immigration Partnerships) that was subsequently rolled out across the country. This would seem to suggest the strength of these basic demographic shifts that argue for the continuity of programming, despite political and/or administrative changes. Not only did programming continue, but its form was far away from classic federalism; it was all about coordination, consultation, and participation across jurisdictions. Finally, chapter 10, which deals with urban Aboriginal policy, is related to the increasing urban presence of the Aboriginal population

Introduction 9

in Canada. Frances Abele and Katherine Graham trace the initiation of the Urban Aboriginal Strategy by the Martin government and its continuation, with minor changes, by the Harper government. In examining the history of this policy field, the authors focus on the changing demographics and institutional organization and strategy of the urban Aboriginal population and on the changing understanding of Canadian cities of the importance of engagement with those populations. Federal policy in relation to Aboriginal populations in an urban context has been very slow in developing, but the alignment with the increase in Aboriginal organization and in municipal political will are seen by Abele and Graham as positive. So major demographic shifts can influence policy responses, but often the ways in which these demographic shifts are taken up, or not, by a variety of government and civil society actors also influence the relationship between demography and policy responses. In introducing the case studies we have highlighted the importance of frames, of instruments, and of demographics as allowing us to better see the ways in which the federal government increasingly takes account of the multilevel framework to think through its policy changes and continuities. We see these as the basic architecture of the politics and policy of federal-local governance, but we invite you to enjoy seeing how the different policy areas add walls, doors, and furnishings to this basic architecture.

Reference Gervais, Marc. 2012. Challenges of Minority Governments in Canada. Ottawa: Invenire.

2 The Federal “Communities Agenda”: Metagovernance for Place-based Policy in Canada? Neil Bradford

Introduction Over the last decade or so, the Canadian federal government has sought to renew its social policy capacity.1 Following twenty years of restraint, characterized by unilateral retreats on cost-shared programs with the provinces and limited use of its own spending power, Ottawa began in the late 1990s to reinvest part of its growing budgetary surpluses. The bulk of this money flowed through the traditional inter-governmental channels for programming in income security, health care, and post-secondary education. However, these expenditures on the pillars of the postwar welfare regime were supplemented by a host of quite novel interventions in which Ottawa worked locally with representative organizations and community networks. Variously termed “strategic investments” or “boutique programs,” these federal interventions tackled “wicked problems” – those that are deep-seated, causally complex, and beyond the resources of any single actor. In the early 2000s, observers struck by the range of such initiatives began to speak about a federal “communities agenda” (Torjman 2007). By 2004, then prime minister Paul Martin and his senior Liberal cabinet ministers were proclaiming a “New Deal for communities” as an integral part of the government’s larger focus on municipalities (Government of Canada 2004). They highlighted a third stream of Canadian social policy, one rooted in “community-based priorities and initiatives” to supplement the

The Federal “Communities Agenda”


“two basic approaches” of federal transfers to individuals and provinces (Bakapanos 2004). Looking at problems “through the lens of individual places,” federal departments sought to align their various interventions with the aspirations of local communities (Godfrey 2004). The purpose of this chapter is to analyze and assess this period of intense federal engagement with community-based policy-making. The activism extended from 1998 through 2006, when the Conservative government took power with a different vision of federal-­ community relations. The presentation is organized three parts. First, I explore the formation of the federal communities agenda as part of a new policy discourse of social investment in the 1990s. Second, I track the roll-out of this agenda in the early 2000s, examining initiatives in the fields of neighbourhood revitalization and community economic development. Focusing on the federal leadership role, I draw on European-inspired theories of “metagovernance” to interpret Ottawa’s motivations, strategies, and instruments (Jessop 2004; Somerville 2005; Phillips 2006). Documenting the federal government’s mixed success with its various community interventions, I argue that the overall agenda could be strengthened through better alignment and integration across programs. The chapter closes with reflections on the impact of the change in government in 2006 and 2008. The Martin Liberals’ active local engagement has been replaced by the Harper Conservatives’ comparative detachment from urban and community affairs, and such political change will influence the federal communities agenda.

Constructing the Federal “Communities Agenda”: Place Matters In the mid-1990s, a search for new ideas was under way in the Canadian social policy community. Three factors converged to create the discursive space for thinking beyond the established neo-liberal package of federal spending cuts and program rationalization. First, the expected benefits from government restraint had not materialized. On the contrary, in the early 1990s national poverty rates soared and analysts documented “new social risks” of exclusion in the labour and housing markets of the knowledge-based economy (Jenson 2004). The second impetus to policy renewal came through political dynamics. The razor-thin margin of victory in the


Neil Bradford

1995 ­Quebec referendum signalled to many federalists the need for Ottawa to reassert its visibility and relevance in the daily lives of Canadians (Boismenu and Graefe 2004). National unity debates revisited past strategies for creative use of pan-Canadian social policies to connect citizens, communities, and country. Finally, a dramatic turnaround in the federal budgetary situation beginning in 1998 supplied the resources for such programming. In response, the federal government revamped its fiscal and policy framework to balance a new round of social spending with tax and debt reductions. But the framework was not a return to the postwar welfare state’s Keynesianism. Instead, new programs would be guided by the concept of “social investment,” emphasizing human capital development as part of a broader national innovation strategy (Jenson and Saint-Martin 2003). At the centre of this approach were investments in children to provide healthy and productive workercitizens for the knowledge economy. This priority responded to a growing body of scientific evidence and policy research that demonstrated how the early years shaped future life chances (McCain and Mustard 1999). Importantly, this research also revealed the critical importance of local contexts – neighbourhood characteristics and community connections – for the development of children and youth (Connor and Brink 1999). While a precise understanding of such “neighbourhood effects” remained elusive, the basic social policy message was clear: investments in the “social infrastructure” of communities formed an indispensable foundation for healthy child development and therefore for an innovative national economy (Harvey 2004). These research findings were the jumping-off point for another group of more action-oriented policy organizations that were concerned to work through the modalities of how such federal social investments could address the varying needs and capacities of communities across the country (Torjman 1997, 1998). Here, community was not simply the site for interventions but also the vehicle for deciding and delivering the appropriate public policy mix. Acknowledging local contexts as key determinants of social well-being required community-based governance that could leverage locationspecific knowledge and networks. Place-based social policies built on the individual and associational assets already present in communities but were generally overlooked in traditional income support policy (Rice and Prince 2000, 221).

The Federal “Communities Agenda”


The Caledon Institute of Social Policy was an early advocate for community governance arrangements, generating a steady stream of commentary and analysis. Through the Vibrant Communities initiative, it reported on emergent multi-sectoral collaborations across fifteen cities that integrated public policy around community plans. Pursuing similar arguments, the OECD published cross-national surveys of “area-based initiatives” and devised “vertical coordination” frameworks for both federal and unitary states (OECD 1998). Prominent Canadian third-sector organizations also refocused their mandates. United Way Canada transformed its fund raising activities into a community-building mission that “brings together a broad cross section of society” around the belief that “societal issues must be dealt with holistically and at their root” (United Way Canada Website). Similarly, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) embraced “a whole community approach” to municipal challenges based on federal investments in local social infrastructure (FCM 2003). And a national network of cooperatives, community developers, and social economy entrepreneurs formed a new organization, the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet), to bring a “community lens” to federal policies. A priority was to incorporate community-based planning into traditional forms of federal regional development policy, which were perceived as overly bureaucratic and centralized. In the early 1990s, several high-profile research institutes, including the Economic Council of Canada, called for regional development “from the bottom-up” through investments in localized economic networks (Savoie 2000, 45). Thus, by the turn of the century, new policy ideas underpinned a broad social coalition calling on the federal government to adopt a “community lens.” The point was always to supplement – not substitute for – foundational investments in general social programs through targeted assistance to places of concentrated deprivation with many residents at risk of exclusion. From this perspective, Ottawa needed to become “aware of the whole range of innovative approaches that are emerging to help communities undertake strategic action [and] create links between formal policy making processes and new mechanisms for local decision-making” (Torjman 2003, 166). In the early 2000s, there were signs that the federal government was listening. “In a world of complexity and diversity” one key federal official explained “we are turning increasingly to local


Neil Bradford

community based priorities and initiatives” (Bakapanos 2004b). In 2004, the finance minister summarized: “We also know that Canadians do not live in markets nor raise their children in economies; they do so in neighbourhoods, in communities. It is here that public policy meets private lives. It is here that decisions we make affect the lives Canadians lead. Communities are the front lines for the social issues and the engines for economic growth, attracting talent from around the world and forming the foundation for dynamic high tech clusters … That is why the Prime Minister made a commitment to a New Deal for communities … the need for a New Deal is clear, the benefits compelling and the time is now” (Government of Canada 2004).

Implementing the Federal Communities Agenda: Metagovernance Tools While the federal government proclaimed the urgency of its New Deal for communities, policy implementation did not follow the comprehensive path taken in many other OECD jurisdictions, where governments moved purposefully to create a national network of local social partnerships (OECD 2001; Geddes and Bennington 2001). Rather, as Michael Prince (2002) argues, the “Canadian way” with such social policy innovations crossing jurisdictional divides has been incremental, testing out various new approaches and tools in selected policy fields and places. There were few Canadian models to build on for aligning federal policies and local priorities through community engagement (Leo 2006, 489; Leo and Andres 2008). Broadly, the new federal activism was framed by constitutional obligations to address regional economic disparitites, while also reaching back to an earlier generation of community-based federal programming in fields such as housing, neighbourhoods, and youth opportunties (Keck and Fulks 1997; MacNeil 1997). In this context, I argue that in the early 2000s Ottawa sought to implement its communities agenda by putting two long-standing federal social policy powers to new use. First, Ottawa’s power to convene diverse players around social priorities was used to create framework agreements that brought together different levels of government and civil society groups for collaborative policy development in specific places. Second, Ottawa’s spending power was used for enabling investments in local governance bodies that supported

The Federal “Communities Agenda”


community-based coalitions to pursue development priorities within certain federal policy parameters. With both tools, Ottawa looked to deliver relevant supports to local formations on the “front lines” of complex policy challenges of national consequence. International experience suggested three main policy benefits from such agreements and investments (OECD 1996, 2001; Geddes and Bennington 2001). First, they provided better coordination of existing policies and programs. Second, they encouraged more experimentation with leadingedge strategies. Third, they facilitated wide dissemination of good local practices. By leveraging these three advantages, the national social policy system could become more responsive and adaptive. Federal policy-makers expressed such aspirations as they launched community-based interventions in the early 2000s across a host of policy fields, including homelessness, crime prevention, community economic development, urban Aboriginal challenges, public health, and neighbourhood revitalization (Bradford 2005). In the words of one federal parliamentary secretary, the goal was “a state of place-based coherence” integrating “community enterprises and not-for-profit and voluntary sector organizations, and public programs” while “moving forward with knowledge-based information from lessons learned” (Bakapanos 2004a). Progress would depend on effective federal coordination of multiple players on the ground, experimentation with policy instruments, and dissemination of good practices across local sites. The federal approach can usefully be viewed in relation to what European scholars now term “metagoverance” (Mueleman 2008). While governance theorists have long made the case for devolved partnerships in conditions of policy complexity and uncertainty, more recent research clarifies that such networks require “steering at a distance” and that central governments remain the one authority with the requisite resources, connections, and legitimacy to provide overall direction (Peters 2006; Jayasuriya 2004). As Bob Jessop explains, they “provide the ground rules for governance and the regulatory order in and through which governance partners can pursue their aims; ensure the compatibility or coherence of different governance mechanisms and regimes; [and] act as the primary organiser of the dialogue among policy communities” (2004, 65). While metagovernance research builds on familiar governance themes about the significance of indirect network coordination, it also pays close attention to the “set of instruments and strategies


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that permit the steering of organizations.” Emphasizing complexity, these scholars ask “whether governments in fact have the requisite metagovernance skills and capacities” to produce innovations (Peters 2006, 5; Bell and Park 2006, 67). Using framework agreements and enabling investments to implement the communities agenda, the federal government created or convened various sites of localized governance. To deliver results, however, the ensuing networks would also require sophisticated metagovernance. The rest of this chapter explores this issue, examining federal efforts in two key social development fields – neighbourhood revitalization and community economic development. In each field, I compare two interventions, analyzing progress in coordination, experimentation, and dissemination. Drawing on key informant interviews, I highlight metagovernance challenges specific to each initiative.

Neighbourhood Revitalization: Framework Agreements In the early 2000s several research reports described growing spatial concentrations of poverty in Canadian cities, reinforcing policy concerns about negative neighbourhood effects. The federal government responded with two initiatives, using framework agreements for collaborative action. One proceeded through inter-governmental channels and the other through social partnerships with national community organizations. The Vancouver Agreement: Joined-up Government Coordination The Vancouver Agreement (VA) was signed in March 2000, committing the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to work together and with communities “to develop and implement a coordinated strategy to promote and support sustainable economic, social, and community development” (VA Policy Committee 2000). The first focus was the Downtown Eastside (DTES), an inner-city neighbourhood of about sixteen thousand residents that was the poorest postal code area in the country and was experiencing severe social strain. The VA set three priorities: community health and safety, economic and social development, and community capacity building. As

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an unfunded framework agreement, the VA was about alignment of existing policies and programs. Each government worked within its own jurisdiction and mandate, releasing staff and redirecting funds to projects identified through the agreement’s tripartite structure. At the executive level, a Policy Committee of the Mayor and the federal and provincial ministers was supported by a Management Committee comprised of nine senior officials, three from each government. At the operational level, a Coordination Unit met regularly with a series of problem-focused Task Teams that worked with communities on project implementation. The VA originated in a local partnership formed in 1997 between the City of Vancouver and various community organizations working on innovative anti-drug strategies in the DTES (Bradford 2008). Proposing the “four pillars” of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and harm reduction, the partners realized that solutions required sustained involvement from upper level governments. In 1998, the federal government approached the city about how the local pillars might be strengthened and secured through an inter-governmental partnership modelled on the existing tri-level urban development agreement in Winnipeg. Health Canada offered its Population Health framework to address the underlying social and economic determinants of the DTES “drug problem.” Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC) provided leadership in managing the participation of other federal departments and briefing municipal and provincial officials on the potential of a tri-level framework agreement to coordinate action. At the federal political level, both the minister responsible for WEDC, Stephen Owen, and the health minister, Allan Rock, became early champions for the VA. A remarkable feature of the VA’s governance structure was the sheer breadth of the horizontality to which each order of government aspired. The federal government brought twelve departments to the table, the provincial government nineteen ministries and agencies, and the municipality thirteen organizations, including the Vancouver School Board and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Experimentation The VA’s unfunded status was initially viewed as an advantage, since it eliminated conflict over resources and simplified the accountability challenges surrounding tri-level work (Rogers 2001). Officials pointed to specific benefits such as mutual learning about


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­ rganizational cultures, new policy relationships between the City o of Vancouver and the federal government, and greater clarity about the particular strengths of each level of government in joined-up problem solving. However, the lack of dedicated funding also came to be seen as an obstacle to substantive progress. Existing programs came with rules that were ill-suited to DTES street-level realities. In 2003, the provincial and federal governments allocated a combined $20 million to fund VA projects. An Integrated Strategic Plan (ISP) was prepared identifying priorities in economic development, public health, community safety, and public realm improvement. With the ISP, the VA’s focus shifted to implementation of concrete projects through collaboration. Two initiatives illustrate the dynamics. First, the Safe/Supervised Injection Site involved multilevel innovation (Donovan and Au, n.d.). Health Canada granted the responsible Vancouver Coastal Health Authority a three-year operating exemption on federal drug legislation and funded project research. The provincial Health Ministry provided funding to renovate the space and operate the site’s continuum of care across the four pillars. The city redeployed the police to ensure safety and order in the immediate area, and a coordinated prevention and enforcement strategy to end the illegal drug business drew together an inter-governmental alliance of policing, licensing, employment standards and taxation, and sentencing resources. Finally, the VA also oversaw training opportunities for police officers on addiction and overdose issues that helped defuse tensions between the Vancouver Health Authority and the Vancouver Police. Second, the Inner City Inclusiveness Commitment, which formed part of Vancouver’s successful bid for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, demonstrated how the VA could “bend the development mainstream” to incorporate social concerns (Bradford 2008). With the Olympic bid presenting significant economic opportunity for the city, VA partners commissioned a study of potential impacts on DTES residents and mobilized to leverage housing and employment community benefits. Vancouver became the first host city to attach social commitments to an Olympic bid, specifically identifying “how inner-city neighbourhoods could not only benefit from the Games, but that any potential negative impacts could be minimized” (VA Website). Games organizers would work with the Inner-City Inclusivity Steering Group to create opportunities for DTES residents (Holden et al. 2008).

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Dissemination The VA has won several national and international awards for urban governance (VA Website). A survey of officials from the three levels of government found that nearly three-quarters of respondents had “very often” changed their work based on information acquired or lessons learned from collaboration (Macleod Institute 2004). Announcing its renewal in 2005 for another five years, the mayor of Vancouver declared the VA “a national model for urban development” (WEDC 2005). The auditor general of Canada similarly proclaimed it “the benchmark” for further agreements, and in 2005 Ottawa signed new urban development agreements in Regina and Victoria and entered negotiations in Toronto (Auditor General 2005, 16). Moreover, several VA innovations – in the areas of policing and the sex trade and the four pillars anti-drug strategy – have garnered international policy attention. The VA governance model also informed urban strategies in Santiago, Chile, and Bangkok, Thailand (Donovan and Au, n.d.). Yet key informants described certain gaps and limitations. Community representatives raised concerns about their lack of participation in VA decision making (confidential interview). For them, the VA was far more a vehicle for inter-governmental collaboration than community engagement. They pointed to the tension, or even contradiction, between the VA’s small-scale innovations making incremental progress on deep-seated problems while larger government social policies continued to erode the foundations of housing, health, and income support in the DTES. Moreover, as the Olympic developments accelerated, so did community concerns about the meaning of the inner city benefits promised through the inclusiveness commitment. A second set of problems surrounded the VA’s administrative workings (Bakvis and Juillet 2004). The absence of a robust evaluation framework and logic model to link interventions with community outcomes made it difficult not only to assess the value of collaborative governance but also to provide clear guidelines to departments and agencies about which of their programs ought to join up. Here the auditor general of Canada called on federal central agencies to better support the collaboration, assisting both the WEDC in its coordinating function and line departments seeking involvement (Auditor General 2005, 25). Concerns also arose about the cumbersome nature of VA decision making and the need for leadership in moving from talk to action (confidential interview).


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Action for Neighbourhood Change (anc ): Community Partnership Coordination The ANC was a two-year, $4 million action research project launched in 2005 to develop integrated approaches to revitalizing distressed neighbourhoods in five cities – Halifax, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Regina, and Surrey. It reflected “a new commitment by federal policy-makers, not only to listen to what Canadian communities need to make their neighbourhoods healthier, but to get right down in the trenches with the people who actually live there as they work together to solve the problems they face” (Minister of Labour and Housing 2005, emphasis in original). The origins of the ANC reside at the National Secretariat on Homelessness (NSH), where officials were looking to embed a prevention framework into federal housing and homelessness policy to address root causes with other community programming (Bulthius and Leviten-Reid 2005). In 2004, the NHS convened officials from four federal programs representing three federal departments: Canada’s Drug Strategy (Health Canada), the National Crime Prevention Strategy (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada), the National Literacy Secretariat, and the Office of Learning Technologies (both at Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). Alongside the inter-departmental collaboration, the ANC proposed to connect the neighbourhoods to the federal policy apparatus through partnership with three national community organizations: the United Way of Canada, the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement, and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. A National Steering Committee comprised of government officials, community organization representatives, and local neighbourhood leaders provided overall guidance and direction. The purposes and priorities of the ANC were set out in a framework agreement concluded by HRSDC and the United Way of Canada, the lead organization for the community partners. The agreement identified four core activities – policy development, action research, neighbourhood planning, and knowledge transfer. The goal was to build the capacity of neighbourhood residents, organizations, businesses, and service providers to develop a common vision of change and to strengthen the responsiveness of existing policies and programs to that local vision. The ANC would connect federal social policy to community action by organizing dialogue, developing tools, and

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facilitating their use by resident networks, and by documenting lessons. Notably, the five government agencies came to agreement on two contribution agreements, rather than the usual five, and on a single reporting and evaluation framework. Such pooling of crossdepartmental funds and common method of evaluation was termed the “miracle” of the ANC (Torjman 2006). It formalized shared ownership among the participating departments and simplified government reporting for community actors. Experimentation The ANC launched three promising innovations: a Policy Dialogue between the government and neighbourhoods, a neighbourhood strengthening toolkit for both governments and neighbourhoods, and seed grants for resident-led neighbourhood projects. The Policy Dialogue convened by the Caledon Institute joined departmental officials and neighbourhood leaders in discussion along a continuum of collaborative challenges, from routine information sharing on mandates and expectations to more demanding administrative and policy change based on local feedback (Torjman 2005). A series of thirteen dialogues was planned, building momentum across the two years. As for practitioner tools, they were designed to build “a crisper evidence base for neighbourhood revitalization” that could be “linked to investment decisions” by the numerous government departments engaged in horizontal policy-making (Gorman 2007). The “neighbourhood theory of change” was a framework to sequence and link the contributions of different actors, identifying appropriate starting points in particular sites and signposting the need for course correction. In conjunction with the theory of change, the ANC developed a “neighbourhood vitality index” that blended quantitative and qualitative data for neighbourhood profiles that clarified priorities for local projects and policy supports (Meagher 2006). The third ANC innovation involved field testing the theory of change and revitalization index in the five neighbourhoods. Modest “project pool” grants were allocated to each site for residentled design and delivery of grass-roots initiatives such as youth leadership, neighhourhood cleanup, and community service hubs. These experiences were catalogued and disseminated through ANC Community Stories that offered important contextual insights into change processes and local views of the ANC’s impact. Benefits from the project pool grants were threefold First, they provided a sense


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of immediate impact for local residents and offered government funders evidence of tangible change. Second, with local project management, they enabled residents to develop otherwise unattainable professional skills. Third, they facilitated further local collaboration with key actors such as municipalities and provincial governments looking to leverage the assets mobilized through the ANC for their own anti-poverty or social inclusion initiatives. Dissemination The summative evaluation of the ANC concluded that the project had made “outstanding progress” in relation to its core objectives (Jamieson and Kinnon 2007). Certainly, for a short-term project, the ANC generated remarkable interest. Leading international community development experts and policy officials participated in ANC policy activity. National media outlets profiled various neighbourhood sites. A major federal report on cities and communities policy released in 2006 featured the ANC’s work in “community-led revitalization” and recommended that all governments apply its lessons (Prime Minister’s External Advisory Committee 2006). Indeed, the ANC’s intellectual capital, all available through its website, is impressive in its breadth and quality: ten policy papers, four practitioner tools, Community Stories on each site, and numerous documentary films and national telelearning sessions capturing experiences and lessons. However, key informants also pointed to difficulties. While the ANC community partners praised the exemplary efforts of individual civil servants directly involved in the project, they also observed that these officials worked within a wider public sector culture ill-suited to the collaborative and long-term nature of neighbourhood revitalization (confidential interview). As the ANC evaluation put it, there were “no champions for the ANC at the senior levels of government” (Jamieson and Kinnon 2007). This failure to engage senior departmental and central agency support was responsible for two disappointments with the ANC. First, the Policy Dialogue was discontinued after only a few sessions as government interest dissipated, leaving hopes for “inter-scalar” policy learning largely unfulfilled (confidential interview). Second, ANC partners hoped to clear the policy path to a “long term strategy for neighbourhood revitalization” (Leviten-Reid 2006, 21). But the ANC research project did not find a willing federal partner when its mandate expired. As

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such, the legacy is more diffuse – informing the United Way’s new community-building mission and contributing to subsequent neighbourhood initiatives launched by municipal and provincial governments across the country.

Community Economic Development: Enabling Investments In the late 1990s, many OECD governments backed community economic development strategies as an alternative to industrial bailouts or “smokestack chasing” in vulnerable localities. Such strategies mixed supports to social enterprise firms and local development institutions. The federal government moved along both tracks in the early 2000s. The Social Economy Pilot Initiative: Social Enterprises Coordination The social economy integrates social and economic goals through locally owned enterprises that invest in community assets, with particular attention to the most marginalized people and places. In 2003, the federal government announced a sudden interest in the social economy. As Prime Minister Martin put it: “we intend to make the social economy a key part of Canada’s social policy tool kit” (Martin 2004). He appointed a parliamentary secretary, Montreal MP Eleni Bakopanos, with specific responsibility to lead the federal effort. The origins of the federal social economy initiative track back to Martin’s tenure as federal finance minister and regional development minister for Quebec. In the 1990s, he took an active interest in community economic development in his own Montreal constituency, overseeing investments in a development corporation and in a capital fund for the sector and making contact with key leaders in the Quebec Chantier de l’economie sociale (Martin 2008, 166). In the early 2000s, a broad coalition of community development activists joined forces to press the new prime minister to invest in a PanCanadian system of enterprise and sector building support similar to that which had evolved in Quebec since 1996 (Lewis 2004). The policy significance of these Quebec social economy connections was revealed when the federal Social Economy Pilot Initiative (SEPI) was detailed in the February 2004 budget. The $132 million


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initiative contained five components, each paralleling the Quebec framework: a five-year, $100 million Patient Capital Fund; a twoyear $17 million Capacity Building Fund, a $15 million, five-year research fund administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); a longer-term policy framework to be developed by Social Development Canada; and a government-wide review of all relevant business support programs to ensure social enterprise access. For this package to be implemented, six ministers had to sign off on the cabinet memorandum. Leadership required a new policy partnership between Industry Canada and Social Development Canada. The delivery of the capital fund, capacity building, and research components required further coordination with the four Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and the SSHRC. In unveiling this package, federal officials were frank about their knowledge gaps in relation to a sector with the unique characteristics of the social economy (confidential interview). Here the government’s metagovernance involved “policy co-production” (Fung and Olin Wright 2003; Mendell 2005). As Mendell explains, such dynamics arise “when the state needs new sources of legitimation and is ready to embark on new processes of negotiation and coregulation allowing it to acquire information and knowledge needed for policy formulation.” At the same time, “civil society is contesting the dominant paradigm through practice, as innovative community based socio-economic strategies multiply and produce visible results” (Mendell 2005). With the federal social economy initiative, both these dynamics were in play. Parliamentary Secretary Bakapanos (2004c) stated that before 2004 “few people in the federal government had even heard of the social economy.” Ottawa sought policy partners with the expertise to contribute across all five SEPI components. IC Canada minister Lucienne Robillard set the tone when she described the SEPI as a “down payment,” with development over time requiring “joint ownership … to structure the various components” (­Robillard 2004). For their part, the principal civil society networks, in English Canada the CCEDNet and in Quebec the Chantier, presented themselves as “a major force in achieving government priorities” and looked forward to working through “the detailed design and terms of reference for each component of the initiative” (CCEDNet 2004). Thus, with a multi-pronged initiative on the table, and lacking much expertise, Ottawa created new institutional spaces where the

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different federal departments and agencies and civil society partners could roll out the investments together. Experimentation Co-production of the social economy pilot unfolded in a series of innovative policy-learning venues. At its 2004 annual gathering, CCEDNet arranged a Pre-Conference Government Dialogue, bringing thirty officials from Quebec and other provinces with relevant policy experience together with their federal counterparts for knowledge exchange. Minister Robillard had Chantier and CCEDNet experts brief her department. Federal officials from Industry Canada, including the RDAs and Social Development Canada (SDC), participated in policy workshops at the CCEDNet annual conferences in 2005 and 2006. The sessions were mutual learning opportunities: government officials provided updates on the status of the initiative in securing Treasury Board approvals, while sector representatives reported suggestions emanating from communities. Perhaps the most significant expression of policy co-production was the formal multi-sectoral roundtables used by both SDC for its policy development and the RDAs for their program delivery. SDC established the National Roundtable on the Social Economy, chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Bakopanos, involving community leaders and senior officials from federal departments. Bakopanos explained: “I could have talked to everyone individually, but if the social economy is going to be a movement, the whole process has to be conducted that way” (Makhoul 2005). SDC officials also met with more than four hundred stakeholders in cross-country community policy dialogues. To deepen its knowledge of the sector and the government’s enabling role, SDC worked with the Policy Research Initiative on a major comparative study of the social economy (Policy Research Initiative 2006). SDC also partnered with credible Canadian experts such the Caledon Institute, Canadian Policy Research Networks, and CCEDNet and the Chantier on topics ranging from a statistical profile of the Canadian social economy to evaluation frameworks and “next steps for public policy” (Downing and Neamtan 2005). Dissemination The SEPI was an ambitious federal policy undertaking. Even CCEDNet and the Chantier leaders recognized that for Canadian policy


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communities “the learning curve in the field of the social economy will be steep” (Downing and Neamtan 2005). In the end, the federal government failed in its attempt to seed a national infrastructure to grow the social economy. In September 2006, the new Conservative government terminated the initiative, well before full implementation of the various components across the country. Financing was approved only for the Quebec region and for the SSHRC researchers. What accounts for this disappointing outcome? Certainly, the Conservatives were unenthusiastic on a number of grounds, including the evident Liberal political pedigree that surrounded the initiative. However, there were further obstacles that slowed progress. Within the bureaucracy there was little evidence of a viable partnership between the departments assigned policy and implementation leads, SDC and IC respectively. Conceptual differences remained between the small business orientation at IC and SDC’s “multidimensional, citizen-led, community-based” vision (Makhoul 2005). Both IC and RDA officials encountered resistance from the Treasury Board in seeking approval for funding terms and conditions outside of Quebec. Moreover, relations between the government and the key policy partners proved tricky. CCEDNet representatives found that the three English Canadian RDAs lacked a sufficient understanding of the sector and social enterprises to be a credible funding vehicle (confidential interview). They sought an alternative model, relying on credit unions with community credibility to flow funds to enterprises or local consortia. Concerns arose about the strong emphasis in the federal package on enterprise financing rather than sector capacity building. As the co-chair of the CCEDNet National Policy Council noted: “Quebecers are well-prepared to move on this agenda, given their existing infrastructure. The rest of us have an awful lot of catching-up to do” (Lewis 2004). Not surprisingly, the co-production process became quite drawn out, testing the patience of many participants from both government and civil society sectors. With the September 2006 cancellation, the SEPI policy legacy moved along three lines: in Quebec, where federal funding enhanced the existing provincial social economy investments; in the research field, where SSHRC’s experience with community-university research alliances proved valuable for a national social economy network; and in several established federal small business programs like Community Futures, where eligibility was expanded to social enterprises. In short, the SEPI succeeded only where policy capacity already

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existed, underscoring the complexity of community-based interventions for the federal government. Community Futures Program (cfp): Local Development Corporations Coordination The CFP is an established federal community economic development program funded on renewable five-year contracts and delivered by IC through its four RDAs. Its origins lie in the recession of the early 1980s, when several high-profile studies made the case for federal policy support for rural and remote communities undergoing economic restructuring (Freshwater and Ehrensaft 1994). As part of the 1986 Canadian Jobs Strategy, the CFP initially targeted areas of acute unemployment and focused on labour market adjustment and industrial assistance. In 1995, the CFP’s mandate was amended for greater emphasis on community economic development through business entrepreneurship. Rather than providing non-repayable aid to firms or workers, volunteer boards of local development corporations would make investment loans framed by community strategic plans that emphasized multi-sectoral and regional partnerships. For each development corporation, three program streams were created: access to capital and investment loans of up to $125,000, mentoring and advisory services for small and medium-sized enterprises, and technical assistance for community strategic planning. In 2009, 268 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) operated across the country in all non-metropolitan areas. The CFP’s operational mechanism is the contribution agreement between the federal government and the local CFDC that establishes the geographical boundaries for local programming, empowers the volunteer boards to fund projects, and sets certain policy parameters around strategic plans (Industry Canada 2005). There are five design features that distinguish the CFP’s federal-local governance arrangements. First, by designating multi-community regions rather than administrative boundaries to define eligibility, the program encourages inter-municipal or cross-county collaboration. Second, the provision of multi-year core funding for the boards provides the stability for longer-term visions and appropriate risk taking in developmental funding. Third, the federal government regularly communicates “strategic priorities” to local boards, ensuring that


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local plans address emerging national trends and shifting government priorities. These priorities have included entrepreneurial services for frequently overlooked groups such as youth, women, and Aboriginal peoples. In 2004, the priorities included extending support to social economy enterprises. Fourth, while these priorities set directions for the CFDCs, the local volunteers retain a high degree of operational autonomy in how they address them. Fifth, the federal government arranges considerable professional support for the volunteers in carrying out their duties. RDA program officers assigned to individual CFDCs perform numerous functions: brokering access to government programs relevant to the strategic plan; managing accountability relations with IC; and facilitating training opportunities through provincial and national associations. Since 2000, a federally funded Pan-Canadian Community Futures Network has provided a learning network for all 268 CFDCs, also connecting to international organizations such as the OECD and its Working Committee on Territorial Policy in Rural Areas. With this policy framework, the CFP addresses two institutional gaps in rural and remote Canada. On the economic front, its lending works where traditional financial institutions are either absent or operate at too great a distance to be reliable investors or business partners. And in political terms, its strategic planning crosses traditional jurisdictional boundaries to combine the resources of different governments and community organizations for projects on a scale impossible for any actor to deliver on its own. Over time, CFDCs have built local legitimacy as a “safe space and neutral convenor” to forge regional strategies that coordinate federal and, in many cases, provincial programming around local development priorities. The injection of strategic priorities such as Aboriginal or youth services has provided thematic focal points for different departments and levels of government to align their interventions. Experimentation In his 2004 budget speech, the finance minister announced that the “New Deal for communities” would include “creative means to bolster the usefulness and reach of Community Futures organizations” (Government of Canada 2004). Opening access to social enterprises was one expression of this creativity. More broadly, the CFP has been long recognized for its responsiveness to local conditions, and the diversity of policy collaborations sponsored across the country. It

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has reduced unproductive competition among proximate communities whose precarious economic bases and scarce public resources make such competition especially costly. Unorthodox alliances have emerged, for example, engaging aboriginal leaders in the development process or helping bridge longstanding divides between agricultural and manufacturing interests in semi-rural areas. Four examples illustrate the CFP’s approach. In Ontario, federal and provincial environmental priorities to reduce gas emissions from coal-fired electricity plants were advanced by a CFDC planning process to develop wind energy across a two-county region. For implementation, the CFDC brokered access to relevant programming in five federal departments and encouraged county governments to develop new land-use bylaws for wind parks throughout the region. In Quebec, a federal strategic priority for youth opportunities was taken up by CFDCs in training and business start-ups to counter the migration to large urban centres. Local responsiveness to the federal priority was reflected in the adaptation of the investment fund and business services to youth needs, which involved two-year interest-free loans combined with mandatory training and labour market follow-up. In southwestern Ontario’s tobacco region, four CFDCs joined together through to administer a $15 million provincial Community Transition Program for economic diversification. The CFDCs integrated delivery of government services in tourism, crop diversification, and manufacturing with locally developed adjustment plans for business start-ups and worker retraining. In northern British Columbia, two CFDCs in Nadina and Stuart-Nechako championed a regional strategy to bring broadband acces to four district municipalities, one town, five villages and fifteen First Nations communities. More than thirty-five thousand citizens and sixteen hundred businesses gained high-speed internet access with the two CFDCs partnering with First Nations groups for further coverage. In this work, the local CFDCs are guided by the “Aborigional Engagement Toolkit” prepared by the British Columbia Community Futures Association (Community Futures British Columbia 2008). Dissemination The CFP is widely viewed as a federal program working effectively in the policy space where “top down direction meets bottom-up initiative.” Across its twenty-year history, positive evaluations have ­generated four funding renewals across two federal departments


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and three political administrations. In 2008, the Senate of Canada committee on rural poverty identified the program as “one of the few unequivocal successes in federal rural policy,” citing the almost “universal praise for the Community Futures approach to economic development” (Senate of Canada 2008, chap. 13). International recognition of the CFP’s governance qualities has come through the OECD and the United Nations. Key informants echoed the praise for the CFP. In fact, critical comments took the form of constructive suggestions to expand the program’s reach and impact. More money in the loan fund would enable CFDCs to support larger-scale business initiatives and allow for more creativity in community economic development through approaches such as the social economy. Better evaluation frameworks – more sensitive to the vagaries and longer-term nature of community economic development – were also seen as an opportunity to simplify reporting and focus resources on substantive outcomes (confidential interview).

Metagoverning through Community Initiative? Learning, Linking, and Leveraging This chapter has analyzed the emergence in the early 2000s of a federal “communities agenda” and tracked its roll-out in four interventions, each involving metagovernance through policy coordination, experimentation, and dissemination. In assessing outcomes across our four cases, metagovernance research offers two important insights. First, it emphasizes complexity – governments are likely to encounter significant challenges in orchestrating productive local collaboration and success in terms of either strong networks or concrete outcomes is not guaranteed (Bell and Park 2006). Second, those states that metagovern successfully do so because they demonstrate what Bob Jessop (1998) calls “requisite variety” and “requisite reflexivity.” That is, they advance by launching several experiments simultaneously and systematically reflecting on “what works where and why.” In the words of the OECD, such states ensure that the various collaborations do not become “a grab-bag of initiatives representing no particular development strategy or focus” (OECD 2007, 178). Rather, they express and inform a national policy framework. From this perspective, the federal communities agenda has been a mixed success. Certainly, Ottawa embraced variety: numerous

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community-­based projects have been launched over the past decade. As the four case studies of federal-local problem solving reveal, there are both opportutnities and obstacles to policy coordination, experimentation, and dissemination. It follows that sustained advance likely depends on Jessop’s second priority – systematic reflection on success factors and incorporating lessons into policy design. While Jessop doesn’t offer much guidance for actually assessing what he terms “reflexivity,” we can draw from our case studies three key interrelated metagovernance tasks critical to a national or federal communities agenda. These tasks are learning, linking, and leveraging. Governments need to learn from their interventions. In the case of the short-term pilots and demonstrations typifying the federal communities agenda, learning means developing robust evaluation frameworks attuned to the complexity of joined-up governance. For example, the continued application of narrow performance measures associated with the New Public Management constrains community-­ driven policy innovation that involves relationship building and longer time frames for outcomes measurement (Bradford and Chouinard 2009). The challenge is to find frameworks that better balance the demands of program accountability with community particpation and local experimentation. Among our cases, the ANC made notable progress in developing new frameworks, but the auditor general of Canada aptly summarized her report on federal management of horizontal issues by noting that “the government is doing too little to find out what is working and what is not – limiting its opportunities to learn and improve” (Auditor General of Canada 2005, 25). Indeed, the ANC innovations speak to the second metagovernance task. Governments should link their experiments by transferring knowledge of good practices across local governance sites. As Jayasuriya notes, governments need “a kind of meta-level procedure that governs the linkages between various sites of governance” (2004, 491). With our four cases, several opportunities for cross-site lesson drawing were evident. For example, the ANC revitalization tools could inform the VA’s search for an evaluation template. The CFDC’s governance model, evolved over two decades and embedded in a national infrastructure of supports, carries lessons for how to structure the sectoral partnerships envisioned in the federal social economy investments. The point is that the federal communities


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agenda paid little attention to such points of intersection among the various governance experiments. Synergies were not exploited. The sum of the agenda remained less than its parts. Finally, governments might well leverage the innovations generated through community experimentation. As the OECD put it: “The creation of a network of partnerships should be accompanied by a mechanism through which local and regional experience is fed back to the top to highlight deficiencies in the national policy framework” (OECD, n.d., 10). Again the auditor general of Canada’s assessment is on point:”the federal government’s current approach is still on a case-by-case basis and lacks a coherent and integrated body of policies and guidance” (Auditor General 2005, 25). It is difficult for the federal government either to scale up worthy community-driven innovations such as those incubated through the VA or to change national policies based on feedback from the neighbourhoods as the ANC’s Policy Dialogue intended. Recently, in relation to the metagoverning challenges, there has been evidence of organizational learning through the federal government. Three task force reports – two on federal-community sector relations, and one on building resilient communities – all offer comprehensive advice for making federal policy place-sensitive and community-supportive (Task Force 2006; Treasury Board 2007; Prime Minister’s External Advisory Committee 2006). Inside the federal bureaucracy, an initiative known as the Federal Family on Community Collaboration now regularly brings together civil servants from some twelve departments for learning about collaborative governance. In its first two years over one thousand public servants and interested members of the public attended “Family events,” and the network published a discussion paper on administrative challenges related to federal policy collaboration (Federal Family 2008). It remains to be seen whether such ideas and processes influence future federal community-based policy. In fact, the election of Conservative minority governments in 2006 and 2008 substantially reduced federal interest in pursuing a coherent communities agenda (Bradford 2007). The Conservatives subscribe to an alternative vision of Canadian federalism and Ottawa’s policy roles and responsibilities, one that is opposed to tri-level collaboration and federal metagovernance (Harper 2006). “Open federalism” values adherence to constitutional power allocations; limits on federal spending,­

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especially in areas of provincial jurisdiction; sub-national responsibility for social and community development; and strict departmental accountability for programming. Such parameters restrict the policy space available for federal community building policies. As our case studies demonstrate, this agenda requires politicians who lead by acknowledging complexity, embracing multi-faceted collaborations, and demonstrating patience for results over the longer term through social learning. The Conservatives have little appetite for any of this. Cancellation of the SEPI and setting aside the ANC have been followed by soundings about shutting down the VA’s landmark safe injection site. Only the venerable CFP has flourished in the new political environment. Yet, the severity of the economic downturn beginning in late 2008 has unexpectedly reaffirmed the importance of federal economic and social development policies that address local needs and build community capacities. In 2008 and 2009, the Conservative government announced plans for a $1 billion investment in community revitalization while also creating two new regional development agencies, one for the North and one for Southern Ontario, each with a fiveyear mandate “to support economic and community development, innovation, and economic diversification” (Department of Finance 2009, 183). As these initiatives roll out, there are valuable lessons to learn from the earlier rounds of community policy activism. Metagovernance remains a challenging opportunity on the federal economic and social development agenda.

Note 1 This chapter incorporates insights from twenty-five interviews conducted between 2005 and 2008 with federal officials, community organizations, and academic experts. It also is based on participant-observation by the author at four national community development and social economy conventions and several federal policy gatherings and tele-learning conferences with community practitioners.

References Auditor General of Canada. 2005. “Chapter 4 – Managing Horizontal Initiatives.” AGC Report, November 2005.


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Bakopanos, Eleni. 2004a. “Remarks at New Century, New Risks: Challenges for Social Development in Canada.” Montreal, 19 November. – 2004b. “Moving Forward on the Social Economy.” Presentation at the PRI-SSHRC Roundtable on Policy Research Needed to Support the Social Economy. – 2004c. “Strengthening the Role of the Social Economy in Community Development.” Presentation at the 2004 National Community Economic Development Conference, Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Bakvis, Herman, and Luc Juillet. 2004. The Horizontal Challenge: Line Departments, Central Agencies and Leadership. Ottawa: Canada School of Public Service. Bell, S., and A. Park. 2006. “The Problematic Metagovernance of Networks: Water Reform in New South Wales.” Journal of Public Policy 26 (1): 63–83. Boismenu, Gerard, and Peter Graefe. 2004. “The New Federal Tool Belt: Attempts to Rebuild Social Policy Leadership.” Canadian Public Policy 30 (1): 72–89. Bradford, Neil. 2005. Place-based Public Policy: Towards a New Urban and Community Agenda for Canada. CPRN Research Report F/51. – 2007. Whither the Federal Urban Agenda? A New Deal in Transition. CPRN Research Report F/65. – 2008. “Rescaling for Regeneration? Canada’s Urban Development Agreements.” Paper presented to Annual Meetings, Canadian Political Science Association, Vancouver, British Columbia. Bradford, Neil, and Jill Anne Chouinard. 2009. “Learning through Evaluation? Reflections on Two Federal Community-Building Initiatives.” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 24(1): 55–77. Bulthius, Michael, and Eric Leviten-Reid. 2005. “Partnering for Strong Neighbourhoods.” Paper presented to the International Conference for Integrating Urban Knowledge & Practice, Gothenburg, 29 May–3 June. CCEDNet. 2004. “CCEDNet Response to Government of Canada Social Economy Initiative.” Letter to Industry Canada Deputy Minister, 8 July. Community Futures British Columbia. 2008. Aboriginal Engagement Toolkit. Aboriginal Strategic Committee. Connor, Sarah, and Satya Brink. 1999. Understanding the Early Years: Community Impacts on Child Development. Hull: Human Resources Development Canada. Department of Finance. 2009. “Canada’s Economic Action Plan: A First Report to Canadians.” Tabled in the House of Commons by the Honourable James M. Flaherty, PC, MP, Minister of Finance. March.

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Donovan, Evelyn, and Wendy Au. n.d. “The Vancouver Agreement: Moving Ideas Forward Together.” Downing, Rupert, and Nancy Neamtan. 2005. Social Economy and Community Economic Development in Canada: Next Steps for Public Policy. Montreal: Chantier de l’économie sociale. Federal Family on Community Collaboration. 2008. “This Much We Know: A Paper on Place-based Approches and Federal Roles and Interests in Communities.” Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2003. Proposal for Community Social Infrastructure. Ottawa: Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Freshwater, David, and Phillip Ehrensaft. 1994. “Catalyzing Bottom Up Development with National Programs: Canada’s Community Futures Program.” In Rural Development Strategies That Work, edited by D. Reid and J. Norman. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. Fung, Archon, and Erik Olin Wright. 2003. Deepening Democracy. London: Verso. Geddes, Mike, and John Bennington. 2001. Local Partnerships and Social Exclusion in the European Union. London: Routledge. Godfrey, John. 2004. “Address to the AMO Annual Conference.” Ottawa, 24 August. Gorman, Cheryl. 2007. The Transition: Final Reflections from the Action for Neighbourhood Change Research Project. Ottawa: Caledon Institute. Government of Canada. 2004. “The Budget Speech, 2004.” Ottawa: Department of Finance. Harper, Stephen. 2006. “Address to the World Urban Forum, Vancouver British Columbia.” June. Harvey, Lisa. 2004. “Investing in Social Infrastructure in Canadian Communities to Benefit Children and Families.” National Children’s Alliance. Holden, Meg, Julia MacKenzie, and Robert VanWynsberghe. 2008. “Vancouver’s Promise of the World’s First Sustainable Olympic Games.” Environment and Planning c , 26 (5): 882–905. Industry Canada. 2005. “The Government of Canada’s Community Futures Program: Terms and Conditions.” 3 October. Jamieson, Wanda, and Dianne Kinnon. 2007. Action for Neighbourhood Change (anc ) Project: Summative Evaluation: Main Report, Vols. 1 and 2. Ottawa: JHG Consulting. Jayasuriya, Kanishka. 2004. “The New Regulatory State and Relational Capacity.” Policy & Politics 32 (4): 487–501.


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Jenson, Jane. 2004. Canada’s New Social Risks: Directions for a New Social Architecture. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks. Research Report F/43. Jenson, Jane, and Denis Saint-Martin. 2003. “New Routes to Social Cohesion? Citizenship and the Social Investment State.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 28: 77–99. Jessop, Bob. 1998. “The Rise of Governance and the Risks of Failure: The Case of Economic Development.” International Social Science Journal 50: 29–45. – 2004. “Multilevel Governance and Multilevel Metagovernance.” In Multilevel Governance, edited by I. Bache and M. Flinders. London: Oxford. Keck, J., and W. Fulks. 1997. “Meaningful Work and Community Betterment: The Case of Opportunities for Youth and Local Initiatives Program, 1971–1973.” In Community Organizing: Canadian Experiences, edited by B. Wharf and M. Clague. Don Mills: Oxford. Leo, Christopher. 2006. “Deep Federalism: Respecting Community Difference in National Policy.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 39 (3): 481–506. Leo, Christopher, and Todd Andres. 2008. “Deep Federalism through Local Initiative: Unbundling Sovereignty in Winnipeg.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 93–117. Leviten-Reid, Eric. 2006. “Asset-based, Resident-led Neighbourhood Development.” Caledon Institute, 2006. Lewis, Mike. 2004. “The End of the Beginning.” Making Waves 15 (1). Macleod Institute. 2004. “In the Spirit of the Vancouver Agreement: A Case Study in Governance.” Evaluation Report prepared for Western Economic Diversification Canada. MacNeil, Theresa. 1997. “Assessing the Gap between Community Development Practice and Regional Development Policy.” In Community Organizing: Canadian Experiences, edited by B. Wharf and M. Clague. Don Mills: Oxford. Makhoul, Anne. 2005. “The Hourable Eleni Bakopanos: Social Economy Champion.” Caledon Institute, May. Martin, Paul. 2004. “Response to Speech from the Throne.” February. – 2008. Hell or High Water: My Life In and Out of Politics. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. McCain, Margaret, and Fraser Mustard. 1999. Reversing the Real Brain Drain: Early Years Final Report. Toronto: Ontario Children’s Secretariat.

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Meagher, S. 2006. A Neighbourhood Vitality Index: An Approach to Measuring Neighbourhood Well-Being. Toronto: United Way of Greater Toronto. Mendell, Marguerite. 2005. “The Co-production of Public Policy.” Paper presented to the 10th International Karl Polanyi Conference, Istanbul Turkey, 14–16 October. Minister of Labour and Housing. 2005. “Government of Canada, United Way and Partners Establish Action for Neighbourhood Change.” 9 May. Mueleman, Louis. 2008. Public Management and the Metagovernance of Hierarchies, Networks and Markets. The Hague: Physica-Verlag. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 1996. Local Partnership and Social Innovation. Paris: OECD. – 1998. Integrating Distressed Urban Areas. Paris: OECD. – 2001. Local Partnerships for Better Goveranance. Paris: OECD. – 2003. The Future of Rural Policy. Paris: OECD. – 2007. Linking Regions and Central Governments: Contracts for Regional Development. Paris: OECD. – n.d. Local Governance and Partnerships: A Summary of the Findings of the oecd Study on Local Partnerships. LEED Programme. Peters, Guy B. 2006. “The Meta-governance of Policy Networks: Steering at a Distance, but Still Steering.” University of Pittsburgh, draft manuscript. Phillips, Susan D. 2006. The Intersection of Governance and Citizenship in Canada: Not Quite the Third Way. Montreal: IRPP. Policy Research Initiative. 2006. Horizons: Social Economy. Ottawa: PRI. Prime Minister’s External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities. 2006. From Restless Communities to Resilient Places. Ottawa, June. Prince, Michael. 2002. “The Return of Directed Incrementalism: Innovating Social Policy the Canadian Way.” In How Ottawa Spends, 2002– 2003, edited by G. Bruce Doern. Toronto: Oxford. Rice, James, and Michael Prince. 2000. Changing Politics of Canadian Social Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Robillard, Lucienne. 2004. Honourable Minister of Industry. “Speaking Notes at 2004 National CED Conference.” Trois-Rivieres, 19 May. Rogers, Judy. 2001. “Governments in Progress.” Panel presentation to FCM Symposium, “Cities in an Urban Century.” Savoie, Donald J. 2000. Community Economic Development in Atlantic Canada: False Hope or Panacea? Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development.


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Senate of Canada. 2008. Beyond Freefall: Halting Rural Poverty. Final Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. Somerville, Peter. 2005. “Community Governance and Democracy.” Policy & Politics 33 (1): 117–44. Sorensen, Eva. 2006. “Metagovernance: The Changing Role of Politicians in Processes of Democratic Governance.” American Review of Public Administration 36 (1): 98–114. Task Force on Community Investments. 2006. Achieving Coherence in Government of Canada Funding Practice in Communities. Ottawa: Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Torjman, Sheri. 1997. Civil Society: Reclaiming Our Humanity. Ottawa: Caledon Institute. – 1998. Community-Based Poverty Reduction. Ottawa: Caledon Institute. – 2003. “The New Liberalism: Ideas and Ideals.” In Searching for the New Liberalism, edited by H. Aster and T. Axworthy. Oakville: Mosaic Press. – 2005. “Policy Dialogue.” Ottawa: Caledon Institute. – 2006. “There’s Method to This Madness.” Ottawa: Caledon Institute. – 2007. Shared Space: The Communities Agenda. Ottawa: Caledon Insitute. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 2007. From Red Tape to Clear Results: Report of the Independent Blue Ribbon Panel on Grants and Contributions. Ottawa. United Way of Canada – Centraide Canada. 2008. “Our History.” Available at Accessed 10 December 2008. Vancouver Agreement Policy Committee. 2000. The Vancouver Agreement. Vancouver Agreement Website. 2008. “The Agreement.” Accessed 12 December 2008, htm. Western Economic Diversification Canada. 2005. “Vancouver Agreement for Second Five-year Term.” News Release, 4 April.

3 Reforming the Multilevel Governance of Emergencies: Municipalities and the Discursive Politics of Canada’s Emergency Management Policy Luc Juillet and Junichiro Koji

Introduction Designing effective organizational structures and processes to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and manmade catastrophes with potentially severe consequences for citizens is properly seen as an important issue of public policy. Protecting the lives and property of citizens constitutes a fundamental role of the modern state and, in the aftermath of large-scale emergencies, this vital mission frequently returns to the centre stage of debates about state organization and public sector performance. As in many other Western democracies, the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, represented such an agenda-setting event for emergency management policy in Canada. However, over the last fifteen years, this epoch-making event has not been alone in bringing emergency preparedness policy under the spotlight. Indeed, Canada has also been regularly exposed to significant weather or healthrelated emergencies over this period, including a major ice storm in central Canada in 1998, an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Toronto in 2003, a major electricity blackout in Ontario in 2003, and threats of an avian influenza pandemic in more recent years. Moreover, even though the country experienced other major emergencies of national scale in its history, these recent


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emergencies seemed distinctive by their intensity, their scope, their cost, and the magnitude of the response that they required (Newkirk 2001; Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2006, 22–4). Facing this new environment, the federal government recently adopted major reforms to its organizational and policy frameworks for dealing with large-scale emergencies: it created a new federal department to take the lead in dealing with national emergencies, it adopted new legislation detailing its role and authorities, it released new policy statements outlining a new approach to emergency management, and it put in place new structures and processes to deal with the coordination of emergency management policies across levels of government. In effect, from 2001 to 2010, the Canadian government completely revisited and significantly transformed its approach to dealing with large-scale emergencies at the levels of policy and organization. During this period, the need for more extensive, and effective, coordination of policy and actions across levels of government became an important issue that needed to be addressed by these reforms. Recent experience with dealing with national emergencies and studies conducted on the state of Canadian preparedness for large-scale emergencies had shown that insufficient multilevel coordination often stood in the way of more effective emergency management, causing unnecessary delays or inadequate organization in times of emergency but also hindering the effectiveness of governmental planning and preparation between emergencies. In this respect, the role of municipalities in the multilevel governance of emergency management seemed particularly problematic to several of the key actors involved in this policy field: while local authorities play a key role in ensuring the first, and often main, line of response to most emergencies, they are also particularly disconnected from the multilevel processes and structures meant to ensure effective coordination in this policy area. However, while the reforms implemented over the last decade led to a clear improvement of federal-provincial-territorial coordination, they failed to bring in municipalities into the multilevel governance framework associated with emergency management policy. Given the presence of a significant coalition of actors pushing for greater integration of municipalities into multilevel governance arrangements and a strong conceptual case for their importance to effective emergency management, this outcome is somewhat p ­ uzzling. In this

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chapter we examine the politics that led to this choice by focusing mainly on the competing discourses that marked the debates about the reform of the policy and statutory framework for emergency management. In particular, we attempt to show that the politics of reform were marked by a clash between two coalitions of actors, each framing the proper multilevel governance of emergency management in a distinct manner: one emphasizing the primacy of criteria of effectiveness in emergency measures and response over the respect of traditional administrative and political divisions, the other emphasizing the importance of respecting the historical divisions of authority for the conduct of legitimate and effective public action, including for the proper management of emergencies. We argue that the triumph of the latter coalition and the resulting exclusion of municipalities from the reformed multilevel governance of emergency management was mainly due to the congruence of its frame with the broader norms of the constitutional order in Canada and to the institutional context of the legislative reforms, which were marked by a minority parliament that made the direct engagement of municipalities by the federal government particularly politically difficult. In the end, the chapter illustrates how the enduring, overarching norms of state organization have made it difficult for Canada to restructure its governance processes to ensure a more effective emergency management framework. The chapter is divided into five sections. The first briefly develops our analytical framework, which emphasizes the impact of discursive practices on policy decisions. Following the work of Ross (2000) on welfare reform and Hajer (1995) on environmental policy, we focus on three factors affecting the effectiveness of framing in policy debates: the resilience of pre-existing frames associated with the policy status quo; the credibility and trustworthiness of competing framers; and the impact of the institutional setting where the inter-frame conflict unfolds. The second section discusses the new emergency planning policy environment and the on-going shift in the paradigms associated with the field. It serves to highlight why municipalities are deemed to be increasingly important actors in emergency management. The third section provides a brief history of Canada’s emergency planning policy: it explains how the dominant organization of multilevel coordination emerged out of constitutional and political constraints and how it worked to marginalize


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municipalities. The fourth section examines how the limited participation of municipalities in these multilevel processes increasingly came to be seen as a problem in the years that followed the turn of the millennium, and it describes how the coalition of actors working to increase their participation has framed its challenge to the status quo. Finally, the last section briefly discusses the recent federal initiatives to modernize Canada’s emergency management policy, and it examines the discursive politics that affected the adoption of the new Emergency Management Act (EMA) in 2007, one of the key statutes underpinning the new framework.

Reframing Public Policy Over the last two decades, the policy studies literature has shown growing interest in the cognitive, normative, and discursive dimensions of policy processes as important variables to explain policy decisions (Fischer 2003; Hajer 1995, 2006; Surel 2000). Questioning traditional approaches that mainly focus on the material resources and given interests of actors as explanatory variables, several scholars have sought to explore post-positivist approaches to the study of public policy, including in Canada (e.g., Orsini and Smith 2007). However, this approach has not been widely used in the analysis of emergency policy, with the exception of a few studies on emergency preparedness in the United States (Prater and Lindell 2000; Wyatt-Nichol and Abel 2007). In this respect, the Canadian reforms examined in this study offer an opportunity to extend the use of this approach in this policy field as well as to the study of multilevel governance. In the study of public policy, a “frame” is generally conceptualized as a filter through which actors define, interpret, and understand the social reality surrounding them. Social reality does not exist on its own: it needs to be cognitively processed by actors before it acquires a meaning as reality. In this process, actors adopt a “frame” to facilitate their understanding of their environment and to make sense of events or problems that they face. These frames are often derived from lessons drawn from personal experience, knowledge acquired through formal education, and religious or other convictions, and the mass media can play an important role in the adoption of particular frames by mass publics (Chong and Druckman 2007). But importantly for the study of politics and public policy, they are also

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used strategically by political actors to advance a preferred interpretation of social reality and rationale for policy intervention that, if accepted as authoritative by key audiences – mass publics, opinion leaders, or decision makers – can shape policy outcomes (Fischer 2003; Polletta and Ho 2006). On this point, it should also be underscored that discursive frames are not purely instrumental – that is, strategic tools used to advance some preset material interests – but that, by shaping actors’ understanding of social reality, they can also affect how actors understand their own interests or how these can actually be furthered by various policies (Hajer 1995, 51). To identify the frames competing in the reforms examined in this chapter, we examined the discourse of various actors involved in the policy process to uncover how they represented the political and spatial realities associated with emergency responses in Canada, as well as the policy prescriptions that they derived from these representations. For this purpose, we have analyzed a series of policy documents issued in relation to these reforms, the transcripts of hearings held by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on the state of emergency planning in Canada at various times between 2003 and 2008 and the answers provided by municipal respondents to a questionnaire used by the same Senate committee as part of its work, as well as the parliamentary debates that led to the adoption of the Emergency Management Act in 2007. Through content analysis, we worked to identify the two competing frames used in the analysis presented later in the chapter. As Ross (2000, 173) points out, with the exception of new issues, framing really involves “reframing” an existing policy problem. We can therefore generally understand a conflict between two frames about public policy as the challenge posed to an existing frame by a new one. Hence, discursive politics – the socio-political process through which conflicting frames compete for authoritativeness – constitutes “a struggle for discursive hegemony in which actors try to secure support for their definition of reality” (Hajer 1995, 59). While much work remains to be done to understand what makes for a strong and effective frame (Chong and Druckman 2007, 116–17), we focus here on three factors that have been considered significant in previous studies. First, our attention goes to the resilience of existing frames that underpin the policy status quo. When policy entrepreneurs try to reframe policy issues, they need to confront existing frames that


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dominate the prevailing understanding of the issues at stake. Citizens, let alone decision makers, are not “empty vessels”: they harbour existing conceptions and cognitively rely on long-standing referents that are not easily reconsidered in the face of alternative discourses. In the words of Ross (2000, 173–4), existing frames can work as “powerful defensive mechanisms” against new frames. Moreover, the resilience of existing frames can be particularly strong when they are institutionalized through legislation and policy directives and statements, as well as through daily politico-administrative practices (Hajer 1995). Similarly, existing frames can gain further resilience when they are congruent or have a strong affinity with dominant norms and values in the social and political environment (Ross 2000, 174; Juillet 2007). As a result, alternative frames are likely to gain more influence and support if they can respond to other extant frames and demonstrate some congruence with dominant norms and values, especially those held by decision-making elites. Second, the power of frames is also partly determined by some of their characteristics, which will make them more or less plausible to decision makers and other policy actors. As Hajer argues, finding a policy frame convincing is not a narrowly cognitive process, since it involves much more than finding the arguments logically sound and empirically grounded (1995, 63). It is more properly conceived as a socio-cognitive process where, for example, the credibility or trustworthiness of its advocates (based on past record, institutional position, professional authority, etc.) is also assessed as a condition for the plausibility of their frames (Druckman 2001; Ross 2000, 174). Similarly, a frame can be found to be more plausible when it incorporates, or is seen to fit with, elements of common narratives widely used to make sense of the world. This is why, Hajer contends (1995, 63), analogies, historical references, metaphors, even clichés are frequently used in political discourse: while they invariably oversimplify, even distort, arguments about complex policy problems, they can also increase the appeal and plausibility of frames by making them “sound right” (i.e., consistent with what is otherwise held to be true about the world) to broader, more diversified sets of actors, especially in areas where technical knowledge is an important part of the policy debates. Finally, we need to take into account the institutional settings affecting discursive politics. Policy actors have to operate within

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institutional constraints, such as regulations, rules, and institutionalized practices, which can both empower and constrain their capacity to further their preferred frames. This institutional setting can include, for example, the structure of the party system and the rules regulating venues of policy deliberations, including legislatures. For example, as Ross observes, European political systems that render coalition governments necessary call for consensus and may preclude significant reframing by some of the key institutional actors for certain periods of time. In contrast, two-party systems have created incentives and conditions that have been more conducive to the reframing of social policy (2000, 175). In sum, by providing, or denying, access to venues where policy positions can be advanced and by affecting the way in which discourse can be deployed, institutional features of the policy process can affect the outcome of interframe conflicts. In the last sections of the chapter, we examine the evolution of the policy framework for emergency management in Canada and, relying on the analytical framework and the sets of factors discussed above, we attempt to shed some light on the inability of municipalities to significantly modify the traditional approach to multilevel governance in this area. However, before discussing this evolution, we briefly look at some of the reasons that have led municipalities and their advocates to claim a greater role in the making of emergency management policy in recent years.

Municipalities and Emergency Management The importance of local authorities in responding to emergencies has long been recognized in the Canadian emergency response framework. In fact, it has been estimated that, given the limited scope, about 80 percent of emergencies are handled solely at the local level. However, even for large-scale adverse events, the primacy of local response has been a long-established principle of Canadian emergency policy. Local governments are often the first point of contact for many citizens dealing with disruptions of some essential services, such as water services, and local responsibilities for emergency services, such as firefighting and local policing, put them on the front line of many crises. Local public officials, both elected officials and municipal public servants, are generally best aware of local conditions on the ground in their communities and, as a result, they are


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often best positioned to ascertain what responses will likely work in addressing local problems. In this perspective, one of the central principles of Canadian emergency management has long been that local authorities should take the lead in responding to emergencies, progressively requesting the support and involvement of higher levels of government as they become overwhelmed by the situation at hand. By itself, this “pyramidal” conception of emergency response systems calls for a considerable degree of multilevel coordination. For instance, speedy and effective communication between levels of government and sharing of resources in times of emergencies require established channels of communications, mutual awareness of potential needs, and the availability of resources, protocols, and equipment ensuring necessary levels of inter-operability, etc. Close collaboration between different levels of government is then required for an effective response both at local and national levels, but also to ensure that before emergencies present themselves, adequate preparation has been done at the local level to ensure an effective response by the authorities that the system conceives as its first line of defence. This is especially important since, as illustrated by recent cases of terrorist acts, local incidents can immediately provoke national security concerns and the performance of local governments and first responders can quickly have a great influence on national, even international, security (see Eisinger 2006). However, going beyond this traditional conception of municipalities and their associated first responders (e.g., firefighting and local police services) as the “first line of defence,” the recent literature on emergency management suggests that the importance of municipalities is growing, notably owing to the increasing concentration of people in urban areas and the nature of contemporary urban living, which entail greater systematic risks (e.g., Britton 2001; Caruson et al. 2005; Caruson and MacManus 2007; Eisinger 2006; Gabriel 2003). In particular, the considerable development of urban agglomerations has made cities crucial areas where man-made or natural emergencies can quickly create large numbers of casualties, significant hardship, and large-scale economic damage. In Canada, about 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas and cities are clearly major drivers of economic activity. For example, the population of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is more than 2.5 million people,

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a number that reaches 5.5 million when the entire metropolitan area is counted. This number, which represents about 18 percent of the entire population of Canada, is larger than the population of most Canadian provinces. At the same time, the proximity and interconnectedness of urban lives create particular vulnerabilities to adverse events, such as large-scale reliance on common networks for electricity, water, or communication infrastructure and the easier spread of communicable diseases owing to physical proximity and urban mobility. Recent large-scale emergencies in metropolitan areas, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the SARS epidemic in Toronto, not only revealed the vulnerability of urban infrastructure and the systematic risks associated with modern urban systems, but they also illustrated how such adverse events can pose a major challenge to metropolitan governments which have to deal with the evacuation and protection of citizens. It has become clear that the performance of metropolitan authorities is becoming crucial to the effective response to emergencies in a highly urbanized environment. Another reason for the growing importance of local authorities for effective emergency management comes from a shift in the paradigm in this policy field and the growing recognition that, in addition to preparedness and response, the effective management of emergencies requires public authorities to devote more attention to prevention, mitigation, and recovery. In fact, in Canadian emergency policy circles, it is now common to speak of a move from “emergency preparedness” to “emergency management” to indicate the emergence of a new way of thinking about policy in this area. Emergency management is meant to represent a more proactive approach to emergencies, one that stresses the role of preventive measures and the design of more resilient communities as a way of minimizing the costs resulting from unavoidable adverse events. From this perspective, the principal goal of emergency management is to build a sustainable and resilient society that is able to continue to operate during emergencies, minimize the likelihood that unavoidable hazards will turn into avoidable disasters, and recover promptly after the emergency has subsided. In this new perspective, community resilience is attainable only if local authorities become full-fledged partners in emergency management, because many of the key policy levers required for the development of resilient cities are under their control. For example,


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as Britton points out, the construction of resilient cities requires adequate ­ territorial management, notably through urban planning and zoning regulations developed with potential risks in mind (2001, 44–5). Similarly, many of the critical infrastructures of communities, such as waterworks or electricity distribution grids, are either fully under their control or are significantly affected by their policies. In sum, as prime actors in these matters, unless local governments are aware of the stakes; are knowledgeable about framework policies, standards, and best practices; and are consequently able to ensure such risk-based territorial management, their communities will remain unduly at risk in the event of a significant emergency. Consequently, the full involvement of municipalities in emergency management at the policy development and implementation stages seems essential to the effective pursuit of an emergency management approach to this policy area. On the whole, the traditional view of local authorities as first and main responders who should exercise leadership in times of emergencies, as well as newer trends emphasizing their role in designing more resilient communities, call for local governments to play a greater role in emergency management, and, as such, they present a significant challenge to Canada’s multilevel governance structures and processes in this area, which have historically limited their involvement and never considered them as full partners of provincial and federal governments. Taking note of these trends, some countries have moved to strengthen the role of municipalities in their security and emergency management systems. For example, the regional approach to emergency preparedness attempted in the United States in recent years constitutes a possible response to this reality. Recommended by the Government Accountability Office in a 2004 report on the state of homeland security, the approach seeks to build more effective emergency planning structures, structures based on regions rather than on political and administrative jurisdictions, in the hope of building strong networks of neighbouring localities that are able to share information and resources (Caruson et al. 2005; Caruson and MacManus 2007). However, as we will now see, while pursuing policy reforms that have strengthened federal-provincial collaboration and promise to improve performance in this area, Canada has been much less ambitious in addressing the role of municipalities in the multilevel governance of emergency management.

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Multilevel Governance and the Evolution of Emergency Management in Canada Canada’s federal emergency management policy originated in civil defence during World War II. In 1939, a few weeks before entering into the war, the federal government adopted the Defence of Canada Regulations under the War Measures Act, which authorized government ministers to take steps, including the suspension of some civil liberties, in order to organize defence measures on its national territory. As part of these measures, instruments meant to prevent casualties in the event of air raids provided for exceptional authorities to force evacuations and enforce curfews, representing the beginning of a legal framework to deal with national emergencies. The context in which these early steps were taken provided the federal government with clear leadership responsibilities for emergency preparedness, since the military and war matters have always been unambiguously within the constitutional purview of the federal government. In the early 1950s, civil defence was progressively demilitarized, even if preparing for the threat of a nuclear war remained its central focus. Its responsibilities were transferred from the Department of National Defence to the Department of National Health and Welfare in 1951. In 1957, a new Emergency Measures Organization, a new administrative division of the Privy Council Office (the central agency supporting the cabinet), took on the responsibility of coordinating emergency management for the federal government. Over the following decades, responsibility for the office coordinating the federal government’s response to national emergencies then shifted on a few occasions between the Department of National Defence and the Privy Council Office. In the 1960s, the scope of its activities was also broadened to include responding to large-scale natural disasters, even if the suspension of civil rights and the use of the military on Canadian soil in response to the terrorist acts of the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) in 1970 remain by far the most infamous use of emergency powers over this period. The demilitarization of emergency management and the expansion of the scope of its responsibilities to include responding to natural disasters progressively raised significant political and constitutional issues. As stated above, the responsibility of the federal government for military and defence matters is unquestioned under the Canadian


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constitutional order. However, as emergency management came to be dissociated from defence policy and more explicitly encroached on matters such as health services and property and civil law, provincial governments began questioning the prominence of the federal government in this policy area. Since Canada’s constitutional statute that sets the division of powers between levels of government was written in 1867, it does not explicitly address emergency management, and under the country’s constitution, this policy field was soon interpreted to be a matter of shared responsibility between both levels of government. While the federal government could legitimately claim to have authority flowing from its responsibility for the “order, peace and good government of Canada” (section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867), which the courts had already ruled could sustain legislative action taken to deal with national emergencies, the provincial government could legitimately argue that their constitutional authority over property and civil rights, health care, and local matters (section 92, Constitution Act, 1867) gave them a central role to play in emergency management. In practice, because the development of a more sophisticated and comprehensive emergency management system required the collaboration of agencies widely spread across levels of government, from policing and firefighting to health care authorities and border services, shared jurisdiction and multilevel collaboration became essential. However, this understanding of the shared nature of emergency management responsibilities simply did not account for municipalities: while already playing a key role as first responders, municipalities were never considered as full-fledged partners under the governance framework that developed during those years. In Canada, municipalities are not recognized as an autonomous level of government by the constitution. In fact, the Constitution Act, 1867, gives exclusive jurisdiction to provincial legislatures over “municipal institutions” (section 92(8)) and “local works and undertakings” (section 92(10)), as well as over “all matters of a merely local nature” (section 92(16)). As a result, as it is often put, municipalities are considered “creatures of the provinces”: constituted by provincial statutes, the extent of their authority and the scope of their responsibilities are largely limited by provincial governments. While they largely fund themselves through property taxes and user fees, they remain dependent on provincial transfers for part of their annual budget. As a result, while urban areas have grown over the

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century and many municipal governments have become ever larger and more complex administrations responsible for a wide range of important services, they have remained largely trapped in an unfavourable constitutionally subservient position. Moreover, in the context of federal-provincial relations, provincial governments have jealously guarded their control over municipalities, generally resisting the development of direct federal-municipal contacts and refusing to consider them as equals in intergovernmental processes. Based on this constitutional and functional reality, the federal and provincial governments progressively developed a federal-provincialterritorial (FPT) collaboration framework that broadly conformed to standard Canadian practice over the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, an annual federal-provincial consultation process was established at the ministerial level and, in conformity with standard practice across policy fields in the federation, no provisions were adopted to provide for the inclusion of municipalities in this process. Coordination of emergency policy then essentially focused on the relationship between the federal and provincial governments. Between 1982 and 1988, the federal government signed bilateral memoranda of understanding with all the provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec and Alberta. Fiscal transfers in support of emergency preparedness also developed in accordance with the conventional FPT framework. The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) and the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) are good examples. The DFAA was created in 1970 to provide financial assistance to the provinces and territories to cope with emergency-related damages, providing federal funding once the recovery costs from disasters exceed about CAN$1 per capita. The JEPP was established in 1980 as a FPT program to support emergency preparedness training and the purchase of equipment at the local level. However, the federal government provides funding to the provincial governments, which are then expected to support municipalities. There is no direct relationship between the federal government and municipalities. In 1985, this FPT framework was entrenched in federal legislation. In 1985, the Emergencies Act replaced the War Measures Act, and it provided legal foundations for the federal government to put in place measures needed to respond to four kinds of national emergencies: public welfare emergencies, public order emergencies, international emergencies, and war emergencies. Respecting the dominant understanding of intergovernmental relations, the statute


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required the federal government to consult with affected provinces and territories before declaring a national emergency. To the extent that municipalities are involved in those decisions, they are expected to transmit their demand for federal intervention and the declaration of a state of emergency through their provincial governments. The same year, by enacting the Emergency Preparedness Act (EPA), the federal government created Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC) as the lead federal agency in the field. The legislation gave powers to the minister responsible for the EPC to coordinate emergency preparedness measures within the federal government and to support the provinces and territories in developing their own emergency preparedness policies. The statute remained silent on its relationship with municipal authorities. Hence, by the 1990s the dominant understanding of the appropriate and necessary approach to the multilevel governance of emergency preparedness and response was well entrenched in a set of norms, institutions, and intergovernmental practices that provided the framework for the formulation and implementation of Canadian emergency management policy. This approach is strongly congruent with a view of Canadian federalism that emphasizes a clear division of responsibilities between the two main levels of government and values provincial jurisdictional autonomy – what some scholars have referred to as a “jurisdictional” form of federalism (Bakvis and Brown 2010). Under such an understanding of proper relationships between the federal and provincial governments, direct federalmunicipal relations or even federal-provincial-municipal multilateral relations are considered violations of the norms of effective and legitimate multilevel governance. They are not illegal – there is no prohibition in constitutional law on the direct involvement of municipalities in multilevel policy processes or on the direct transfer of information between the federal government and municipalities – but they are understood as politically unacceptable, or at least problematic. As a result, the role of municipalities in the development of emergency management policy has been limited.

Attempting to Reframe the Multilevel Governance of Emergency Management The validity of this framework for multilevel governance has recently been questioned in the face of major emergencies ­calling

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for more integrated and seamless coordination between the three levels of government. In particular, municipalities themselves have strongly challenged this approach. Increasingly apprehensive in the light of what seems like the greater frequency of disasters and heightened security threats and taking stock of recent experiences with major emergencies, municipalities began to increasingly criticize the ineffectiveness of the traditional FPT framework. For example, pointing out that municipalities are the first responders in more than 90 percent of emergencies that occur in Canada, a recent report commissioned by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) – a national body representing municipalities across Canada – decried the imbalance between such important responsibilities and the lack of direct municipal representation in the key cases dealing with emergency planning (FCM 2006, 5). As the report states, municipalities believe that “their concerns are not addressed [by federal and provincial governments] and … extra costs and obligations are imposed on them through policies developed without their participation. Had they been consulted, they might have offered better solutions” (FCM 2006, 11). The FCM then recommends a better “public safety dialogue” between the three levels of government with “a [municipal] voice at the national table” (25). Speaking at the time of the report’s release, the then FCM president, Gloria Kovach, fully endorsed this conclusion. As she put it, “We believe that the current situation, which leaves municipal first responders underfunded and left out of disaster planning, not only wastes resources but also threatens the well-being of Canadians” (FCM 2006, 3). In addition to the FCM, which represents all of Canada’s municipalities, the country’s biggest cities also began to strongly criticize the traditional FPT framework. The Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC), a subgroup of the twenty-two largest municipalities, expressed their frustration over insufficient financial resources to deal with their increasing responsibilities in different policy areas, including emergency planning. “Municipal governments believe it is short sighted to download the implementation of a provincial/territorial or federal policy/program to a municipality without first including them in the consultation process, and without ensuring that necessary resources are available” (BCMC 2006, 13). The BCMC, like the FCM, argued for “a true partnership” between the three levels of government that would give due recognition to municipal roles in the making and implementation of public policy in Canada (7).


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Over this period, as the federal government was working on broader reforms of its approach to emergency management, officials from some important cities also challenged the dominant multilevel governance framework in this field. For example, speaking in 2006 before the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr Sheela Basrur, who dealt with the SARS epidemic in 2003, expressed her dissatisfaction with the absence of municipalities at the intergovernmental table concerned with emergency management: “[M]any of the discussions occur at the federal-provincial-territorial level. There is no local, municipal or regional input in that paradigm. We are creatures of the provinces, and they include or exclude us at their sole whim. I think, frankly, that large urban centres ought to be treated as entities of national importance. It does not make sense to me that we should be treated as invisible and irrelevant on matters such as this” (Senate of Canada 2003c, 20). Similarly, Barry Gutteridge, Toronto’s commissioner at the Department of Works and Emergency Services, speaking before the same committee, argued for direct access to the federal government by municipal officials. According to the commissioner: “The lack of direct local access to federal agencies is an issue. We are aware of, and work with, the regional director. The provincial access protocols, however, tend to be enforced somewhat rigidly, even from a planning standpoint. A better design is needed, with provincial involvement. We are not trying to suggest that there should not be provincial involvement, but protocols for access and information flow should be improved, and more ability to work collectively is needed” (Senate of Canada 2003c, 45). This feeling of marginalization was also shared by other municipalities, such as Saint John’s, Hamilton, Edmonton, and Regina (See Senate of Canada 2004, 67–70). Like the FCM and the BCMC, these municipal officials who came to the Senate committee hearings often justified their arguments for a reformed multilevel governance framework by invoking the need for more effective and efficient operations at the street level during an emergency. The comments made by Randy Wolsey, Edmonton’s fire chief at Fire Rescue Services, are representative in this regard: “Regardless of protocols, at the street level we really need to get the job done, and we are willing to do what it takes to get that job done” (Senate of Canada 2003a, 29). Again, speaking from his experience as the executive in charge of emergency services for

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Toronto, Barry Gutteridge put it even more forcefully: “There needs to be a way to make levels disappear in an emergency. For example, we at the responding level say, ‘Here is what we need,’ and it is provided directly to us. We must get past that ‘I am provincial; you are municipal; you are federal.’ We are all in this together. How can we collectively solve this? How can I bring my expertise and resources to the table? Then we can worry about the niceties later” (Senate of Canada 2003c, 50). Over the course of those years, the work of the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence contributed to placing emergency policy reform on the federal policy agenda, drawing significant media attention and serving as an important relay of municipalities’ claims on the national stage. The committee started to review federal emergency policy in July 2001, even before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, and it subsequently published two reports on the issue that garnered significant public attention, partly because of the committee chairman’s media profile and the strong language used in criticizing what was deemed a relatively poor state of emergency preparedness in the country (Senate of Canada 2004; 2008). Its work then gained even more momentum and prominence following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the SARS public health crisis in 2003. For municipalities, the work of the committee was particularly important because it provided an important institutional venue in which to make their case at the national level. The committee also became a significant institutional player providing credibility and visibility to their narrative – their frame – calling for important reforms of the multilevel governance of this area. It published reports containing recommendations that required an explicit response by the federal government (in accordance with the rules of the Canadian Parliament), and it had the institutional authority, which it used, to call federal officials to testify in public to answer questions about their approach to multilevel coordination. In sum, the Senate committee became an important part of the coalition of actors challenging the traditional understanding of multilevel governance in this area. In this regard, the Senate committee’s first report, National Emergencies: Canada’s Fragile Front Lines, made pointed reference to the provinces as obstacles to effective and efficient emergency planning at the local level (Senate of Canada 2004, 42–3). Drawing lessons


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from the SARS crisis, it argued that Canada’s emergency planning policy should not be fragmented by jurisdictional boundaries but designed first and foremost to protect Canadian citizens (Senate of Canada 2004, 38). While recognizing the importance of the constitution, the committee called for a new multilevel governance framework in which both federal and provincial/territorial governments could listen to municipalities and first-line responders, who are considered to be more knowledgeable about the realities of dealing with disasters on the ground. For example, the report states: “The Committee understands that Canada’s constitution assigns provinces exclusive control over the areas within their jurisdiction. But the federal and provincial governments need to get their acts together to respond to this very useful kind of initiative. The regions and municipalities have the best insights as to what they need, and when they come forward with a plan that makes sense within the context of national emergency preparedness, senior levels of government should do what this report is all about: respond” (Senate of Canada 2004, 71, emphasis in original). A second report, issued by the Senate committee in 2008 and titled simply Emergency Preparedness in Canada, also severely criticized the federal government for its sluggish progress in improving federal emergency preparedness in the years that followed its first report. As part of this critique, it continued to condemn the absence of direct communication channels between federal and municipal officials. For instance, the report qualifies as “a mind boggler” remarks by the federal chief public health officer, Dr David Butler-Jones, who told the committee that municipalities do not have to be informed about the location or contents of federal emergency caches (containing supplies needed in the event of disasters, such as antibiotics or medical equipment) because the information can be obtained through the provincial officials when it is needed. As the committee report asks, “How can the federal government recognize that emergencies happen locally, but then hide vital tools like [emergency caches] from local first responders?” (Senate of Canada 2008, 28) For senators on the committee, such adherence to a very traditional and rigid understanding of intergovernmental relations in this field clearly undermined the effectiveness of emergency management in the country. It also recommended that the federal department of Public Safety establish a list of emergency managers in municipalities, provide them with security clearance, and start communicating

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directly with them whenever it had information that could improve local emergency responses (Senate of Canada 2008, 50). Furthermore, concerning the limited inclusion of municipalities in intergovernmental processes, the Senate committee also made very critical remarks. While the federal government created a Domestic Group on Emergency Management in 2007 as a forum of discussion between federal bureaucrats from the department of Public Safety Canada and community organizations, such as the Red Cross, the association representing fire chiefs, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Senate Committee noted, and criticized, the fact that municipalities remained excluded from higher-level political and policy discussions (Senate of Canada 2008, 59). In particular, it found that the absence of municipal representatives at the annual meetings of federal and provincial ministers responsible for emergency management did not make sense. As it put it: “It is revealing that the annual meeting of ministers responsible for emergency management does not include representatives from local governments. How can there be truly useful discussions about roles and responsibilities in emergency management without municipalities at the table? It is not surprising that our surveys show that municipal emergency managers are sometimes confused and frequently frustrated with federal government processes” (Senate of Canada 2008, 94). In fact, the committee reiterated that it considered governance mechanisms allowing the three levels of government to meet together around the same table to be essential to the improvement of Canada’s emergency preparedness. And it clearly did not consider the constitutional division of powers to be an insurmountable barrier to the creation of such a mechanism. As the committee stated: The Committee understands the constitutional division of responsibilities among jurisdictions. However, there is no jurisdictional impediment to sitting down with both municipal and provincial partners to hash out who does what, and how, nor should there be any impediment to having federal officials listening directly to municipal officials as to what their needs are on the ground. The provincial and territorial governments can sit in on the conversations if there is concern over jurisdictional niceties. The Committee strongly recommends that Public Safety Canada – as the lead federal agency responsible for national emergency preparedness – become better acquainted with the


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day-to-day responsibilities, challenges and needs facing Canada’s first responder community through direct contact with municipal representatives. (Senate of Canada 2008, 96) So, as we can see, the Senate Committee devoted considerable efforts over this period to making the reform of federal emergency preparedness policy an important and pressing matter, notably by conducting studies on the issue, holding national hearings, and using its privileged institutional position to publicly call for changes. As it did so, it contributed to furthering an alternative way of framing the best manner to set up the multilevel governance of emergency management in Canada. By endorsing many of the views expressed by the FCM, the BCMC, and individual cities, it undoubtedly contributed to the strengthening of this alternative frame, including acting as a high-level advocate with no obvious self-interest in having municipalities being treated as full-fledged partners. Unlike representatives of municipalities, it could not be dismissed as simply demanding more power and resources. Overall, the statements quoted in this section should illustrate the core features of the competing frame that emerged over this period to challenge the dominant intergovernmental order in the area of emergency management. Focused on the need for “effectiveness on the ground” as opposed to constitutional norms and the broader traditional understanding of the country that these norms embody, this frame emphasizing “street-level effectiveness” calls for a radical rethinking of the multilevel governance of emergency management, emphasizing speed, fluidity, and flexibility in the response to emergencies, as well as a more prominent role for municipalities in planning and policy formulation. In this view, ideally, “levels would disappear” in times of emergency, and the emergency policy framework would treat municipalities as full-fledged partners because the effectiveness of resulting policies demanded it. In particular, a reform of multilevel governance structures and processes would provide for more direct contact between the federal government and municipalities and for the integration of representatives from municipalities in what would become federal-provincial-municipal policy forums. However, as the next section will show, the challenge presented by this alternative frame was met with strong resistance from federal and provincial officials, who, in the end, held to a more traditional conception of intergovernmental relations.

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Reforming the Multilevel Governance of Emergency Management The years that followed the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001 saw many changes in how governments approach national security, including their management of eventual large-scale emergencies. In Canada, these events, as well as a string of public health and natural emergencies that occurred around the turn of the century, led the federal government to engage in a substantial revision of its national security policy. One of the key policy steps taken in this regard was the release in 2004 by the Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Paul Martin of a new national security statement entitled Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy (Privy Council Office 2004). The new policy statement dedicated an entire chapter to emergency planning and management, and it launched a significant reform of how the federal government approaches emergency management. This shift in policy included a wide range of measures and was generally marked by a desire to increase the federal government’s leadership in the area. To signal its political commitment, in December 2003 the prime minister had already appointed his deputy prime minister, Anne McLellan, minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. At the head of this new portfolio, she headed several agencies related to national security, including the federal police force, the intelligence agency, and border controls, which were brought under a single umbrella in order to enhance the coordination of this file within the federal government. The minister would also chair a new Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies, established to strengthen the political attention to be paid to these matters. Following the new policy statement, a new department, eventually renamed Public Safety Canada, was also established through statute in March 2005 to provide the field with more affirmed leadership within the federal cabinet. The new department eventually established a new Government Operations Centre to strengthen its capacity to coordinate the federal response to national emergencies. The new centre replaced a much more modest Office of Critical Infrastructure and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP). These very significant changes underscore the importance attributed to more extensive political and bureaucratic leadership in this area by the federal government. They also illustrate how the


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g­ overnment believed that inadequate coordination within the federal bureaucracy was one of the key challenges to ensuring the effectiveness of national security and emergency management. From this perspective, it may not be surprising that the Martin government also emphasized multilevel coordination as a key determinant of effective emergency management in Canada. As the national security policy paper stated: “Major emergencies require extremely close cooperation between the federal government, provinces and territories, communities, first line responders and the private sector. National emergency co-ordination currently suffers from the absence of both an effective federal-provincial-territorial governance regime, and from the absence of commonly agreed standards and priorities for the national emergency management system” (Privy Council Office 2004, 25). In its policy statement, the government went so far as to argue that first line responders are “at the heart of our emergency management system” (Privy Council Office 2004, 22). Yet despite the broader reference to “communities” and the emphasis on first-line responders, the absence of an explicit reference to municipalities or local authorities in this call for closer coordination among actors involved in emergency management is clearly noticeable. In fact, as its key reform measure, the Martin government promised to propose to provincial governments to create a more “permanent, high-level forum on emergencies in order to allow for regular strategic discussion of emergency management issues among key national players” (Privy Council Office 2004, 25). However, municipalities were not explicitly cited as such “key national players,” and the extent of desired involvement by municipalities in the multilevel governance of emergency management remained unclear. This ambiguity was partly a reflection of the political difficulty that the federal government would face if it decided to engage municipalities more directly in the governance of emergency management. In particular, even federal officials who believed that more direct engagement was necessary to improve the effectiveness of emergency policy had to worry about the negative reaction of provincial governments. In a context where the ultimate objective was to improve multilevel governance, including by significantly improving federalprovincial coordination, any policy shift that might turn provincial governments against the reforms would likely yield failure or a disappointing outcome. If greater recognition of municipalities came at the price of dysfunctional federal-provincial relations, it might

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defeat the purpose of the reforms. For such a shift to occur, the provincial governments would have to be brought on board and a new conception of appropriate multilevel arrangements would have to be endorsed by those key actors. In the years that followed the release of the new national security policy statement, the federal and provincial governments worked to increase their cooperation. In January 2005, at a federal-provincial meeting, they agreed to “work together to improve and enhance the emergency response framework” of the country, and in 2007 a new formal framework entitled An Emergency Management Framework for Canada was adopted to specify the common principles, mechanisms, and instruments that would guide federal-provincial coordination in the future. In particular, as part of this agreement a permanent federal-provincial structure, establishing a more elaborate and detailed set of intergovernmental committees at the political and bureaucrat levels than what had been seen in the past, was created (see figure 3.1). The new structure and processes are better resourced, provide for more sustained intergovernmental interaction, and have already resulted in some joint policy statements or strategies on specific issues, such as dealing with certain types of hazards or ensuring the interoperability of communication during emergencies. In parallel, bilateral federal-provincial memoranda of understanding were also concluded between the federal government and most provinces and territories, with the notable exception of Quebec, Alberta, and Nunavut (which together still represent about a third of the country’s population). These developments undoubtedly represented a strengthening of federal-provincial collaboration around emergency management. However, despite the widespread recognition of the importance of local responders during emergencies and the explicit recognition of the need for a more integrated multilevel approach, federal and provincial officials have resisted calls to include municipalities in the governance regime of emergency management. For example, An Emergency Management Framework for Canada, essentially an official statement about how the federal and provincial governments see multilevel coordination in this area, is virtually silent on the role of municipalities. The document points out that “in an emergency, the first response is almost always by the local authorities,” but it goes on to state that it is up to provincial governments to call for federal assistance when the situation warrants it. Similarly, while calling for


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Figure 3.1  Reformed Intergovernmental Governance Structure for Emergency Management. Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management. Source: An Emergency Management Framework for Canada

an approach marked by partnerships with the key actors in emergency management, municipalities are mentioned only as part of a long list of potential partners that also include universities, the private sector, and international organizations (Ministers Responsible for Emergency Management 2011, 6). Similarly, the new Federal Policy for Emergency Management that came into effect in 2009 mostly ignored the role of local authorities. In the section describing the division of responsibilities between levels of government, it simply asserts that provincial governments are expected to deal with emergencies within their jurisdictions, “except where legislation allows for direct federal intervention or shared responsibility,” and that the federal government can be involved only when a matter falls within its jurisdictions, a provincial government requests federal assistance, or an emergency is determined to have national implication (section 2.1). Municipalities and the possibility of direct federal-municipal involvement are not mentioned. Furthermore, when stating the responsibilities of federal departments, the policy statement states only that they should include any measures to assist provincial governments in their emergency management plans, as well as measures offered to local authorities, “through the

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provincial and territorial governments.” Finally, as we have seen, the high-level committees and processes created in the context of the new framework simply do not include municipalities. In sum, the new policies, structures, and processes adopted through the reforms of the last decade have strictly adhered to a very traditional conception of intergovernmental coordination in the Canadian federation, despite the sustained calls for new thinking and more engagement of local governments. While most of the reforms described above were decided and negotiated within the confines of the offices of ministers and senior executives in Ottawa and provincial capitals, the federal government’s decision to modernize the key statute underpinning its authority in this area provided the opportunity for a more open and public debate about the role of municipalities in emergency management. Following a promise made in the 2004 policy statement on national security, the Liberal government tabled a bill to this effect, the Emergency Management Act (EMA), in the House of Commons in November 2005. While the bill soon died on the order paper because of the federal election of 2006, the incoming minority Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen reintroduced the bill in the House of Commons soon after its arrival in power. The bill’s primary objective was to clarify the roles and responsibilities of federal ministers in relation to all aspects of emergency management, but it also sought to officially recognize, by entrenching them in legislation, the principles of multilevel collaboration and coordination as key features of the federal government’s approach to emergency management. In this perspective, the new statute designates the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness as the minister “responsible for exercising leadership relating to emergency management in Canada by coordinating, among government institutions and in cooperation with the provinces and other entities, emergency management activities” (section 3). In this regard, the minister for public safety and emergency preparedness, Stockwell Day, clearly stated at the time that a key objective of the new legislation was to improve intergovernmental coordination of emergency responses. As he stated, “Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility and everyone has an important role to play. Experience has taught us that leadership, coordination and collaboration across jurisdictions are essential to the Government of Canada’s readiness for emergencies and more importantly


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– to saving lives. These principles are the foundation of the proposed Emergency Management Act” (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada 2006). Similarly, speaking on the bill in the House of Commons, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety, Dave MacKenzie, also emphasized improved coordination as the key objective: “The emergency management act would set out the minister’s responsibility to coordinate emergency management activities across the federal government, with provincial governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. In the same spirit of cooperation, the minister would also be charged with promoting a common approach to emergency preparedness” (House of Commons 2006c, 3072). Clearly, the incoming Conservative government shared its predecessor’s objective for enhanced intergovernmental coordination in this area. However, despite presenting enhanced intergovernmental coordination and collaboration as the “foundation” of good emergency management and a fundamental principle animating the legislative reform, the new Conservative government remained largely silent on the role of local authorities. To the extent that the bill itself mentioned municipalities, it clearly portrayed them as subservient to the provinces, and it expressed a conception of multilevel coordination that is essentially congruent with the traditional federal-provincial framework. For instance, section 4(1)(f) of the statute reads: “[The Minister is responsible for] coordinating the activities of government institutions relating to emergency management with those of the provinces – and supporting the emergency management activities of the provinces – and through the provinces, those of local authorities” (House of Commons 2006a, 2, emphasis added). In this regard, the Conservative government also clearly aligned itself with a traditional conception of multilevel governance. While the issue might have otherwise remained ignored in the legislative reform process, a lobbying campaign by municipalities and some key allies within the House of Commons forced elected officials to address more explicitly the role of municipalities in multilevel governance through the parliamentary debates on the adoption of the bill. In particular, a small group of MPs from the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP), many of them with previous experience at the local level, actively sought to make the case for a more extensive integration of municipalities in the national governance of emergency management.

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Among several parliamentarians who spoke in its favour, Mark Holland, a Liberal MP who had previously been the mayor of an Ontario municipality, was probably the most vocal advocate of the greater recognition of municipalities during the those debates. He even tabled an amendment to the bill that would have explicitly recognized, in the legislation, municipalities as full-fledged partners of the federal government in emergency management, on par with the provinces and territories (House of Commons 2006e, 1). Based on his experience, Holland stressed not only the importance of municipal expertise for local emergency planning but also the need for a new understanding of the country’s urban reality in spite of the prevailing constitutional order. As he argued in the House of Commons: “[T]he flaw I see in this bill, the thing that most concerns me, is the lack of recognition of municipalities in the bill, and more specifically, the lack of representation of municipalities on some of the committees that exist. I appreciate that municipalities are creatures of the provinces, but I would think that our understanding of municipalities has evolved as our nation has become one of large cities that are very complex and really true levels of government in their own right” (House of Commons 2006d, 13). He even stated that the absence of the word “municipalities” in the bill should be considered “a slap in the face,” an insult, by municipalities. “It’s paternalistic,” he added, “and in my opinion it’s really missing the boat in terms of how we will have to work with and treat municipalities” (House of Commons 2006e, 4). Other Liberal MPs defended similar positions (see, for example, House of Commons 2006b, 3076), but some parliamentarians from the NDP also spoke in favour of establishing direct federal-municipal relations in emergency management and supported the inclusion of municipalities in existing intergovernmental forums. For example, Olivia Chow, a prominent NDP member and a former municipal councillor of Toronto, raised the possibility of establishing mechanisms that would ensure direct federal-municipal contacts in the case of emergencies (House of Commons 2006b, 3101). Another NDP MP, Joe Comartin, explicitly supported the Holland amendment, describing it as a simple reflection of the reality faced by firstline responders on the ground. He criticized the bill for its failure to recognize municipalities as key players in this field, and he described the legislation as unfair to municipalities. As he stated, “The legislation has a failing in this regard in that it does not adequately reflect


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that key essential role that the local level of government provides and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that” (House of Commons 2006f, 5937). Municipalities themselves, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), also called for legislative amendments that would result in a multilevel governance framework that would treat them as genuine partners. Speaking before the House Committee on Public Safety and National Security, James Knight, the FCM’s CEO at the time, stated that “In our view, the bill as currently written will not lead to better coordination across jurisdictions because there’s virtually no reference to the municipal order of government. We will suggest how that reference can be made explicit” (House of Commons 2006c, 1). Needless to say, the organization supported the Holland amendment as a necessary, formal first step toward rethinking traditional intergovernmental relations concerning emergency management. However, the coalition of elected officials and municipal advocates that tried to reframe the dominant understanding of multilevel governance in this field faced considerable opposition from other legislators, who defended the traditional understanding of multilevel coordination, with direct coordination strictly occurring between the federal and provincial governments and municipalities largely considered as implementing agents to be managed by provincial authorities. Their narrative about the necessity of more direct engagement of municipalities in order to ensure the effectiveness of emergency management on the ground was met by a narrative, a frame, that essentially espoused the traditional intergovernmental process and the consideration of municipalities as administrative entities coming under the sole authority of provincial governments as principles that remained crucial for the proper governance of the country. In this respect, members of the Bloc Québécois (BQ), a sovereignist party defending the province of Quebec’s interests in Parliament, expressed strong concerns about the implications of federal encroachment on provincial jurisdictions. Its MPs did not deny the crucial role played by municipal governments in emergency management, but they clearly thought that this reality, coupled with an understandable desire for greater effectiveness in emergency policy, should not be used to violate the fundamental norms underpinning the Canadian federation. For example, MP Réal Ménard, called on

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the federal government to respect provincial jurisdictions and stated that “although the Bloc Québécois agrees with this bill in principle, we have some concerns. First is the issue of respecting provincial responsibilities. A national emergency should never mean there is just one government. We are long past the time of the Rowell-Sirois commission. We are not in an apprehended war situation. As elected members of the Bloc Québécois, as representatives of the people of Quebec, we must never act as though there were just one government” (House of Commons 2006b, 3077). Similarly, Serge Ménard, another prominent MP for the BQ who had previously served as a public safety minister in the Quebec government, argued for the pre-eminence of provincial responsibilities, advocating for a bottom-up approach to emergency management, but one where the “local” is represented by the provincial government (House of Commons 2006b, 3102). Recalling his days with the provincial government, he argued that leadership in emergencies should really be assumed by provincial authorities: “The [federal] minister certainly has the right to exercise [authority] in areas of federal jurisdiction, but leadership roles must be the responsibility of local [i.e., provincial] authorities” (House of Commons 2006b, 3107). Later on, he reiterated the same point: “I recognize that the federal government has a role to play, but that role is not to establish the rules for everyone. That is best done at the local [i.e., provincial] level” (House of Commons 2006b, 3110). Focused on the political and constitutional bickering opposing the federal and provincial governments, he simply ignored local authorities. In effect, he argued that the bill was going too far by implying a leadership role for the federal government in emergency management. On the whole, parliamentarians sitting with the BQ opposed the development of more direct federal-municipal relations and the recognition of municipalities in the new act because they feared that it would result in the weakening of provincial autonomy. For them, the narrative calling for more extensive recognition and involvement of municipalities was not incoherent or implausible as much as it was politically unacceptable because it would clash with more fundamental political norms and, as a frame, it was irreconcilable with some of their fundamental values and worldviews about the nature, and future, of the Canadian polity. In the end, those values and worldviews were more in tune with a traditional conception


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of federal-provincial relations, even if the legislative reforms being considered ran the risk of seeing the federal government asserting a stronger leadership role in emergency management. While the Conservative members who spoke during the debates obviously held a different understanding of the country and were comfortable defending greater federal leadership in emergency management, they nevertheless saw the constitutional division of power as a legitimate and insurmountable barrier to more direct federalmunicipal engagement or the inclusion of municipalities in multilevel collaboration forums. While defending the expansion of federal leadership as consistent with existing authority under the Peace, Order and Good Government clause of the constitution (House of Commons 2006b, 3110), they also stressed that the bill would not, and should not, change the status of municipalities in intergovernmental processes. For example, Dave MacKenzie, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety, argued that the Emergency Management Act “is a federal piece of legislation dealing with the federal government’s responsibility. Municipalities deal with the provinces. It flows up, down, sideways, but it would be a very difficult situation for the federal government to be directly involved with the municipalities, given that the provinces have their domain and jurisdiction” (House of Commons 2006d, 14). Laurie Hawn, a Conservative MP from Edmonton, also defended the intergovernmental status quo, arguing that provincial governments could be “effective channels through which municipalities could access the federal government in times of emergency” (House of Commons 2006b, 3102). In sum, with respect to federal-municipal relations and the direct participation of municipalities in intergovernmental arenas, the Conservatives argued that the status quo worked sufficiently well and that, in any case, greater municipal involvement in multilevel coordination would be too difficult under the prevailing understanding of constitutional and political norms. In the end, the amendment presented by Mark Holland was defeated, and the bill was unanimously adopted by the House of Commons. Under the minority conditions that existed in the House of Commons at the time, the combined support of the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québecois was sufficient to kill this change, which would have led to the explicit legal recognition of municipalities as partners in multilevel governance. Once this amendment and others had been defeated, the bill was adopted with the unanimous

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consent of all parties in the House of Commons, as opposition parties were concerned to be seen as supportive of a stronger framework to address public safety. In any case, even a legislative recognition of the importance of engaging local authorities more extensively in the multilevel governance of emergency management would have been a limited step forward: the substance of multilevel coordination would ultimately require a genuine commitment to this principle by federal and provincial cabinets and bureaucrats. Still, the debates that occurred in Parliament served to illustrate more visibly how there remains a strong coalition of political forces unwilling to rethink and move passed the traditional norms of intergovernmental relations in the Canadian federation, regardless of the potential gains in effectiveness in addressing the growing risk of large-scale emergencies. While the Conservative government might also have feared the alienation of provincial governments if it had endorsed more engagement of municipalities, for its BQ allies in Parliament the conception of municipalities as entities under the sole control of the provincial government was obviously considered an immutable characteristic of the legitimate constitutional order of the Canadian polity. Overall, the outcome of this legislative process, like the broader institutional and policy changes that occurred during the same period, show that, despite its prominence in the debates, the alternative conception of effective multilevel governance did not gain sufficient adherence, and it did not succeed in fundamentally reframing how the essential decision makers involved in the policy process viewed emergency management policy. In the end, the dominant understanding of multilevel governance prevailed, and the reforms failed to provide for a more extensive role for municipalities in emergency management policy.

Conclusion This chapter has examined the reforms of emergency management that the Canadian government adopted over the last decade, with a special focus on how they affected the evolution of multilevel governance in this area. Good multilevel coordination is widely seen as a central condition for the effective management of emergencies in contemporary federal states, and in Canada it has been frequently cited as a weakness of the national emergency management regime.


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Moreover, as we have seen, the under-developed role of municipalities has been the object of particular complaints and concerns. However, as the chapter has shown, despite the emergence of a political and conceptual case for improving multilevel governance mechanisms through more direct federal-municipal communication and the inclusion of municipalities in intergovernmental forums, the Canadian government has failed to move in this direction. To explain this outcome, we have tried to illustrate how the politics of reform have been significantly characterized by a clash between two distinctive frames about the proper organization of multilevel coordination in the Canadian federation. Through this period, a coalition of actors, including municipalities, some MPs, and senators, succeeded in developing a frame justifying a significant rethinking of federal-provincial-municipal relations in the name of greater effectiveness in this area, as well as giving this frame prominence in the national debates in this field. For this purpose, the institutional environment that shaped the reform process proved particularly important: the institutional leverage provided by parliamentary rules, whether those used by individual MPs during the legislative process or those used by the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for the conduct of special studies, proved determinant in allowing this frame to become a significant part of the national policy debate. However, despite its limited successes, the proponents of this alternative frame also faced significant opposition from advocates of a more traditional conception of federal-provincial relations in the Canadian federation. In the end, this latter frame, which benefited from its affinity with the established constitutional order, including the norms and processes already entrenched in the emergency management field, proved impossible to replace. While the Canadian government succeeded in strengthening multilevel governance in this policy field, these reforms took a very traditional approach, emphasizing traditional federal-provincial committees and eschewing a serious reconsideration of its relationship to municipalities. In this respect, one of the conclusions that can be drawn from this case study of Canadian reforms is that the reorganization of state structures and processes to deal with significant catastrophic risks is heavily mediated by politics and that in the struggles that ensue to modify state practices and organization to adapt them to the risk environment, historical norms and institutions significantly ­matter

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for reform outcomes. In other words, the politics of reform, in this area as in others, seem significantly “path dependent”: historical choices get entrenched in structures, processes, and recognized norms that become very hard to alter as they come to reflect dominant ways of seeing the world, as well as patterns that serve important political interests. However, as we have seen in the Canadian case, these historical norms and patterns of interaction are not necessarily congruent with best practices of emergency management. As a result, rethinking the organization of the state to face the heightened risks of adverse events may call for considerable political leadership in bringing political actors to rethink broader, more fundamental principles and norms underpinning political systems and bureaucracies.

Note This chapter was first published in Henstra, Multilevel Governance and Emergency Management in Canadian Municipalities, McGill-Queen’s University Press 2013.

References Bakvis, Herman, and Douglas Brown. 2010. “Policy Coordination in Federal Systems: Comparing Intergovernmental Processes and Outcomes in Canada and the United States.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 40 (3): 484–507. Big City Mayors’ Caucus. 2006. Our Cities, Our Future: Addressing the Fiscal Balance in Canada’s City Today. June. Britton, Neil R. 2001. “A New Emergency Management for the Millennium?” Australian Journal of Emergency Management 16 (4): 44–54. Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat. 2007. An Emergency Management Framework for Canada. Accessed 30 December 2008 at Caruson, Kiki, and Susan A. MacManus. 2007. “Designing Homeland Security Policy within a Regional Structure: A Needs Assessment of Local Security Concerns.” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 4 (2): article 7. Caruson, Kiki, Susan A. MacManus, Matthew Kohen, and Thomas A. Watson. 2005. “Homeland Security Preparedness: The Rebirth of Regionalism.” Publius 35 (1): 143–68.


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Chong, Dennis, and James N. Druckman. 2007. “Framing Theory.” Annual Review of Political Science 10: 103–26. Druckman, James. 2001. “On the Limits of Framing Effects: Who Can Frame?” Journal of Politics 63: 1041–66. Eisinger, Peter. 2006. “Imperfect Federalism: The Intergovernmental Partnership for Homeland Security.” Public Administration Review 66 (4): 537–45. Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2006. Emergency: Municipalities Missing from Disaster Planning. A Report to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) by the National Security Group. Fischer, Frank. 2003. Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices. New York: Oxford University Press. Gabriel, Paul. 2003. “The Development of Municipal Emergency Management Planning in Victoria, Australia.” The Australian Journal of Emergency Management 18 (2): 74–80. Global Change Strategies International Company. 2004. Municipal Emergency Preparedness and Management Costs: Issues and Resource Requirements. Prepared for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. October. Hajer, Maarten. 1995. The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. Oxford: Clarendon Press. – 2006. “Doing Discourse Analysis: Coalitions, Practices, Meaning.” In Words Matter in Policy and Planning: Discourse Theory and Method in the Social Sciences, edited by M. van den Brink and T. Metze. Utrecht: KNAG/Nethur. Henstra, Dan. 2003. “Federal Emergency Management in Canada and the United States after 11 September 2001.” Canadian Public Administration 46 (1): 103–16. Henstra, Dan, and Gordon McBean. 2005. “Canadian Disaster Management Policy: Moving toward a Paradigm Shift?” Canadian Public Policy 31 (3): 303–18. House of Commons. 2004a. House of Commons Debates 140 (008): 1st Session, 38th Parliament, 14 October. – 2004b. Evidence. Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. 1st Session. 38th Parliament, No. 2, 27 October. – 2004c. Evidence. Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. 1st Session. 38th Parliament, No. 4, 3 November.

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– 2004d. House of Commons Debates 140 (025): 1st Session, 38th Parliament, 16 November. – 2006a. Bill C-12: An Act to Provide for Emergency Management and to Amend and Repeal Certain Acts, First Reading, 8 May. – 2006b. House of Commons Debates 141 (050): 1st Session, 39th Parliament, 21 September. – 2006c. Evidence. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. 1st Session, 39th Parliament, No. 014, 19 October. – 2006d. Evidence. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. 1st Session, 39th Parliament, No. 020, 9 November. – 2006e. Evidence. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. 1st Session, 39th Parliament, No. 021, 21 November. – 2006f. House of Commons Debates 141 (095): 1st Session, 39th Parliament, 11 December. – 2007. An Act to Provide for Emergency Management and to Amend and Repeal Certain Acts. Statutes of Canada 2007. Chapter 15. Juillet, Luc. 2007. “Framing Environmental Policy: Aboriginal Rights and the Conservation of Migratory Birds.” In Critical Policy Studies: Contemporary Canadian Approaches, edited by Michael Orsini and Myriam Smith, 257–78. Vancouver: UBC Press. Ministers Responsible for Emergency Management. 2011. An Emergency Management Framework for Canada. 2d ed. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada. Newkirk, Ross T. 2001. “The Increasing Cost of Disasters in Developed Countries: A Challenge to Local Planning and Government.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 9 (3): 159–70. Orsini, Michael, and Miriam Smith, eds. 2007. Critical Policy Studies. Vancouver: UBC Press. Polletta, Francesca, and Kai Ho. 2006. “Frames and their Consequences.” In The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Studies, ed. Robert Goodin and C. Tilly, 187–209. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Prater, Carla S., and Michael K. Lindell. 2000. “Politics of Hazard Mitigation.” Natural Hazards Review 1 (2): 73–82. Privy Council Office. 2004. Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy. Ottawa, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. n.d. “The Story of Emergency Preparedness Canada 1948–1998.” History – Civil Defence and Emergency Preparedness in Canada, 1948–1998. Accessed 10 January 2008 at docs/0/120/234/9/133/197.asp?type=Web&id=197.


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– 2005. Modernization of the Emergency Preparedness Act: Consultation Paper. – 2006. “Minister Day Launches Emergency Preparedness Week.” Press Release, 8 May. Ross, Fiona. 2000. “Framing Welfare Reform in Affluent Societies: Rendering Restructuring More Palatable?” Journal of Public Policy 20 (2): 169–93. Senate of Canada. 2003a. Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. No. 9, 28 January and 3 February. – 2003b. Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. No. 25, 20 and 27 October. – 2003c. Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. No. 26, 30 October. – 2004. National Emergencies: Canada’s Fragile Front Lines. An Upgrade Strategy. Vol.1. – 2007. Proceedings of the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-­ terrorism Act, Second Meeting on: Bill c -12, an Act to Provide for Emergency Management and to Amend and Repeal Certain Acts. No. 5, 7 May. – 2008. Emergency Preparedness in Canada: Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Vol. 1. Surel, Yves. 2000. “The Role of Cognitive and Normative Frames in Policy-Making.” Journal of European Public Policy 7 (4): 495–512. Wyatt-Nichol, Heather, and Charles F. Abel. 2007. “A Critical Analysis of Emergency Management.” Administrative Theory & Praxis 29 (4): 567–85. Young, Robert, and Christian Leuprecht. 2006. “Introduction: New Work, Background Themes, and Future Research about Municipal-FederalProvincial Relations in Canada.” In Canada: The State of the Federation 2004. Municipal-Federal-Provincial Relations in Canada, edited by Robert Young and Christian Leuprecht, 3–22. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

4 Homelessness on the Federal Agenda: Progressive Architecture but No Solution in Sight Fran Klodawsky and Leonore Evans

The National Homelessness Initiative was the first federal policy initiated by municipalities. Personal interview I was drawn to the National Homelessness Initiative because it represented a new model, a new policy approach and a new design for policy intervention. Personal interview

Introduction According to the two individuals quoted above, the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) posed a distinctive and significant program for the federal government. The first interviewee was involved in the set-up of the NHI, and the second was a senior federal public servant who moved to the NHI soon after it was established. Their assessment is quite intriguing, given the NHI’s small overall budget and limited time frame. For example, over the ten-year period between 1999 and 2009, the NHI/HPS’s total funding envelope was approximately $1.562 billion;1 in contrast, the Gas Tax Transfer has been allocated an amount of $13 billion dollars to cover the period 2005–14 (Infrastructure Canada 2008). Despite its small budget, however, feelings similar to those expressed above by a variety of


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actors reinforce the conclusion that something about this program is worth reflecting upon. Of especial significance for this chapter is the unique way (at the time it was established) that the NHI shaped interactions both within municipalities and between municipalities and the federal government with regard to issues related to homelessness. The requirement of a community plan based on broad community “buy-in” was a new approach launched by the federal government in 1999. Although many decried the obvious disconnect between what the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI, 1999–2006) and the Homeless Partnership Strategy (HPS, 2007–09) appeared to promise (“ending homelessness”) and what they have been able to achieve (“managing homelessness”), this initiative has also been recognized as a new and successful approach to promoting innovation and collaboration in a place-based manner.2 Indeed, in 2002 the Supporting Community Partnerships Initiative (SCPI) program of the NHI was identified by UN-HABITAT as a “best practice” in the Urban Governance category (Urban Management and Administration sub-category).3 And as recently as 2008, one senior civil servant noted that although “NHI was the smallest program representing the most disenfranchised, it generated the highest level of correspondence in the department – from individuals, stakeholders, agencies, municipalities, etc.” This same informant also noted that although the minister in charge was initially very skeptical about the program, he soon became a strong champion for it.4 The NHI was announced in December 1999 as a three-year demonstration project at a time when a variety of circumstances aligned to permit and even promote a somewhat unconventional response to the rapidly growing problem of visible homelessness on the streets of Canadian cities, and particularly in Toronto. The initiative was extended for an additional three years between 2003 and 2006 and then again for one more year. In 2007, a very similar but newly named initiative – the Homelessness Partnering Strategy – was announced in conjunction with two years of additional funds (Human Resources and Social Development Canada 2008, 3). The purpose of this chapter is to outline the circumstances under which this initiative began, to consider how both governmental and non-governmental players and structures contributed to the program’s evolving shape and scope, and to assess the extent to which the program contributed to effective public policy at the municipal level. The chapter begins by setting the scene during the period of

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i­nception. The second section discusses both the architecture of the NHI and how its unusual approach evolved during its first phase. In the third section, we explore refinements to NHI over the course of two renewals, as well as its successor program, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. In the concluding section, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these initiatives insofar as they promote good public policy within municipalities. The research for this chapter consisted of both document analysis and twenty-five in-depth interviews with bureaucrats, municipal officials, and community activists.

Setting the Scene Two elements of federal public policy during the 1990s are particularly relevant to understanding the origins and evolution of the National Homelessness Initiative. The first is tied to the substantive focus of the initiative – homelessness – and to how this issue was linked to broader changes in the social policy environment, such as the federal government’s role in the promotion and provision of affordable housing, the impacts of these changes, and the responses of social forces and other levels of government to them. The second element had to do with governance, and specifically the federal government’s response both to the immediate pressure to “do something,” but also to what some senior public servants and politicians saw as an opportunity to do government differently, both internally and across jurisdictions and constituencies. Housing and Homelessness in the 1990s According to Jeanne Wolfe, “the retreat of the benevolent state and the devolution of responsibilities to provincial, and … in some jurisdictions, to local levels of government, has completely reshaped the form of housing debate in this country” (Wolfe 1998, 121). In her assessment, this shift involved a withdrawal of federal leadership with regard to the provision of social housing, with the assumption that private markets and the provinces would fill any remaining gaps through incentives to increase the affordability of home ownership, increased levels of private rental market housing, and/or social housing developments under provincial oversight. The outcome of this shift has been a patchwork of provincially driven programs that are uneven in scope and depth.5 In the late 1990s, only Quebec and


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to a lesser extent British Columbia were maintaining an active social housing program (Hulchanski 2006). Whereas Ontario had been a significant player in the early part of the decade, the election of the Mike Harris Conservatives in 1995 signalled a sharp break with that activity. More generally, their Common Sense Revolution had profound impacts on how social housing was overseen and supported within the province. In essence, responsibility for ongoing management of existing stock was “downloaded” to the municipal level, a situation unique among Canadian provinces (Siegel 2009). Over time, this realignment, together with previous federal downloading, left Ontario’s social housing portfolio in quite a precarious position, with growing gaps between what was required to meet demand and for ongoing maintenance and what municipalities were able to cover out of their own coffers. More broadly, the preoccupation of both federal and provincial governments during this period with reigning in deficit spending, coupled with complex negotiations over their respective roles with regard to health and social policy spending, also adversely affected marginalized populations’ access to resources and supports that helped them maintain stability in daily living. Ontario was an extreme case in this regard: there, households living on social assistance were suddenly confronted with a 24 percent reduction in welfare rates in 1996 (Ralph, Régimbald, and St-Armand 1997).

Toronto’s Growing Street Homeless Population Geographically, in the late 1990s the adverse impacts of these developments were particularly evident on Toronto’s streets, and the available statistical evidence suggests that Ontario was indeed hit particularly hard by these trends. For example, in 2001 the number of residents in emergency shelters “for persons lacking a fixed address, other shelters and lodging and rooming with assistance services” was greater in Ontario, even on a per capita basis, than in any other province. While the proportions of residents in “service collective dwellings” (Statistics Canada 2002, 13)6 across Canada was more similar in per capita terms, the numbers and their likely clustering in central Toronto also reinforced the perception of crisis in Toronto and Ontario. Given these trends, it is not surprising that the main political push for the federal government to take action on the rise of homelessness came from Toronto area municipal politicians and community-based

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organizations.7 For example, during his 1997 election campaign to become the first mayor of a newly amalgamated Toronto, Mel Lastman had initially denied the existence of homelessness but then reversed his position and proceeded to bring the issue of homelessness to the forefront of municipal politics. Jack Layton, then a City of Toronto counsellor, was a strong advocate for the homeless and played a pivotal role in engaging political and social forces to make homelessness a primary issue in Canadian politics. Through his position as Lastman’s representative at the Conference of Big City Mayors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), he was successful in encouraging this group to take the lead in pressuring the federal government to act. A key ally in this effort was the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, whose key spokesperson, street health nurse Cathy Crowe, was a very powerful advocate. Their use of the term “national disaster” to describe the numbers of homeless people was a media coup that fed into national consiousness. In October 1998 Toronto city council passed a motion, declaring homelessness a national man-made disaster (Philip 1998). One month later, Canada’s Big City Mayors adopted the same resolution (Abbate 1998). Early Research Three significant reports published during this period contributed to efforts to engage the federal government on issues of housing and homelessness. The Golden Report, formally, the report of the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force, chaired by Anne Golden, previous chair of Toronto’s United Way, was the most influential and ambitious – not only did it highlight the changing dimensions of the problem but it also set out clear policy directions for each level of government (Golden et al. 1999). A second key document was a Library of Parliament discussion paper, “Definitions of Homelessness.” The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ “Call to Action” was the third important contribution. All three highlighted homelessness in Canada as a newly emerging national issue, contributing new insights into a problem that had seen almost no Canadian research before this period. The Golden Report grew out of an Action Task Force put together by Mayor Mel Lastman. Published in January 1999, it was the first significant study of Canadian homelessness noticed by the federal government and quoted liberally in parliamentary debates.8 The


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Task Force had been asked to recommend solutions to resolving homelessness in Toronto. The authors gave a detailed account of how every level of government needed to make changes in order for solutions to be found. The main causes were identified as poverty, a lack of affordable housing, and deinstitutionalization, as well as social factors such as domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and individual alienation. All these factors were argued to contribute to a highly complex problem that placed homelessness at “the ragged edge of the social fabric” (Golden et al. 1999, v). They also pointed to a number of barriers that prevented effective solutions to homelessness, including jurisdictional gridlock and political impasse, dramatic increases in poverty whereby many families were forced to pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent, a decreasing supply of low-cost rental housing, a service system biased toward emergency and survival measures, inadequate community programs and supports for people with serious mental illness and addictions problems, and finally, a disjointed patchwork of services and programs (Golden et al. 1999, vi). The report acknowledged that the chronic shortage of affordable housing was a result of the federal government’s withdrawal from new social housing programs in 1993. In the light of this inadvertent causation, the report argued that the federal government’s role should be to provide capital assistance for maintaining existing affordable housing and for the construction of additional units. As well, given that Aboriginal persons, immigrants, and refugees all fell under federal jurisdiction, this level of government should fund projects to prevent and reduce homelessness within these subgroups (Golden et al. 1999, x). Provincial responsibilities were tied to the argument that, since homelessness is largely caused by poverty and since income maintenance programs are a provincial responsibility, provincial governments should in turn take the lead in establishing shelter allowances to help the working poor. As well, since health was also a provincial concern and given the high incidence of health, mental health, and addictions problems among the homeless, the report recommended that provinces fund supportive housing and treatment programs, as well as enhancing individuals’ access to health care. As well as clearly enunciating the ways in which all levels of government had contributed to growing homelessness, the Task Force recommended that a Toronto-based facilitator position be set up to “establish an interdivisional staff team to oversee implementation

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of a strategy to reduce and prevent homelessness, led by the Shelter, Housing and Support Division with the participation of Social Development, Public Health, Planning, Facilities and Real Estate, and others.” The facilitator was seen as someone who would act as the lead in working proactively and assertively across all levels of government, as well as community-based organizations, to address and end homelessness in the city. The report recommended that this facilitator act as a “catalyst for action, a change agent, a ‘shuttle diplomat,’ and a problem solver,” who would report directly to the mayor and council and also have sufficient authority to be able to communicate with “senior public officials at all levels of government” (Golden et al. 1999, 32). As will be seen below, many of the intentions outlined for this position at the level of Toronto were actualized in the position created federally, within three months of the report’s release. In January of the same year, the Library of Parliament released a discussion paper, “Homelessness in Canada,” the primary objective of which was to present the characteristics of the homeless population in Canada (Begin et al. 1999). Three groups were highlighted in relation to experiences of being homeless: the chronically homeless, the cyclically homeless, and the temporarily homeless. The document also discussed the difficulties of counting those who have experienced homelessness, and it contributed to the broader understanding that homelessness is not simply about those who are visibly on the street but, rather, encompassed a more varied and complex range of populations. The paper also discussed connections between health and homelessness, as well as Aboriginal homelessness, and raised important questions about what the federal government’s role in addressing this issue should be, given that health and social assistance were clearly under provincial jurisdiction. The paper acknowledged a lack of clarity in the role of the federal government on this issue but also identified several specific ways in which federal involvement in cooperation with other levels of government would be appropriate, including partnership arrangements “with provincial and territorial governments to foster national approaches to health programs and services for the homeless”; leadership with regard to “those groups that fall within its specific authority (First Nations, veterans, etc.)”; “applications of the Canada Health Act … in a manner that encompasses the needs of the homeless”; and direct spending on specific programs and research


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and evaluation activities (Begin et al. 1999, 32–3). Again, the federal approach that would be announced in March of the same year would ultimately incorporate many of these ideas. In June 1999 the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) published a comprehensive report called “A Call to Action” (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 1999). Jack Layton had assembled a National Housing Policy Options Team made up of senior municipal politicians, their employees, and key community organizations from across Canada. The message to the federal government echoed several of the ideas that were also mentioned in the Golden Report and the Library of Parliament document. While acknowledging the primary roles of municipal and provincial authorities, it too emphasized the potential significance of the federal government taking on a leadership role in establishing a national strategy (acknowledging the central role of long-term affordable housing) and in defining the overall scope of what needed to be done: “A federal role to complement and support provincial and municipal government activity is essential to ensuring that Canadians are well housed … The renewed federal commitment to health must involve a broader view of community health, including housing as one element of care for individuals with serious mental illness and physical disabilities … [F]ederal support is essential to ‘enabling’ other orders of government to develop effective responses” (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 1999, 31). These reports contributed significant insights into the complexity of the homelessness issue and the opportunities available for addressing it in a substantial way. It was through these three reports that the national picture came to be better understood by 1999, directly influencing the parameters of the debate at the time and also influencing key elements of the federal response, including a partnership, place-based, and community-driven approach among different levels of government; acknowledgement of the need for a continuum of services and supports; and a particular federal responsibility for persons from First Nations, immigrants or refugee communities. The Role of Mass Media The visibility of homelessness was brought to the forefront and kept there by local, regional, and national media. According to one informant, media coverage of homeless people was at an all-time

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high in 1999, and several of those we interviewed mentioned that in Toronto a series of highly publicized deaths of individuals living on the street helped to keep the spotlight on the issue. The perception of homeless people as a homogeneous group of middle-aged, addicted men slowly shifted as the reports mentioned above brought attention to the fact that the fastest-growing group of (often hidden) homeless people were families and youth. Media stories then turned to the negative consequences for society, such as high turnovers of children in schools while their families were put up in motels. The FCM also helped to ensure ongoing media coverage. According to one informant, the FCM funded social action groups such as Quebec’s Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPU) to bring demonstrators to ministerial meetings, thereby ensuring that the press would cover the event. In this way, federal politicians came under increased pressure from their constituents to respond to this crisis, and this in turn led to ongoing discussions in the weekly caucus meetings of what to do about homelessness. One often-cited example was Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, where volunteers were facing severe “compassion fatigue” as local church volunteers felt they could not continue to feed and shelter the many homeless using their services.

Early Federal Responses The extent to which social forces and local, provincial, federal, and big-city governments were speaking with a common voice about an issue was very unusual and certainly helped to make the case within the PMO that the federal government needed to respond in some significant way. Equally noteworthy, there were several key individuals within the PMO and PCO with strong social policy and community development backgrounds (and links to these networks in Toronto). They saw the pressure as an opportunity to do something meaningful on the housing file in an era when little had been possible for several years. According to our informants, it was highly unusual that the first response came directly from the Prime Ministers Office, since typically policy files were worked on by civil servants for a long period before PMO involvement. Here is how one such individual described the situation: “The government found itself in a horrible quandary. All the affordable housing programs had been cut/ deleted. They were trying to come up with new programs, but


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politically this would be impossible for the next five years ... they wanted to open the door a crack.”9 Finally, in March 1999 political pressure for a response to the growing crisis had increased to the extent that on advice from the PMO, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed Minister Claudette Bradshaw as the federal coordinator on homelessness, in addition to her duties as minister of labour. Bradshaw was a determined individual whose social work background and involvement with social issues made her a committed advocate on this file. As its political representative, she contributed to a more significant outcome than had been anticipated or expected. Here is how Smith describes her cross-country consultative tour and its aftermath: In July 1999, when many Parliamentarians returned to their constituencies, Minister Bradshaw took to the road. She toured more than 20 communities that summer, in every province and territory. She had long discussions with provincial and municipal politicians but more particularly she visited shelters for the homeless and talked with police and social workers. She toured the unseemly sections of cities late at night with the front-line service workers. She listened to what the homeless had to say and she gave them hugs (she was known for her hugs). From this, the Minister and her team got a personal sense of the architecture of homelessness in Canada, and they built up a stock of stories that would be critical in making the case for action upon their return to Ottawa. In August of 1999, when the tour was nearly completed, a forum at the Chateau Cartier in Aylmer, Quebec, brought in community representatives and senior officials from across the GoC. The salon was packed. The Minister led off with an informal speech laden with stories of the homeless people she had met. There was hardly a dry eye in the audience. The Minister continued to make frequent appearances over the next two days, greeting and hugging old friends and encouraging newcomers to the issue. The participants elaborated on a framework that identified the most vulnerable groups: the mentally ill, individuals with substance abuse problems, refugee claimants, Aboriginal people, youth alienated from their families, and families with children. They also agreed that the problems faced by these groups were varied and complex, and could not be solved by making housing more affordable (although that would be a big part of the answer). (Smith 2004)

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It is interesting to reflect on the extent to which Bradshaw’s presence made a difference on this file. The individuals we spoke to emphasized particularly her ability to bring politicians from a variety of perspectives and jurisdictions on-side with regard to the NHI. At the same time, they acknowledged that there also were challenges that the bureaucracy faced owing to her wish to be much more “hands on” than was usually the case. Until now, the story being told is one of crisis, media attention, personality, and political sensibilities. However, another layer of activity was more intimately tied to the machinery of government and it is to this story that we now turn.

Establishing the National Homelessness Initiative Although Bradshaw’s appointment in March 1999 was the federal government’s first official move on this file, activities behind the scenes had begun in the summer and fall of 1998 at the instigation of senior staff in the PMO who were well aware of the multiple efforts by social forces and municipal politicians to elicit a strong and direct federal response on ending homelessness. Public servants from the Department of Human Resources Development with knowledge of strategic planning and from CMHC, with knowledge of homelessness, were seconded from other duties to begin to compile information about homelessness and to identify a possible role for the federal government. They faced numerous challenges: on the one hand, the extent of knowledge about the issue, particularly within a Canadian context, was very sparse. On the other hand, their search for a suitable approach was taking place during a particularly dynamic era, first, of fiscal-deficit fighting in the early 1990s and, subsequently, of growing surpluses that were the focus of numerous recommendations on what the priorities should be and how these priorities should be settled and implemented (in line with a New Public Management orientation) (Johns, O’Reilly, and Inwood 2006). Also during this period the terms and mandate of the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA) were being crafted, including the goal of “a renewed social union … [with] stronger and more direct relationships with citizens – relationships that bypass provincial governments” (Phillips 2001, 3–4). Once Bradshaw was appointed to the role of Federal Coordinator for Homelessness, the first task was to establish a small secretariat to


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help her craft a memorandum to cabinet. Simultaneously, she established links with the Social Policy Branch of Strategic Policy at HRDC to develop a federal-provincial strategy, as well as a consultation plan for her cross-country tour. The tour convinced Bradshaw of two priorities: first, a focus on the “absolute homeless” – those living on the streets and in the emergency shelters – and thus, on homelessness in the country’s largest cities; second, an assurance that communities should play a lead role in planning, deciding on, and administering any federal funds that would be made available. Moreover, “the Minister also insisted that the small organizations working on the front lines should play a leading role, and that the funding should not be funneled to the ‘squeaky wheel’ larger organizations. As well, the community process had to be as inclusive as possible, bringing in all the key community players who dealt with homeless people, such as governments, the private sector, and homeless people themselves” (Smith 2004, 2). These priorities were consistent with the perspectives of a wide variety of players: municipalities, the FCM, and those in the PMO who had lobbied for this initiative, as well as among some of the seconded public servants (one of whom recalled the significance of attending a conference on comprehensive community planning in Washington, DC, in July 1999).10 Bradshaw’s efforts to connect with staff in the HRDC regional offices also fed into this orientation: they were among the earliest federal employees to highlight homelessness as a growing and urgent problem worthy of federal attention and requiring community engagement (personal interview, Smith 2004). Despite considerable skepticism at the beginning of the summer of 1999 that even $70 million would be allocated to this file, following interdepartmental and informal sessions with each of the provinces as well as a presentation to cabinet in the fall, the National Homelessness Initiative was announced in December of 1999 with a threeyear budget of $759 million. Those within the federal public service who had been working with Bradshaw saw both the initiative and the level of funds attached to it as a considerable victory. However, among housing and anti-poverty advocates, as well as some municipal politicians, the mood was quite different: although the new cash was welcome, the exclusion of affordable housing from the roster of possible initiatives greatly frustrated those who saw affordable housing as a key element of the solution to ending homelessness.

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Table 4.1 The National Homelessness Initiative, 1999–2000 Department

New Initiatives – Name and Funding Amount

Human Resources Development Canada

Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative ($302 million)

Public Works and Government Services Canada Limited Privy Council Office

Properties for Housing ($10 million)

Enhancement of Existing Initiatives – Name and Funding Amount Assistance for Community Plans and Research ($9 million) Residential Rehabilitation and Assistance Program (RRAP) and Related Programs ($268 million)

Urban Aboriginal Strategy ($59 million)

Source: This table was prepared based on information reported in Smith (2004, 5).

Components of the National Homelessness Initiative (nhi) Federal funding to end homelessness was announced as a collaborative effort between three departments – Canadian Mortgage and Housing Cooperation (CMHC), Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWSCG) – and as consisting of a mixture of new programs and enhancements to existing ones. The funding was to be divided largely between (1) HRDC (the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative, or SCPI), including $305 million in new funds, $9 million for communities to develop comprehensive homelessness plans and for research related to homelessness, and an enhancement to Youth Employment Strategy (YEP) of $59 million; (2) CMHC enhancements to the Residential Rehabilitation Program (RRAP) in the amount of $268 million, including $43 million to repair and improve existing shelters for women and children escaping family violence and $40 million to convert non-residential buildings to low-cost housing; (3) a new PWSCG initiative of $10 million to make surplus federal properties available to municipal initiatives to end homelessness; and (4) enhancements of $59 million to the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, led by the Privy Council Office (see table 4.1).


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Although less than half the allocated funds were directed at the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), its distinctive approach to federal-community relations is the core of what makes the NHI an interesting case. According to Smith: “the NHI, having travelled through Cabinet, Treasury Board and p/t negotiations, was ready to get in gear – not as a top-down ‘program’ but through a partnership arrangement, planned and managed by the groups, individuals, local government – all the relevant players on homelessness in the community. This was going further than had other GoC programs that were connected with the community through research or advisory boards but that had left the federal government the role of imposing models and making financial decisions” (Smith 2004, 17). The SCPI included three components: “Supporting local strategies that work,” “Building on expertise,” and “Creating a continuum of supports” (see table 4.2). Its initial orientation was influenced by a perspective typically described as a “continuum of care.” The trajectory of a homeless person was envisioned to consist of needing different kinds of supports at different moments in time, but it also assumed that this trajectory would typically move from emergency housing to supportive and transitional housing to regular housing (4). In the first round of funding, this design translated into a focus on emergency shelters, since the most immediate problem was seen as the need to move homeless people away from the street. Later rounds saw more funds being designated for transitional and supportive housing. scpi :

An Evolving Delivery Mechanism

In part because the NHI began as an emergency response, the bureaucracy had to spend the first year catching up. Several layers of implementation needed specific attention: first was getting provinces onside, the intergovernmental layer; second was supporting the community action plans, a core goal for NHI; third was rationalizing the way in which different federal departments would work together in relation to community plans; and finally, after 2000 there was the need for a new level of transparency in the wake of HRDC’s “grants and contributions issue” (Smith 2004). Bradshaw contributed to the working out of these sometimes delicate challenges, especially with the provinces, through her intense consultations with both provincial and territorial representatives as well as community members.

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Table 4.2 Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative The Government of Canada will invest $305 million in a new Supporting Partnership Initiative targeted to those communities affected by homelessness. The Government of Canada will work with provinces and territories on the development and implementation of this initiative. The goal is to provide flexible funding to communities to plan and implement comprehensive local strategies to prevent and reduce homelessness. Supporting local strategies that work Local communities are the best placed to devise effective strategies to both prevent and reduce homelessness. However, they may lack the resources to develop and implement comprehensive strategies that engage all stakeholders and make the most effective use of new and existing resources. The initiative will encourage the local collaboration and partnership needed to successfully address homelessness. It will enable participating communities to engage public, private, and voluntary sector partners in developing and implementing a local action plan to fight homelessness. Funding will be available through this initiative to help support implementation. Building on expertise Communities can benefit from sharing and learning from each others’ experiences. The initiative will help communities share best practices by supporting an exchange where people from across the country can learn from each other. Creating a continuum of supports Homeless Canadians face many barriers and often require a number of supports that are not always coordinated to meet their needs. This initiative will provide communities with the resources they need to bring partners to the table, identify service gaps, and put in place a continuum of support that will enable homeless individuals to make a more successful transition from the streets to a more secure and stable life. This approach is based on a successful international continuum of supports model. Source: This information was drawn from Service Canada (2000).

Smith describes the distinctive positions of the federal and provincial authorities as follows: Provinces … were still stinging from the budget cuts of the early 1990s and of 1996 through the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST). Provincial first choice was restoration of CHST cuts, thereby giving them more capacity to cope with the problem. Provincial second choice was a multilateral federal-provincialterritorial (f/p/t) process to explore fundamental social policy and funding priorities …The GoC wanted to act quickly, consistent with the view that emergency situations existed in major Canadian cities. The GoC believed there was not sufficient time for


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a multilateral f/p/t process and that the SCPI, as well as related spending under the NHI, did not, in any case, represent a “national program.” Instead, federal officials explained, the NHI was a timelimited, targeted, demonstration initiative. (Smith 2004, 10–11) Given the perceived “crisis” environment that the federal government was responding to, it was difficult for the provinces to say: “stay out, don’t spend money here.” Even so, some federal ministers, such as Minister Dion, then head of the federal Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, was very opposed to the NHI, since he considered it a federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. Generally though, provinces welcomed the program. Most discussion centred around technical matters, such as what would be counted as matching funds and the basis on which funds would be distributed among the various communities. While relations with Ontario were less than amicable, Alberta and Quebec were very receptive to the program once “bottom line” issues (such as the need to respect Quebec authority in relation to federal interactions with its municipalities) were reconciled.11 These negotiations were greatly aided by Bradshaw’s care in highlighting the involvement of provincial politicians, making sure that both municipal and provincial representatives were present for any new funding announcements and nurturing provincial and municipal champions. Bradshaw made an important adjustment in light of her various consultations, expanding the eligible communities from the ten largest cities to fifty-one additional communities. Twenty percent of the funding, which originally was set aside for emergencies, was redirected for use in smaller constituencies. A strong argument had been made that strengthening services only in the large cities would simply draw more people to them. The decision to include smaller places was linked to evidence that these municipalities also had problems with homelessness; for instance many did not have services for women fleeing violence. However, the inclusion of smaller communities in the program exacerbated the challenges involved in implementing SCPI. As Smith explained: When the GoC conceived the SCPI, it was generally believed that communities could and would govern all three functions of planning, decision-making, and administration. The GoC could then

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flow SCPI funding to communities through a single contribution agreement … The idea was not necessarily to build new, accountable structures from scratch, but to mobilize and connect existing community resources. However, [many practical barriers arose] … How could a foundation or one organization administering on behalf of others deal with the conflict of interest issue? After all, would not they wish to secure some of the SCPI funding for themselves? Moreover, most of the organizations would have to build the administrative capacity from the ground up, detracting from their client service foundation. And would the directors of an umbrella organization agree to be held financially accountable and possibly take on personable liability? (Smith 2004, 21) The original conception involved the identification of a “community entity” that would act as the coordinating body to help develop the community plan and organize the dispersal of SCPI funds among designated initiatives. Bradshaw’s encounter with the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) was her inspiration for this approach. This non-profit, non-governmental initiative had been started in 1998 by a Calgary-area businessman. The CHF spearheaded an effort to expand shelter capacity in the city, involving both governmental and non-governmental organizations. At first, it was assumed that such a non-governmental “community entity” could be identified for each community after an initial period in which an HRDC “community facilitator,” based in the regional offices, would be appointed to “kick-start” the process. However, it soon became apparent that the CHF was the exception rather than the rule. When the program was announced, local communities’ administrative capacity differed widely across the country. Several interviewees remarked that municipalities in Eastern Canada had far less experience with inter-agency collaboration. Organizing an environment conducive to the collaborative approach envisioned by the federal government involved sometimes heroic efforts by the HRDC “community facilitators” who had to be very sensitive to local circumstances and to the capacities and limitations of the relevant actors and organizations. In several cases, these individuals played a pivotal role in how the program would evolve. For example, one such individual was well known locally in social policy circles. He was instrumental in helping the NHI develop a “shared entity” model as an alternative to the “community entity” model wherein


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the regional facilitator would retain an ongoing role. In this particular case, the community entity was regarded as a negative alternative – it was interpreted as allowing the federal government to “walk away from the table,” while the shared model was seen as allowing ongoing federal interest in the process and thus bringing more leverage to bear on key federal players such as the RCMP, who were less willing to respond to non-federal entities. In other cases, cities began by using a shared entity model but later shifted their approach to the community entity alternative. In many cases, particularly in Ontario, municipalities were typically identified as the most logical community entity. Every designated community was required to convene a comprehensive group of stakeholders, including government representatives from all levels, and work together to agree on the priorities they wanted to focus on. In smaller municipalities, partly because administrative resources and know how were lacking, some communities took over a year to write their Community Plans. In the larger cities, Toronto being a good example, there were so many different groups at the table that coming up with one community plan, with a clear list of priorities, was very difficult. In contrast, in the City of Ottawa, work on a community plan with the help of a broad coalition that included both government and non-governmental actors preceded the announcement of SCPI funds, giving Ottawa a head start.

Evaluation and Renewal In 2003, a detailed evaluation of the NHI was completed. The central finding was that existing community capacity to reduce homelessness had been enhanced in the majority of communities through 1 the mobilization of service providers, governments and other stakeholders; 2 an increase in the number and kind of partnerships working to address homelessness; and 3 the community-based planning and decision-making structures that were established (NHI 2003). The evaluation authors assessed the extent to which the SCPI in particular had made a difference over and above the efforts of municipalities and provinces before its introduction and concluded that

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“one of the most positive evaluation findings comes from the analysis of the incremental impact of SCPI funding. The analysis shows that federal resources have significantly built upon pre-existing investments in homelessness and that the Initiative may have helped to generate additional investments from non-federal partners. This finding is reinforced by evidence that the investments in facilities and services are in keeping with the continuum of supports approach that the federal government sought to encourage” (NHI 2003, 59). The evaluation also identified several significant weaknesses. One involved the effectiveness of enhancements to the Urban Aboriginal Strategy and the Youth Employment Strategy that were intended to encourage a focus on the particular situations of Aboriginal peoples and youth in relation to homelessness. In both cases, restrictions over and above those imposed on the SCPI slowed down the ability to access the enhancement funds and use them in an effective manner. A second identified weakness was the extent to which collaboration among both federal agencies that were part of the NHI and those that were not had been enhanced. The evaluators concluded that such collaborations, a hoped-for goal of the initiative, were not as fully developed as those taking place at the municipal level. The NHI evaluation reported that there was “no evidence of interdepartmental agreements, policies or plans that might have constituted a collaborative mechanism.” In addition, “there were no regular senior level meetings taking place at the federal level to coordinate NHI departments” (NHI 2003, 11–13). Thus, while a horizontal model was envisioned and pursued, the realities of a cross departmental collaborative venture were difficult to implement, in part owing to the siloed nature of the Canadian federal government. The report highlighted that “clarification of roles and responsibilities is needed at the most senior level in relevant federal departments and agencies, to establish a more cohesive pan-federal approach to addressing homelessness” (NHI 2003, 61). The overall positive tone of the 2003 evaluation of the NHI, together with the highlighting of areas that needed more work, certainly reinforced efforts by many municipal and community actors to ensure the renewal of the NHI. Although its shortcomings with regard to ending homelessness were widely acknowledged, the added funds and flexibility at the community level were also greatly appreciated in relation to efforts to manage a problem that was well beyond their capacity to solve.


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The evaluation report also noted that (1) the initiative time frame was too short given the demands on municipalities that in many cases were starting from zero: “especially for communities at an earlier stage in dealing with homelessness, a longer time frame would take into account the time required to build capacity, consult widely, plan accordingly, and implement projects effectively”; (2) the variability in quality of the community plans and the pressure to attend to “urgent needs” were reflections of the emergency conditions under which the program had been established; better community planning had the potential to promote the “continuum of care” approach then favoured by the government; “clearer standards, guidance and assistance” would be beneficial in such future efforts; and (3) there had been insufficient progress on research in “establishing baseline data and the extent of the problem … Given the time required to develop solid research, communities and governments would benefit from a continued effort to develop research on homelessness sooner rather than later” (NHI 2003, 61). An extension of $405 million was announced as part of the 2003 federal budget, and further commitment to the program was mentioned both in the October 2004 speech to the throne and in the 2005 budget (Weldon 2005). The second phase was characterized by efforts to address perceived shortcomings having to do with too great a focus on emergency shelters, as well as issues of accountability and the ability to measure impacts. Overall, the change in approach between the first and the second phase might be characterized as a move from an innovative and unusual effort to respond to a “national crisis” to a program of the federal government that required proper accounting of the monies being spent and a tracking system that promoted measuring desired outcomes. The shift from Bradshaw to Fontana as the minister in charge was just one of many factors that encouraged efforts to promote the NHI on the basis of hard evidence rather than advocacy. In the first phase, the federal government had taken a very “handsoff” approach. Terms and conditions were broad. Some of the earlier plans had as many as twenty priorities and very vague goals (such as “ending homelessness”). Later plans were more likely to identity specific goals, such as the exact number of shelter beds that would be created. Filling out the community plans was seen as a labour intensive process, especially by the smaller communities. One interviewee called it a “light mapping exercise” which, through

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g­ overnment-imposed accountability standards (after the 2000 socalled HRSDC accountability crisis) had been turned into a “business plan for investments.” Over time, the onerous nature of such reporting was somewhat revised in line with concerns expressed at the community level. There was a strong interest within the bureaucracy in capturing the value of the program in terms that would be recognized by federal accounting systems without unduly overburdening communities. Similarly, there were significant efforts to marry research and “lessons learned” through initiatives that attempted to bring myriad elements of earlier insights to bear in measurable terms in particular places. Two noteworthy initiatives in this regard were the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) and Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC). Both programs have been noted as having had significant, innovative features with the potential to substantively increase researchers’ capacity to contribute to policy innovations for complex problems: homelessness in the case of the HIFIS (Perressini and Engeland 2004) and concentrated neighbourhood poverty in the case of the ANC (Bradford 2007). The shift in orientation between the first and second phases also coincided with an expanded focus on urban affairs – the New Deal for Cities and Communities – by then prime minister Paul Martin and the bringing together of Housing and Homelessness under one minister. This confluence of interests and energy created a sense of innovation and excitement among some NHI staff and anticipation that a National Housing Initiative was on the horizon. Initiatives such as the HIFIS and Action for Neighbourhood Change and the promotion of transitional and supportive housing over emergency shelters were regarded as contributions to a larger project that would address the frustrations that the NHI had encountered previously: of unmet challenges to promote greater horizontality within the federal sphere on the subject of homelessness, of funding envelopes that were out of sync with the problem at hand, and of an evaluation framework that was out of line with a time frame where impacts might reasonably be assessed. At the same time though, most of those outside the bureaucracy were of the view that the federal government was not committed to ending homelessness but rather to ensuring that it not erupt again as a national crisis. Researchers, municipal officials, and social forces pointed to the federal government’s unwillingness to commit to


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the NHI as a long-term program (rather than a short-term initiative that might or might not be renewed), and the lack of attention to a national housing strategy, despite the conclusions of much of the research supported by the NHI that “although homelessness was not only a housing problem, it always was a housing problem” ­(Hulchanski 2006; see also Shapcott 2008).

Change in Government: HPI 2007–09 According to the online bulletin Housing Again, “Federal Housing Minister Joe Fontana was two days away from tabling a much awaited 10-year national housing framework with Cabinet when the government fell … triggering an early election call. Instead, Fontana extended the housing initiatives along with funding for a one-year period, securing programs until the end of 2006.”12 The renewal of the NHI was also the result of concerted lobbying efforts by a variety of actors within the homelessness sector. The one-year respite did not do much to allay their concerns about the severe adverse impacts of losing this funding envelope and the effort to ensure that the NHI would be renewed yet again continued. In the fall of 2007, Canada’s recently elected minority Conservative government announced an additional two years of funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, with funds of $269.6 million “to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada” (Human Resources and Social Development Canada 2008, 3). The HPS was very similar in structure to the NHI; the initial reaction was that it was primarily a “re-branding” exercise of the previous program. From the viewpoint of municipalities and many advocates, there was first of all relief that funds would continue to flow to support the programs already in place. An argument heard several times regarding the extension of the NHI was that because the program was located in communities and because the model required successful partnerships through capacity building, social forces at the municipal level would not allow the initiative to disappear. The capacity building stimulated by the NHI had nurtured a more empowered sector that had built a wide range of partnership initiatives. A longstanding employee was clear that the change of government did not duly affect the initiative. Other than a re-­branding of the initiative, no major changes were made. He reflected that the model was strong and community-based and that it tended to elicit support from the

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minister in charge, based on the wide-ranging and positive feedback from the affected communities and sectors. Despite the program’s “staying power” though, questions have been raised about whether the broader context had shifted with regard to a cities agenda as well as a national housing strategy.

Overview and Reflections Given the theme of the book, it is appropriate to ask whether the NHI should be regarded as an example of good public policy. In its favour, the NHI was innovative, flexible, and an effective model for place-based policy-making. It addressed a keenly felt need in 1999, and it did so in a timely manner. It provided a badly needed infusion of funds to municipalities that were finding it more and more difficult to respond humanely to a growing crisis within their boundaries – the increasing presence of residents without adequate shelter. The approach was innovative insofar as its intent was to provide funds directly to communities in return for the production of a coordinated plan of action, based on the stipulation that the full range of relevant actors work together. The program was also flexible. While it began as an initiative directed at the ten largest cities, it was expanded to encompass sixty municipalities, based on widespread consultations conducted by Claudette Bradshaw, the minister responsible for this file, with provincial, municipal, and communitybased representatives. The program instrument – the community or shared-entity model to coordinate activities and direct funds “on the ground” – was another flexible feature. This too evolved after the fact, usually with the critical input of community facilitators. These federal employees, located in the regional offices of HRDC, significantly aided communities in articulating their needs effectively and in coordinating existing resources. Although its initial stages were not well defined, over time the NHI did evolve into a program of government that adhered as much as possible to established standards of accountability, evaluation, and jurisdictional authority. Moreover, there is considerable evidence that the program did help to coordinate the efforts of myriad players to address an issue that presented itself in diverse ways, across a variety of contexts. Equally significant has been the extent to which enhanced coordination has also contributed to the building of capacity on this issue within each local area but also as extra-local networks. The NHI/HPS was certainly


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one of the first manifestations of place-based policy-making from a federal government perspective. Through the research that it funded, much more is now known about both causes of and effective responses to homelessness as a societal problem at a variety of scales: local, regional, national, and international. Finally, the program was influential in helping to shape a much more ambitious effort to provide badly needed funds directly to municipalities – through the Gas Tax Transfer – insofar as this program also requires a coordinated plan at the community level. The NHI also had significant shortcomings, however. Its rationale, as presented by the federal government, was to contribute to ending homelessness, but it is clear that it has no capacity to achieve such a goal, whether in three years or in thirty. Thanks to the now extensive research funded by the initiative, it is widely agreed that homelessness will not end without a significant expansion in the stock of housing that is affordable to households in the lowest income quintile. Yet incentives to expand such housing are explicitly outside the NHI/ HPS mandate. The facade that the NHI/HPS is a temporary program is another problematic element. On the one hand, this characteristic suggests that homelessness is a problem amenable to a “quick fix” solution, if only the correct elements are properly aligned. On the other hand, the short timelines for each extension limit the extent to which long-term planning is feasible, in part because each looming deadline demands that effort be devoted to lobbying politicians to ensure program renewal.

Notes 1 These data were compiled from two sources: Treasury Board of Canada (2004) and Human Resources and Social Development Canada (2008). 2 Examples of such discussions are found in several documents and articles, including Bakvis and Juillet (2004); Bradford (2008); Graham, Ker, and Phillips (2003); and Smith and Torjman, (2004). 3 The announcement of this award is listed online as UN-Habitat, Best Practices & Local Leadership Programme, Urban Management and Administration Subcategory (2002). 4 Personal interview #23. 5 See, for example, Carter and Polevychok (2004) and Hulchanski (2002, 2005).

Homelessness on the Federal Agenda


6 The definition of service collective dwellings is as follows: “hotels, motels, tourist homes, lodging and rooming houses, school residences and YM/ YMCAs.” 7 It would however be a significant overstatement to disregard the concerns and efforts of other cities such as Vancouver to support the effort to declare homelessness to be a national disaster. See for example, City of Vancouver (2000). 8 The Hansard Index for the 1st session of the 36th Parliament (22 September 1997 – 18 September 1999) indicates that there were six references to the Golden Report in particular and considerable discussion about homelessness more generally. 9 Personal interview #12. 10 Personal interview #1. 11 Personal interviews #8, 12. 12 Housing Again On-Line Bulletin, 1 March 2006.

References Abbate, Gay. 1998. “Mayors Seek Federal Disaster Aid for Homeless.” Globe and Mail, 21 November. Bakvis, Herman, and Luc Juillet. 2004. The Horizontal Challenge: Line Departments, Central Agencies and Leadership. Ottawa: School of Public Service. Begin, Patricia, with Lyne Casavant, Nancy Miller, and Jean Depuis. 1999. Homelessness. Ottawa: Library of Parliament. Accessed 12 December 2008, Bradford, Neil. 2007. “Placing Social Policy? Reflections on Canada’s New Deal for Cities and Communities.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 16 (2): 1–26. – 2008. Canadian Social Policy in the 2000s: Bringing Place In. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks. Carter, Tom, and Chesya Polevychok. 2004. Housing is Good Social Policy. Report F/50, Family Network. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks. City of Vancouver. 2000. Administrative Report. Vancouver: Vancouver City Council. Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 1999. “A Call to Action.” National Housing Policy Options Paper. Ottawa: Federation of Canadian Municipalities.


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Golden, Anne, William H. Curie, Elizabeth Greaves, and E. John Latimer. 1999. Taking Responsibility for Homelessness: An Action Plan for Toronto. Toronto: Mayor’s Homelessness Action Task Force. Graham, Katherine, Alex Ker, and Susan Phillips. 2003. Implementing the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative through the Community Entity Model in Hamilton. Ottawa: National Homelessness Initiative. Hulchanski, J. David. 2002. Housing Policy for Tomorrow’s Cities. Discussion Paper F27, Family Network. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network. – 2005. Rethinking Canada’s Housing Affordability Challenge: National Consultation on Developing a National Housing Framework. Ottawa: National Homelessness Initiative. – 2006. “What Factors Shape Canadian Housing Policy?” In MunicipalFederal-Provincial Relations in Canada, edited by Robert Young and Christian Leuprecht. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Human Resources and Social Development Canada. 2008. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy: Partnerships that Work. Catalogue HS4– 39/2008. Ottawa: Publication Services. Infrastructure Canada. 2008. Gas Tax Fund (23 January). Accessed 22 June 2009, Johns, Carolyn M., Patricia O’Reilly, and Gregory Inwood. 2006. “Intergovernmental Innovation and the Administrative State in Canada.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy 19 (4): 627–49. National Homelessness Initiative (NHI). 2003. Evaluation of the National Homelessness Initiative: Implementation and Early Outcomes of the hrdc -based Components. Ottawa: National Homelessness Initiative. Accessed 12 December 2008, evaluationreport/titlepage_e.asp. Perressini, Tracey, and John Engeland. 2004. “The Homelessness Individuals and Families Information System: A Case Study in Canadian Capacity Building.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 13 (2): 347–61. Philip, Margaret. 1998. “City Formally Declares Homelessness a National Disaster.” Globe and Mail, 29 October. Phillips, Susan D. 2001. “SUFA and Citizen Engagement: Fake or Genuine Masterpiece?” Policy Matters 2 (7): 3–4. Ralph, Diana, André Régimbald, and Nérée St-Armand. 1997. Open for Business, Closed to People: Mike Harris’s Ontario. Halifax: Fernwood Books.

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Service Canada. 2000. Government of Canada Announces Another Step in Action Plan on Homelessness. 2 June. Ottawa: Service Canada. Shapcott, Michael. 2008. “Wellesley Institute National Housing Report Card.” Toronto: Wellesley Institute. Siegel, David. 2009. “Ontario.” In Foundations of Governance: Municipal Government in Canada’s Provinces, edited by Andrew Sanction and Robert Young. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Smith, Ralph. 2004. “Lessons from the National Homelessness Initiative.” In Policy Development and Implementation in Complex Files, edited by Ralph Smith and Sherri Torjman. Ottawa: National Homelessness Initiative and Canada School of Public Service. Smith, Ralph, and Sherri Torjman. 2004. Policy Development and Implementation in Complex Files. Ottawa: Canada School of Public Service. Statistics Canada. 2002. Collective Dwellings, Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE2001004. Ottawa: 2001 Census, analysis series. Treasury Board of Canada. 2004. National Homelessness Initiative (November 3). Accessed 22 June 2009, eppi-ibdrp/hrdb-rhbd/dep-min/hrdc-rhdsc/nhi-ins/description. UN-Habitat, Best Practices & Local Leadership Programme, Urban Management and Administration Subcategory. 2002. Accessed 12 December 2008, Weldon, Jane. 2005. “The Government of Canada’s Response to Homelessness: Leading a Horizontal Response.” Ottawa: National Homelessness Initiative. Accessed 24 April 2009, eppi-ibdrp/hrs-ceh/13/NHI-INSA_e.asp. Wolfe, Jeanne. 1998. “Canadian Housing Policy in the Nineties.” Housing Studies 13 (1): 121–34.

5 The Federal Gas Tax Cession: From Advocacy Efforts to Thirteen Signed Agreements Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

Introduction The gas tax cession program constitutes the most significant federal fiscal intervention into urban affairs in more than a quarter of a century. Owing to financial constraints, concerns about provincial jurisdiction over municipal affairs, and the unsatisfactory experience with the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs in the 1970s, Liberal and Conservative federal governments for most of the 1980s and 1990s were reluctant to intervene in urban affairs (Andrew 2001). But a continuing deterioration of the physical and social infrastructure of cities motivated the creation of a very strong and vocal urban policy community that was able to slowly raise urban issues on the federal agenda, ultimately resulting in the emergence of the federal gas tax cession program for municipal infrastructure. In this paper, we trace the development of this agenda and the federal approach to the program, and we discuss its major characteristics, highlighting its innovative features and their possible impacts.

The Emergence of an Urban Agenda With the elimination of federal deficits and the emergence of large surpluses in the late 1990s considerable pressures were mounting for Ottawa to use its fiscal resources to the address the concerns of municipal governments. These pressures came from several quarters.

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Interest groups, academics, think-tanks, media outlets, and municipal and city employees, among others, developed different channels of advocacy that constantly reminded the federal government that Canada is now one of the most urbanized countries in the world,1 that many cities are singularly ill-equipped to cope with the responsibilities downloaded to them,2 and that there are a whole range of federal policy concerns, including economic innovation, competitiveness, and the quality of the environment, that inevitably have an urban dimension (Anderson 2002, 4–6). Additional arguments pointed to the impact of federal (and provincial) policies on municipalities and municipal budgets. A prime example was immigration, which imposed costs on municipalities for settlement programs, education, and public health. Discussions of Canadian economic growth and productivity increases in a global era focused increasingly on the importance of cities as the foci of economic activity.3 Well-functioning cities were seen as the key to economic success, and that in turn required renewed physical infrastructure, human capital investment, and culturally rich environments. Large investments were required to make leading Canadian cities competitive. Infrastructure investments such as transit, roads, water, and sewage cases were particularly promoted, perhaps because the municipal advocates knew that politicians like to be seen taking action to address very visible problems, but more fundamentally because the deterioration in the existing stocks was becoming a major concern.4 The cities argued that the higher orders of government, particularly the federal government, should assume responsibility for these costs and increase the financial resources available to the cities. These arguments were even more sharply stated in the case of Ontario, where the downloading of the Harris Conservative government in the late 1990s increased the fiscal straits of the municipalities. By the early 2000s, the federal government seemed ready both financially and in principle to embrace a new urban strategy. Pressured by a group within the caucus that had been pushing for a city agenda, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, while still hesitant to move forward on this file, created a Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues (chaired by MP Judy Sgro) in 2001 to identify ways in which the government could better focus its efforts in cities to sustain and enhance their quality of life (Randa 2001). By 2002, Finance Minister Paul Martin was recognizing publicly that cities were entitled to a new


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deal to address their shortcomings and to be prepared for the economic challenges and transformations brought on by globalization (CBC News 2002). At the same time, the task force released its final report, “Canada’s Urban Strategy: A Blueprint for Action,” which supported the view that federal assistance was needed in municipal infrastructure renewal and which provided, through its recommendations, “the building blocks of a national urban revitalization and innovation agenda” (Sgro 2002).5 Despite these developments, the move from policy prospects to implementation was delayed, first, by the uncertainty brought by the Liberal leadership race that culminated at the end of 2003, when Paul Martin succeeded Jean Chrétien as prime minister, and then by the 2004 elections that yielded a minority government in which the Liberals remained in power. As prime minister, Paul Martin was committed to moving forward, and after the election of 2004 the cities and communities agenda was placed front and centre. First, Martin asked former British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt to head the External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities (EACCC) to, among other things, “develop a long-term vision on the role that cities and communities should play in sustaining Canada’s quality of life, enrich the discussion of policy options, and provide advice on how to best engage provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments” (Infrastructure Canada 2006).6 Then the government used the February Speech from the Throne to officially introduce what Martin had been promising on the campaign trail: a New Deal for Communities. The Speech highlighted that this deal would target the infrastructure needed to support quality of life and sustainable growth; would help communities become more dynamic, more culturally rich, more cohesive, and partners in strengthening Canada’s social foundations; and would deliver reliable, predictable, and long-term funding (Clarkson 2004). Moreover, the Speech from the Throne acknowledged the government’s intent to set up the agreements to transfer funds to municipalities that were at least nominally linked to the federal gas tax. For many years, key players – including big city mayors, like Winnipeg’s Glen Murray and Vancouver’s Larry Campbell, municipal associations, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), and academics – had been calling for the share of a portion of the federal revenues from fuel taxes to be devoted to addressing municipal fiscal needs. For example, advocating for new urban

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financing tools, the FCM argued in 2001, on both their Federal Budget Submission and their Brief to the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues, that the federal government had an opportunity to apply nationally programs already in place provincially (FCM 2001b). They were referring to the actions of Alberta and British Columbia (and later Quebec) that had committed a certain portion of the provincial revenue from fuel taxes collected within the boundaries of large cities to support long-term transportation planning and development. While Paul Martin had openly rejected these proposals in 2001 because he believed that dedicated tax schemes lead to distortions of taxation and spending ­(Mohammed 2002), the key players kept pressuring the government on the issue, and they gained a partial victory when the gas tax transfer was finally announced.7 The victory was only partial because, among other things, once the details were revealed it became evident that (1) the government was not sharing all its fuel taxes, only excise taxes on gasoline; (2) it was originally a five-year program, not a permanent measure; and (3) it was not limited to the big cities or to transportation projects. After the Speech from the Throne, stakeholders were hoping that the sharing of the gas tax would be scheduled in the 2004–05 fiscal year, but owing to financial and administrative challenges the government was unable to do so. According to John Godfrey, who was first appointed parliamentary secretary with responsibility for urban affairs and then named minister of state (infrastructure and communities), it was important to “find some new incremental source of money – not just re-announced old money – and do it in a way that was clean administratively,” and that would not “come back and embarrass us because we did not figure out how to do it right” (CBC News 2004). The government was determined to avoid federal-provincial fights that are always in danger of erupting whenever it ventures into an area that impinges on provincial jurisdiction. For this reason the Martin Liberals did not want to become involved with vetting individual projects, nor were they attracted to traditional forms of conditional grants, the history of which is not uniformly happy and squabble-free. At the same time, in the environment of the “sponsorship scandal” the new religion in Ottawa was accountability. The government sought a regime that would assure them that the money they


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were prepared to transfer to municipalities for infrastructure would indeed be used for that purpose. Out of these somewhat conflicting concerns, they devised a plan that drew heavily on the contribution agreement model long used to provide funding to a wide variety of non-governmental agencies. A conventional contribution agreement involves the federal government granting a sum to an external agency that has agreed to carry out a specific set of activities. As in a contribution agreement, funds would be transferred to municipalities based on municipal plans to invest in approved categories of infrastructure. Reports would be filed at the back end of the process indicating how the funds were expended and what outcomes were achieved. Unlike the practice in a conventional contribution agreement, there would be no specification of defined categories of eligible expenses. The creation of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities8 and the 2004 budget, which announced a series of municipal initiatives – the full rebate of GST paid by municipalities, accelerated federal spending through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, extensive funds for the cleanup of federal contaminated sites, and greater coordination of programs for urban Aboriginal people (Department of Finance Canada 2004) – were promising moves from rhetoric to action. As parliamentary secretary, Minister Godfrey went across the country for six months to consult with mayors and councillors and the relevant provincial ministers about what such a new deal might look like. After this journey he revealed, in front of the second Canadian National Summit on Municipal Governance, the first details of the gas tax transfer.9 While the exact amount was not determined, he mentioned that the total sum over a five-year period would be between $4 billion and $5 billion and explained the challenges of designing the transfer to ensure (1) that it was sufficiently simple so that municipalities could understand the rules, (2) that provinces did not claw back their current level of support, (3) that the money went to the municipalities and that it was spent in some measurable incremental fashion on sustainable infrastructure, and (4) that it met the needs of the smaller communities, as well as the largest cities, in ways that were relevant (Godfrey 2004b). After long consultations with key players, such as the FCM, city mayors, and councillors, and after internal discussions between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities, Cabinet, and the Treasury Board, the government was ready to finalize the details of the

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New Deal. They were revealed in several communications in 2005 and subsequently made official in the 2005 budget. In relation to the Gas Tax Fund, this budget outlined (Department of Finance Canada 2005) that Starting in 2005–06, the federal government would share with municipalities 1.5 cents per litre, or $600 million in revenues. By 2009–10, this amount would increase to 5 cents per litre, or $2 billion annually. • The federal government wanted all projects receiving the money to help fund local environmentally sustainable infrastructure. • The gas-tax money would be given to a province or territory, which in turn would hand the funding over to municipalities, according to deals being negotiated in each jurisdiction. • The federal government would allocate the funding on a per capita basis to provinces, territories, and First Nations. •

As Budget 2005 specified, the bulk of the funds were scheduled for the concluding years, ending at $2 billion in the fifth year (see table 5.2). The reasons for this were two-fold: first, the government, and in particular the Department of Finance, wanted to push the major commitments further into the future; and second, it was believed that back-end loading would give the municipalities time to formulate better investment plans. At the same time, the Gas Tax Fund was notionally linked to the federal revenues from the excise tax on gasoline. This is intuitively appropriate, since the tax is collected from drivers and vehicles that impose considerable costs on municipalities for road construction, maintenance, snow clearing, and policing. Thus, linking this revenue to infrastructure investment seems logical. But in fact, there is no specific link. The federal excise tax on gasoline generates about $4 billion per year. The amount of the federal transfer does not depend on collection levels and does not vary if collection levels increase or decrease. Rather, the program is financed through a charge against the government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), initially amounting to $5 billion over five years. With this program there was no longer any doubt that Ottawa was finally engaged in municipal concerns. Within the federal government there was a view, though not universally held and certainly not overly touted, that the gas tax transfer could open the door to a


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

new relationship with municipalities. Our research has revealed that this was based on several factors: (1) the FCM played a leading role in advancing the case of the municipal sector and contributed to the formulation of the general design of the program; (2) Prime Minister Martin and John Godfrey consulted directly with mayors in the early stages of formulation of the initiative; (3) in some cases municipal representatives participated directly in the negotiations (representatives from the City of Toronto, of course, being the most notable); and (4) in two provinces (details below) the administering agency for the funds was not the provincial government but an association of municipalities. An observer so inclined could interpret all these factors as portents of a new era of federal-municipal engagement. In May 2005, Alberta signed the first agreement, and after just seven months twelve of the thirteen agreements had been signed by the other provinces and territories (Newfoundland and Labrador signed in August 2006). In 2007, the Harper Conservatives rebranded the Gas Tax Fund under the Building Canada initiative and extended the funding from 2010 to 2014 at $2 billion per year. Then, in response to ongoing requests for stable, long-term funding, the 2008 Budget announced that the Gas Tax Fund would be extended at $2 billion per year beyond 2014, becoming a permanent measure.

Program Goals: New Governance Dynamics and Sustainability In principle, the design of the gas tax transfer reflected the four key elements of the New Deal and complied with the four-pillar model of sustainability on which the New Deal was based. The fact that Infrastructure Canada had been part of the Environment Canada portfolio (December 2003–June 2004), and the existence of national and international environmental commitments, such as those defined in the Kyoto Protocol, resulted in an emphasis in the program goals on green projects and sustainability. On the other hand, the emphasis on hard infrastructure was the result of an overwhelming municipal consensus that emerged during the consultations. While there was pressure from key stakeholders to earmark the money for big cities, the gas tax transfer was designed with the belief that no municipality or project was too small. Overall, what characterized the New Deal was an attempt to “consider communities as a whole – one that takes each piece of the puzzle and considers how it fits with others to

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create the big picture” (Godfrey 2004a). More than money, it called for government players to become more aware of the effects of government programs and policies at the local level. The first of the four elements of the New Deal was an overarching vision of where Canadian cities and communities of all sizes should be in thirty years. To achieve this vision, the government established the improvement of the quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of environmental municipal infrastructure as general goals of the gas tax transfer, as well as cleaner air, cleaner water, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as specific outcomes. The second element was money, and the government saw the transfer of the gas tax as a viable, politically appealing option for addressing the need for stable, predictable, long-term funding for municipalities. The third element was utilizing an urban lens when designing policies that would require the involvement of all levels of government with the cities and communities. Municipal leaders were part of the negotiating process leading to the signing of the agreements, and their needs were reflected in the emphasis that the goals placed on the funding of hard infrastructure and the abandonment of the cultural aspect that was, in principle, part of the New Deal. Finally, the fourth element was building new relationships with municipalities – based on responding to local needs – and with the provinces and territories, because they have the jurisdiction. To this end, the gas tax transfer created purposeful partnerships and emphasized flexibility based on the belief that municipalities know what is better for them and will use the money accordingly. The framework in which the choice of these elements was based rested on a model of sustainability that depends on four interlinked dimensions: environmental responsibility, economic health, social equity, and cultural vitality. Since the early 1990s, sustainable development has become a key goal of public policy within Canada and internationally. According to the Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our Future: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is not a fixed state of harmony but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technology development and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987).


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

Understanding that there is a connection between quality of life and human health, social equity, long-term planning and integrated decision-making, resource efficiency, technological development, and governance and institutional change, the federal government saw the New Deal as a viable way of moving forward with the sustainability and green agenda (Godfrey 2004a). This commitment is expressed in the preamble to the gas tax agreements, where the government establishes that the program should •

foster vibrant, creative, prosperous, and sustainable cities and communities across Canada, and enable all Canadians to achieve a higher quality of life and standard of living; develop environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure (i.e., things like urban transit, water projects that pay for themselves, new garbage disposal systems, and for some small communities the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, and community energy systems) and enhance existing infrastructure to aid in their economic, social, environmental, and cultural development; recognize that all orders of government must work together­ collaboratively and in harmony to ensure that investments in  communities are strategic, purposeful, and forward-looking; and recognize that open communication with the public will best serve the right of Canadians to transparency, public accountability, and full information.

In addition, to “accelerate the shift in local planning and decision-­ making toward a more long-term, coherent and participatory approach to achieve sustainable communities” under the agreements, the signatories are required to ensure that municipalities or some higher level of agglomeration develop Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs) (Planning for Sustainable Canadian Communities Roundtable 2005). These plans, which require members of the community to integrate and share knowledge and solutions, are expected to allow cities, communities, and First Nations to better understand their future and work collectively towards achieving their goals. With an ICSP they will be able to choose project priorities, manage efficiently and effectively their resources, deliver required services, and monitor their progress towards achieving desired outcomes.10

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The Agreements The negotiations leading to the signing of the agreements were completed quickly and the process was remarkably smooth. This result was attributed to several factors. First, because there was a political imperative, the negotiations were done by three federal teams covering the provinces and the territories simultaneously. This limited the opportunity for each province to hold up the process in order to see what the others were doing. Second, Infrastructure Canada had already dealt with a lot of the provincial and municipal players, establishing a good rapport that aided the negotiating teams; there were no real surprises at the negotiating tables. Third, the negotiations were done under the label of “infrastructure” instead of “cities,” which could have been a more contentious issue, especially in Quebec. Finally, a template for the agreements that had been approved by Treasury Board represented a good starting point to the process. While in the past negotiating with Infrastructure Canada had been difficult, because they usually presented municipalities with a deal fully drafted and pre-approved by Treasury Board, with the gas tax it was different because, as one interviewee remarked, “they came with some guidance, but did not have the A&Zs.” Overall, as a result of the federal approach to the issues, the minimal strings attached to the transfer for the provinces, and the strong motivation by the municipalities to access infrastructure investment money, there was a positive and non-adversarial atmosphere at the negotiating tables. Table 5.1 sets out the signing schedule for the various participants in the program. The agreements that were finalized with the provinces are in the main, remarkably similar and are predicated on provincial/municipal commitments and plans at the front end and on back end accounting. The template approved by Treasury Board was, for the most part, tailored only marginally across the provinces. There are, however, a few key arrangements, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia, and to a lesser extent in Quebec. Common Elements Governing Principles In November of 2004 Minister Godfrey was invited to a meeting of the Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Local


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

Table 5.1 Signing Schedule for Participants in the Gas Tax Program Signatory Canada – Alberta Canada – Yukon Canada – Ontario – Association of Municipalities of Ontario – City of Toronto Canada – Nunavut Canada – Saskatchewan Canada – British Columbia – Union of B.C. Municipalities Canada – Nova Scotia Canada – Northwest Territories Canada – Manitoba Canada – Prince Edward Island Canada – New Brunswick Canada – Quebec Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador

Date 14 May 2005 26 May 2005 17 June 2005 3 August 2005 23 August 2005 19 September 2005 23 September 2005 10 November 2005 18 November 2005 22 November 2005 24 November 2005 28 November 2005 1 August 2006

Government where possible guiding principles for the Gas Tax Fund were discussed. Initially, all the provinces and territories agreed on a set of broad principles, but the federal government felt that they lacked an emphasis on accountability. After further discussion, they all agreed on a set of six principles common to all of the agreements with the exception of Quebec: 1 Respect for jurisdiction. Canada, the provinces, the territories, the UBCM, the AMO, and the city of Toronto (i.e., the signatories) agree to respect the roles of all orders of government, and to recognize the merit of partnerships to support the New Deal. 2 A flexible approach. In recognition of the diversity of Canadian provinces and territories, First Nations, regions, cities, and communities, all the signatories agree to a funding allocation formula and delivery mechanism to meet the specific needs of their respective local governments. 3 Equity. Canada commits to treating provinces, territories, and First Nations equitably. Furthermore, the signatories commit to ensuring equity between urban and rural/remote communities, recognizing the different capacities of local governments. 4 Focus on long-term solutions. The signatories recognize the need to establish a long-term vision for Canadian cities and communities that requires permanent collaboration between all

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orders of government on issues that significantly affect cities and communities. 5 Transparency. The signatories agree to use an open and transparent process for the purpose of implementing their agreements and to develop performance measures to enable regular reporting to Canadians on the outcomes achieved with gas tax funds. 6 Accountability and reporting to Canadians. The signatories commit to due diligence in the management of gas tax funding and to using appropriate mechanisms to report regularly to the public on the expenditures and outcomes of the gas tax investment. Allocation of Funds The Federation of Canadian Municipalities played a useful role as the gathering point for contradictions and conflicts among municipal views with respect to the allocation of the federal funds. Small municipalities wanted money allocated by population, while larger cities argued that they should get a disproportionate share because they had more pressing infrastructure needs, especially in the area of transportation. The government also had to take into account the existence of unincorporated areas, First Nations territories, and the differences across provinces. Ultimately the government decided to allocate the money under the agreements to the provinces based on population (see table 5.2), but to ensure that the smallest province, Prince Edward Island, and the territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut) received an adequate level of funding, the government decided to set a base amount of $37.5 million that was equally allocated to each of them. Similarly, in recognition of the unique circumstances that characterize First Nation communities their allocation was set at $62.55 million. The contributions were to be paid in equal semi-annual payments (the first not later than 1 July, and the second not later than 1 November) in each fiscal year. The payments for 2005–06 and 2006–07 were equal, representing 12 percent of the total allocated amount, and then they increased progressively each year: 16 percent in 2007–08, 20 percent in 2008–09, and 40 percent in 2009–10. The exception was Newfoundland, which got 0 percent in 2005–06 and 24 percent in 2006–07, because it signed the agreement in August 2006, and First Nations,11 which signed their agreement in October 2007. These allocations were subject to change as new census data became available.


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

Table 5.2 Allocation of Funds (millions of $) from 2005 to 2010, by Province and Territory Fiscal Year Provinces & Territories Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Northwest Territories Nova Scotia Nunavut Ontario Ontario Municipalities Toronto Local Services Boards/Roads Boards Prince Edward Island Quebec (not incl Bill C-66) Amount under Bill C-66 Saskatchewan Yukon First Nations Infra. Fund Total


% of Total

190.80 254.24 66.90 46.42 32.90

476.9 635.60 167.25 116.06 82.25

9.54 12.71 3.35 2.32 1.65





23.23 6.00 298.50 232.4

29.03 7.50 373.10 290.5

58.06 15.00 746.20 581.00

145.16 37.50 1,865.50 1,452.5

2.90 0.75 37.31 29.05

48.90 0.70

65.20 0.93

81.40 1.20

162.90 2.32

407.30 5.80

8.15 0.12


















17.73 4.50 7.51

17.73 4.50 7.51

23.64 6.00 10.00

29.55 7.50 12.51

59.10 15.00 25.02

147.74 37.50 62.55

2.95 0.75 1






57.20 76.27 20.07 13.93 0.00

57.20 76.27 20.07 13.93 19.74

76.30 101.70 26.76 18.57 13.16

95.40 127.12 33.45 23.21 16.45




17.42 4.50 223.90 174.3

17.42 4.50 223.90 174.3

48.90 0.70







When signing the agreements the provinces were free to choose the way the money would be allocated among their municipalities, and while there are some exceptions, they chose to allocate them ­essentially on a per capita, entitlement basis, with some minor adjustments to ensure that the smaller communities received a base amount. One of the exceptions is Nova Scotia, which created an allocation formula that gives municipalities a percentage of the total allocation depending on the number of their dwelling units, their population, and their five-year rolling average of standard expenditures. Another exception is British Columbia, which we discuss below.

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Use of Funds In the spirit of a “flexible approach” and a “long-term solution” the signatories agreed on desired outcomes and eligible project categories, rather than earmarking the money for specific projects. As Godfrey explained, while it was important for the federal government to focus attention on a critical issue – environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure – setting the criteria by which projects qualify for funding and allowing municipalities to set the individual priorities for those projects would avoid the problem of trying to satisfy everyone’s expectations and needs (CBC News 2004). The project categories, as well as examples, include •

Public transit. For example, rapid transit (tangible capital assets and rolling stock like light rail, subways, ferries, transit stations, and park-and-ride facilities), transit buses (bus rolling stock, transit bus stations), intelligent transport systems, and transit priority capital investments. Water. For example, drinking water supply, drinking water purification and treatment systems, drinking water distribution systems, and water metering systems. Wastewater. For example, systems including sanitary and combined sewer systems, and separate storm water systems. Solid waste. For example, waste diversion, material recovery facilities, organics management, collection depots, and waste disposal landfills. Community energy systems. For example, cogeneration or combined heat and power projects and heating and cooling projects. Capacity building. For example, collaboration (building partnerships and strategic alliances, participation, and consultation and outreach), knowledge (use of new technology, research, and monitoring and evaluation), and integration (planning, policy development and implementation). For communities of less than 500,000. Eligible projects include active transportation infrastructure like bike lanes, local roads, and bridges and tunnels that enhance sustainability outcomes.

Municipalities can use the funds to cover capital costs only and cannot use them for maintenance costs, operating costs, debt reduction, or replacement of existing municipal infrastructure expenditures. They can also bank funds and accrue interest. Large


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municipalities, defined as those with a population of five hundred thousand or more, are allowed to choose only two of the categories from the eligible list of projects.12 In addition, all municipalities are encouraged to pool resources with other municipalities to support projects and initiatives that can benefit the region. Signatories and Municipal Responsibilities • All signatories were required to sign a Funding Agreement with each municipality before the transfer of the funds. • Municipalities were required to complete a Multi-Year Capital Investment Plan before the fourth year. • Each province had to ensure that over the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2010 its average annual capital spending on municipal infrastructure and that of its municipalities would not be less than the Base Amount. The Base Amount is defined as the average of spending by the province and municipalities on municipal infrastructure for the five years preceding the signing of the agreements. • Signatories must enforce penalties if a municipality is non-­ compliant with the terms and conditions. Penalties may include withholding, reduction, or return of payment and/or non-renewal of the agreement • As previously explained, each municipality, or region, had to develop an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan as the basis upon which they would determine plans and priorities to aid in their achieving three environmental sustainability outcomes: reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner water, and cleaner air. • Municipalities must retain title to and ownership of the resulting infrastructure for the eligible projects for at least ten years after its completion. • Fund recipients are required to deposit the contributions into a separate and distinct account. Reporting, Audits, and Evaluation Requirements Signatories are required to produce an Annual Expenditure Report and an Audit Report, and they must also agree to keep proper records about the use of the funds for three years after the completion of each project because the federal government might request an audit, which must be paid for by the signatory to any one or more projects.

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For the purpose of assessing, among other things, the extent of the achievement of the program objectives, how the funds were used, and the effectiveness of the funding approach, in 2009 the signatories were required to complete a joint formative evaluation of the program with the federal government. The results of these joint bilateral evaluations were incorporated in a national evaluation that the federal government completed in the same year. In 2009, and periodically thereafter, signatories are also required to submit an Outcomes Report that measures results and outcomes of the program based on previously agreed indicators. In the case of British Columbia and Ontario, there might be a Compliance Audit or/and a Performance Audit of the UBCM and AMO, who are responsible for implementing the agreement and allocating the funds to the municipalities in those provinces respectively. This audit would be conducted by the federal minister or the auditor general of Canada at their cost. This regime of reporting and accounting reflects an attempt to balance several federal concerns. First, Ottawa was genuinely concerned to allow the recipients flexibility in their use of the funds to minimize “red tape”; they did not want to burden municipalities – especially the smaller ones – with a complex and detailed requirement to report on the use of the funds. Second, Ottawa wanted to ensure to the maximum extent possible that the funds would have a net positive impact on infrastructure investments. The conditions regarding “base” expenditures were to prevent provinces and municipalities from diverting their own funds away from these investments as a result of the gas tax program. And finally, in the wake of the sponsorship scandal, the government was determined to have a reliable accountability framework in place.

Notable Differences While the agreements are, in the main, very similar across provinces with respect to terms and conditions, there are some notable differences, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia and to a lesser extent in Quebec.13 The Ontario provincial government, while a signatory to the agreement, chose not to be involved in the administration of the program and the management of the funds. That role was taken up by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) for all


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

j­urisdictions other than the City of Toronto and by Toronto directly for the money it received. Several interviewees attributed this relative non-involvement by the province to an earlier provincial transfer program to the municipalities that became very contentious and to the desire of the government to avoid a repeat.14 Ontario’s signature on the agreement basically committed the government not to reduce its own grants to the provinces, but to little beyond that. Its detachment from the program raises concerns that the ability to co-ordinate the federal program with provincial programs having complementary objectives will be compromised. Signing the agreement directly with Toronto also marked a new direction. The city was delighted to be the only municipal government in the country to be a direct signatory to a funding agreement, leaving the Ontario provincial government aside. The city receives its grants directly from the federal government (without funnelling through the province or the AMO) and reports on the use of the funds directly to the federal government. At least some in the city government and elsewhere believed and hoped – perhaps naively – this would mark a new start on direct federal interactions with urban governments. That aside, the federal government’s acceptance of the AMO and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) as program administrators responsible for financial management and distribution and for reporting back to Ottawa marked something of a new departure in federal-provincial financial relations. The AMO is a nonprofit association of all Ontario municipalities (with the exception of Toronto, which quit the association in 2004). The UBCM is a similar organization that has represented the interests of all local governments in British Columbia since 1905. The UBCM, however, operates under an act passed by the Legislative Assembly of the province. These arrangements are notable in that non-governmental organizations are responsible for the administration of the federal transfers. This agreement is also interesting because of the allocation processes that were chosen in some provinces. Most provinces allocated funds to the municipalities based entirely on population. In British Columbia, however, the allocation is more complex. Three tiers and three funds were designated. The tiers, set out in table 5.3, were created based on differing community characteristics, including population density, degree of urbanization, adjacency of communities to urbanized areas, and the need for intra-regional infrastructure. The three funds are

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Table 5.3 Allocation of the Three Funds in British Columbia Applicable Area of bc Tier 1 Tier 2* Tier 3

All areas of British Columbia except those areas in Tier 2 and Tier 3 RDOS, CORD, NORD, CRD, CVRD, RDN, FVRD, SLRD Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)

cw f








Up to 25

Up to 100

* Tier 2 = Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, Regional District of Central Okanagan, Regional District of North Okanagan, Capital Regional District, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Regional District of Nanaimo, Fraser Valley Regional District, Squamish Lillooet Regional District

Community Works Fund. This fund disburses funding directly to municipalities based on a percentage of the per capita allocation for local spending priorities and has a funding “floor” to ensure a reasonable base allocation of funds. Strategic Priorities Fund. This fund provides funding for strategic investments that are larger in scale or regional in impact. It was created by pooling a percentage of the per capita allocation. In the case of the Metro Vancouver, the board of directors requested that 100 percent of their per capita allocation be placed in this fund and be made available for transportation investments. Innovations Fund. This fund provides funding for projects and initiatives by eligible recipients that show an innovative approach to achieving the intended outcomes. It comprises up to 5 percent of the total Gas Tax Fund allocation for British Columbia.

Elements of the arrangement in Quebec are also distinct. The Quebec government was the only one to add additional funds ($383.6 million) to the federal contribution received by the municipalities, which represents 29.2 percent of the total allocation. Moreover, Quebec is the only province that required municipalities to add their own contribution. The rationale behind this decision was that municipalities needed to have a stake in the decision-making process, and Quebec believed that this contribution would encourage them to make prudent infrastructure investments. The required municipal contribution is determined by taking into account the level of municipal investment to be maintained and by considering the minimum capital baseline in infrastructure


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r­econstruction of $28 per resident per year applied under other Infrastructure programs (the Canada Québec Infrastructure Works Program 2000, the Québec Municipalities infrastructure programs, and the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund). In Quebec, the government’s contribution is allocated over four years (2006–09) instead of the five years intended under the original agreement, and the funds are administered by the Société de financement des infrastructures locales du Québec (SOFIL). This organization was created with the sole purpose of contributing financial assistance to municipalities and of assisting in the implementation of their infrastructure projects. Under the agreements, SOFIL is also responsible for the reporting requirements. While in every province the list of eligible projects is quite similar, Quebec decided to establish a list of work priorities, which are 1 Bringing drinking water and wastewater catchment and treatment equipment up to code. Municipalities must demonstrate that they do not need any projects under this priority before they can move to lower priorities. 2 Acquiring knowledge about the condition of pipes for drinking water and sewers (inventory, diagnosis, and action plan to renew the pipes). 3 Renewing pipes for drinking water and sewage. This priority, as well as number 2, does not apply to municipalities that do not have such pipes or that can demonstrate no need for renewal in the next ten years. 4 Repairs to and improvements to elements of the local road systems such as bridges or other municipal engineering structures and to municipal streets or other local roads. In each of these three provincial variations it appears that the initiative arose within the province. The federal government was open to accommodating these variations because none of them affected the government’s core goals. In the case of the City of Toronto, however, the federal position was perhaps a bit more enthusiastic than passive permissiveness; at least some federal officials seemed to be intrigued by the direct federal–City of Toronto agreement, believing that it might open doors for future direct federal-municipal collaborations in a range of policy areas. In our view, however, while the Toronto

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agreement may be noteworthy, it is premature to herald the arrival of a new era in intergovernmental relations.

Other Noteworthy Features The gas tax transfer is just one of many transfer payments (those for which the government receives no goods or services) made by the federal government each year. For example, in 2006–07 the transfers amounted to approximately $125 billion dollars (Public Works and Government Service Canada 2007). Of this, approximately $1.8 billion went to Infrastructure Canada, of which $590 million represented the gas tax transfer. This program is innovative in that it is a hybrid between a grant and a contribution. According to the current Policy on Transfer Payments, contributions are conditional transfer payments “for a specified purpose pursuant to a contribution agreement that is subject to being accounted for and audited,” while grants are unconditional transfer payments that “are not subject to being accounted for or audited but for which eligibility and entitlement may be verified or for which the recipient may need to meet pre-conditions” (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 2000). The gas tax has some characteristics of a contribution agreement because it contains a complex accountability framework that includes an annual expenditure report, an outcomes report, and an audit report. At the same time, it has characteristics associated with grants because the funding is given up-front, and while the agreements specify eligible categories (like public transit, water and wastewater infrastructure, community energy systems, the management of solid waste, and local roads and bridges), the federal government is not involved in the selection of specific projects. Unlike grants the Gas Tax Fund was based on a five-year (2005 to 2010) formula, which required annual appropriations. Based on these characteristics the Treasury Board ended up characterizing the Gas Tax Fund as an “other transfer payment,” which is defined as being “based on legislation or an arrangement which normally includes a formula or schedule as one element used to determine the expenditure amount; however, once payments are made, the recipient may redistribute the funds among the several approved categories of expenditure in the arrangement” (Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada 2000).


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

Before choosing this delivery mechanism the government explored other options (Infrastructure Canada, Cities and Communities Branch 2007). One was a contribution agreement that involved reimbursing the money for funds spent on projects through an application process. The perceived weakness of this approach was that it would not have solved the fiscal capacity problems facing municipalities. Another alternative was what was called a “vacating tax room,” which would have allowed the provinces to increase taxes and subsequently to increase available funds for the municipalities. The constraint of this approach was that it would have eliminated and/or limited the federal government’s ability to influence national interests arising in Canadian cities and communities. The last option considered was a trust fund, proposed by Finance, which involved transferring the money immediately to a special (off-budget) account from which it would be transferred to municipalities and/or provinces over the designated time period. In recent years, other federal programs – most notably the Canadian Foundation for Innovation – had been established in this manner. Because of the loss in control and the perceived inability to advance federal policy objectives, the INFC and Paul Martin were opposed to this option. The final decision to choose the hybrid arrangement was based on issues of flexibility, constitutional responsibility, and accountability. The program was designed to achieve a balance among the following factors: (1) the concerns of Treasury Board and Finance Canada over the accountability mechanisms to monitor the use of the funds and to limit Ottawa’s financial commitment were satisfied; (2) the funds had to flow to the municipalities through provincial treasuries to respect constitutional jurisdictions;15 (3) municipalities were given the discretion to select their own projects; (4) municipalities were permitted to pool, bank, and borrow against their allocation to maximize the impact of the funding; and (5) the program was established to facilitate its extensions (and ultimately to make it a permanent program).

Conclusion Aside from transferring resources to municipalities for much-needed infrastructure improvements, the gas tax program is of interest for a number of other reasons. While more definitive assessments must

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await further evidence, the program may be cited in future years as establishing some important precedents. First, the modified contribution agreement model may prove an attractive option for future federal-provincial fiscal arrangements. It is notable that the federal government was able to conclude agreements with all the provinces and territories without stirring up defensive reactions from the provinces seeking to protect their constitutional turf. Of course, the fact that Ottawa was distributing money without requiring any matching fiscal commitments from the recipients undoubtedly helped; free money is seldom unwelcome. This approach essentially involves negotiating contracts with the provinces individually to fund a program of mutual interest. Because the contracts are individual, they open the possibility that each one could be substantially different from province to province, in order to meet specific needs, although as noted, it is interesting that in the case of the gas tax program, the contracts were remarkably similar across provinces. However, as also noted, there were some significant differences. This model also creates a means to conditionalize grants to the provinces without raising provincial concerns of jurisdiction, though whether these (or indeed any) conditions are binding on provincial spending decisions is open for investigation. The fact that a similar set of agreements were concluded by the Martin government in the field of child daycare suggests that the model may be more than a one-off set of arrangements for the gas tax. (The fact that the daycare agreements were cancelled when the Harper government came into office does not negate this point. They were cancelled because of the type of childcare arrangements they embodied, not because of the form of the agreement. Harper kept the gas tax agreements and later extended them.) A second observation relates to the use of non-governmental organizations in Ontario and British Columbia as delivery vehicles for the distribution of funds and the accountability for the use of those funds. These agencies are not NGOs in the usual sense in that they are associations of municipal governments. But they themselves are not governments, and Ottawa’s placing them in such a central delivery role is an interesting development. Third, a few comments are in order on the much misunderstood earmarking of funds. The federal gas tax funds are to be used only for infrastructure investment in approved areas and are not


Erika Adams and Allan M. Maslove

to ­displace provincial or municipal spending in these areas that would have occurred without the transfers. The agreements go to some lengths to try to ensure that this occurs. For example, in an attempt to ensure that provinces do not reduce their funding, there is a requirement that provincial grants to municipalities for infrastructure investment cannot fall below their levels in the five years before the gas tax program. In the cases of Ontario and British Columbia the ability to impose binding conditions on the use of the funds may be strengthened somewhat, because the money does not flow through the consolidated revenue funds of the provincial governments; the money is more easily tracked because it flows through the AMO and the UBCM respectively. However, as with all conditional grants programs, it is virtually impossible to ensure that there is a 100 percent incremental impact. The incremental impact on municipal infrastructure spending versus the displacement of provincial and/or municipal infrastructure spending that would have occurred in the absence of the federal grant is an important research and policy question.16 Finally, at least some federal political and bureaucratic officials believe (and hope) that this initiative has established a basis for future direct relationships between the federal government and the municipalities. At least in part this belief follows from the fact that the City of Toronto was a direct signatory to an agreement and that it reports directly to the federal government on the use of the funds. In part it comes from the series of consultations that Minister John Godfrey conducted with mayors and other municipal officials in the early stages of the process. And in part it comes from the linkage to the two municipal organizations that are serving as administrators in their respective provinces. In the view of some, the gas tax program has even opened a door to the eventual de facto recognition of a “third order” of government that can relate to the federal level much as provinces do now. In our view, this is reading too much into a more modest initiative. But it has opened a more focused federal policy commitment in relation to municipal issues, and that in itself is important. The gas tax initiative has also created expectations that municipal governments will be consulted on future infrastructure investments. But the fundamental nature of future federal-­ provincial-municipal relations is unlikely to change dramatically in the foreseeable future.

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This chapter is in part based on a number of confidential interviews we conducted with individuals involved in the policy decisions and in the negotiations process leading to the gas tax fund agreements. We wish to thank them for their assistance without implicating any of them in our analysis or conclusions. In 1996 nearly 78 percent of the Canadian population was living in urban areas, defined as communities with at least 1,000 inhabitants and with a density of at least 400 persons per square kilometre. More specifically, about 62 percent of Canadians were living in the 25 census metropolitan areas, also known as CMAs, which are city-regions with populations in excess of 100,000 (Bourne 2000). As Andrew, Graham, and Phillips (2002, 10) argue, the “period since 1985 was characterized by the search of provincial-municipal disentanglement, which is defined as changes in provincial-municipal relationships.” This resulted in “significant downloading of responsibilities to municipalities without financial compensation and a sharp reduction in provincialmunicipal transfers,” which are one of the three main sources of revenues to municipalities (the other two are property taxes and user fees). Among the significant players reinforcing these messages were the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and its Big Cities Mayor Caucus (BCMC). For example, in 2001 the FCM released two key reports: Quality of Life in Canadian Communities (2001c) and Early Waning: Will Canadian Cities Compete? (2001a), and the BCMC launched a national campaign, Canada’s Cities: Unleash Our Potential.” Discussions were also supported by independent research institutes that held conferences, summits, symposiums, and published reports on urban issues. Among them were the Canada West Foundation, with its Western Cities Project, and the Canadian Policy Research Network (CPRN), with its Cities and Communities research stream. For a full list and access to all their publications on the subject see Canada West Foundation (2007), and CPRN (2008). Finally, another noteworthy contribution came from the TD Bank Financial Group with its report A Choice between Investing in Canada’s Cities or Disinvesting in Canada’s Future (2002). One of the studies outlining the problem with the infrastructure stock was conducted jointly by the FCM and McGill University in 1996: Report on the State of Municipal Infrastructure in Canada. In this report, the national municipal infrastructure deficit was estimated at $44 billion,


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with the roads, bridges, and sidewalks being in the greatest need of repairs (FCM-McGill University 1996). 5 In particular, the report called for the appointment of a cabinet minister responsible for urban regions and the establishment of a long-term (i.e., fifteen-year) National Infrastructure Program that would build on current programs to provide stable, reliable funding (Sgro 2002). Moreover, it recognized the necessity for cooperation and collaboration between all players in the urban policy community and the interrelatedness of all urban problems and their solutions (Wolfe 2003). For the full report see Sgro (2002). 6 The EACCC was created to “help rethink the way Canada and its communities are shaped to ensure Canada will be a world leader in developing vibrant, creative, inclusive, prosperous and sustainable communities” (Deparment of Justice Canada 2008). Their final report was submitted to the prime minister on 15 June 2006. 7 As it was evident in a speech Martin delivered to the FCM, by 2002 he was still sceptical but receptive to the possibility of sharing the gas tax. In his remarks (2002) he explained that “the federal government has always been wary of dedicated taxes – arguing that such ties make it very difficult, if not impossible, to respond to changing circumstances,” but that recognizing “that municipalities have inadequate revenue sources as things stand” he knew he needed to be open to considering all options. 8 This department brought together the Cities Secretariat, which was located at the Privy Council Office; Infrastructure, which was on its own; and four Crown corporations. At the time of his appointment as minister of state, Godfrey (2004b) candidly remarked that this was “a combination of steak and sizzle.” While Infrastructure had the money, the programs, and the expertise on the ground, the Cities Secretariat had done a good job in scoping out the potential for a gas tax deal and improved, tripartite, respectful relationships (Godfrey 2004b). 9 This summit was the perfect setting for the announcement, since it was attended by, among others, mayors, councillors, other elected officials, and municipal employees such as chief administrative officers, city clerks, and municipal managers. The title for this summit was Developing Proven Governance Practices to Encourage Public Confidence. 10 Many provinces have drafted guides and templates to help their municipalities with their ICSPs. They are a great source for better understanding what the process of creating them entails and what their goals are. For an example see Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (2007).

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11 While First Nations communities in the three territories receive funding through the federal-territorial Gas Tax Fund agreement, in October the federal government created the First Nations Infrastructure Fund (FNIF), which was open to First Nations communities in the ten provinces. The agreement was signed by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, minister of Indian affairs and northern development and federal interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians; the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, minister of transport, infrastructure and communities; and the Assembly of First Nations regional chief (Yukon), Rick O’Brien. This five-year program, with $131 million in funding, used a combination of funds from existing federal funding sources: the First Nations component of the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund; the First Nations component of the Gas Tax Fund; and the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program. For more information see Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2009). 12 The objective of this clause was to discourage large municipalities from stretching the funds over too many project categories, resulting in less transformative investments. Our research has shown that most large municipalities (such as Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto) have chosen to use all their gas tax allocation for transportation expenditures. 13 For Ontario see the Agreement for the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities, Canada-OntarioAssociation of Municipalities of Ontario-City of Toronto (2005–15). For British Columbia see Agreement for the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities, Canada-British Columbia-Union of British Columbia Municipalities (2005–15). For Quebec see Guide on the Revised Terms and Conditions of the Transfer to Québec Municipalities of a portion of federal gasoline excise tax revenues and the Government of Quebec’s contribution to municipal infrastructure. 14 In 2004 the newly elected government of Ontario proposed a transfer of two cents of the existing provincial gas tax to municipalities for public transit investment. In order to determine the allocation formula the government consulted with the AMO. The two options presented for the allocation of provincial gas tax revenues were based on population, supported by the AMO and most municipalities, and on transit ridership, strongly supported by Toronto. In the end, after difficult negotiations a compromise was reached and the formula took both elements into account. This disagreement contributed to David Miller’s decision to take Toronto out of the AMO. He believed that an organization that represents small towns cannot speak for Canada’s largest city (Swift 2004).


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15 As discussed above, in the case of Toronto, Ontario signed the agreement that allowed the city funding to come directly from the federal government. 16 An analysis of the program by Adams (2012) found, inter alia, that gas tax funds did not displace infrastructure investment that would have occurred in any event.

References Adams, Erika. 2012. “Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers, Investment Decisions and Outcomes: The Case of the Gas Tax Fund in Ontario.” PhD diss., Carleton University, Ottawa. Anderson, George. 2002. “Cities and the Federal Agenda.” Horizons – Policy Research Initiative 5 (1): 4–6. Andrew, Caroline. 2001. “The Shame of (Ignoring) the Cities.” Journal of Canadian Studies 35 (4): 100–11. Andrew, Caroline, Katherine A. Graham, and Susan D. Phillips. 2002. “Introduction: Urban Affairs in Canada: Changing Roles and Changing Perspectives.” In Urban Affairs: Back on the Policy Agenda, edited by Caroline Andrew, Katherine A. Graham, and Susan D. Phillips, 3–22. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Bourne, Larry. 2000. “Urban Canada in Transition to the Twenty-first Century: Trends, Issues, and Visions.” In Canadian Cities in Transition: The Twenty-First Century, 2d ed., edited by Trudy Bunting and Pierre Filion, 26–51. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Canada West Foundation. 2007. “Western Cities Projects.” Accessed 22 April 2009, Canada West Foundation website, cnt/proj_western_cities.php. Canadian Policy Research Networks. 2008. “Cities and Communities.” Accessed 21 May 2009, 26&l=en. CBC News. 2002. “Martin Wants New Deal for Cities,” 31 May. Accessed 10 January 2008, municipal020531.html. – 2004. “Mayor Bends Ottawa’s Ear on ‘New Deal’ for Cities,” 14 January. Accessed 10 January 2008, story/2004/01/14/mb_mayor20040114.html. Clarkson, Adrienne. 2004. Speech from the Throne to Open the Third ­Session of the 37th Parliament of Canada. Ottawa: Goverment of Canada.

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Department of Finance Canada. 2004. Budget 2004 – Budget Plan, chap. 4, “Moving Forward on the Priorities of Canadians.” Accessed 21 May 2009, – 2005. Budget 2005: Delivering on Commitments. Deparment of Justice Canada. 2008. “Constitution Acts 1867 to 1982,” 24 November. Accessed 30 November 2008, const/. Direction des infrastructures, Ministère des Affaires municipales et des Régions. 2006. Guide on the Revised Terms and Conditions of the Transfer to Québec Municipalities of a Portion of Federal Gasoline Excise Tax Revenues and the Government Of Québec’s Contribution to Municipal Infrastructure. Quebec. Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2001a. Early Waning: Will Canadian Cities Compete? Ottawa. – 2001b. Federal Budget Submission. Ottawa. – 2001c. Quality of Life in Canadian Communities. Ottawa. Federation of Canadian Municipalities – McGill University. 1996. Montreal: The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University. Godfrey, John. 2004a. Address to the Annual Conference of the Association of Municipalities, 24 August. – 2004b. “Keynote Address to the Canadian National Summit on Municipal Governance,” 28 July. Accessed 20 May 2009, http://web. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. 2009. First Nations Infrastructure Fund. Accessed 21 October 2009, proser/fna/infdev/fnif/index-eng.asp. Infrastructure Canada. 2008. Agreement for the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues under The New Deal For Cities and Communities. Canada-Bristish Columbia – Union of British Columbia Municipalities (2005–15). Accessed 20 January 2009, – 2006, 18 August. Mandate. Accessed 10 January 2008, http://www. Infrastructure Canada, Cities and Communities Branch. 2007. Ottawa: Infrastructure Canada. Martin, Paul. 2002. “Healthy Cities Vital to Canada’s future.” 16 (2): 32. Mohammed, Adam. 2002. “Martin Says No to Mayors on Gas Tax: Collenette, Finance Minister Disagree Over Plan.” , 19 February, A1.


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Planning for Sustainable Canadian Communities Roundtable. 2005. “Integrated Community Sustainability Planning,” 23–24 September. Accessed 12 March 2008,­ collectivites/conf/documents/icsp-discussion_e.shtml. Public Works and Government Service Canada. 2007. “Public Accounts of Canada.” Accessed 20 April 2008, txt/72-eng.html. Randa, Lorne. 2001. “Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues Announced.” 9 May. Accessed 21 March 2008, http://www.nben. ca/environews/alerts/alert_archives/01/urban_e.htm. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. 2007. “Integrated Community Sustainability Plans Municipal Funding Agreement for Nova Scotia.” Accessed 23 October 2009, pdf/ICSP_2007.pdf. Sgro, Judy. 2002, November. “Final Report of the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues: Canada’s Urban Strategy: A Blueprint for Action.” Ottawa. Swift, Nick. 2004. “Toronto Mayor Demands,” 10 February. Accessed 20 October 2009, html. TD Bank Financial Group. 2002. TD Economics Special Report. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 2000. “Policy on Transfer Payments,” 1 June. Accessed 10 January 2008, pubs_pol/dcgpubs/TBM_142/ptp1_e.asp. Wolfe, Jeanne. 2003. “A National Urban Policy for Canada? Prospects and Challenges.” 12 (1): 1–21. World Commission on Environment and Development. 1987. Published as Annex to General Assembly document A/42/427, Development and International Co-operation: Environment.

6 Institutional Arrangements and Planning Outcomes: Inter-agency Competition on the Toronto Waterfront Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

Many factors affect urban land use outcomes. The literature emphasizes the impact of successive planning models and processes, with particular attention presently going to ways of achieving effective public participation. It also underscores the role of economic and political power. In this chapter we concentrate on a factor that is often underplayed – the effect of the institutional set-up. By bringing an institutional perspective to the study of planning, the chapter attempts to correct the lack of attention this field has given to the role of agencies. Indeed, land use planning is among the disciplines that have least heeded the effects of institutional structures. The object of study is the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront. The focus on institutions is consistent with the nature of the case, for inter-agency rivalry has been central in the determination of planning outcomes on the Toronto waterfront, eclipsing other influences on land use. The involvement of all three levels of government (especially the federal and municipal levels) and the agencies they have spawned account for the crowded and conflicting agency field characteristic of the Toronto waterfront. In this sense, our case represents an extreme illustration of the impact the institutional set-up can have on urban planning. Still, it helps bring to light, albeit in a somewhat exaggerated fashion, a factor that is always present in land use planning. We construct a narrative of waterfront redevelopment with a focus on factors responsible for a highly fragmented pattern of


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development and the frequent predominance of short-term profitability over public access and coordinated planning. The narrative covers nearly one-hundred years of waterfront history: from 1911 to 2008. It echoes the dominant view that the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront has lived up neither to expectations of Toronto residents nor to successful examples from other urban areas (Chicago immediately comes to mind). We then rely on institutional theory to interpret this narrative and examine conditions that could have resulted in more positive outcomes. Consistent with the object of the Public Policy in Municipalities project, we give importance to issues related with multilevel governance, especially conflicting relations between the federal government and the City of Toronto. The chapter unfolds in three main stages. It first introduces the literature on institutionalism theory and its planning variant, and then presents a historical narrative of the Toronto waterfront redevelopment. It ends with an interpretation of this history from an institutionalism theory framework. The study is relevant at two levels. It represents a rare application of institutional theory to the field of planning and provides a fresh interpretation of the Toronto waterfront case.

Institutionalism and Planning Outcomes The adoption of the perspective of institutionalism theory flows largely from the nature of the case under study. The historical narrative of the development and redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront indeed reveals a chain of conflicts opposing agencies with clashing mandates and visions, yet often with overlapping jurisdictions. Planning outcomes on the Toronto waterfront mirror these conflicts. But the choice of an institutionalist perspective also rests on factors not specific to the case study: the ubiquity of institutions and their universal importance in the shaping of policies and their outcomes. Institutions are defined broadly as organizations and formal codes of conduct (such as constitutions, laws, and rules), both responsible for a patterning of behaviour (Greenwood et al. 2008, 32; Scott 1995, 33). The traditional approach to institutions was primarily descriptive. It mostly concerned itself with a portrayal of political institutions and constitutions and the policy implications of different forms of government – presidential vs. parliamentary, for example

Competition on the Toronto Waterfront


(Clingermayer and Feiock 2001; McCabe and Feiock 2005; Weaver and Rockman 1993). On a broader scale, fundamental features of governments, notably their dependence on votes and fiscal entries, have been invoked to account for the main orientations of policy-making. The impact of fiscal dependence on municipal policy has been highlighted by ­Peterson (1981) to explain foremost local concern for economic development and by Burchell and Listokin (1978) in their depiction of fiscal zoning. In these views, by virtue of their dependence on property taxation revenues, municipal administrations have a vested interest in land development. At the same time, however, because of the electoral process they must heed the reaction of the public to development. Rebranded as the “new institutionalism,” the approach has branched out in different directions. It has, for example, examined the role of fields of knowledge favouring the spread of organizational features and practices across institutions. Lately, studies have also concentrated on how organizations socialize individuals to their values and shape their behaviour through rules and incentives (Hall and Taylor 1996; Peters 1996, 2008; Powell and DiMaggio 1991). Researchers adhering to normative explanations of behavioural control focus on the adherence of individuals to the values and norms of organizations to which they belong and on the resulting effects on the actions of these individuals (March and Olsen 1996). On the other hand, proponents of rational choice emphasize personal utility maximizing choices made within organizations’ systems of rules and incentives (Downs 1967; Horn 1995; Weingast 2002). Either way, convergence between the interests of individuals and those of the organizations to which they belong and consistency in the behavioural patterns of their members make it possible to perceive organizations as agents in their own right (Epstein and O’Halloran 1999; Jones 2001, 22; Wildavski 1987). What is more, new institutionalism draws on the path dependency approach to address the long-lasting nature of many institutions and the uneven influence of decisions determining their form and function (Krasner 1984; Steinmo, Thelen, and Longstreth 1992). In accord with the tenets of path dependency, decisions taken in the formative stage of an institution are deemed to have a disproportional influence on its evolution because they are embedded from the start at the core of its structure (Peters 2005, 61; Pierson and


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S­ kocpol 2002; Skocpol 1992). And institutions and the patterned behaviour they foster endure by virtue of the capacity of organizations to socialize individuals to their values and the existence of positive feedback loops grounded in powerful institutional inducements, which reinforce actions compatible with the interests of institutions (Pierson 2000, 492). By underscoring the patterned behaviour and path dependency features of organizations, new institutionalism can be perceived as giving excessive weight to stability at the expense of change (Peters 2008, 4; Pierre, Peters, and King 2005). The conceptual apparatus of institutionalism is poorly suited to explanations of transformations within existing institutions and even more so to explanations of the emergence and disappearance of institutions. Discussions of the consequences of organizational behaviour patterning and path dependency must account for the existence of factors of change. First, individuals within organizations are not mere automatons, an observation at the core of Anthony Giddens’s structuration theory, which portrays individuals as possessing practical consciousness allowing them to pursue their personal interest within structures, including organizational structures (Giddens 1984, 3, 22; Sewell 1992). The structuration theory view of the relation between agency and structure is thus consistent with the rational choice perspective. As they navigate the conditioning systems of organizations, all the while keeping an eye on their personal interests, individuals can have a transformative effect by giving more attention to certain incentives and penalties than to others, and going so far as to intentionally propel organizations in new directions. Organizations are also affected by social and technological innovations, along with emerging values. Finally, inter-organizational relations, either of a cooperative or of a competitive nature, inject a great deal of uncertainty in the evolution of organizations. Organizations must legitimate their existence and expansion by formulating visions of society that advance their self-interest (Deephouse and Suchman 2008). But in doing so, they confront other organizations deploying similar strategies. Inter-­ institutional settings are therefore a source of relativity and instability in the perception of social issues and the framing of solutions (Thornton and Ocasio 2008, 104). All these factors of change point to the fact that path dependency is not written in stone. While there is clearly a tendency towards path dependency within institutions that fosters durabil-

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ity, ­existing organizational structures can be replaced owing to a loss of ­functionality and of their capacity to advance the interests of individuals operating within them, resulting in intense pressures for institutional transformation. Alternatively, the appearance of more effective organizational forms stimulates institutional entrepreneurship (DiMaggio 1988; Peters 2005, 17). Because of the ubiquity of organizational structures, the focus on institutions does not so much challenge other perspectives on planning outcomes as add an additional layer of understanding. There is an institutional side to all social phenomena. For example, within this chapter’s sphere of interest, the planning literature pays much attention to the decision-making process in an attempt to enhance inclusivity and achieve outcomes that are more socially equitable. Case studies link different types of processes to different outcomes (Fainstein 2000; Forester 1989; Healey 1999). The institutional dimension of studies of planning processes is evident. The range of possibilities regarding the configuration of planning processes, such as their inclusivity, is dictated by the interests and values of the organizations in which they are embedded, hence the legendary conflicts between planners and their political masters. In addition, processes themselves can be seen as institutional conditioning environments that can pattern behaviour in order to reach their objective. Political science and sociology focus on two coalitions of interests whose intent is to influence urban development. These coalitions occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum. Social movements consist of groups of citizens who would otherwise have insufficient political or economic clout to successfully pressure governments for more equitable urban policies, including planning interventions (Castells 1983; Hamel, Lustiger-Thaler, and Mayer 2000; ­Magnussson 1996). The other coalitions, the object of the urban regime perspective, are composed of elite groups with an interest in the redevelopment of downtowns in fashions that appeal to tourists and middle- and upper-class residents (Lauria 1996; Orr and Johnson 2008). Institutional considerations are inherent in the existence and effectiveness of these coalitions. Coalitions must be able to organize in a fashion that elicits positive responses from governments, essentially by stressing electoral and fiscal rewards likely to accrue from positive responses to their demands. Social forces are present throughout the narrative. Political parties and coalitions changed, the expression of public opinion regarding


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

the waterfront took different forms, citizen groups targeted specific issues, and developers had considerable influence on the form redevelopment took. But the focus is on the role of governments and agencies, a perspective justified by their predominant role in the redevelopment of the waterfront. The influence of social forces is thus perceived through the evolving institutional structure of the Toronto waterfront. This chapter is guided by questions stemming from the institutional perspective which structure its investigation of the Toronto waterfront redevelopment process. It considers the circumstances that account for the prominent role of agencies in determining planning outcomes. It also verifies how initial orientations given to agencies persist and how agencies evolve. Finally, the case study brings to the fore the effects of competition between agencies, each with its own discourse and strategies mirroring its self-interest.

Method Our Toronto waterfront narrative covers the evolution of the sector over approximately one hundred years – from the early twentieth century until 2008, the end of our research project on the Toronto waterfront. It relies on different sources. We consulted planning documents pertaining to the district, as well as Globe and Mail and Toronto Star articles over a forty-year period. More than two thousand articles concerning the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront were identified. Although subject to biases, newspaper articles are well suited to the construction of a chronology of events. We also scanned the academic literature to identify previous research work dealing with the Toronto waterfront. Finally, we conducted seventeen face-to-face interviews with present and former members of parliament, heads of development agencies and urban planners. These were semi-structured interviews addressing policy-making, intergovernmental relations, social forces, and policy evaluation. Each one lasted approximately one hour. We investigate a 6.5 kilometre stretch of the Toronto waterfront, running from Leslie Street to the east to Stratcham Avenue to the west. This portion of the waterfront runs along downtown and inner-city Toronto and is or was occupied by port, industrial, railway, and airport functions. Much of it has been redeveloped, and

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most of the remaining land is either presently experiencing redevelopment or is the object of planning to this effect.

Toronto Waterfront Redevelopment This account of the Toronto waterfront redevelopment is divided into three phases. The first provides a historical background by describing the major development trends that unfolded during the port-industrial period, which lasted until the late 1950s. Given the focus of the narrative on redevelopment, more attention is given to the second and third phases, which both deal with efforts at transforming the waterfront into a post-industrial environment – the nature of which was a constant object of contention over these two phases. The second phase is characterized by tensions between widely diverging concepts for a redeveloped post-industrial waterfront, some of which were inspired by the ambitious modernist tendencies of the time. The period was also marked by stark discrepancies between grand planning visions and local projects driven by the short-term interests of competing agencies responsible for Toronto waterfront redevelopment. The third phase is distinguished by attempts at coordinating Toronto waterfront redevelopment around long-term planning strategies. These efforts illustrate difficulties in reaching large-scale planning objectives in a fragmented institutional environment. The phase is marked by success in achieving coordination despite the enduring presence of activities and developments that jar with mainstream Toronto waterfront planning. The narrative describes the involvement of the three levels of government on the waterfront, mostly that of the federal and municipal levels, whose role has been most important. It expresses differences in their interventions associated with their respective perspectives on, and interest in, the waterfront. By also considering the agencies that were created by the different levels of government, the narrative takes a broad institutional perspective on the redevelopment of the waterfront. The Port-Industrial Phase: 1911 to the 1960s We begin the narrative in 1911, the year the Toronto Harbour Commission (THC) was set up. Responding to pressures from the Toronto


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

Board of Trade for improved port facilities, the federal government gave ownership of approximately 80 percent of the waterfront to the THC (Schaeffer 1974; Toronto Harbour Commission 1912). Mandated to expand port facilities, the THC was also given responsibility for land reclamation and industrial development on the waterfront. While benefiting from start-up funding from the federal government and the City of Toronto, the THC was expected to achieve financial autonomy by relying on debentures and the creation, selling, or leasing of industrial land to raise the money needed for the improvement of the port (Canada 1911; Merrens 1998, 96). In the 1912 THC plan, the Dominion was to provide $6.1 million for “construction of seawalls, breakwaters, circulating channels and channel bridges” (Mellen 1974, 334). The city, for its part, was to allocate $3.27 million for roads and bridges, and the THC was to spend $11.2 million for the reclamation of land and construction of harbour facilities. The commission was given authority to issue debentures and to recover its costs through land sales. Although officially a federal agency, the THC was in reality controlled by the City of Toronto, which appointed three of its five board members. Typically, board members consisted of the mayor of Toronto, council members, and local business people, mostly sponsored by the Board of Trade. The federal government was content to take a hands-off approach to the THC, even if its jurisdiction over the agency allowed it to alter its mandate (Ircha 1993). The main achievements of the THC include some industrial development in the area under its jurisdiction; extensive land filling, much of it leading to the creation of the Leslie Spit (a jetty extending 4.65 km into Lake Ontario); and the opening of the Toronto Island Airport in 1937 (see figure 6.1). But its major project, the creation of an outer harbour on both sides of the Leslie Spit, never materialized. Over its entire existence, the THC had to contend with limited port activity, since the scope of the Toronto port remained regional rather than national. It was hoped that the 1958 opening of the St Lawrence Seaway would increase traffic to the port by making it accessible to sea-faring vessels. Not only did these expectations fail to materialize, but the port was further marginalized when containerization took hold a few decades later (Booz-Allen and Hamilton 1992; Ramlalsingh 1975, 53). The THC industrial strategy also met with little success. The Toronto waterfront mostly attracted lowvalue, land-hungry industrial facilities, such as concrete works, coal

Figure 6.1  Toronto Central Waterfront. Source: Basemap courtesy of the City of Toronto


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

yards, and oil refinery and storage, and from the 1950s waterfront industrial land had to face intensifying competition from suburban industrial sites offering superior highway accessibility at a time of increasing reliance on truck transportation (Lemon 1990, 16). By the mid-1960s, the financial arrangements intended to secure THC support for the port were no longer workable. Declining port activity required rising financial support at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to generate revenue from Toronto waterfront industrial land; hence, THC’s renewed efforts at land disposal to raise funds despite a climate of dwindling demand for inner-city industrial sites (Desfor 1993). The THC adapted by retargeting its land sale at non-industrial activities (RCFTW 1989a, 47). Divergent Efforts at Post-Industrial Redevelopment: 1960s to the 1990s The transition to the post-industrial phase of the Toronto waterfront can be traced back to the late 1950s, when the City of Toronto began exploring redevelopment concepts for the sector. But one has to wait until 1972 to witness the launching of the first large-scale post-industrial project on the waterfront. Many factors converged to bring about a shift in waterfront redevelopment. We have just noted the lacklustre performance of the port and the limited interest in adjacent industrial land, which compelled the THC to seek alternative development to generate the revenues it needed to operate. At the same time, the downtown was enjoying accelerated growth, which raised the profile of nearby waterfront land. Another factor was federal interest in urban matters, reflected primarily in the active role the Central (now Canada) Mortgage and Housing Corporation played in suburban development and urban renewal, and the setting up in 1971of the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs (Bacher 1993; Miron 1993; Wolfe 2003). The 1960s and early 1970s also marked the apex of expert-driven modernist planning, riding a wave of economic prosperity and technological advancement and yielding highly ambitious plans that broke with traditional patterns of urban development. And finally, a purely functional perception of the city was challenged by perspectives that underscored its cultural and recreational dimensions. Nowhere was this transition more obvious than along the waterfront of North American cities. Areas that had been given exclusively to

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port facilities, industrial uses, railways, and expressways were taken over by residential, cultural, and recreational functions. In Canada the change of perspective on waterfronts was epitomized in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Expo 67 in Montréal and Ontario Place in Toronto (immediately to the west of our study area). A series of modernist waterfront redevelopment schemes were formulated over the 1960s. In the early 1960s the City of Toronto departed from its commitment to a waterfront that was focussed on port and industrial activities and came up with a scheme consisting of decks, plazas, and low-rise industrial structures at water’s edge (Toronto Planning Board 1962). In 1961, Metro Toronto engaged in a complex planning process for the waterfront involving the City of Toronto and its agencies, the federal government, the province, the THC, railway companies, boating committees, and conservation councils (Metropolitan Toronto Planning Board 1967). The THC played a key role in the process, given its responsibility for the delivery of the final plans for the City of Toronto portion of the waterfront. Proposals for this part of the waterfront appeared in 1968 in a document entitled A Bold Concept for the Redevelopment of the Toronto Waterfront (Toronto Harbour Commission 1968). There were three core elements in the plan: the creation of an outer harbour, the relocation of the Island Airport, and the development of a new residential community on the former airport land (Desfor 1993). Revenues accruing from this residential development were essential to the achievement of the other facets of the plan, but in the end, nothing came of it. Moving the airport was ruled out by flight paths that would cross those of the Toronto International (now Pearson) Airport and the vigorous opposition of residents of the gentrifying Beach neighbourhood, which would have been close to the relocalized airport (Hodge 1972). Finally, with the low shipping traffic of Toronto, there was little need for a new outer harbour. In the early 1970s the City of Toronto engaged in another waterfront planning effort whose purpose was to provide a vision for the entire district and coordinate the activities of the different waterfront agencies (Toronto Planning Board 1974). The process was complex, involving dozens of waterfront stakeholders and in the end was bypassed by projects put forth by agencies (Desfor, Goldrick, and Merrens 1989, 492). Most ambitious of all was the Metro Centre plan, which was carried out by the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railway


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

companies to provide a redevelopment framework for their land holdings between Front Street and the Gardiner Expressway. In 1970 the plan was submitted to the City of Toronto, which approved it without giving much attention to its consistency with other plans for the waterfront. Metro Centre plan proposals were futuristic: office and residential towers set on podiums, diagonal street patterns, the world’s highest tower, a massive pyramid, and the replacement of Union Station by office towers (Community Development Consultants Ltd 1968; Greenberg 1996; Metropolitan Toronto Planning Board 1970). As could have been expected, the proposed demolition of Union Station triggered massive opposition. What is more, the market for core area offices and housing could not have sustained the office and residential space the Metro Centre plan allocated to the railway lands. Ultimately, among all the proposals contained in the plan only the CN Tower was erected. The Toronto waterfront vision that most resonated with the public was a 1972 federal Liberal Party electoral promise to create a large park on the central portion of the waterfront (Gordon 1994; McLaughlin 1992). We will see that as in the case of most proposals for the waterfront, the park was not realized. When redevelopment did take off, little heed was given to the grand vision of the plans. The first redevelopment project was Harbour Square, which occupied a site between Queens Quay West and the water edge, and Yonge Street and York Street (Globe and Mail, 27 July 1963; 4 September 1965) (see figure 6.1). The project was designed and promoted by a developer with strong ties with the federal government. City council, then dominated by a pro-­ development caucus, and the THC approved the project despite its lack of conformity with the City Waterfront plan (Toronto Star, 10 April 1969). Work on the project consisting of a hotel and two large luxury condominium buildings began in 1972. The public reacted negatively to the project, lamenting its upmarket nature and insufficient public space. In a sense, Harbour Square foreshadowed the Harbourfront project, a much larger scheme that was to affect a substantial portion of the waterfront. In both cases the federal government was involved in launching the projects. Over approximately twenty years, most of the attention on the waterfront focussed on Harbourfront, which covers the area from York Street to Bathurst Street and from the Gardiner Expressway to the water’s edge (see figure 6.1). The idea

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of a park on the waterfront evolved into a mixture of public spaces and cultural activities, whose funding was to originate from on-site commercial and residential development (Toronto Star, 9 February 1979). Responsibility for the development of Harbourfront was first given to the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, which failed to launch the project. In 1976, the Federal Government created the Harbourfront Corporation and mandated it with the development of Harbourfront (Gordon 1994). There were nine members on its board: two appointed by the City of Toronto, two by Metro Toronto, and the remaining five by the federal government, with the approval of the city and Metro (Globe and Mail, 25 May 1976). The board included high-ranking executives from the City of Toronto and Metro. Federal appointments were replaced when parties in power changed. The original vision of Harbourfront harmonized several objectives. It would provide ample public space, run an active cultural program and provide retailing and mixed-income housing. The goal was to create a vibrant district with “an all day, year-round population” (Harbourfront Corporation 1978, 7). A conceptual rendering showed low- and mid-rise buildings (with less than eight stories) in a park-like environment (Toronto Star, 24 March 1977). During the 1979 electoral campaign, the federal Liberals pledged full funding of Harbourfront based on the then prevailing concept (Globe and Mail, 31 March 1979). The victorious Progressive Conservatives praised the Harbourfront concept but expressed concern over its high cost (Toronto Star, 7 October 1979). City council was also favourable, largely because 30 percent of the housing was to be subsidized. It was quick to approve the secondary plan for Harbourfront, even though doing so short-circuited a previous effort to involve the different waterfront agencies in the formulation of a comprehensive plan for the entire waterfront (Toronto Planning Board 1974; Toronto Planning Department 1980). When they returned to power in 1980 the federal Liberals committed $25 million to Harbourfront but made it clear that this would be the only federal government contribution and that the remaining $200 million needed for the operation of Harbourfront was to originate from private investments (Globe and Mail, 14 June 1980; Toronto Star, 13 June 1980). Initially, expectations for Harbourfront ran high. The secondary plan outlined moderate densities and generous green space allowance, and former city planners took the helm of the development


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

process (Globe and Mail, 24 June 1980; Toronto City Council 1982). But things soured as Harbourfront was confronted with two problems: difficulty in meeting assisted housing targets and over­ development owing to the need to generate revenue to support cultural programming. As the federal Progressive Conservative government slashed spending on the construction of affordable housing in the mid-1980s, it became difficult for Harbourfront to meet its affordable housing targets. The Harbourfront Corporation was criticized for its use of a broad definition of affordable housing and for the poor appearance of a large low-cost housing development called Harbour Point (Globe and Mail, 8 April 1986). The Harbourfront Corporation was also chastised for an accelerated development process, which took place at the expense of design principles and open space objectives (Globe and Mail, 18 March 1987). Visitors and residents alike considered the density to be too high (Globe and Mail, 23 April 1986). Things came to a head when Harbourfront categorized small residual spaces surrounding buildings as open space, causing the city’s Park Commission to call for a stoppage of development (Gordon 1994, 6–33; Toronto Star, 2 January 1987). Ultimately, Harbourfront development was frozen by the City of Toronto and the federal government while they performed reviews, and in 1990 the province imposed its own moratorium. Deprived of revenues originating from new development, Harbourfront could no longer fulfill its mandate and was disbanded in 1990. While criticized for the intensity of its development and for an approach to land use that was driven by a need to raise funding for its cultural programs, Harbourfront at least followed land use planning guidelines. The same could not be said of the approach to development taken by the THC. Required to support financially the port, whose declining activity deepened its operational deficit, the THC was selling or leasing its land for diverse development projects (RCFTW 1989a, 47). The main one was the World Trade Centre, consisting of two towers with twenty-five and eighteen storeys respectively, but there were also industrial and retailing developments (Globe and Mail, 2 December 1986). The development promoted by the THC was criticized both for its financial, rather than planning, motivation and for its hodgepodge configuration (Hartmann 1999; RCFTW 1990, 202–3). Overall, the THC resisted attempts at cooperation from the city and other agencies involved with waterfront redevelopment and objected to planning-related restrictions

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on development on its land (Desfor 1993, 174). Tensions between the city and the THC may seem surprising, because a majority of its board members were city council members. But in reality they did not necessarily espouse the views of the then ruling caucus at City Hall. Also it was observed that councillors appointed to the THC changed their positions as they moved between city council and the THC Board. Alleged improprieties in the sale of a lot at the foot of Yonge Street and refusal by the THC to renegotiate the deal blackened its reputation in the media and came to symbolize problems with an organization that appeared to lack checks and balances (Globe and Mail, 30 August 1986; Toronto Star, 28 August 1986; 29 August 1986). Meanwhile, little development was taking place on the railway lands, notwithstanding the construction of the CN Tower between 1973 and 1976, of the Toronto Convention Centre between 1982 and 1985, of the Sky Dome (later renamed Rogers Centre) between 1986 and 1989. Railway companies were vying to maximize the office development potential of their land, but their requests met with resistance from the City of Toronto. In any event, with declining downtown office development it became increasingly obvious from the late 1980s that future office markets would be too limited to support intended development. From the mid-1980s onwards, pressure for a change in the organizational set-up of the Toronto waterfront gained momentum. Harbourfront, originally introduced as a park and having evolved into the site of increasingly dense development, became the main flashpoint in the opposition to prevailing waterfront institutional arrangements and resulting land use patterns. In 1987, under the impetus of the City of Toronto, its former planning commissioner, Stephen McLaughlin, prepared a report on federal properties on the waterfront (McLaughlin 1987). Lamenting the fragmentation of those properties among many agencies and the absence of coordination between them, it recommended a joint federal/provincial review of waterfront development. McLaughlin’s proposal led to the launching by these two levels of government of the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront, placed under the direction of David Crombie, a former City of Toronto mayor. Crombie supported McLaughlin’s view that the province should be involved in the royal commission. After all, the province had long been a vocal critique of the federal approach to waterfront redevelopment.


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

The royal commission was highly critical of prevailing development patterns. It recommended the separation of land use development from the other objectives pursued by the agencies (RCFTW 1989b). Above all, it adopted a strong environmental stance, adhering to a watershed perspective including not only the Lake Ontario waterfront but also the rivers and creeks flowing into the lake. Such a stance thus called for a coordinated approach to planning, in stark opposition with the fragmented development that had characterized the waterfront. In this regard, the commission recommended setting up the waterfront Regeneration Trust, mandated to coordinate waterfront redevelopment and advise the province on waterfront issues (RCFTW 1992). Planning models were also evolving. By the late 1980s, the popularity of grand modernist schemes, such as those put forth by the Metro Centre plan, had made way for more traditional forms of development characterized by their medium-density, grid patterns and pedestrian-hospitable retail streets. The redeveloped St Lawrence neighbourhood, immediately to the north of the waterfront, came to epitomize this form of development. Attempts at Coordination: From the 1990s Onwards Institutional changes began to unravel in the wake of the royal commission report entitled Regeneration. Following the advice of David Crombie, city councillors used their majority on the THC board to transfer most of its land to the City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), a municipal agency set up to generate employment and economic development on underused industrial land (Tasse 2006, 15). Other THC board members, including some city councillors, contested the legality of this transfer, but to no avail. Meanwhile, the Canada Lands Company, a Crown corporation responsible for divesting surplus federal property, sold CN railway lands to a large residential developer (Toronto Star, 26 March 1997). So by the mid-1990s the federal government presence on the waterfront was much diminished. But the federal government wanted to remain an important player on the waterfront for visibility, patronage, and electoral reasons. Toronto Liberal members of parliament were successful in having the Toronto port classified among those worthy of federal attention, even though its regional rather than national scale clearly d ­ emarcated

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it from other ports thus classified (Canada 1996; Toronto Star, 29 March 1996). From 1999, the Toronto port was administered by the newly formed Toronto Port Authority (TPA), an arm’s length federal agency. The TPA was differentiated from the THC by the composition of its board, no longer composed of a majority of City of Toronto appointees, and its limited land holdings: the port, the outer marina, and the Island Airport (renamed City Centre Airport in 1994) (Tasse 2006, 30). The board was largely composed of federal government patronage appointments. Government interest in the Toronto waterfront crested between 1999 and 2001 when Toronto prepared its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. Most of the attention focussed on the eastern portion of the waterfront, which was to be the site of the main Olympic installations, including the Olympic village, but redevelopment efforts were also targeted at the entire waterfront. In 2001, the three levels of government created the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC), mandated for the redevelopment of the forty-six kilometres of the amalgamated City of Toronto waterfront. The agency, which was promised $1.5 billion by the three levels of government, was meant to showcase the Toronto capacity to hold the Olympic Games (Toronto Star, 1 March 2001; 2 March 2001). The waterfront redevelopment strategy was slow to take off after the failure of the Olympic bid. By early 2004, only $35 million in government funds had been transferred to the TWRC (Toronto Star, 9 May 2002, 4 March 2004, 5 March 2004). Later that year, however, the federal and provincial governments allocated $334 million for different projects, including naturalization of the mouth of the Don River, remediation of industrial sites in the Port Lands to make them suitable for housing and parks, and a boardwalk along Harbourfront Centre. Of late, under the coordinating eye of the TWRC, relabelled Waterfront Toronto, the province, the City of Toronto and the federal government each concentrates on a different portion of the waterfront. The province is proceeding with the development of the West Don Lands, a future neighbourhood of six thousand new residential units and ancillary retailing and services, and the city is engaged in the creation of the East Bayfront neighbourhood, which will contain six thousand new residences and eight thousand jobs, along with 5.5 hectares of parks and open space (Globe and Mail, 6 May 2005; Toronto Star, 27 March 2006) (see figure 6.1). For


Pierre Filion and Christopher Sanderson

its part, the federal government is providing new parks (Toronto ­Waterfront Revitalization Corporation 2005; interview with president and CEO of Waterfront Toronto). The filling in of the Toronto waterfront is also taking place on the railway lands (see figure 6.1). In the early 2000s, Grand Adex ­Properties (renamed Concord Adex) began the construction of residential condominium towers modelled in part on the company’s residential redevelopment of the Vancouver Expo 86 site, widely praised in planning and architectural circles (Globe and Mail, 10 July 1997; 24 September 1997; Punter 2003). At built out, City Place (the name given to the Concord Adex project) will consist of seventeen residential towers along with a number of lower structures. The railway lands are also experiencing the development of other condo buildings and two new office towers. Recent redevelopment of the waterfront did not take place without jarring episodes. Despite its status as an agency of the city, TEDCO pursued its short term economic development objectives with little consideration for the city’s planning goals for the waterfront. As the city was engaged in the preparation of the Olympic bid, TEDCO signed a twenty-year lease with a food retailer for a three-hectare property across the street from the proposed Olympic stadium. In a similar vein, TEDCO’s proposal for an entertainment studio on the East Bayfront clashed with the land use plans adopted by Waterfront Toronto (Toronto Star, 25 March 2000; 27 March 2000a; 27 March 2000b; 17 April 2000; 7 October 2004). TEDCO also resisted a City of Toronto request to transfer some of its land to the TWRC. The city had to take the extreme measure of using a shareholder declaration – the city being the sole shareholder – to force TEDCO to divest itself of its land. In 2008 the City of Toronto replaced TEDCO with two new agencies (Toronto Star, 30 September 2008). The expansion of the City Centre Airport had long been a source of conflicts opposing the THC, which was eager to increase revenues from the airport, to nearby residents (Community AIR 2007; Globe and Mail, 26 November 2002; National Post, 29 November 2002). Opponents were successful in securing and maintaining a ban on commercial jets. The City Centre Airport again became an object of contention when the TPA received City of Toronto support for the construction of a bridge to the airport, which would replace an inconvenient ferry service. For the opponents of the bridge, the proposal would inevitably lead to an expansion of the airport.

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They argued that the waterfront could not accommodate in close proximity high-density residential development and a busy airport and that increased air traffic would compromise the future of the waterfront. The controversy over the bridge became the main issue of the 2003 municipal election. Toronto Councillor David Miller, who alone among mayoralty candidates opposed the bridge, won the race (Toronto Star, 14 October 2003). After his victory, Miller helped cancel the bridge and convinced the federal government to assume ensuing liability toward the TPA and the operator of the airport (Globe and Mail, 13 May 2004; 4 May 2005; Toronto Star, 4 May 2005) (For a synopsis of the Toronto waterfront redevelopment issues see table 6.1).

Institutional Interpretations In this section we explain different aspects of the narrative from an institutional perspective. We consider features of the institutional makeup, dynamics stemming from relationships between institutions, and effects on Toronto waterfront land use. The first question concerns the presence of so many agencies on the waterfront. Three conditions were associated with the creation of these agencies. First, agencies were set up to deal with specific issues, as noted in the case of the creation of the THC being given responsibility for port operation and expansion in the early twentieth century and the creation of the Harbourfront Corporation in the 1980s to oversee the development of the central part of the waterfront and to set up cultural programming. These two examples illustrate the concurrent existence of one long-lasting organization responsible for enduring functions and of another created to carry out a mandate that proved to be short-lived in comparison. We have also seen that in other circumstances agencies can become mired in controversy when not suited to emerging circumstances and be disbanded and replaced by other agencies. This was the fate of the THC, whose responsibilities were ultimately taken over by TEDCO and the TPA. A final factor relates to the involvement of different levels of government, mainly the federal government and the City of Toronto, but also the province, and their need to set up agencies to deal with waterfront-related matters. Such a requirement was especially felt by the federal government, which relied on arm’slength agencies to ensure input from local stakeholders and develop

Table 6.1 Major Inter-agency Tensions in the Redevelopment of the Toronto Waterfront Major Tensions Planning processes over the 1960s generate visions for the Toronto waterfront, but when redevelopment projects materialize in the 1970s and 1980s, no attention is given to prior planning efforts, thus shortcircuiting previous planning

Owing to cuts in federal funding to subsidized housing, the Harbourfront Corporation is unable to meet its affordable housing objectives. Also the corporation raises the density of Harbourfront development and reduces the amount or size of open space to secure the funding of its recreational and cultural programs. The THC develops its lands in a hodgepodge fashion. The public and the city protest about the nature of the development and the lack of coordinated planning.

The Royal Commission on the Waterfront, a joint federalprovincial commission, calls for a coordinated approach to waterfront development, giving central importance to land use and environmental planning.

Involved Agencies and Their Motivations The THC and the federal government approve the Harbour Point development; they were largely driven by revenue generation considerations. City approves Harbour Point owing to the pro-development orientation of council at the time. Plans for Harbourfront are also approved by city, by a reformist council. This time it is because they contain plentiful open space and affordable housing. There was no agency to defend the plans of the 1960s and early 1970s. The Harbourfront Corporation gives priority to its recreational and cultural programming at the expense of land use planning objectives. Public opposition to the form Harbourfront development took impelled the city and the province to confront the Harbourfront Corporation and the federal government on this matter. For the THC, as for Harbourfront, land use development is a means to an end, that is, financial support for the operation of the port and the Island Airport. Meanwhile the city is sensitive to public opinion and formulates and promotes land use planning objectives for the waterfront. Responding to adverse public opinion about waterfront redevelopment, the provincial and federal governments launch the Royal Commission on the Waterfront. The City of Toronto shares the royal commission emphasis on land use planning. The royal commission vision clashes with the development carried out by the THC and the Harbourfront Corporation. Recommendations of the royal

Outcomes Projects go ahead despite lack of conformity with earlier plans. The configuration of the plans is defined by the mandate of the relevant agencies and the size of the territory under their jurisdiction.

Harbourfront departs from its original land use plans. The three levels of government agree to a development freeze on the Harbourfront lands. Unable to pursue its mandates, Harbourfront is then dismantled.

Haphazard development on THC lands, leading to most of them being transferred to TEDCO (a City of Toronto agency).

Changes in the orientation of waterfront development. TWRC–Waterfront Toronto define planning; at present the three levels of government carry out projects that fit the planning concept. For the first time there is coordinated planning of the waterfront within the study area. The City of Toronto takes over much of the THC land, and passes it to TEDCO.

Table 6.1 (continued)

TEDCO’s pursuit of workplaces – retailing, movie making, entertainment – often compromises the neighbourhood creation vision of the City of Toronto.

The TPA is eager to protect port operations from new residential development, hence concern about the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto redevelopment agenda. But most conflicts take place around the City Centre Airport, its possible expansion, and the fixed-link issue.

commission lead to the creation of the TWRC and Waterfront Toronto. TEDCO is driven by its jobcreation mandate and does not subscribe to planning visions. It clashes with the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto, two organizations that promote neighbourhood configurations on the waterfront. The TPA’s interests are associated narrowly with the port and airport, hence its efforts to make them financially self-sufficient. Zones of conflict with existing and future residential areas, whose living conditions are defended by the City of Toronto.

TEDCO was forced by the City of Toronto to cede land to Waterfront Toronto and then it is disbanded.

The TPA is the one agency that does not adhere to the Waterfront Toronto vision. Expansion of the City Centre Airport, but still no fixed link.

expertise on ­different aspects of the waterfront. More recently, the City of Toronto also relied on agencies – TEDCO and TWRC/Waterfront Toronto. All these factors account for the complex institutional scene on the Toronto waterfront. The behaviour of individuals operating within agencies generally coincides with the interests of these agencies. Organizations indeed rely on systems of incentives and penalties to ensure consistency between their objectives and the behaviour of their members ­(Pierson 2000). In the most successful instances, individuals identify their interests with those of the agency they belong to. The resulting consistency in the behaviour of individuals operating within their institutional structure warrants the perception of agencies as actors in their own right. Uncomfortable situations have arisen when the same individuals have belonged to two organizations in a conflicting situation. Board members have had fiduciary responsibility for the organizations to which they belonged, forcing them to change their positions as they moved between organizations. The narrative has documented such an instance involving City of Toronto councillors who were also members of the THC board. In the words of a former chief planner for the City of Toronto: “I always found it interesting that, when councillors were appointed to the former Harbour Com-


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mission, they could have a speech at Council, and as soon as they were sitting at the Harbour Commission’s table, they were different persons. And they would argue against what they said at Council. You know, it was like a private club.” Dissimilarities in the positions taken by different agencies and resulting conflicts can be attributed to their respective mandates and institutional structures, which determined the nature of their relations with their societal environment as well as between each other. While the THC, Harbourfront, TEDCO, and the TPA were largely shielded from electoral pressures and could thus pursue their respective financial sustainability objectives with little concern for public opinion, when they intervened on the waterfront, governments had to heed public sentiments. However, sensitivity to local pressures varied according to the level of government. As expected, this sensitivity was much higher for the City of Toronto than for senior governments, for whom the waterfront issues affected but a small share of their overall electorate and played a minor role within their wide range of responsibilities. The self-interest of organizations drove their perception of waterfront-­related issues and of possible responses. Different organizational self-interests therefore translated into different perceptions of problems and solutions, which explain a profusion of discourses on the waterfront. Over much of the history of the Toronto waterfront redevelopment, agencies operated as fiefdoms with considerable control over portions of the waterfront under their jurisdiction. Without the capacity to impose its planning vision on most waterfront agencies, attempts by the City of Toronto to plan the entire waterfront simply added to the number of perspectives on the waterfront. In a context of fragmented jurisdictions and power, there was no available mechanism to determine the superiority of one perspective over another. The result was relativism in views on the waterfront. The discourse of each organization focused on its own slice of reality. For example, at the same time that the City of Toronto was promoting a vision of the waterfront that emphasized residential development and recreational space, the TPA stressed the importance of the port function and of the City Centre Airport. As stated by a TPA executive: “You know even Waterfront Toronto brings in great planners and visionaries. They look at what we have waterwise and airport-wise and they say: You are so lucky. Because they get it, they get transportation and transportation has always been

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the afterthought relative to design and it bothers the hell out of me because regarding transportation, you set your links first and design around it.” Decision-making dynamics on the waterfront mirrored the complicated agency makeup. Projects had to be consistent with the capacities of the agencies and their self-interest. For example, the ambitious planning visions of the 1960s were incompatible with the resources available to the THC, as well as with its mandate. Rather than pursuing such grand visions, the THC engaged in piecemeal development to generate the revenues it required to operate the port. The presence of different agencies was also responsible for a fragmented development pattern. Each agency developed land according to its own priorities, which explains profound differences in the configuration of different portions of the waterfront: the THC lands, Harbourfront, and the Railway Lands. Planning objectives often took a distant second place to the more immediate financial self-sustainability objectives of agencies. What is more, efforts at coordinating development inevitably became enmeshed in interagency conflicts, a cause of prolonged delays (Gordon 1997). The protracted and fragmented nature of waterfront redevelopment in Toronto, along with its focus on high-density redevelopment, can be contrasted with the Chicago experience. There, the redevelopment of the central portion of the waterfront resulted in a series of large parks with design features worthy of their prestigious location. Two factors accounting for the difference between the two experiences are the role played by the City of Chicago at key stages of the redevelopment and the existence of a strong mayoral system, which made for commanding leadership throughout the process (Green and Holli 2005; Holli and Green 1999). We must remain aware that the institutional perspective offers but one, albeit an important, layer of explanation for the form Toronto waterfront redevelopment took. Major societal tendencies, such as the economic transition to post-industrialism and the shift to postmodern values leading to the passage from a functional approach to the city to one that emphasizes quality of life, have also played a key role (Bell 1999; Kumar 1995). But the narrative has shown that the impact of these tendencies on the waterfront was largely filtered by its inter-agency dynamic. It is also important to consider the part individuals played in the redevelopment process. If in most cases the actions of individuals contributed to the perpetuation of existing


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agencies, as implied by the path dependency perspective, in exceptional circumstances influential individuals were instrumental in the transformation of the institutional scene. Perhaps most important was the impact of David Crombie. As chair of the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront and as a respected former politician, David Crombie played a central role in the dismantling of the THC and the adoption of a coordinated approach to waterfront redevelopment. There is, finally, the impact of social forces on the waterfront. The narrative has pointed to the role at different times of the Board of Trade and business interests, developers, political parties and caucuses (at the municipal level), public opinion, and neighbourhood organizations. For example, we have seen that the creation of the THC resulted from lobbying on the part of the Board of Trade, that in the case of Harbour Square and much of the Railway Lands the full redevelopment concepts originated from developers, and that changes in political parties and caucuses in power translated at the federal level into a loss in subsidized housing funding and at the municipal level into shifts from pro-development to pro-planningcontrol attitudes. Moreover, neighbourhood movements manifested themselves by preventing a change in the Island Airport location and by later pressing for limits in its expansion, and public opinion voiced its opposition to the density of Harbourfront development. Despite the insensitivity to social forces of agencies with appointed boards (notwithstanding those forces that are essential to the pursuit of their objectives), these forces nonetheless had a considerable impact on the waterfront institutional configuration. At different junctures they indeed had the capacity to influence levels of government, which in turn modified the agency landscape in response to issues raised by social forces. Most notably, reacting to public opinion that was increasingly hostile to the trajectory of waterfront redevelopment, the federal and provincial governments launched the Royal Commission on the Toronto Waterfront, leading to the subsequent agency re-jigging. Our contention remains, however, that the institutional set-up was the main factor driving waterfront redevelopment. Social forces may have contributed to the institutional configuration, but ultimately it was institutionally based factors, such as tension between levels of government, the pursuit by organizations of their respective self-interests, and inter-organizational rivalry that were determinant. It was through these institutional dynamics that the impact of social forces was felt.

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Conclusion The history of the Toronto waterfront over the last hundred years was divided into three phases. The first was dominated by the THC and focused on the port and industrial functions of the waterfront. The second phase witnessed a proliferation of post-industrial visions for the waterfront and some post-industrial redevelopment, but little connection between the two. The scale, the configuration, and the sequence of the developments that took place over the period did not match the visions. The period also experienced the setting up of different agencies responsible for the development of distinct parts of the waterfront. Finally, the third phase has been characterized by attempts to move away from the institutional and land use fragmentation that has defined the previous period, leading to the setting up of an overarching agency. But the narrative has shown that although this institutional reconfiguration was favourable to coordinated development, it did not rule out inter-agency and land use conflicts. As a rule, institutional structures play a critical role in the formulation of policies and in determining policy outcomes. They are not just one among different sources of influence: they are mediators, filtering the effects of other factors. They shape how economic, social, and political tendencies are reflected in land use outcomes. What distinguishes most the Toronto waterfront is its exceptionally complex institutional structure. Likely more than elsewhere, planning outcomes on the Toronto waterfront have therefore been determined by inter-agency dynamics, possibly at the expense of other sources of influence on land use development and planning. Development on the waterfront, characterized by fragmented land use patterns, high-density configurations with relatively little public space, and the presence of conflicting uses in close proximity to each other, mirrors the presence of multiple agencies, each driven by its own self-interest. What if the Toronto waterfront had been placed under the mandate of a single agency from the outset of the redevelopment process? We can assume that land development would have been less fragmented, that more public space would have been provided and different developments would have been better integrated, thus ruling out conflicting situations such as the one noted in the case of the City Centre Airport and surrounding residential areas. Also, depending on financial arrangements within this agency, the outcome may have been lower development density


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and additional public space. But it would have been important for this agency to have a strong planning vision; otherwise we could have witnessed haphazard redevelopment even under the mandate of a single agency, as happened when the THC dominated the waterfront.

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– 1977. “Waterfront Plan a World of Its Own,” 24 March, C04. (M. Best). – 1979. “Shops and Housing – That’s the Plan for Harbourfront,” 9 February, A03. (D. Miller). – 1979. “Liberals’ Fall Leaves Harbourfront in Limbo,” 7 October, A03. (J. Dineen). – 1980. “Ottawa Gives Harbourfront $25 Million,” 13 June, A01. (P. Rickwood and H. Mietkiewicz). – 1986. “$24 Million Sale of Harbour Land Called Too Low,” 28 August, A6. (T. Kerr). – 1986. “Harbour Commission Refuses Demand for Land Sale Details, 29 August, A6. (T. Kerr). – 1987. “Parks Commissioner vs. Harbourfront,” 2 January, A19. (D.L. Stein). – 1996. “City Balks at Ottawa’s Port Plan – Won’t Give Up Control to Business Board,” 29 March, E3. (P. Moloney). – 1997. “$2 Billion Plan Will Transform Railway Land,” 26 March, A1. (T. Wong). – 2000. “Mystery As Tycoon Steve Stavro Wins New 20-Year Lease,” 25 March, NE01. (J. Lakey and B. Spremo). – 2000a. “Waterfront Chief Warned Against Deals – Port-land Officials Went Ahead with 20-Year Lease,” 27 March, B1. (J. Lakey). – 2000b. “Land ‘Scandal’ Spoils Task Force’s Big Day,” 27 March, GT01. (R. James). – 2000. “TEDCO Fumble Could Trip Up Fung’s Plan,” 17 April, GT01. (R. James). – 2001. “Superagency to Redevelop Waterfront – Three Governments Kick In $300 Million to Start Key Projects,” 1 March, GT01. (J. Lakey). – 2001. “Waterfront Agency Raises Concerns – Accountability of Unelected Board Questioned,” 2 March, GT01. (M. Welsh and J. Lakey). – 2002. “Waterfront Corporation Still Adrift with No Power,” 9 May, D03. (C. Hume). – 2003. “Bridge over Troubled Waters,” 14 October, A23. (T. Walkom). – 2004. “Fung Weary of Playing Waterfront Games: Corporation Head Upset about Slow Pace of Development; Lack of Funds, Bureaucracy Described as Major Hurdles,” 4 March, B04. (K. Gillespie). – 2004. “Waterfront Corporation Starved for Cash, May Fold; Said to Be 26 Days from Shutdown; Projects Delayed; Ottawa Owes $10M,” 5 March, B01. (K. Gillespie). – 2004. “Going Madly Off in All Directions,” 7 October, B02. (C. Hume).

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7 Tracking the Growth of the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program under Different Political Regimes Eric Champagne

Introduction Since the mid-1990s, the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program has become a milestone in the history of relations between federal, provincial, and municipal governments – thus called “multilevel governance.” This program was born in the context of a debate on the deficit of municipal infrastructure1 in Canada, and the goal was to stimulate investments in infrastructure in Canadian municipalities. Since the creation of the program in 1994, important political changes have taken place in Ottawa. The Liberal political regime, led successively by Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin (1994–2006), oversaw the creation and the development of the program. Later, in 2006, the Liberal Party was defeated and replaced by a new conservative regime. Between 2006 and 2010 successive conservative governments led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper were able to hold power through minority governments.2 One could have expected that the Conservative government would initiate a series of reforms promoting a “low-fat diet” infrastructure spending policy and less intrusive government in Canada. If it had, the municipal infrastructure program, which involves a significant federal public expenditure of several billion dollars, would have been subject to severe cutback. But the expected reforms did not happen. In fact, the Conservative Party has not only extended this investment program but also increased its budget substantially before and after the economic

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crisis of 2008–10. In this chapter, I try to understand and explain the sustained political support for this program through the political regimes that have succeeded. Despite political changes, Bojorquez, Champagne, and ­Vaillancourt (2009) have observed that the general nature of the municipal infrastructure program remained relatively stable over time. Despite some differences, most of the municipal federal infrastructure funds are “conditional grants” with tripartite cost-sharing. These funds rely on intergovernmental arrangements rather than on unconditional block grants, which could have provided more autonomy to municipalities without matching funds. This research poses the question, what explains the rise of multilevel governance between the federal government and Canadian municipalities across party lines? I use the case of infrastructure investments in Canada to argue that municipalities have become key players in intergovernmental relations in Canada. I also maintain that this renewed federal-municipal relationship is contributing to gradually changing conventional Canadian federalism based on federal-provincial arrangements. I use as a theoretical framework the model of Andrew, Graham, and Phillips (2002) to describe the changing context for urban and municipal policies in Canada. First, the current internationalization process gives Canadian cities a new economic and social role in the world economy. Second, the immigration boom and demographic growth in Canada occur mainly in large Canadian centres. Finally, the increased pressure on municipal governments resulting from the off-loading of provincial responsibilities within their jurisdiction calls for a keener recognition of those governments. Bradford (2004, 43) asserts that “new thinking is needed that respects provincial constitutional responsibility for municipal governments while also fully recognizing that metropolitan issues, from the environment and housing to employment and immigration, transcend the jurisdictional compartments.” As Berdahl (2004) points out, the role of municipalities has been an important matter of Canadian concern since the late 1990s, when a transformation in the existing federal-municipal relations became inevitable. The absence of formal constitutional constraint in various urban issues made federal commitment in municipal affairs relentless. On a purely constitutional basis, through its spending power the federal government is free to spend its financial resources,


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or lend them to any government or institution it chooses, for any purpose (Sancton and Young 2003). What the federal government cannot do is to create laws or policies in relation to municipalities, since municipal institutions are ruled by provincial powers. Thus, it can be argued that the provinces could have challenged the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program more intensively if they had been in better financial health. But we now see that through that program a new federal-municipal relationship is emerging around tripartite political and bureaucratic interactions and agreements between the federal and provincial governments and the municipalities. More recently, Stoney and Graham (2009, 391) have depicted the latest generation of federal-municipal machinery as “a tendency to buy rather than build federal influence, the move from a unilateral, centralized federal approach to a more decentralized intergovernmental approach, the shift from social policies to investment in physical infrastructure, and some tenuous signs of a trend towards longer-term funding through programs like the Gas Tax Fund and the Building Canada initiative.” From the same perspective, a substantial body of literature, which includes studies by Kitchen (2002), Slack (2002), McMillan (2006), and Bojorquez, Champagne, and Vaillancourt (2009), also explores municipal finances as a key driver of a renewed intergovernmental fiscal relations framework in Canada. In particular, it suggests that economic and social problems are changing and that the division of responsibilities for public services and expenditures among each level of government has an important impact on Canadian federalism and most especially on how the federal government interacts with the municipalities. Intergovernmental relations, mainly between the provinces, the territories, and the federal government, shape Canada’s traditional political organization. Municipalities have been delegated authority by the provinces to perform certain duties. Provincial rules and regulations thus govern municipalities, which are eventually constrained by jurisdiction and by the resulting limited powers delegated to them by the provincial rules and regulations (McAllister 2004). However, since the mid-1990s, the federal government has shown an increasing interest in urban and municipal issues. To some extent, the role of municipalities has become an important matter of national Canadian concern. A transformation in existing federal-municipal relations evolved particularly through the municipal infrastructure program. In this paper, I first describe the birth of the federal

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g­ overnment’s municipal infrastructure program from 1994 to 2002 and then look at the evolution of the program from 2002 to 2010, a period of continuous political turbulence. I focus on four periods: 1 The first Liberal period, from 2002 to 2004, the end of Prime Minister Chrétien’s regime, is characterized by the creation of Infrastructure Canada, a new department intended to deal with cities. 2 The second Liberal period, from 2004 to 2006, is typified by Prime Minister Paul Martin’s New Deal for Cities. 3 The first Conservative period since the election of the Conservative Party headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006 runs from 2006 to 2008 and is characterized by the expansion of the New Deal for Cities and the introduction of a Public-Private Partnership program for infrastructure investments. 4 The second Conservative period, from 2008 to 2010, is marked by Canada’s Economic Action Plan to deal with the global economic crisis and the implementation of the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. I then move on to discuss some conclusions regarding the growth of the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program, along with the rise of multilevel governance between the federal government and Canadian municipalities across party lines.

The Birth of the Federal Infrastructure Program, 1994–2002 When Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien won the 1993 election, municipal and urban issues were a strong component of his electoral platform (Liberal Party of Canada 1993). The federal government rapidly implemented a series of programs that were oriented toward the creation of opportunities for increased funding in municipal infrastructure through the Canada Infrastructure Works Program, created in 1994. Before Chrétien’s election, the federal government had, for a period of almost fifteen years, almost completely overlooked the needs of municipal governments in Canada. Yet, in the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government had implemented several programs targeted at municipalities, such as the Sewer Treatment Program, which provided $979 million in loans and $131 million in grants to local governments from 1961 to 1974 (Hilton 2007).


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In 1970 the federal government created the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs (MSUA) to develop cooperative relationships on urban issues among the federal government, the provinces, and the municipalities. Although from 1975 to 1978, the MSUA managed a federal infrastructure program to address the financial troubles of local governments, it had a short life span (1970–79) resulting from a declining economy, the refocusing of the federal government on other matters; and the changing dynamics that characterized federal-­provincial relations at the end of the decade. During the Conservative regime that lasted for ten years from 1984 to 1994, the Conservatives had almost totally refrained from engaging in urban or municipal spending. The re-emergence of urban and municipal concerns at the federal level and the strong support from the Liberals to the municipalities in the mid-1990s were not purely accidental or surprising. Municipal governments, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Big City Mayors Association, have played an important role in stimulating changes in Canadian federalism. Since its creation in 1976, the FCM has maintained a strong advocacy role in lobbying for the federal government to include municipal issues in policy development and federal decision making. The FCM has pressured the federal government to influence policy and funding decisions and to make the municipal governments a legitimate level of government in Canadian intergovernmental relationships, with more or less success. Since 1980 the FCM has sought the recognition of municipalities as a “distinct level of government under the new constitution” (Dewing et al. 2006, 10). Within the context of realizing its primary goal of constitutional recognition and in furthering its role of active involvement in the country’s economic and political spheres, the FCM has devoted its efforts to lobbying for practical and specific services. To strengthen the influence of its lobbying activities, the FCM had established several task forces whose main duties were to devise a municipal point of view on national issues that affected its members. It has been intensively pursuing more federal spending on infrastructure through lobbying. Since its creation, the FCM has had a stronger influence on the Liberal Party than on the Conservative Party. The strong support of the Liberals for the FCM’s advocacy was further fortified when in 1986 John Turner, then the Liberal Party’s leader of the o ­ pposition,

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endorsed the FCM’s proposal for increased funding, which enabled the creation of the National Liberal Task Force on Municipal Infrastructure in 1989. It conducted a survey that found that at least $25.1 billion was needed to effectively upgrade municipal infrastructure (Swimmer, cited in Hilton 2007, 47). This conclusion was used by the FCM to buttress their proposal for increased funding, which was eventually used by the Liberals in its 1993 electoral platform entitled Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada (also known as the Red Book). The Red Book outlined four objectives for a tripartite shared-cost infrastructure program between the federal, the provincial, and the municipal levels. The objectives were creating jobs, supporting economic growth, enhancing community livability, and building intergovernmental cooperation. Shortly after the election, the federal government fulfilled its promise and created the Canada Infrastructure Works Program (CIWP). It had funding support of $6 billion for the creation of both short- and long-term jobs and the enhancement of communities’ physical infrastructure. The program identified four factors that supported this federal initiative to invest in local infrastructure (Jennings 2003): 1 Targeted investment in infrastructure can produce a general economic stimulus, with short-term employment in construction likely to be the main impact. 2 Investment in infrastructure can produce longer-term positive effects on productivity and employment as a result of, for example, improved transportation facilities and communications. 3 Infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Before the introduction of the program, concerns had been raised about the state of local infrastructure in Canada. 4 The limited resources available to governments to undertake the large investments involved in infrastructure imply that all three levels of government benefit from a coordinated, joint approach. In 1994, the program was put into operation as a temporary $2 billion shared-cost program with the objective of “assisting in the maintenance and development of infrastructure in local communities and the creation of employment” (Barrados et al. 1999). The funds were allocated to provinces, territories, and First Nations based on population and unemployment numbers. The federal ­government entered into individual negotiations and agreements with each


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­ rovince and territory to implement the program; negotiations were p undertaken through a joint federal-provincial management committee for each province or territory. Typically, the federal government would provide one-third of the cost, and the provincial and municipal governments would be responsible for the other two-thirds. Even though the provinces were in principle responsible for the final selection of projects, the federal government played an influential role in setting up the criteria and the guidelines for project selection. In other words, the federal government could approve or refuse the projects proposed by the province. In the 1996 Report of the Auditor General, it was found that over 12,000 projects were approved, with eligible costs of about $6.5 billion and a total federal share of $1.9 billion (Blain et al. 1996). According to some estimates, 120,000 jobs were created under the program (Jennings 2003). While the program was politically rewarding, the design and the implementation of the program was questioned in the 1999 auditor general’s report. For instance, the report highlighted the temporary nature of the program and raised questions about the sustainability of infrastructure spending by the federal government. It also identified the lack of the federal government capacity to fully exercise its responsibilities and accountability obligations on shared-­delivery arrangements with the provinces. In 2000 the time was ripe for another round of debates about the role of the federal government in municipal infrastructure spending.

The Evolution of the Federal Infrastructure Program from 2002 to 2010 Table 7.1, at the end of this chapter, summarizes the evolution of the Federal Infrastructure Program in Canada from 2002 to 2010. Over that period of political turbulence, which saw three different prime ministers lead the country, the federal infrastructure program evolved from its modest beginnings during the period 1994 to 2002 to become a significant federal agenda item across all political spectrums. The Creation of Infrastructure Canada (2002–04) In August 2002, towards the end of his ten-year reign as the prime minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien created a new department,

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I­ nfrastructure Canada, in order to provide a focal point for the government of Canada to administer the various infrastructure-funding programs, to provide collaboration with the government’s partners on infrastructure policy issues, and to increase the knowledge base about public infrastructure in Canada (Infrastructure Canada 2007a). During that early period the federal government was focusing, for the most part, on the linkage between infrastructure and economic growth, whereby the ministry would play a catalyst role in “building partnerships among all levels of government and other sectors to achieve shared infrastructure goals,” through innovation, environmental sustainability, and a consistent focus on the specific realities and needs of communities all across Canada (Infrastructure Canada 2003). During its first year of existence, Infrastructure Canada invested mostly in water and wastewater treatment systems, highways, local transportation, culture, recreation, and broadband communications projects. In the policy documents from 2002–03, the official raison d’être of the program was to respond to the “large pressing infrastructure needs in Canada” stemming from the existence of the sizeable gap between the existing infrastructure stock and the needs of municipalities and their populations (Infrastructure Canada 2003). The program was mandated to collaborate with different stakeholder groups, such as local, provincial, and territorial governments and federal departments and agencies, First Nations, universities and research institutes, members of the private sector, and other experts. At that time, the federal infrastructure initiatives managed by Infrastructure Canada were rationalized into four main programs: The Infrastructure Canada Program (ICP), with federal funding of $2.05 billion. • The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), with federal funding of $2.0 billion. • The Border Infrastructure Fund (BIF), with federal funding of $600 million. • The Affordable Housing Program, with federal funding of $680 million. •

These initiatives were undertaken concurrently with other existing infrastructure initiatives such as the FCM Green Funds, managed by the Ministry of Environment; the Strategic Highways Infrastructure


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Program (SHIP); managed by Transport Canada; and the Cultural Spaces Canada Program, managed by Heritage Canada. During that early period, the program objectives in infrastructure development and management were not very clear. The priorities and targets remained relatively vague, and the infrastructure agenda was mainly set by the provinces and the municipalities, not by the federal government. The lack of a clear national federal agenda is probably one of the weakest elements of the federal involvement in infrastructure spending. This situation still remains, as we will see later, as the Achilles heel of the infrastructure program today. The New Deal for Cities and Communities (2004–06) When Paul Martin took over from Jean Chrétien as prime minister of Canada in November 2003, expectations for a new approach to intergovernmental relations between the federal government, the provinces, and the municipalities were high. Paul Martin’s New Deal for Cities and Communities was one of his top priorities. He had committed to providing considerable and stable federal funding for Canadian municipalities, and he seemed determined not to disappoint. His first cabinet included a position for a minister of state that placed Infrastructure Canada in the Ministry of Environment portfolio. John Godfrey was named minister of state of infrastructure and communities, an appointment that was considered a significant, since Godfrey was reputed to be interested in urban issues (Johnston 2004). The move to the Ministry of Environment portfolio involved new federal objectives such as sustainable development, climate change, health, and innovation (Infrastructure Canada 2004). During the fiscal year 2004–05, with the conclusion of an agreement on a gas tax with the provinces and territories, the concrete results of a new deal became a reality. This initiative had an immediate impact on the annual departmental budget. The total financial resources for the department increased from $74 million in the financial year 2003–04 to $250 million in the financial year 2004– 05 (figure 7.1). The number of full-time equivalent employees at Infrastructure Canada rose from 92 to 179 (figure 7.2). The New Deal for Cities and Communities aimed to establish predictable and stable long-term funding for cities and communities (Infrastructure Canada 2004). The $5 billion of total funding was

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Figure 7.1  Total Financial Resources, Infrastructure Canada, 2002–12. Data for 2009– 10, 2010–2011, and 2011–12 are estimates. Sources: Infrastructure Canada Departmental Performance Reports 2002–03 to 2008–09 and Infrastructure Canada Reports on Plans and Priorities, 2009–10

expected to be allocated over a five-year period starting in 2005 and to be based on a per capita distribution (Ventin 2005, 1). The funds were to be allocated to support environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure such as water and wastewater systems, public transit, community energy systems, solid waste management, the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, and capacity building, which envisioned the improvement of the environmental quality of Canada through decreased greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air and water. The FCM also supported the per capita allocation approach. Moreover, its involvement in pre-budget meetings fortified the government’s commitment to acknowledge municipal governments as partners in the execution of the national agenda (Ventin 2005). The Conservative Plan for Improving Canada’s Infrastructure (2006–2008) On 24 January 2006, Paul Martin conceded defeat to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party in the thirty-ninth Canadian general election held on 23 January 2006. Harper had to form a minority government shortly after his victory. In its 2006 federal


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Figure 7.2  Full-time Equivalent Employees, Infrastructure Canada, 2002–10. Data for 2009–10 are estimates. Sources: Infrastructure Canada Departmental Performance Reports 2002–03 to 2008–09 and Infrastructure Canada Reports on Plans and Priorities, 2009–10.

election platform, the Conservative Party was more committed to supporting infrastructure than ever before. As a matter of fact, in its previous election platform in 2004, Demanding Better, there was almost no provision or vision for city infrastructure (Conservative Party of Canada 2004). In the 2006 platform, called Stand Up for Canada, the Conservative Party adopted an approach that appealed to the city lobby and was clearly in line with the recent policies of the Liberal Party. Instead of opposing the Liberal Party on the New Deal for Cities, the Conservatives actually proposed to expand the New Deal using the gas tax to increase transfers and include more cities in the program (Conservative Party of Canada 2006). In its electoral platform, the Conservative Party proposed an approach that aimed at “fixing Canada’s infrastructure deficit” (Conservative Party of Canada 2006), insisting not only on “municipal infrastructures” but also on roads, highways, and border crossings as well. The Conservatives proposed supplementing the New Deal with municipal transfer payments equivalent to five cents per litre by 2009–10. This gas tax transfer was intended to build and repair roads and bridges, to improve safety, and fight traffic congestion. In addition to maintaining the existing federal infrastructure agreements with provinces and municipalities, the federal government would

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negotiate a new infrastructure agreement with provinces to provide a stable, permanent Highways and Border Infrastructure Fund. Budget 2007 included an allocation for the extended Gas Tax Fund (GTF) from 2010 to 2014 of $2 billion per year, for a total of $8 billion in new predictable funding directed at sustainable infrastructure. Thus, a total of $13 billion was allocated for the period of 2005 to 2014. This stable funding will support municipal infrastructure projects that are environmentally friendly and enhance quality of life. Stable funding will allow municipalities to make long-term financial commitments and undertake long-term planning (Infrastructure Canada 2007b). On an annual basis, the total financial resources spent by Infrastructure Canada increased steeply between the fiscal years 2002–03 and 2007–08. The increase from $11 million in 2002–03 to $2.9 billion in 2007–08 (figure 7.1) is largely due to the impact of the Gas Tax Fund. With the victory of the Conservatives, the federal infrastructure policy orientation shifted towards transportation issues. On 6 February 2006, Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and sixteen Crown corporations were brought together in a single portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities under the leadership of Lawrence Cannon. Cannon emphasized that the Government would support infrastructure that maximized value for taxpayers’ money and enhanced the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life of Canadians (Infrastructure Canada 2006a, 2006b). Then in June 2006 the FCM released a new study known as “Restoring Municipal Fiscal Balance” that slightly redefined the issue. For the FCM, the municipalities are squeezed between increasing responsibilities, on one hand, and a stagnation of the fiscal resources available to respond to the needs of the Canadian population on the other. The problem is not limited to the infrastructure deficit; the FCM argued that it is structurally related to the current definition of the roles and responsibilities of governments in the current Canadian intergovernmental system. The FCM pleaded for a bottom-up approach, based on the “subsidiarity principle,”3 to fixing economic, social, and infrastructure problems, with the municipal level included in the national fiscal imbalance debate. From then on, the FCM started lobbying for a long-term legislative approach that would guarantee steady additional revenues to the municipalities.


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In 2007 the Conservative government released its new policy on infrastructure, Building Canada – Modern Infrastructure for a Strong Canada (Infrastructure Canada 2007c), which was developed from the federal government’s long-term economic plan, Advantage Canada,4 released by the Conservatives in the previous year. Five “advantages” noted in this economic plan are tax, fiscal, entrepreneurial, knowledge, and infrastructural advantages. The ­infrastructure advantage is said “to ensure the seamless flow of people, goods and services.” Building Canada is referred to as “the largest single federal commitment to public infrastructure of this type.” The federal government will invest $33 billion between 2007 and 2014 to implement the “infrastructure advantage” objectives. The Building Canada Plan focuses on three dimensions: economic, environmental, and community perspectives. The document argues that because the country’s overall level of productivity is affected by the state of its infrastructure, if the country’s infrastructure is less than adequate, it is likely to deter foreign investors. The document also explains that infrastructure is one of the major factors for attracting skilled and knowledgable workers in urban areas. In its economic dimension, Building Canada directs investments to projects that will increase trade, ensure easy movement of people and goods, and maintain economic growth. Specific areas of infrastructure investment that would benefit the economic growth of Canada are gateways and borders, highways, short-line rail and short-sea shipping, connectivity and broadband, tourism, and regional and local airports. In its environmental dimension, the Building Canada Plan claims that “the federal government has set the protection and promotion of a clean environment as a paramount national objective.” A major instrument in ensuring this objective is upheld is the investment in infrastructure that is environmentally orientated. The plan also includes a community perspective to attract and retain both a skilled workforce and private sector investments. Specific areas of infrastructure investment to promote strong and healthy communities are drinking water; disaster mitigation; brownfield redevelopment; roads and bridges; and sports and culture. The Building Canada Plan calls for $17.6 billion of “based funding” – meaning stable and predictable revenues (Infrastructure Canada 2007c) – through tax transfers and rebates to be provided to municipalities over a period of the seven years from 2007–14. The based funding will be delivered in two types of funds: a Gas Tax Fund

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and a GST Rebate. The Gas Tax Fund amounts to $11.8 billion (from 2007–08 to 2013–14) and allows municipalities to pool, bank, and even borrow against it. In Budget 2008, the government announced that the program would become a permanent measure beyond 2013–14, but the share would be topped at $2 billion per year. It is a conditional grant designed to support only environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure projects such as public transit, drinking water, wastewater infrastructure, green energy, solid waste management, and local roads and bridges, etc. (Infrastructure Canada 2010). Municipalities will also be held accountable for their spending of the Gas Tax Fund and are expected to report to the federal government each year. In principle, the federal government requires that municipalities develop an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) to ensure that projects support sustainability principles guided by community consultation and a long-term plan (Hawke and Purcell 2007). Although the ICSP is conceived as the main monitoring tool for the federal government over the investments, not all provinces or territories need to choose to adopt such a plan. Many provinces already have sophisticated municipal regulatory frameworks and accountability systems, which include medium- and long-term planning and participatory mechanisms, along with multi-year capital infrastructure plans. So in most provinces, municipalities don’t have to develop an original ICSP and are required only to demonstrate that they have already developed the appropriate planning instruments and processes. In Ontario, for instance, municipalities have only to show compliance with ICSP requirements (Province of Ontario and Government of Canada 2005). In the Alberta, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) has developed its own ICSP template to present information about the compliance with federal requirements (AUMA 2010). In the case of Quebec, there is no reference to any compliance with federal requirements. In the agreement for the transfer of federal gas tax revenues to Quebec, all obligations contracted by Quebec are subject to provincial legislation, and the obligation to comply with the ICSP is not mentioned anywhere. In contrast, in the territories where strategic planning was not well established, the ICSP is proving to be a useful tool. In the Northwest Territories, for instance, all thirty-three communities have developed an ICSP as part of the Gas Tax Fund Agreement. We can thus observe that federal accountability mechanisms vary significantly from one province or territory to another. However, for


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some authors, such as Hilton and Stoney (2009), the attempt by the federal government to intervene in community planning is dangerous and perverse, since it clearly crosses the jurisdictional responsibilities of provinces and municipalities. The GST Rebate accounts for $5.8 billion, to be put towards new infrastructure or to the maintenance of existing infrastructure. It is basically a full refund of the GST paid by municipalities. There is no requirement for municipalities to be accountable to the federal government for their GST Rebate spending. The Building Canada Plan also includes three new infrastructure programs: The Gateways and Border Crossings Fund ($2.1 billion) The Building Canada Fund ($8.8 billion) • The Public-Private Partnership Fund ($1.25 billion) • •

The Gateways and Border Crossings Fund is targeted toward national priorities, focusing on strategic trade corridors. The sum of $2.1 billion will fund infrastructure, with an emphasis on international gateways such as international bridges and tunnels and short-sea shipping. This program does not directly target municipal infrastructures, but most of these infrastructures will affect several rural or urban municipalities. The Building Canada Fund dedicates $8.8 billion for both publicly and privately owned infrastructures, and allocations will be based on the 2006 Census population information for each province and territory. Most of the major infrastructure components of the fund are directed towards the larger projects of national priority. The Community Component is for projects in communities having populations of less than 100,000 and is meant to complement the Gas Tax Fund. Up to 1 percent of the funding for both the major infrastructure component and the community component will be designated for infrastructure research, planning, and capacity building. The Building Canada Plan also calls for each province and territory to sign a framework agreement with the federal government to ensure that the long-term planning of infrastructure issues is addressed. The most important policy change of the Conservatives’ plan is the Public-Private Partnership Fund, which is designed to target national infrastructure investment priorities. As stated in the ­Building Canada document, “private capital and expertise can make

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a significant contribution to building infrastructure projects faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers. The private sector is also often better placed to assume many of the risks associated with the construction, financing, and operation of infrastructure projects.” While public-private partnership (P3) initiatives have been used in Canada previously – as was the case with the Confederation Bridge and the Canada Line transit project – the Conservative government wishes to match the global expansion of the use of P3 projects in the area of infrastructure. P3s will be developed through two initiatives. The $1.25 billion Public-Private Partnerships Fund will flow towards projects that seek alternative financing beyond the traditional procurement process. The P3 Fund seeks to attract private-sector funding sources, and $25 million will be devoted to setting up a P3 office to facilitate and identify ongoing P3 opportunities. The Building Canada Plan stipulates that the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund and the Building Canada Fund give primary consideration to P3s for large infrastructure investment projects. Because “all projects seeking $50 million or more in federal contributions will be required to assess and consider the viability of a P3 option,” the federal P3 office will oversee the processes involved. Municipal Infrastructure Spending as an Economic Stimulus Fund (2008–2010) Despite a previous commitment from the Conservative Party to set fixed election dates, Prime Minister Harper decided to dissolve his government and to launch a general election on 7 September 2008. Officially, the Harper government was arguing that it was impossible to manage the affairs of the country as a minority government and urged the population to elect a majority. There were many strategic reasons beyond the official reason, as well. Conservative strategists argued that the timing was good for an election call, since the Harper government was relatively popular at the time. The fortieth general election took place on 14 October, but the Conservatives could not reach their goal of winning a majority, although they did win a stronger minority, with 143 seats, as against 127 at the dissolution. John Baird, former minister of the environment and president of the treasury board in Harper’s cabinet became the new minister of transport and infrastructure, replacing Lawrence Cannon.


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However, there was more to come. The United States had already entered into a severe recession that was about to hit Canada’s economy. In Harper’s electoral platform, The True North Strong and Free (Conservative Party 2008a), the proposed economic plan for facing the economic crisis was philosophically conservative and included balanced budgets, lower taxes, investments to create jobs, and measures to maintain a low rate of inflation. Increased government spending was not an option for the new government, despite the risks of a severe global economic crisis, nor was it a strong economic stimulus plan. The platform committed to maintaining the same level of effort in infrastructure spending, while following the same guidelines adopted in 2007 in the Building Canada Plan. The only new element in the platform was the commitment to continuing the Gas Tax Transfer to municipalities at a permanent level of $2 billion annually beyond 2014. But the new government was resolute on governing with a conservative agenda based on the policy declaration adopted by the National Convention on 15 November 2008 (Conservative Party 2008b). The Conservative Party had revised the infrastructure strategy after experiencing pressure from the international community and from the three opposition parties, which threatened to create a coalition in order to bring down the newly elected government. The Conservative government had no choice but to develop and adopt an extensive economic stimulus plan: Canada’s Economic Action Plan (Government of Canada 2009), which was released in March 2009. The plan included a massive investment in infrastructure. Originally, it aimed to inject about $12 billion of funding over a two-year period for infrastructure projects, in order to support the effort to emerge from the global economic crisis. Since most of these projects included joint funding with provinces and municipalities as a basic requirement, the government believed that the injection of money in infrastructure in Canada was likely to exceed $20 billion between 2009 and 2011. The goal was to create as many jobs as possible while providing a more modern and more environmentally friendly infrastructure stock throughout Canada. The plan was not limited solely to including municipal infrastructures. Four types of infrastructure projects were eligible: Provincial, territorial, and municipal projects ($6.4 billion) First Nations infrastructure ($0.5 billion)

• •

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Knowledge infrastructure ($3.1 billion) Federal infrastructure ($0.7 billion)

• •

In the context of the economic stimulus package, the infrastructure strategy of the government of Canada relied on two types of action (Infrastructure Canada 2009b): (1) accelerating federal approvals through the Building Canada Plan adopted in 2007 ($33 billion over seven years) and (2) creating a new Infrastructure Stimulus Fund ($4 billion over two years) and a new Green Infrastructure Fund ($1  billion over five years) through the Canada’s Economic Action Plan adopted with Budget 2009. The Building Canada Plan was actually designed to provide medium- to long-term municipal infrastructure spending between 2007 and 2014. Because of the recession, Infrastructure Canada undertook several initiatives to accelerate investments under the plan, including making regulatory changes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to allow the substitution of a provincial environmental assessment process for the federal process in order to reduce duplication and delays. It also accelerated federal review for approval of projects, simplifying the criteria and reducing the amount of information required in the application process. These measures are also rather typical of the Conservative government, which often seeks to reduce regulations to stimulate market mechanisms. The $4 billion stimulus fund is developed to help the realization of construction-ready infrastructure projects. It focuses especially on rehabilitation projects but also on new construction projects that can start quickly. The federal government indicated that eligible projects under this fund must be launched before and finished by 31 March 2010. The main goal was to create jobs fast enough to counter the economic slowdown. The $4 billion is allocated based on the population of each province and territory. However, if a province or territory is not progressing quickly enough, the federal government can reallocate the funding to another province or territory. The goal is to inject money quickly into the economy to create jobs. Through the Economic Action Plan of Canada, the federal government also created a new $1 billion dollar fund to be spent over five years in a Green Infrastructure Fund. The fund is intended to support projects that promote clean air and water emissions and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These projects fall within the following categories: sewage treatment, infrastructure production of


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green energy, transportation infrastructure, municipal solid waste treatment and storage of carbon dioxide. The program is not exclusive to municipalities or public organizations. Eligible organizations include provinces, territories, and local governments or regional organizations, but also non-profit organizations and private companies (Infrastructure Canada 2010). Figure 7.1 clearly shows the drastic increase in total financial resources spent by Infrastructure Canada from 2009 to 2011, followed by a steep decrease from 2011 to 2012. The amount that will be recurrently spent in municipal infrastructure by the federal government after 2012 will be twice the amount that had been spent just three years earlier. Meanwhile, the FCM has continued to advocate for an injection of funds in municipal infrastructures. In November 2007, the FCM released the report named Danger Ahead: The Coming Collapse of Canada’s Municipal Infrastructure (Mirza 2007). This report, written by Saeed Mirza, professor at the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at McGill University, is somewhat alarmist. It argued that the physical foundations of municipalities across Canada were near collapse, since Canada’s infrastructure had exceeded about 79 percent of its useful life, and it set the infrastructure deficit at $123 billion. Fifty-nine percent of all Canadian infrastructures were more than forty years old and needed exhaustive maintenance to avoid collapsing, while new municipal infrastructures were also needed. In 2008, the FCM released another report entitled The Macroeconomic Impacts of Spending and Level-of-Government Financing (Sonnen 2008). This report, written by Carl Sonnen, from the private firm Informetrica, sought to demonstrate that in the context of the recession, the acceleration of infrastructure spending was the best way to stimulate the economy. It explained that tax cuts would not produce as many jobs and stimulate the economy as much as investment in infrastructure, pointing out that every investment of $1 billion in infrastructure would create more than eleven thousand jobs. Based on that report, the FCM suggested to the federal government that it should accelerate and invest massively in municipal infrastructures to reduce the negative impact of the recession. Since the beginning of the economic crisis of 2008, the federal government has considered the municipalities as part of the solution to limiting the impact of the crisis on the Canadian economy, and infrastructure investments provide a good example. The federal

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g­ overnment solutions and those from the FCM have been quite similar since the beginning of the economic crisis. Through the Economic Action Plan, the government has worked closely with provinces, territories, and municipalities – through the FCM – to quickly approve as many projects as possible and to ensure that the work on infrastructure starts as quickly as possible. For example, in developing the strategy, the minister of transport and infrastructure has consulted the municipal sectors directly and made them full partners in implementing the Economic Action Plan (Infrastructure Canada 2009a). Minister Baird has also co-signed an open letter to Canadian municipalities released on 9 April 2009 with the president of the FCM at the time, Jean Perreault. This letter is a joint initiative between the government of Canada and the (FCM) to provide an update on the development and implementation of new federal infrastructure programs available to municipalities. The letter also seeks to encourage municipalities to prepare plans and submit funding requests. This is a new step towards a more direct collaboration between the federal government and municipalities that avoids going through the provinces or territories in the process.

Conclusion So what explains the rise of multilevel governance between the federal government and Canadian municipalities across party lines? To provide an answer to this question, we have studied the evolution of the federal infrastructure program before and after the creation of Infrastructure Canada in 2002. First, it can be claimed that the municipal lobby led by the FCM has been rather effective since the mid-1990s. If the FCM was traditionally more successful in persuading the Liberal Party of the benefits of investing in municipal infrastructures, it appears that nowadays municipal infrastructure spending is equally a key part of both the Conservative and the Liberal political agendas. This is a very significant change. Since the Conservative government came into power, it has been committed to maintaining the infrastructure program and expanding it in the future. Has the political (electoral) reward of municipal spending been a key incentive for increased participation by the federal government in municipal infrastructure projects? Since the mid-2000s, ­municipal infrastructure spending has become a political strategy


Eric Champagne

that both L ­ iberal and Conservative parties are not ready to give up on. It appears that the Conservative party made informed electoral calculations since the 2004 election, when they offered little to almost nothing to the municipalities at the time. The Conservatives now seem to think that the issue of “infrastructure deficit” can be a safeguard for them to avoid being seen negatively by the municipalities in comparison to the opposition parties. In this context, the municipal lobby led by the FCM is likely to remain in a position of strength in the near future at least. Second, it seems obvious that the provinces largely tolerate the involvement of the federal government in municipal affairs, since the provinces and the municipalities are under-financed and any additional source of revenue is welcome. In fact, there is not much open controversy about the federal transfers as long as the federal government engages in negotiations with the provinces and signs agreements with them. Few people now deny that the municipal infrastructure deficit in Canada is alarming coast-to-coast. However, the relevance of these new multilevel intergovernmental arrangements and the general trends of the current federal infrastructure policies can also be debated. For many years, the federal government has been swimming in a budgetary surplus, but this situation has changed rather radically since 2008–09. Politically, the questions of whether or not the right governance arrangements are in place and of whether the current federal infrastructure policies are relevant have not yet fully been answered. As it is, the general intergovernmental arrangement is based on conditional transfers: the federal government collects taxes for another level of government that spends it under certain criteria. Often, the allocations use a per capita funding formula instead of a redistributive approach. Because there is a general lack of policy guidelines for choosing what project to finance, infrastructure program has often adopted an “ad hoc approach,” according to ­Hilton (2007). It is structured around relatively short- or medium-term commitments from the federal government. If the economic situation in Canada deteriorates along with its fiscal capacity, then the level of transfers could change relatively rapidly, which would hardly be compatible with the long-term amortization of investments required to fund medium- and large-scale municipal infrastructures, along with the cost of infrastructure maintenance.

The Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program


In the future, the federal government infrastructure policy could have an even greater influence on municipal management if the federal contribution to infrastructure spending is done through publicprivate partnerships (P3s). The Infrastructure Canada 2007–2008 Report on Plans and Priorities argues that “P3s can deliver public infrastructure more efficiently, i.e. lower cost, faster completion, and better management of project risks. At the same time, appropriate public control can be preserved” (Infrastructure Canada 2007b, 19). On the surface, it appears that the federal government wants to distance itself from the public management of infrastructure by promoting P3s. The present government seems to believe that large infrastructure projects can be better managed by public-private cooperation, but recent research suggests that this is not necessarily always the case (Hamel 2007). The current arrangement raises several issues related to the fiscal accountability framework. When one government spends fiscal resources raised by another level of government, the taxpayer may find it difficult to identify who is ultimately responsible for the infrastructure development in question. Fiscal federalism theory says that finance should follow function and that expenditure assignment should match the appropriate level of responsibilities. Right now, the shared arrangements present some gaps in terms of the roles and responsibilities among governments, at least from the point of view of the taxpayers. From the point of view of the municipalities, the current model is still characterized by a lack of predictability in terms of resources for municipal budgets. About half the current level of federal municipal infrastructure spending is not guaranteed after 2014. Although the government has announced the extension of the Gas Tax Fund beyond 2013–14, this is only a political engagement that could be compromised by new economic circumstances or by a change of political regime. But most of all, the current intergovernmental arrangement model does not address the question of local autonomy. The Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program remains largely a sponsoring arrangement that tends to maintain municipal dependence on federal grants rather than encourage subnational government autonomy. Finally, my analysis reveals that the Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program was clearly a political opportunity to consolidate the role of the federal government in municipal affairs. This conclusion is further substantiated by the growing role of the FCM as a strong


Eric Champagne

lobbyist. In the past few decades, the FCM has influenced many policies and decisions related to municipal issues, including many that have fully legitimized the role of Canadian municipal governments in intergovernmental relationships. The FCM has strongly advocated that the issues of maintaining and repairing existing roads, bridges, and overall transportation management while adding world-class infrastructure must be addressed by all layers of governments. Overall, the federal municipal infrastructure investments have been a new step in this direction and have definitely opened the door to renewed intergovernmental arrangements in Canada. Since the creation of the first municipal infrastructure program by the Liberal Party in the mid-1990s until the Conservatives’ involvement in this issue, municipal infrastructure spending has been a laboratory for more direct collaboration and partnership between the federal government and municipalities and for a concrete transformation of Canadian intergovernmental practices.

Key priorities

Strategic outcome

Period 1: 2002–2003, Jean Chrétien, creation of Infrastructure Canada To ensure infrastructure projects that contribute to quality of life, economic growth, sustainable communities and international trade; providing policy advice and advocacy, communications and management practices for good governance and results-based decision making for public infrastructure. 1. Building the new organization (Infrastructure Canada). 2. Supporting municipal (urban and rural) infrastructure projects. 3. Initiating large-scale, strategic infrastructure programming. 1. Building an effective organization. 2. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure projects. 3. Enhancing research, knowledge, and outreach on infrastructure issues.

To meet the priority needs of Canadians for infrastructure that contributes to quality of life, a healthy environment, economic growth, sustainable rural and urban development, innovation, and international trade.

Period 2: 2003–2006, Paul Martin, New Deal for Cities

Liberal Regime 2002–2006

Table 7.1 Evolution of Strategic Outcomes and Priorities from 2002 to 2010

1. Delivering approved program funding. 2. Developing policy, knowledge, and partnerships.

Period 3: 2006–2008, Stephen Harper, expand the New Deal and PPP Improving the sustainability of our cities and communities and Canada’s local, regional, and national public infrastructure to enhance the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life of Canadians.

1. Delivery of and accelerating key elements of the Building Canada Plan and the Economic Action Plan. 2. Managing the previous suite of infrastructure programs.

Period 4: 2008–2010, Stephen Harper, Infrastructure Stimulus Fund Quality, cost-effective public infrastructure that meets the needs of Canadians in a competitive economy, a clean environment, and liveable communities.

Conservative Regime 2006–2010

In August 2002, Infrastructure Canada was established to provide a focal point for the government of Canada on infrastructure issues and programs, covering areas related to infrastructure programs, technology research, partnership initiatives and infrastructure management.

Operating environment

Sustainable development (environmental issues, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner air and water). Creation of the minister of state (infrastructure), with the concomitant transfer of responsibility for five landand housing-focused Crown corporations to the Infrastructure Canada portfolio, including the Canada Lands Company Limited, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc., Parc Downsview Park Inc., and Queens Quay West Land Corporation. Increasing presence in research and analysis. In 2007, an announcement was made to create a federal P3 office to facilitate the efficiency of public infrastructure delivery.

Creation of the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities in 2006 with the transfer of sixteen Crown corporations brought together in a single portfolio under the Ministry.

Transport and safety issues (roads, highways, border crossing).

Accelerate funding under the Building Canada Plan and new infrastructure spending to provide economic stimulus. No significant change to the operating environment except that Infrastructure Canada will have to implement measures aimed at streamlining federal processes, fast-tracking project approvals, and accelerating funding under the Building Canada Plan and the new infrastructure funds announced in Budget 2009 in partnership with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.

Conservative Regime 2006–2010

Sources: Infrastructure Canada, Departmental Performance Reports, 2002–2003 to 2008–2009, and Report on Plans and Priorities, 2009–2010.

Economic development (growth, competitiveness, and job creation).

Liberal Regime 2002–2006

Portfolio’s focus

Table 7.1 continued

The Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program


Notes 1 The debate over the municipal infrastructure deficit has been strongly advocated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 2 This text was written before the re-election of the Conservative Party for a third consecutive time as a majority government in the aftermath of the forty-first Canadian general election held Monday, 2 May 2011. The policy framework has remained relatively consistent since that election. 3 The FCM proposes the following definition: “the principle of subsidiarity suggests that since municipal governments are more familiar, visible, and accessible to Canadians, they are often in the best position to make the most informed and efficient decisions on the delivery of key public services” (FCM 2006, 33). 4 Advantage Canada is the Conservatives’ long-term, national economic plan designed to make Canada a world economic leader. The plan, unveiled by Minister Flaherty in his annual budget in 2006, features new national targets to eliminate Canada’s total government net debt in less than a generation and to further reduce taxes on businesses and citizens, thereby reducing unnecessary regulation for businesses, creating a competitive and flexible work force, and investing in infrastructure.

References Andrew, Caroline, Katherine A. Graham, and Susan D. Phillips, eds. 2002. Urban Affairs: Back on the Policy Agenda. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. AUMA. 2010. Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Template. Accessed 27 June 2010, 35287_ICSP_template_2010.pdf. Barrados, Maria, Henno Moenting, Jim Blain, Louise Grand’maison, Jayne Hinchliff-Milne, Raymond Kuate-Konga, Pierre Labelle, and Joanne Moores. 1999. Canada Infrastructure Works Program Phase II and Follow-up of Phase I Audit. Report of the Auditor General. Accessed 14 November 2007, nsf/html/99pr17_e.html. Berdahl, Loleen. 2004. “The Federal Urban Role and Federal Municipal Relations.” In Municipal-Federal-Provincial Relations in Canada, edited by Robert Young and Christian Leuprecht. Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University: McGillQueen’s University Press.


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Blain, James S., Sophie Chen, Gerry Chu, Louise Grand’maison, Sylvie Soucy, and Peter Yeh. 1996. Canada Infrastructure Works Program: Lessons Learned. Report of the Auditor General. Accessed 14 November 2007, html#0.2.Q3O5J2.O25UY6.QCTLQE.NS. Bojorquez, Fabio, Eric Champagne, and François Vaillancourt. 2009. “Federal Grants to Municipalities in Canada: Nature, Importance and Impact on Municipal Investments, from 1990 to 2005.” Canadian Public Administration 52 (3): 439–55. Bradford, Neil. 2004. “Place Matters and Multilevel Governance: Perspectives on a New Urban Policy Paradigm.” Policy Options, 39–44. Conservative Party of Canada. 2004. “Demanding Better.” Electoral platform of the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2004 federal election. – 2006. “Stand Up for Canada.” Electoral platform of the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2006 federal election. – 2008a. “The True North Strong and Free.” Electoral platform of the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2008 federal election. – 2008b. “Policy Declaration.” Accessed 28 April 2010, Dewing, Michael, William Young, and Erin Tolley. 2006. Municipalities, the Constitution and the Canadian Federal System. Accessed 14 November 2007, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 2006. Building Prosperity from the Ground Up: Restoring Municipal Fiscal Balance, 96. Ottawa: FCM. Government of Canada. 2009. Canada’s Economic Action Plan: A First Report to Canadians. Accessed 17 April 2010, http://www.actionplan. Hamel, Pierre J. 2007. Les partenariats publics-privés (ppp) et les municipalités : au-delà des principes, un bref survol des pratiques. INRSUrbanisation, Culture et Société. Hawke, Baxter, Kelly Purcell, and Mike Purcell. 2007. “Community Sustainability Planning.” Municipal World, November: 35–8. Hilton, Robert N. 2007. “Building Political Capital: The Politics of ‘Need’ in the Federal Government’s Municipal Infrastructure Programs.” MA thesis, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. Hilton, Robert, and Christopher Stoney. 2009. “Federal Gas Tax Transfers: Politics and Perverse Policy.” In How Ottawa Spends 2009–2010:

The Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program


Economic Upheaval and Political Dysfunction, edited by Allan M. Maslove. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Infrastructure Canada. 2003. Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2003. – 2004. Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2004. – 2005. Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2005. – 2006a. Departmental Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2005. – 2006b. Report on Plans and Priorities (rpp): 2006–2007. – 2007a. Accessed 17 October 2007, – 2007b. Report on Plans and Priorities (rpp): 2007–2008. – 2007c. Building Canada: Modern Infrastructure for a Strong Canada. – 2008a. Departmental Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2007. – 2008b. Report on Plans and Priorities (rpp): 2008–2009. – 2009a. Departmental Performance Report for the Period Ending 31 March 2008. – 2009b. Report on Plans and Priorities (rpp): 2009–2010. – 2010. Accessed 17 Apri 2010, Jennings, Marlene. 2003. The Liberal Government: Investing in Infrastructure, Investing in Communities. Accessed 14 November 2007, http:// &IssueID=328. Johnston, Geoffrey. 2004. “Can Paul Martin Be Our City’s Saviour?” Kingston Whig-Standard, 22 January. Kitchen, Harry M. 2002. Municipal Revenue and Expenditure Issues in Canada. Canadian Tax Paper No. 107. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation. Liberal Party of Canada. 1993. “Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada.” Electoral platform of the Liberal Party of Canada in the 1993 federal election. McAllister, Mary Louise. 2004. Governing Ourselves: The Politics of Canadian Communities. Vancouver: UBC Press. McMillan, Melville L. 2006. “Municipal Relations with the Federal and Provincial Governments: A Fiscal Perspective.” In Canada: The State of the Federation 2004, Municipal-Federal-Provincial Relations in Canada, edited by Robert Young and Christian Leuprecht. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press for the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University.


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Mirza, Saeed. 2007. Danger Ahead: The Coming Collapse of Canada´s Municipal Infrastructure. Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 24. Privy Council Office. 2001. “Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues Announced.” Accessed 15 November 2007, http://www. newsreleases&Doc=urbantaskforce_20010509_e.htm. Province of Ontario and Government of Canada. 2005. Agreement for the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities, 2005–2015. Province of Quebec and Government of Canada. 2005. Gas Tax Agreement Canada-Quebec 2005–2015, Final Agreement. Sancton, Andrew, and Robert Young. 2003. “Paul Martin and Cities: Show us the Money.” Policy Options (December 2003–January 2004): 29–34. Slack, Enid. 2002. “Have Fiscal Issues Put Urban Affairs Back on the Policy Agenda?” In Urban Affairs: Back on the Policy Agenda, edited by Caroline Andrew, Katherine Graham, and Susan D. Phillips, 309–30. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Sonnen, Calr. 2008. The Macroeconomic Impacts of Spending and Levelof-Government Financing. A study by Informetrica Ltd. for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 10. Stoney, Christopher, and Katherine Graham. 2009. “Federal-Municipal Relations in Canada: The Changing Organizational Landscape.” Canadian Public Administration, special issue, 52 (3), 371–94. Ventin, Carla. 2005. “Government on Track to Deliver New Deal for Cities and Communities.” Accessed 21 November 2007, http://www. 20050201ottawa_e.shtml.

8 Cities and Child Care Policy in Canada: More than a Puppet on (Intergovernmental) Strings? Rianne Mahon

The need for public financial support for non-parental child care arrangements has grown with the rise in women’s labour force participation across OECD countries. In Canada, women’s labour force participation started to increase even in the postwar heyday of the male breadwinner family, but it began really to take off in the 1970s. By 2006, the labour force participation rates of Canadian women in their prime childbearing years (25–44) stood at 81.8 percent.1 Although it is possible primarily to allow markets to respond to the growing need for child care, doing so produces a highly unequal system, because child care is a very labour intensive social service. In a market-based system, even middle class families will rarely be able to purchase a space in a centre staffed by child care professionals.2 Governments thus have an important role to play, though they can do so in quite different ways. Sometimes governments focus on the demand side by providing information to parents and/or offering subsidies to low income families. In its study of early learning and child care, Starting Strong, the OECD made it clear, however, that “a public supply side investment model, managed by public authorities, brings more uniform quality and superior coverage of childhood populations … than parent subsidy models” (2006, 114). More broadly, a holistic child care policy needs to combine a coherent national framework (backed by adequate financial support) with meaningful devolution to local authorities (OECD 2006, chapter 2; Mahon and Collier 2009). Canada clearly does not meet the OECD’s


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governance criteria. Most studies focus on the absence of a coherent national framework while ignoring the issue of devolution to local (not provincial) authorities. The “invisibility” of local arrangements is not surprising. The passage of the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) (1966) contributed to the centralization of responsibility for child care and other services in the hands of the provinces. This was very much in line with the trend to “benign neglect” of the urban that prevailed during much of the Keynesian era in Canada (Bradford 2002, 19). As Jenson and Mahon argue, “Federal-provincial relations have continued to develop since modern social policy was put into place in the 1940s, but the significance of Canada’s overwhelmingly urban population growth since the 1960s has yet to translate into renewed governance practices that include municipal governments” (2002, 1). The replacement of CAP by the Canada Health and Social Transfers fund (CHST) in 1996 seemed to mark the commencement of an even more province-centred era, with the federal government all but abandoning the use of its spending powers to influence provincial policies.3 Political pressure to “invest” in early childhood education and care in order to establish the foundations for lifelong learning did lead to a new series of federal-provincial agreements, culminating in the Martin government’s bilateral accords with all ten provinces. One of the Harper Conservative government’s first acts, however, was to announce its intention to withdraw from these accords. Its “universal child care plan” included the payment of a taxable benefit of $1,200 per annum per child under six and a new child care spaces initiative. The latter amounts to $250 million per annum, substantially less than the $650 million transferred in 2006–07 under the bilateral accords (Beach et al. 2009, xxii). The spaces initiative also allows the provinces and territories even greater latitude than before in determining how the money will be spent. It thus reinforces the province-centred patchwork of child care arrangements. This chapter will begin with a review of these developments, but since the real focus is on the frequently neglected local dimension, it will do so in a way that brings out the impact of differing provinciallocal arrangements. The second section of this paper will accordingly examine what happens at the local level in four of Canada’s largest cities. This comparison will explore what determines local capacity for integration, as well as the limits to such initiatives posed by the patchwork of provincial provision. In two cities – Toronto

Cities and Child Care Policy


and ­Calgary – the municipalities have an officially mandated role in managing child care, though Calgary’s is limited to care for schoolaged children. Despite the absence of an official role for Vancouver, the municipal government has developed the foundations for an integrated child care system. In all three, cities are revealed to be more than puppets on intergovernmental strings. Montreal is located in the province that has gone the farthest toward meeting demand for child care for preschool and school-aged children. The municipality, however, has no official role. Local integration, to the extent it occurs, takes place at the scale of the neighbourhood.

From Local Charity to Province-Centred Patchwork Child care was initially a local affair. The first day nurseries were established in the late nineteenth century by local charities concerned about the children of mothers whose family circumstances forced them to work. Catering largely to middle class children, kindergartens, whose purpose was seen as educational, were also local. Often started as small enterprises, they were later integrated into the school system. The difference in the respective roles of day nurseries and kindergartens was reflected in differences in governance structures. Until well into the postwar period, in most provinces day nurseries continued to be provided by local associations, including family day care providers. Kindergartens were increasingly drawn into the purview of provincial departments of education, which mandated local school boards to offer such programs, often on a part-time basis. As part of the school boards’ revenue came from the local tax base, however, the boards could decide to exceed provincial requirements. In other words, there was a balance of provincial and local involvement. Municipal recreation programs play a role, especially in delivering after-school and holiday programs for schoolaged children. During World War II, the federal government temporarily became involved, financing day nurseries for mothers working in war-related industries in large centres like Toronto and Montreal. As soldiers returned from the war, the federal government assumed mothers would return to their domestic responsibilities and withdrew its support.4 Yet the return to the home was never as complete as expected and, in the late 1950s, the Women’s Bureau of the federal


Rianne Mahon

­ epartment of Labour began to document the rising need for day D care (Finkel 1995; Mahon 2000). In the 1960s, local social planning councils in Canada’s major cities joined the growing chorus of voices calling for publicly supported day care. The federal government’s response came in the form of two key programs. One was the introduction of the child care expense deduction, an income tax deduction available to parents who could provide a receipt. Such receipts, however, were not always easy to come by. Even today, much of the affordable child care is provided by the informal sector, where receipts are often unavailable. The second program was the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), a cost-sharing program with the provinces whose main purpose was poverty alleviation. Child care became eligible as a remedial program to enable mothers in low income (often lone-parent) families to “choose” work over social assistance.5 Through CAP, the federal government agreed to fund 50 percent of the subsidies made available to low income families. In other words, federal support focused on the demand, not the supply, side and it was narrowly targeted at those who could pass a provincially administered means test. There was another dimension to CAP that is often overlooked: the development of provincial administrative capacities. In the spirit of the times, CAP aimed to guarantee all Canadians, no matter where they lived, equivalent social rights, but it did so by strengthening provincial capacities. CAP was thus designed to reinforce earlier province-building initiatives, such as the system of equalization payments to have-not provinces introduced in the 1950s to compensate for their weaker tax base. Those who framed CAP recognized the need to enrich this system specifically in the field of social assistance and related services since they were aware of on-going provincial inquiries that were redefining the relationship between provincial and municipal governments in recognition of the inability of municipal governments to meet growing social needs.6 CAP thus offered a financial inducement for the development of provincial administrative capacity to deliver an equitable social assistance system and to support community services such as child care for which there was a growing need. Initially only Ontario and Alberta were prepared to utilize CAP funds to finance the expansion of child care. In Ontario, this was because of the legacy of Toronto’s struggle to keep the day care system it had developed during the war – set out in the Ontario Day

Cities and Child Care Policy


Nurseries Act of 1946, which specified standards that had to be met to receive provincial funds. When CAP was enacted in 1966, Ontario was still the only province to have developed a regulatory system. In the mid-1960s, however, Alberta passed its Preventive Social Services Act, which allowed funds to flow to the municipalities to support services such as child care.7 Other provinces began to develop the means to finance and regulate child care only in the 1970s (Pence 1992). None but Ontario and Alberta, however, viewed this as a partnership with municipalities. Moreover, as the 1970s drew to a close, Alberta assumed control over child care for pre-school children.8 The idea of a pan-Canadian child care policy, based on the principle of universality, was placed on the agenda by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, which recognised that such a program was required to establish equality of opportunity between the sexes. All mothers needed the kind of support a publicly subsidized child care system could offer if they were to become equal to men. The commissioners made it clear that this required the removal of child care from CAP, because of the latter’s “welfare” orientation. The commission was also mindful of jurisdictional issues, however. In line with the thinking behind CAP, the commission agreed that municipalities “where public pressure for the opening of a centre is applied” (1970, 269) did not have the resources required to meet the rapidly growing demand. It saw the provinces as being in the best position to assume responsibility for planning the development of a network of child care centres, the establishment and enforcement of standards, and the provision of information and consultative services to parent groups and local communities. They could not do the job on their own, however. A National Day Care Act was needed to provide an appropriate framework and incentives for provincial action. The first National Conference on Day Care in 1971 similarly envisioned a comprehensive and integrated service managed by provincial boards that would bring together representatives from health, education, and social welfare, as well as users. Yet the majority report lacked the commission’s boldness of vision. Instead of new federal legislation, it simply called for the establishment of a federal Office of Child and Family Affairs within Health and Welfare. The office would be in charge of funding, including guidelines for the use of federal funds to ensure the provinces adopted optimal standards;


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the provision of consultant services; and sponsorship of research on child development. The second and third recommendations were enacted but not the first, which was the most important. In other words, no national standards were adopted. The majority report’s position on local involvement, however, reflected greater awareness of the role municipalities might play in managing the development of an integrated set of services at the local level, but this recommendation was ignored. Instead, the establishment of provincial regulatory capacity went hand in hand with centralization. Municipalities were to disappear from subsequent designs for a new governance system until the opening years of this decade. Lacking the endorsement of the child care advocates assembled at the conference, those fighting to implement the commission’s ideas within the federal bureaucracy had to abandon the idea of a national day care act, opting instead for incremental change (Mahon 2000). In the memorandum to federal cabinet that marked the distillation of the royal commission’s recommendations, the idea of a new national child care grant was rejected, along with the commission’s call for a national child care act. The memorandum was equally clear that the choice to continue to fund child care through the CAP meant the rejection of universality: “While universally available services are probably desirable, federal support for such services under the CAP should be related to the objectives of the Plan, namely the prevention and removal of the causes of poverty and dependence.”9 There were some modest improvements to the original policy through the addition of a “welfare services” option, which involved the use of an income test rather than the intrusive means test. Moreover, funds supplied under this route could be used to cover operating costs and equipment and materials. Consequently, funding was available only to non-profit centres, which created a modest bias in favour of the latter,10 which tend to offer a higher standard of care than their commercial counterparts. In addition, the definition of eligible families allowed for the introduction of a sliding fee scale. Provincial social assistance rates, adjusted to take into account family size, marked the turning point, after which families would have to pay a portion of the costs. The “benchmark” family was defined as a family of four with two children whose income was not more than the average income of a family of that size in the province. Anyone earning more than that would not be eligible for a subsidy.

Cities and Child Care Policy


By the early 1980s, the main features of Canada’s child care governance structure were well established. The federal government was prepared to cover 50 percent of the costs for eligible expenses, while the provinces were responsible for licensing and training, the enforcement of standards, and labour relations. Because there was no ceiling on federal funding under CAP,11 the provinces determined the rate of expansion, which left Canada with an uneven patchwork of care since not all provinces were equally able and willing to expand regulated child care. This situation is reflected in the pattern of coverage. Quebec has the highest coverage rate for children twelve and under in regulated child care spaces (36.1 percent), where the province has played a particularly active role in promoting the expansion of child care. There is a big gap between it and the next provinces, Manitoba (15.5 percent), British Columbia (15.4 percent), Alberta (13.7 percent) and Ontario (13.6 percent). With regulated centre-based care for only 6.3 percent of children twelve and under, Saskatchewan has the lowest level of provision (Beach et al. 2009, table 9, 183). The inadequacies of this framework were highlighted by the report of the Abella Royal Commission on Equality in Employment (1984) and thoroughly documented in the Cooke Task Force on Child Care (1986). The task force argued that the federal government should use its spending power to develop a comprehensive, high-quality system accessible to all who wanted it. At the same time, it hesitated to challenge provincial rights, noting that “while we share the objectives of those who recommend national standards … we believe that, because primary responsibility for regulation and licensing of childcare rests with the provinces, the federal government should act with restraint when considering the imposition of conditions on federal funding” (Cooke 1986, 287). The Cooke Task Force, which had been set up by a Liberal government, reported to the recently elected Conservative government led by Brian Mulroney. He was prepared to pass a child care act that would remove it from under the “welfare” shadow but doing so would have come at a price. Commercial providers would have become eligible for the full range of federal funding and a cap placed on federal contributions. The Conservatives’ bill failed to get through parliament before the 1988 federal election was called, however, and, given the widespread opposition it had aroused, the new Mulroney government did not bother to revive it.


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Although the victory of the Chrétien Liberals in 1993 seemed to promise another opening, the actions of the first Chrétien government appeared to end all hope for a pan-Canadian child care system. The Liberal party had campaigned on a promise to allocate $720 million for the creation of 150,000 new spaces over three years, to be funnelled through CAP. There were two provisos, however: the money would flow if the annual growth rate was at least 3 percent per annum and if provincial agreement could be attained. The intent was that the federal government would cover 40 percent of the costs, provincial governments another 40 percent, and parents the remaining 20 percent, according to their ability to pay. Although the Chrétien government’s first budget suggested it would deliver on its promises, the February 1995 budget eliminated the initial allocation, rolling it into a new investment fund explicitly tied to assisting employability. CAP was replaced by the new Canada Health and Social Transfer fund (CHST), a block fund that let the provinces decide how to allocate the money. In other words, provincial investment in child care was no longer required to get the equivalent in federal funds. Finally, the budget cut the federal government’s contribution to the transfer by one-third over three years. Those arguing for child care at the provincial level now had to compete with highprofile programs like health care and education for scarce resources. Another blow to hopes for an adequately funded pan-Canadian child care program came in 1996 when the federal government unilaterally declared that it would not use its spending power to create new programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction without the consent of a majority of the provinces.12 In the new era of federal-­provincial relations thus inaugurated, the Cooke Task Force’s cautious advice concerning the federal government’s use of its spending power to establish a pan-Canadian program began to look bold indeed. Yet child care was soon back on the agenda. In part, this reflected the government’s concern to reduce child poverty and to “activate” those on social assistance. This view had begun to take hold during the government’s social security review and was reflected in the decision to roll the previously allocated child care monies into the new “employability” investment fund. From this perspective, child care was seen as a support for turning “unproductive” individuals (including lone mothers on social assistance) into productive labour force participants and a means of counteracting the effects

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of poverty on child development. While this conception of child care seemed to lead back to the “welfare” (now “workfare”) orientation, Canadian experts in early child development, like Fraser Mustard and Clyde Herzberg, helped to convince the federal government that all children could benefit from “investment in the early years.” This new understanding came as the establishment of the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA) was opening up new possibilities for federal-provincial cooperation.13 Concluded in 1999, SUFA reflected the federal, provincial, and territorial governments’ objectives of renewing Canada’s social programs and establishing a stable and sustainable basis for financing them. Although SUFA codified the federal government’s self-imposed limitation on the use of its spending power, it did re-commit all governments to establish programs of comparable quality across the country. It also promised to put in place a new accountability mechanism – that is, public reporting on agreed performance indicators. Thus the agreement committed each of the signatory governments to monitor and measure outcomes of its social programs, to report regularly to its constituents on their performance, to share information and “best practices,” and to work with other governments to develop comparable indicators. These new accountability procedures were much weaker than the European Union’s “open method coordination,” which works through collectively defined guidelines, combined with timetables for achieving goals and the establishment of quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks. From the outset, children and child care were central to SUFA’s agenda, since the governments had agreed on the National Children’s Agenda (NCA) before to its conclusion. The NCA outlined the governments’ agreement to work together to develop a comprehensive, trans-sectoral, long-term strategy to ensure that “all” Canada’s children had a real opportunity to develop to their full potential. Although the NCA seemed to speak in favour of universality, the first initiative – the National Child Benefit (NCB) – focused on the child poverty reduction/activation objectives. In particular, the NCB included a new low-income supplement (available to the working poor and those on social assistance). The provinces were invited to “claw back” up to an equivalent amount from social assistance recipients, to be reinvested in support services such as child care. Later items more strongly reflected the “social investment” conception. The Early Child Development initiative (2000) included “the


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strengthening of early child development, learning and care” as one of the four areas where the provinces and territories could spend the new federal funds.14 True to SUFA, the agreement committed the participating governments to monitor their progress and report back to Canadians. In negotiating the deal, however, the federal government had backed off its original aim – to require the provinces and territories to invest in all four areas – in the interest of getting all the provinces to sign on. Without a requirement to invest in early learning and child care, however, less than 10 percent of the over $300 million in federal funds was used for that purpose. The Liberal government’s commitment to early learning and child care was more strongly reflected in the agreement concluded with the provinces and territories in 2003, which permitted the provinces and territories to select from a broad menu of child care expenditures. They included demand side options (information provision, fee subsidies, quality assurance systems) and supply side alternatives (capital and operating grants, training and professional development, and wage enhancements).15 In turn, the provinces agreed to provide annual reports on the type of services and amounts spent on each, the number of spaces for children (under six only) in each kind of setting, data on subsidy policy and its reach, training requirements, child-staff ratios, and group size. The amount committed – $350 by the fifth year – was well below the 1 percent of GNP (for Canada, $10 billion per annum) recommended by the European Union’s Child Care Network. In February 2005 a new federal-provincial-territorial agreement on early learning and child care was concluded. It identified the following as central: quality principles, universally inclusive principles, principles of accessibility, and developmental principles (QUAD). The 2005 federal budget allocated $5 billion over five years toward the establishment of a QUAD-based system, and by November 2005 it had negotiated bilateral agreements with all ten provinces. All ten agreements referred to the QUAD principles, and eight of the agreements made it clear that investment would be made in regulated care only.16 All agreements mentioned inclusion of First Nations and Aboriginal children, as well as the need for appropriate programs for minority official-language children, children with distinct cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and children with special needs. The agreements also marked progress toward the constitution of a pan-Canadian framework. For the first time in decades, Quebec

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agreed to be part of the new child care initiative. Moreover, all agreements indicated a willingness to exchange information with an eye to improving the system as a whole – i.e., using SUFA principles. In the end, however, only three agreements were finalized,17 and all agreements provided for either party to withdraw with one year’s notice. This was one of the first things that the Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, did. The Conservative government’s two-pronged alternative included a “universal child care” benefit (UCCB) and a “Child Care Spaces Initiative” that would offer businesses and communities tax incentives to establish twenty-five thousand new spaces. They were quick to implement the first, which reflects the views of social conservatives, who see public investment in child care facilities as “inequitable” because they offer nothing to stay-at-home parents.18 The UCCB offers a taxable benefit of $100 per month for each child under the age of six. It goes to families with a stay-at-home parent as well as to adult earner families, and as originally designed, the benefit offered most to upper income, single-breadwinner families (Battle et al. 2006). In the March 2010 budget, the Conservative government amended the terms so that lone parents can declare the benefit as part of the child’s income and thus avoid paying taxes on it. One- or two-earner couples with the same income, however, continue to pay taxes (Battle et al. 2010). The Conservative’s original child care spaces initiative tried to break with the system of federal transfers to provinces, which has been the basis for funding child care since the passage of CAP. The Conservatives planned to offer tax incentives to business (and also community groups) to establish new spaces. This plan foundered, however, since consultations undertaken by the Department of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSDC) during the summer of 2006 made it clear that there was insufficient interest. This is not surprising. An earlier scheme launched by the Harris Conservative government in Ontario, had also failed.19 The advisory committee established in the fall of 2006 reiterated the reluctance of business to get involved, though its recommendations clearly reflected the Conservative government’s strong desire to induce it to do so. In the end, the Conservatives’ February 2007 budget announced the government’s intention to turn $250 million over to the provinces and territories through the Canada Social Transfer. In one sense, this represents a return to the traditional arrangements whereby the


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federal government contributes to child care programs shaped and managed by the provinces. Yet the Conservatives envisage a more radically province-centred system. According to the minister then in charge, Monte Solberg, there will be few strings attached. The money is to be used for “child care,” but deliberately removed is any reference to QUAD or any sort of national standards. In addition, although the promised funds represent less than one-third of the money that would have been available under the cancelled bilateral agreements, the government made it clear that it is up to the provinces to decide whether they want to invest more in child care, using some of the funds made available “to address the fiscal imbalance.” The Conservative’s stance on child care thus reflects their vision of a new federalism in which the federal government deprives itself of the spending power used during the postwar years to support the pan-Canadian development of a welfare state.

Child Care at the Local Level Canada’s child care system may be province-centred, but services are produced and delivered where people live – in local communities. It is also at the local level that the various pieces of the child care puzzle, notably child care for pre-school and school-aged children, with recreation programs often playing an important part for the latter, come together (or not). This section looks at child care arrangements in four cities – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary,20 where 40 percent of Canada’s population is concentrated. This comparison allows us to examine the impact of varying provincial arrangements on the local level, while also exploring the importance of local politics. As we will see, when it comes to child care, these municipalities, with the exception of Montreal, are “more than puppets on a (provincial) string.” At the same time, the Montreal case shows that provincial policies matter. Montreal’s much higher coverage rate reflects that province’s much higher investment in child care. Toronto, Ontario In Ontario, municipalities retained a “welfare services” role even after the passage of CAP. Until the late 1990s, they were not required to develop a child care plan as part of this role, but Toronto has played a role in child care since the 1940s. Its basis was laid under

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the temporary wartime arrangements mentioned above. When the federal government withdrew its financing, local groups, with the backing of municipal councillors, mobilized to save child care ­(Prentice 1993). The Ontario Day Nursery Act, passed in 1946, established provincial standards and a framework for cost-sharing with municipalities who were to manage the system. The province’s policy strongly favoured the liberal view that day nurseries were a service for the poor – i.e., not a public service for all who wanted and needed it. For several decades, Toronto’s child care policy looked very much like Ontario’s, albeit with even higher standards. In the 1970s, however, a new policy began to emerge that broke with the liberal orientation not only of its own policy legacies but also of those established by the province and reinforced by CAP. As a result, Toronto now has the largest child care system in Canada outside Quebec. To achieve this, the municipality has worked with local school boards and others to lay the foundations for a high-quality early learning and child care system, delivered largely by non-profit providers. Its standards consistently exceed provincial guidelines – standards that the provincial government tried to get it to abandon in the 1970s in the interests of “economizing” (Mahon 2005). Most recently, the city has developed a set of operating criteria built on the values of quality, respect for diversity, and parental involvement. The quality of care also depends on the ability to attract and retain qualified care providers, which, in turn, depends on wages and working conditions. Toronto played a pioneering role in this regard when it developed a wage-enhancement policy in the mid-1980s to provide fair wages without sacrificing affordability. Toronto has also been a key driver of innovative pilot projects, including the development of an integrated set of children’s services. Lessons from one of these, First Duty,21 have informed the work of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Children, Youth and Education, which recommended a system of neighbourhood hubs with child care centres as the core of a system of integrated services. Its governance structure, in partnership with the wider community, facilitates this kind of creative planning. It has had a child care advisory committee since the late 1970s, and in the early 1980s Metro developed a child care plan in consultation with the wider community. In the late 1990s, the city established the position of Children’s Advocate on Council to monitor the implementation of its “children’s strategy.” In 1999, the city collaborated with the


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Community Social Planning Council of Toronto to identify important service gaps. And in 2003 the Mayor’s Roundtable on Children, Youth and Education was established to advise the mayor and council and engage the wider community. The roundtable brought together twenty-six people representing all levels of government, the two main school boards, business, labour, and child and youth community organizations. In January 2005, city council adopted a set of principles developed by the roundtable, which became the backbone of Best Generation Yet, a ten-year plan for developing a city-wide network of integrated children’s service hubs. That the province mandated city (or metro) involvement in child care is part of the story, but only part. A key factor was the establishment of a network of support for an integrated child care system, seen as an indispensable element of urban social infrastructure. There is not the space here to detail the steps through which this network became established. Elsewhere I have shown how feminist child care advocates, city officials, and municipal councillors forged a network of support behind a vision of the right of all children to quality child care (Mahon 2005). This breakthrough was facilitated by the existence of a favourable political opportunity structure, which made it possible for parents and other child care advocates to find allies on Metro Toronto Council (Kipfer and Keil 2002). The network has proved its durability and effectiveness numerous times. In the mid-1980s, it looked as if this model would get much-needed financial support from the provincial government, but when the federal government did not pass the new Child Care Act, the province curtailed its spending plans.22 The local network of child care advocates was strong enough to induce Metro Toronto Council to fill the gap, which meant assuming more than its 20 percent share of the costs. With the election of a neo-liberal government in Ontario in the mid-1990s, the network’s strength was tested again. Once again, Metro23 responded. Toronto Children’s Services developed new ways to expand the local pool of funds while the newly created Children’s Advocate on council kept child care on the municipal agenda and began the development of an integrated “children’s strategy.” The political mobilizations of the 1970s and 1980s thus left an important legacy in the form of a high degree of cooperation between the city, school boards, child care agencies, and advocates. The city’s children’s strategy also enjoys the support of Toronto’s business elite

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(Hamel et al. 2005). Toronto has not been able to fully realize its vision, however. Although it has laid the foundations for a child care system based on universal principles, it is still able to provide only spaces for one-fifth of preschool children and as few as 7 percent of school-aged children.24 Its financial dependence on provincial and federal decisions has posed a series of limitations on its capacity to realize its plans, and its vulnerability was made all the clearer when the Conservative government announced its intention to withdraw from the bilateral agreements with the provinces. Toronto had planned to add six thousand new spaces, with one-third of these targeted at poorer, under-serviced communities. Although the Harper government has announced its plans to turn over (reduced) funds to the provinces for child care, the pace of expansion will continue to be limited by decisions of senior governments. Calgary, Alberta Alberta, and Calgary as one of its largest cities, almost agreed to participate in the temporary wartime intergovernmental accords to finance the establishment and operation of day nurseries ­(Langford 2011). Its failure to do so meant that governmental involvement was delayed until the 1960s, with the passage of the Preventive Social Services Act (PSSA)25 and CAP. Yet here, as in Ontario, municipalities became involved as demand for child care began to rise (Hayden 1997; Langford 2006). As with other urban municipalities in Alberta, funds made available through the PSSA enabled Calgary to establish the foundations of a high-quality child care system by the early 1970s. Unlike Ontario, however, the province decided to assume control, gradually eliminating municipal responsibility for preschool child care. As we will see, however, the municipalities retained sufficient room to maintain their distinctive programs. Calgary was able to do so until the local balance of forces shifted, opening the way to unbridled growth of commercial child care. More recently, provincial moves to decentralize operations of the agency responsible for child care and other children’s services – part of a broader trend, especially marked in Alberta – have created new space for the emergence of local partnerships, while provincial cutbacks to social services have made such alliances necessary. The original cost-sharing arrangement required municipalities to cover 20 percent of the costs. These arrangements gave Alberta


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municipalities considerable latitude to develop innovative programs. Although all projects had to be approved by the province, and the province expressed a clear preference for provision by private social agencies in order to contain costs (Masson and LeSage 1994, 389), Calgary managed to establish a municipal child care system that operated as “lighthouses” in the field. By the end of the 1970s, it had established fifteen municipal centres and six family child care programs that were linked to them. Like Edmonton, Calgary was recognized at that time for the high quality of its innovative programs offering decent salaries to its qualified staff. Underpinning its growth was a pattern of alliances roughly similar to that found in Toronto. The city had appointed a daycare counsellor as early as 1969. This appointment established a voice for child care within the municipal bureaucracy, one that was actively supported by both traditional women’s groups such as the Calgary Local Council of Women and by a new generation of feminists centred at the University of Calgary (Langford 2011, chapter 5). Despite the city’s impressive effort, the supply of municipal child care services did not manage to keep up with the rapidly growing demand. As a result, by the end of the 1970s Calgary had developed the largest commercial child care sector in the province, which had organized to represent its interests at the municipal and provincial levels. This development had an impact on municipal child care politics. Thus, when the province adopted a new child care policy in 1978 that involved a turn to portable subsidies tenable at any licensed centre, including commercial ones, Calgary was the first municipality to sign on (Langford 2003, 70). The city’s social planning department nevertheless remained strongly committed to its “lighthouse” child care centres. Thus, when the province moved to centralize control over preschool child care, leaving the municipalities with responsibility for school-aged children, Calgary continued to back its original centres. To finance this support, it negotiated an innovative “flow through” arrangement that allowed it (and other Alberta municipalities) to get access to CAP funds26 even though the province had withdrawn its support for the preschool programs (Jenson and Mahon 2002). Calgary’s eventual abandonment of the municipal program for preschool children cannot therefore be attributed to provincial dictates. While the province made it more difficult for the system to survive, strong support from the municipal social services department and parent

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users enabled it to hang on for a decade, despite increasingly fierce attacks from a powerful city councillor and long-standing member of the city’s community services committee. The city abandoned its preschool program only when those opposing the policy managed to push the department’s director into retirement. They were able to do so, moreover, because the civil society organizations that had come to the department’s aid in the 1970s and early 1980s were silent (Langford 2011, chapter 10). The 1990s was marked by substantial provincial cutbacks and restructuring. With the election of Klein’s Conservatives, the budget of municipal affairs was cut in half, as was funding for kindergarten (Miller 2007, 240). Provincial allocations for regulated child care fell from a high of $67 million in 1995 to $54.3 million three years later and recovered only when the QUAD dollars began to flow (Beach et al. 2009, table 27). In 1999, the province eliminated its system of operating grants to centres, focusing its efforts on the demand side. At the same time, it moved to decentralize administration of its community services and health care programs. Child care is thus now handled by regional child care and family services authorities (CFSAs). The CFSAs report to local boards appointed by the province. Although members are selected from the region, they enjoy a limited degree of autonomy from the provincial government. Under Klein, the province made clear its authority over “decentralized” regional bodies by terminating the election of regional health authorities and firing a medical officer of health for criticizing the government. As Miller argues, moreover, “more common than direct attacks on democratic institutions is the use of resource authorization and allocation powers to bring local governance bodies into line with provincial policy” (2007, 240). Nevertheless, the municipality retains a role in the system. The city works with the Calgary CFSA through a regional child care committee whose task it is to foster sharing of resources, continuous training, resource development, and mentoring in the city. Yet the way in which child care resources are allocated through each of these separate provincial programs leaves the city with a financial gap, since funds available through the FCSS are sufficient to subsidize only 60 percent of the cost of after-school care. Parents have to cover the remainder, putting after-school care beyond the reach of many low income families. This limited subsidy is well below the level offered to preschool children through CFSA.


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Unlike the situation in Toronto, where the municipality plays the role of spider in the web, in Calgary it is the voluntary sector that seems to bring the pieces together. That the lead role in Calgary is played by the voluntary sector is not surprising, since the province has long favoured the voluntary sector over public provision. It is also testimony, however, to the existence of what Miller calls a “place-based … moral community,” one that may have the potential to regenerate support for a different model from the that on offer at the provincial level. Of particular interest is the Calgary Children’s Initiative, started by the United Way. The Children’s Initiative acts as a catalyst, bringing local forces – the various levels of government, community groups, business, labour, and researchers – together to identify the gaps and sponsoring research and pilot projects to learn about how best to fill them. One of these projects is focused on raising the quality of preschool care, long a problem in the now commercially dominated system.27 Vancouver, British Columbia Unlike the situation in Ontario, in British Columbia municipalities have no official role in the planning and administration of the child care system. To be sure, unlike other municipalities, since 1953 Vancouver has been governed through its own charter, which “gave the city much greater powers of self government than other British Columbian or Canadian cities, which remain subservient to provincial municipal acts” (Punter 2003, 13). Yet the charter neither indicated that social services like child care should form part of the city’s mandate, nor did it provide the resources to finance such a mandate. What makes the Vancouver story so interesting therefore is that despite the lack of a mandate, the city came to play a very active role. In other words, the provision of child care may officially be centralized in the hands of the province, but local resources can be and have been mobilized to increase the municipality’s room for manoeuvre. The province began to assume control of child care in British Columbia later than in either Ontario or Alberta. The province had been involved in the wartime day nurseries program and although it had begun to license child care in the 1930s, many providers remained outside the system (McDonell 1992). It was not until the passage of CAP that the province began to provide any funding, and even then

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it was slow to start. Only when a social democratic government was elected in 1972 was overall funding increased, ceilings raised on eligibility for subsidies,28 and funds made available for launching new activities. What funding the province has subsequently been prepared to provide – and this has varied significantly as governments have shifted between left and right in the province – went directly to providers, however. Moreover, although control was centralized in the hands of the provincial government, jurisdiction has long been divided among provincial ministries (McDonell 1992, 32). Vancouver entered the child care policy field later than either Toronto or Calgary as well. The opening was created in part by the intensive economic restructuring of the 1970s and 1980s, which generated both increased needs (more mothers working in the expanding service sector) and opportunities (redevelopment of the city centre). Yet needs do not speak for themselves. The opening was also created by the emergence of local parties capable of challenging the business and social elite that had governed the city since the 1930s. They opened the way to a new civic activism. As we shall see, in Vancouver there were fertile conditions that child care advocates were quick to seize. Like their Toronto counterparts, they were able to break with the liberal model dominant at the provincial and national levels. In doing so, however, they could rely only intermittently on provincial support. The city had showed an interest in child care already in the 1970s when, under the leadership of a reform council, it provided some funding for the Coalition for Improved Day Care Services, many of whose members would later go on to found the British Columbia Action Coalition in 1981.29 While this coalition helped child care advocates to develop a common voice, it was the emergence of a favourable political opportunity structure, marked by the emergence of The Electors Action Movement (TEAM)30 and its left-wing counterpart, COPE, that ultimately paved the way for the adoption of Vancouver’s child care policy in 1991. As Hutton notes, the appearance of new political forces at the urban level laid the foundations for the city’s proactive role: “Local policy and planning powers have been deployed in the interests of reproducing Vancouver’s central area via dialectical relations with market actors and with certain social groups. In practice, this has meant accommodating the profitseeking imperatives of capital … and facilitating the emergence of ascendant social contingents, but has also incorporated the ­insertion


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of broader public values and needs, including social housing and public amenities” (2004, 1956). One such example is the 1987 planning exercise designed to provide a policy framework for the central area, which included improved “livability” – understood to involve “adequate parks, accessible retail and commercial services, a welldesigned public realm, and child care and community facilities” (Punter 2003, 107) – among its priority goals. Three important breakthroughs were made as a result of these debates. First, the Mayor’s 1988 Task Force on Children resulted in the creation of a Vancouver Children’s Advocate. The advocate, long involved in struggles for child care, produced a civic child care strategy based on the principles of quality, accessibility, and affordability. Among other things, the strategy, which was endorsed by the council in 1990, committed Vancouver to being “an active partner with senior levels of government, parents, the private sector and the community in the development and maintenance of a comprehensive child care system in Vancouver” (Griffen 1992, 97). This commitment would have meant little, however, without a second breakthrough – the appointment of a child care coordinator as part of the social planning department. The coordinator developed the detailed plans supporting municipal action in five key areas: capital programs, child care planning, operating funds and program support, development and administrative support, and advocacy. Vancouver was able to follow through on these commitments in part because of a third innovation – the invention of development-­ cost levies and community-amenity contributions. Although they were introduced by a mayor and council tilted in favour of the old establishment party, the NPA, the presence of a strong left on council contributed to the outcome. As Punter writes, “with all the opposition coming from the political left, he [the mayor] was able to finesse right-wing cuts and convince developers that they had to accept development levies, selective changes to zoning, master planning of major redevelopment and elaborate participatory planning processes in return for large-scale projects and development certainty” (2003, 109). The development cost levies and community amenity contributions played an important role in strengthening the foundations of Vancouver’s child care system. Through the amenity bonuses, developers receive extra density permits if they deliver a child care facility built to the city’s standards. The Vancouver Society of Children’s Centres was created to operate these centres.

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Working with community groups and other agencies, the city also supported the foundation of an integrated child care infrastructure. Thus it has contributed to the operations of Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, an invaluable resource for the local child care community. In the late 1990s, it initiated a “regional umbrella group” (RUG) that brought together over eighteen of the major Vancouverbased child care organizations.31 Over four years, RUG members met on a quarterly basis to develop coordinated responses to common challenges; to strengthen linkages with institutions providing graining, mentoring, and support; and to increase capacity to plan child care services both at the micro (organizational) and macro (citywide) scale. More recently, the city awarded a municipal research and innovation grant to six large child care agencies and the United Community Services Co-op to develop a model for the coordination, recruitment, management, and placement of substitute early childhood educators in licensed child care programs across the city. In 2004, the city, the Vancouver School Board, and the Parks Board signed a child care protocol that “sets out a framework for the City and the two Boards to work towards a more coherent approach to policies and practices, in order to build a comprehensive range of childhood education and care services,” with equalized access “across the city to a full continuum of care,” including the development of a system of child development hubs.32 This in turn led to the formation of a Joint Council on Child Care, with elected staff representatives from each of the parties, community members from the city-wide networking committee, and the University of British Columbia’s HELP project. The council offers an important vehicle for coordination among these local agencies. In addition, the city reinstated the office of the child and youth advocate as a complement to the existing child development and youth-focus social partner positions.33 The advocate was supported by a citizens’ advisory committee somewhat akin to Toronto’s Children’s Advocate. The committee brought together a mix of youth and service providers in Early Childhood Development, child care, and youth-serving agencies, along with elected members of the school and parks boards. The first occupant of the post brought her own connections to the wider child care network. She had formerly been executive director of the Simon Fraser University Childcare society, an active member of the Child Care Advocacy Forum, and past chair of the Provincial Child Care Council. In her 2005 work


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plan, she noted that while the larger child care providers that had been brought together under RUG were well connected, the smaller stand-alone providers needed an information sharing and advocacy network. The Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre was contracted to coordinate this work. Following the election of a conservative mayor, the office of the children’s advocate was once again abolished, however. Thus, despite the absence of a provincial mandate, Vancouver has been able to establish the foundations for the kind of child care system envisaged in the 1991 plan. The impact of its policies is visible in the high proportion of spaces – 84.2 percent – under non-profit auspices. Vancouver has also done somewhat better than either Toronto or Calgary in providing out-of-school-hours care, although the proportion of six- to twelve-year-olds covered remains rather low at 8.6 percent. More broadly, like Toronto, the municipality has come to operate as a spider in a densely woven web of children’s service providers and advocates. As in Toronto, these achievements represent the fruit of the child care advocates’ efforts to seize a favourable municipal political and economic opportunity structure. In the 1970s and 1980s, the city was being transformed from a centre for processing resources into a post-industrial economy. This transformation generated a need for child care and an opportunity to build it. The economic opening in turn coincided with the appearance of reform-oriented parties ready to take a proactive stance toward the establishment of a strong social infrastructure. Child care activists were able to convince them that children (and working mothers) had a place in this “livable” city. Nevertheless the limits imposed by developments in provincial and federal policies are also apparent. Despite considerable effort, the overall levels of coverage – 11 percent of children aged twelve and under, 10 percent of preschool children – remain low. Limited provincial funds forced the city to rely on community amenity contributions and development cost levies, which may have exacerbated a problem common to many child care systems in which demand clearly outpaces supply – that is, the concentration of spaces in the new developments that cater primarily to the “post-industrial” urban middle class.34 More recently, following the election of a more conservative municipal council and mayor, the office of the children’s advocate was once again cancelled. In addition, the provincial (neo-)Liberal government reacted to the federal government’s

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c­ ancellation of the bilateral agreements by capping the child care operating fund program, cancelling the major capital grants program, and drastically reducing the funding for child care resource and referral programs. In fact the government intends to eliminate the latter programs entirely before the end of the year. Needless to say, Westcoast, a crucial piece of Vancouver’s child care infrastructure, has been hit very hard by this decision. Montreal, Quebec Of all the provinces considered here, Quebec currently exercises the most control over the development of child care, and since 1997 it has offered the most extensive support, breaking with the liberal pattern that otherwise prevails across Canada. This has not always been the case, however. While day care centres in Montreal received federal funding during the war, the conservative Union National government was not prepared to fund them when the war ended, and there was little local opposition to their position. For the most part, support was limited to the small working class anglophone community, since the francophone community continued largely to rely on family networks for care. Despite the emergence of a strong Quebec feminist movement in the 1960s, child care was not incorporated into the vision of a modern Quebec supported by an active state, which inspired the Quiet Revolution. The provincial government thus ignored the 1968 brief demanding provincial support for a tax-financed non-denominational child care system, which was backed by over one hundred associations (Desjardins 1992). For a while, grassroots organizations were able to get access to federal funds through programs like Opportunities for Youth and the Local Initiative Projects. The latter enabled local groups to establish over thirty centres in Montreal by 1972, mainly in poorer, working class areas. These early experiments established some of the core features that would later become part of what is now known as the “Quebec model,” notably the emphasis on parent involvement in decision making in non-profit, neighbourhood-based centres and organization at the sub-municipal scale. That model was long in the making, however. The province began to draw on CAP funds for child care only in 1974, and since it chose to make subsidies available to low income parents (and the ceiling was low), not to centres, it did little to help establish a sustainable child care infrastructure.


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An important breakthrough at the provincial scale occurred in 1979, when child care got its own Office de Services de Garde à l’Enfance (OSGE). As Desjardins argues, the new structure was given a wide mandate: “Apart from ensuring that quality child care services are available, it also plans the implementation of services in relation to other family policies. Moreover, it is in charge of formulating an annual development plan that takes into consideration the extent of the demand for and viability of the projects submitted. All these tasks must be accomplished while maintaining close contact with the network [of child care providers] since the OSGE must also provide technical and financial support for child care services, centralize information on the issue and circulate that information, provide better staff training, ensure compliance with health and safety rules and so on” (1992, 39). At the neighbourhood scale, another (decentralized) provincial body – the Centres Locales des Services Communautaire (CLSC) – played an important role, working closely with the non-profit child care providers in their catchment areas (Jenson 2002, 315). Yet until 1997, there was no comprehensive provincial or municipal framework to support local initiatives. This was reflected in the uneven access to child care documented by Rose and Chicoine in their 1991 study of access to child care for schoolaged children in Montreal inner city neighbourhoods. It was also reflected in the growth of a substantial commercial sector, similar to that found in Calgary. The implementation of the Parti Québécois government’s 1997 “$5 a day”35 child care program had a dramatic effect on the number of spaces available for preschool children, just as the earlier decision by the Ministry of Education to require school boards to provide care for school-aged children substantially improved access for older children. That Montreal now has spaces in registered child care for 50 percent of preschool children and 40 percent of schoolaged children (Mahon 2009) has allowed it to stand out among the cities under consideration here, and it shows the positive impact that a strong provincial policy can have. The core of this program was consistent with the 1970s experiments, since a key role was initially allocated to the non-profit, community-based Centres de la Petite Enfance (CEP), which are responsible to locally elected boards. The share of non-profits in preschool provision is, however, lower that in either Toronto or Vancouver, an artifact of previous years of underfunding and that sector’s political clout.36

Cities and Child Care Policy


Nevertheless, despite Quebec’s substantial commitment to affordable, accessible, quality child care, equitable access remains an elusive goal. Thus Japel et al. (2005) found that children from middle and upper class families were more likely to have a space and in better quality settings than those attended by children from working class families. The latter are often forced to rely on inferior for-profit centres, lower quality family day care, or unlicensed care. This pattern is visible in Montreal where the Conseil Régional de Développement (CRD) documented the difficulty of establishing good-quality family child care in poor neighbourhoods. These results follow in part from the way Quebec planned the implementation of the 1997 policy, which was a “bottom up” process whereby proposals for a centre had to be generated at the neighbourhood level. While funds were made available for groups interested in developing a proposal, and the CRDs were able to work with them on this, it was not sufficient to ensure that enough proposals for centres came forward from poorer communities. Other actors hold other pieces of the larger child care puzzle. As in Toronto and Vancouver, the school boards form part of the local child care system. While they are responsible for developing plans to ensure equitable education services across their areas of jurisdiction, there are five school boards (three francophone and two anglophone) in the Montreal area. In Montreal, moreover, responsibility for recreation programs, which play such an important role for school-aged children in the holiday months, is devolved to the level of the nineteen boroughs. Given the absence of a city-wide plan, the recreation programs are thus even more unevenly developed across the city (Mahon 2009). These divisions exacerbate the problem of coordination. The OECD’s Babies and Bosses report noted that “the provincial government of Quebec sees a key role for local authorities in developing a new approach towards synchronizing various services so as to support the parental work-life balance on a daily basis” (2005, 129, note 12). There is little evidence of such city-wide capacity in Montreal, however. Neither the municipalities that make up the greater Montreal area nor the CRD’s successors, the CRE,37 seem to be playing an active role in developing such family policies. This is not to suggest that the local level has been of no import. There has been local involvement, albeit at the sub-municipal scale. Until the Charest government eliminated their coordinating and support role, moreover, the CEPs, working in tandem with the CLSCs,


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provided an opportunity for integration and voice, though only at the level of the neighbourhood. This emphasis on the neighbourhood can also be seen as a legacy of Montreal’s urban reform wave. As Hamel et al. note, “while urban social movements were numerous in Montreal and were responsible for the election of the Montreal Citizens’ Movement (MCM) to City Hall in 1986 … they were unable to secure new alliances on a metropolitan scale (beyond their neighbourhood scale of action)” (2005, 120). More broadly, equating democracy with decentralization to the neighbourhood scale, reform movements in Montreal have not tried to establish a strong role for city-wide institutions. This local political culture subsequently came to be reflected in Montreal’s new governance structure, in which the boroughs were given a critical role in community service provision (Hamel et al. 2005). Clearly, then, strong provincial commitment to establishing an accessible, affordable, high-quality child care system across the province makes a difference. Yet there is also a valuable role for a city-wide structure that has the authority and resources to develop and implement an equitable local plan. The CRD/CRE in Montreal had the scale required to do so but did not possess or develop such an authority. The CRD undertook some valuable research, and its successor played a role in coordinating the proposals to establish CEPs, but that was the limit of their involvement.

Conclusions As this study has argued, the system of federal-provincial arrangements has produced a province-centred patchwork of child care provision. This has led to a pattern of highly uneven coverage, and only Quebec has made real progress toward the development of a universally accessible and affordable system of early learning and child care.38 Some provinces, like Alberta, rely primarily on the commercial sector to provide regulated child care, while in others child care is predominantly provided by the non-profit sector. No province relies substantially on public provision. Some provinces rely heavily on family day care, but in most provinces the majority of parents have to rely on informal care. Mechanisms of public support vary widely in terms of the mix of instruments and the generosity of support, including definitions of who qualifies for public subsidies.

Cities and Child Care Policy


Standards and training requirements similarly testify to the uneven patchwork of provision. Two decades of neo-liberalism set in motion a process of “downloading” that ultimately sparked demand for a “new deal for Canada’s cities.” Thus the federal government moved to cut expenditures by curbing transfers to the provinces, while the latter, in turn, transferred responsibility for urban infrastructure and some social services to municipalities, without providing sufficient funds to support these new responsibilities. At the same time, Canadians were becoming ever more urban, with more than 65 percent of Canada’s population concentrated in twenty-seven metropolitan areas. In combination, these developments sparked a movement to put cities on the agenda. While most of the attention of this campaign focused on an ageing physical infrastructure, urban redevelopment schemes, and social issues like homelessness, child care also appeared on the horizon. Toronto, which had a well-developed child strategy and “the infrastructure for the largest concentration of children’s programs (outside of Quebec)” (Coffey and McCain 2002, 14), helped to make child care part of the cities agenda. But by the end of the 1990s, its system was increasingly in jeopardy, largely as a result of inadequate provincial funding. The city commissioned the CoffeyMcCain report, which argued the case for direct federal support.39 It recommended that the federal government should utilize SUFA to establish a child care partnership called Supporting Community Partnerships (SCPI) and modelled on the homeless initiative. It would have permitted direct funding agreements with municipalities in provinces that failed to invest in early learning and child care. The report also suggested that municipalities, local authorities, and communities should be engaged in monitoring spending under existing programs such as the Early Childhood Development initiative. While it recognized that provinces should retain the authority to establish program goals, targets, and outcomes, it felt that it should be up to the municipalities to design and execute the programs. The federal Liberal social policy committee, chaired by John Godfrey (a Toronto MP), also called for new federal-municipal arrangements, following the precedent established by SCPI, in areas where the province/territory and federal government could not find sufficient common ground to work together.


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Despite their absence from the arena of intergovernmental arrangements, cities were more than “puppets on a string,” as the four cases above have shown. These four examples suggest the following: 1 The OECD is correct, even for a country like Canada where municipalities are “creatures of the provinces”: the local is the site where the various pieces of the child care puzzle can be pulled together. 2 Local capacity to do so is influenced by whether municipalities have a mandate to manage the child care system. 3 Yet the presence or absence of an official mandate is neither necessary nor sufficient. The Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver cases all show the decisive importance of the development and maintenance of a strong network of support linking municipal officials and councillors, parents and child care advocates. Under these conditions, municipalities can be more than “puppets on a set of intergovernmental strings.” 4 There are, however, limits to what can be achieved at the local level in the absence of sufficient support, especially in the form of a stable source of adequate funding. Here the Montreal case is instructive. Despite the absence of city-wide coordinating capacity, provincial support, through the ministries responsible for child care and for education, means that the coverage rate there is substantially higher than in all the other cities. 5 At the same time, the Montreal case reinforces the first point: the development of local capacity for organizing an integrated child care system forms a critical complement to the development of a strong, well-funded framework at a wider scale (national/provincial) of action. In the end, while the federal Liberal government – first under Jean Chrétien, then more strongly under Paul Martin – began to implement “a new deal for cities,” this did not intersect with its child care policy. The new “gas tax,”40 which inaugurated direct transfers from the federal government to municipalities, focused on physical infrastructure, while the SUFA accords continued to be negotiated exclusively by representatives of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The Conservatives also ignored cities as their child care spaces initiative was negotiated with each province on a bilateral basis. Cities did not gain a place at the table.41

Cities and Child Care Policy


Notes 1 20force%20participation%20rates. 2 See OECD (2006, 116–18) for a good analysis of market failure in this sector. 3 The Liberal government later split it into two funds – Health and Social Transfers – and the Conservative government separated the latter into three components – social programs, post-secondary education, and early learning and child care. It also extended the CST to 2014 and introduced an escalator clause of 3 percent per annum. While this change is an improvement, it is lower than the 6 percent per annum allocated to the CHT. 4 In Toronto, however, protests against the threatened closure pushed the province to step in (Prentice 1993). 5 The federal government explicitly rejected the push for workfare on the part of certain provinces, upholding instead a mother’s right to choose whether to work or remain on social assistance while her children were still at home. 6 The Department of Health and Welfare’s files, which reveal the thinking behind CAP, explicitly refer to the Boucher inquiry in Quebec, the Byrne commission in New Brunswick, and the Michener inquiry in Manitoba. 7 This act established the basis for a vibrant municipal child care system in leading centres across the province. See Langford (2011). 8 See the excellent two-volume study of the development of provincial child care systems edited by Alan Pence (1992) for more detail. 9 NA, RG 29, Records of the Department of National Health and Welfare, Accession 85–86/343, box 19, file 3203–7, Minister of National Health and Welfare, “Memorandum to Cabinet – New Impetus for Day Care Services under the Canada Assistance Plan,” 17 March 1972. 10 Approximately 77 percent of all child care centres are operated under non-profit auspices in Canada. Three provinces – Alberta, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick – however, have a high proportion of commercial operators. 11 Until the Mulroney government imposed one on CAP funds for the “rich” provinces of Ontario and Alberta. This move was aimed especially at curbing Ontario’s social assistance expenditures. 12 The minister responsible, Lloyd Axworthy, remained strongly committed to child care, however, and, in the fall of 1995 he sent federal negotiators to consult with the provinces, with a proposal of $630 million over five


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years. This initiative was suddenly quashed, and Axworthy was moved to another portfolio, to be replaced by a minister whose main goal was the reform of unemployment insurance (Mahon and Phillips 2002, 202–6). 13 Quebec remained outside of these opportunities for cooperation. 14 The other areas were promotion of healthy pregnancy, birth, and infancy; improvement of parent and family supports; and strengthening community capacities. 15 Recall the OECD’s argument, which is based on its own studies and other research, that the balance should be tipped in favour of supply-side intervention. The Multi-lateral Framework Agreement thus permitted the provinces to choose less effective options. 16 Quebec’s agreement did not include this clause, but it was already ahead of the other provinces. New Brunswick, the last to sign, used the Quebec agreement to avoid committing funds to regulated care, despite the lack of spaces in that province. 17 This required submission of a detailed plan by each of the provinces. 18 All parents used to receive a family allowance, which reflected the higher costs families with dependent children face. The previous Conservative government cancelled these allowances, however. 19 The Workplace Tax Incentive offered business a tax deduction of up to 30 percent to establish spaces. There was no take-up. 20 Much of the data here is drawn from Mahon (2009). 21 A partnership of the city, the Atkinson Foundation, and the Toronto District School Board, the project involved five experiments in integrating education and care for preschool children. Each experiment brought together formal education (kindergarten), child care, and family resource programs to provide seamless access to these and other core services. All have a governance structure involving parents, which has control over a pooled budget and a mandate to deliver comprehensive services. 22 Since this was also a time when other Ontario municipalities had begun to develop their child care systems, Toronto faced competition for limited resources. (The Ontario government had put a cap on its child care costsharing arrangements in the late 1970s.) 23 The Harris government abolished two-tier governance in Toronto and other major cities. Thus “Metro” was replaced by the new “City” of Toronto. 24 Its recreation programs, however, encompass more of the latter and play a critical role during school vacation and professional development days. 25 PSSA is now called Family and Community Support Services (FCSS).

Cities and Child Care Policy


26 It is interesting to note that the federal day care counsellor at that time had been recruited from Edmonton’s municipal system, which was very similar to Calgary’s. 27 In Calgary, just over a quarter of the child care spaces for preschool children are in the non-profit sector. This stands in marked contrast to the pattern in what remains of the old FCSS-financed sector, where over half the spaces are in the non-profit sector. 28 In fact, British Columbia was one of the provinces (along with Manitoba) whose moves toward a universal program put pressure on the federal government to widen the terms under CAP in the 1970s. 29 This was a period when the child care advocacy movement began to develop organizational capacity in many provinces and at the national level. The second National Child Care Conference, held in Winnipeg in 1982, helped to stimulate this development. The national child care coordinator, ­Clifford Howard, played a critical role in initiating the conference. 30 Punter describes TEAM as committed to “more participatory planning practices and a more inclusive vision for the future of the city, which appealed to the younger, better educated, more urbane and environmentally conscious electorate” (2003, 14). The left-wing Confederation of Progressive Electors (COPE), created around the same time, has also remained an important force in city politics. 31 These organizations included fourteen of the larger child care providers, two programs run by Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, the City of Vancouver Social Planning Department, and the BC Ministry for Children and Families. This was paid for with funds from Human Resources Development Canada. See “Outcomes of Vancouver Child Care Regional Delivery Model Pilot Project,” VCCRMDM_123003.htm. 32 City of Vancouver, Policy Report to Vancouver City Council from the Director of Social Planning on the Child Care Protocol, 3 February 2004. 33 Initially established in 1988, city council eliminated the post in 1999 when the province established an Office of Child, Youth and Family Advocate, reporting to the provincial legislature. In 2002, however, the Liberal government announced that the office of an independent advocate would be eliminated. It was under these circumstances that the city decided to reinstate its independent advocate. 34 As Hertzman (2004) found, there is a ten-fold difference in neighbourhood access rates: the largely working class east side is markedly underserviced. 35 Now seven dollars a day.


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36 Under the original plan, the commercial sector was to be gradually eliminated, but the moratorium was lifted in 2002, and this sector has grown rapidly under the Liberal government elected in 2003 (Jenson 2006). 37 The Centres Régionales des Élues. These are mainly made up of municipal and provincial representatives. There are fewer civil society representatives than the old CRD. 38 For more on the Quebec system, see Jenson (2002, 2006). 39 The city had previously negotiated a deal with HRDC under Axworthy, but the Harris government effectively blocked it. 40 This provided a five-cent rebate on the federal gas tax to cities on a per capita basis. The provinces accepted this and agreed not to claw back the funds thus provided. 41 Interestingly enough, the Conservative’s Advisory Committee, chaired by Gordon Chong – a Conservative from Toronto who chaired the city’s Neighbourhood Services and Metro’s Human Services committees – referred several times to the involvement of all orders of government in managing Canada’s child care system. It made no recommendations for their official involvement, however.

References Battle, Ken, Sherri Torjman, and Michael Mendelson. 2006. More than a Name Change: The Universal Child Care Benefit. Ottawa: Caledon Institute of Social Policy. – 2010. The Déjà vu All Over Again Budget. Ottawa: Caledon Institute. Beach, Jane, Martha Friendly, Carolyn Ferns, Nina Brabhu, and Barry Foner. 2009. Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2008. Toronto: Childcare Resource and Research Centre. Bradford, Neil. 2002. Why Cities Matter: Policy Research Perspectives for Canada. Ottawa: CPRN Policy Research Paper F/23. Coffey, Charles, and Margaret McCain. 2002. Final Report of the Commission on Early Learning and Child Care for the City of Toronto. Cooke, Katie. 1986. Report of the Cooke Task Force on Child Care. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada. Desjardins, Ghislaine. 1992. “An Historical Overview of Child Care in Quebec.” In Canadian Child Care in Context: Perspectives from the Provinces and Territories, vol. 2, edited by Alan Pence, 31–46. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Finkel, Alvin. 1995. “Even the Little Children Cooperated:Family Strategies, Childcare Discourse and Social Weflare Debates, 1945–1975.” Labour/Le travail: 91–118.

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Griffen, Sandra. 1992. “Addendum: Child Care in British Columbia, 1988–1990.” In Child Care in Context: Perspectives from the Provinces and Territories, vol. 1, edited by Alan Pence, 87–101. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Hamel, Pierre, Julie-Anne Boudreau, and Roger Keil. 2005. “Comparing Metro Governance: The Cases of Montreal and Toronto.” Typescript. Hayden, Jacqueline. 1997. “Neo-Conservatism and Child Care Services in Alberta: A Case Study.” Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Occasional Paper, no. 9. Hertzman, Clyde. 2004. Making Early Childhood Development a Priority: Lessons from Vancouver. Vancouver: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives British Columbia. Hutton, Thomas. 2004. “Postindustrialism, Postmodernism, and the Reproduction of Vancouver’s Central Area: Retheorizing the 21st Century City.” Urban Studies 41 (10): 1953–82. Japel, Christa, Richar E. Tremblay, and Sylvana Coté. 2005. “La qualité, ca compte!” Choix 11 (4): 1–42. Jenson, Jane. 2002. “Against the Current: Child Care and Family Policy in Quebec.” In Child Care Policy at the Crossroads: Gender and Welfare State Restructuring, edited by Sonya Michel and Rianne Mahon, 309–32. New York: Routledge. – 2006. “Rolling Out or Backtracking on Quebec’s Child Care System? Ideology Matters.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, York University, Toronto, June. Jenson, Jane, and Rianne Mahon. 2002. “Bringing Cities to the Table: Child Care and Intergovernmental Relations.” Canadian Policy Research Networks discussion paper F26, Ottawa (fall). Kipfer, Stefan, and Roger Keil. 2002. “Toronto Inc? Planning the Competitive City in the New Toronto.” Antipode 34 (2): 227–64. Langford, Thomas. 2003. “From Social Movement to Marginalized Interest Group: Advocating for Quality Child Care in Alberta, 1965–86.” In Changing Child Care: Five Decades of Child Care Advocacy and Policy in Canada, edited by Susan Prentice, 63–80. Halifax: Fernwood. – 2011. Alberta’s Day Care Controversy: From 1908 to 2007. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press. Mahon, Rianne. 2000. “The Never-ending Story: The Struggle for Universal Child Care in the 1970s.” Canadian Historical Review 81 (4): 583–615. – 2005. “Child Care as Citizenship Right: Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s.” Canadian Historical Review 86 (2): 341–57. – 2009. “Of Scalar Hierarchies and Welfare Redesign: Child Care in Four Canadian Cities.” In Leviathan Undone? Toward a Political Economy


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of Scale, edited by Roger Keil and Rianne Mahon, 209–30. Vancouver: UBC Press. Mahon, Rianne, and Cheryl Collier. 2009. “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Child Care Policy from Martin to Harper.” In How Ottawa Spends 2009–2010, edited by Allan Maslove, 110–33. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Mahon, Rianne, and Susan Phillips. 2002. “Dual-Earner Families Caught in a Liberal Welfare Regime? The Politics of Child Care Policy in Canada.” In Child Care Policy at the Crossroads: Gender and Welfare State Restructuring, edited by Sonya Michel and Rianne Mahon, 191–18. New York: Routledge. Masson, Jack, and Edward LeSage Jr. 1994. Alberta’s Local Governments: Politics and Democracy. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press. McDonell, Linda. 1992. “An Historical Overview of Child Care in British Columbia.” In Childcare in Context: Perspectives from the Provinces and Territories, vol. 1, edited by Alan Pence, 19–43. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Miller, Byron. 2007. “Modes of Governance, Modes of Resistance: Contesting Neoliberalism in Calgary.” In Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers, edited by Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric S. Sheppard, 223–49. New York: Guilford. Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Government of Canada’s Child Care Spaces Initiative. 2007. Supporting Canadian Children and Families: Addressing the Gap between the Supply and Demand for High Quality Child Care. Report to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development of Canada. Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2005. Babies and Bosses, vol. 4, Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Paris: OECD. – 2006. Starting Strong, vol. 2, Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD. Pence, Alan. 1992. Canadian Child Care in Context: Perspectives from the Provinces and Territories, vols. 1 and 2. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Prentice, Susan. 1993. “Militant Mothers in Domestic Times: Toronto’s Postwar Childcare Struggle.” PhD diss., York University, Toronto. Punter, John. 2003. The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design. Vancouver: UBC Press. RCSW. 1970. The Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women of Canada. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

9 Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

Federal policies on immigrant settlement affect us all: directly for people who receive services that are part of federal policies and indirectly for all Canadians, since the success of immigrant settlement is central to the success of Canada in the twenty-first century. For this reason, understanding who is influencing the direction of federal policy, who plays a central role, and who has little or no influence over the policies is an important social and political question. It is also a very large and complex question and one that cannot be covered adequately in one chapter. For example, one could look across different immigrant communities and see whether certain communities have greater influence over settlement policies than others. Or one could look within immigrant communities and try to understand who within these communities has more influence and why. Another perspective would be to look across Canadian society and ask who influences settlement policies – is it economic actors, social actors, or political actors. Our decision was to focus this chapter on two questions: one relating to political and administrative actors and one relating to social actors. Doing so allows us to ask questions about who makes the decisions and who structures the concrete settlement activities while at the same time restricting the scope of the chapter to manageable dimensions. In terms of the political and administrative actors our interest is in which levels of government play an increasing role in immigrant settlement and why. More specifically the chapter will document the growing role of municipal governments in settlement activities and in settlement policy. In terms of social actors, we will


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focus on the role of francophone minorities and their associations in trying to influence the direction of federal settlement policies. These are clearly only two of the many threads one could follow about recent federal immigration policy, but they are the ones chosen here – the story of municipal involvement and that of francophone minorities and their associations. It is also clear that this analysis of immigration policy does not go beyond the Harper minority government of 2008–11. Clearly, increasing the involvement of municipal governments and of civil society actors does not eliminate the role of the federal government, it simply increases the number of significant governmental and non-governmental players involved in immigration policy. The field of immigration policy can be seen as a particularly interesting example of multilevel government, and multilevel governance, in that it clearly incorporates important economic, social, and cultural dimensions and therefore involves horizontal coordination within levels of government as well as vertical coordination between levels of government. The governance dimension adds additional levels of complexity since both horizontal and vertical coordination involve a large variety of non-state actors along with the governmental players. Of central interest to policy analysts and to the interested public is the relative weight of the state actors and the non-state actors and the ways in which they influence the overall policy direction of, in this case, the Canadian federal government (see, among others, Dirks 1995, Kelley and Trebilcock 2000). Scholars of multilevel governance can be criticized for according more weight to state actors in their vision of governance than to non-state actors. It is argued elsewhere (Mahon, Andrew, and Johnson 2007) that the literature on scalar analysis has been better framed to consider that this is a question for empirical research and that in the development of a theoretical framework state and non-state actors should be situated on the same level. Determining the actual influence of the different categories of actors, and indeed specific actors within state and non-state categories, is an empirical question and one that this chapter will attempt to address. As we have just articulated, in order to focus this chapter, we have chosen to look at the increasing multilevel governance of federal immigration policy in two ways; at the involvement of municipal government in federal immigration policy and at the involvement of minority francophone communities and their organizations in multi-

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


level governance. One of those leads to multilevel government and one to multilevel governance, but as we will discover, the distinctions between these two are not clear-cut. The formal involvement of municipal government in federal immigration policy stems from the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA) signed in November 2005, since it is the first federal-­ provincial immigration agreement to specifically include municipal governments.1 However, to properly understand the context for this agreement, it is necessary to situate the growing provincial government role in immigration, since the route to an official municipal role is through the provincial role. We will therefore look at the changing federal perspective on provincial involvement in immigration policy but focus on the governance arrangements in the Ontario case and, in particular, on the evolution of these arrangements as they affect municipal involvement. The involvement of francophone minority communities and their associations is particularly interesting in the context of multilevel governance, since these associations operate at federal, provincial, regional, and community levels and therefore their involvement in federal immigration policy has been both horizontal and vertical: horizontal in the relations between the national association of francophone minority communities (FCFA – Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and other federal bodies, and vertical in the relationships between provincial associations, regional associations, and community associations, their provincial governments, and the federal government. Here, as with municipal involvement, some contextual information is important so as to situate the genesis of the minority francophone communities’ interest in immigration policy. As stated in the opening paragraph, the theme of the increasingly multilevel governance of federal immigration policy is only one of the possible perspectives on recent federal immigration policy and the choice of focus affects the nature of the central questions of the chapter. We are interested in understanding why and how municipal-­ provincial-federal arrangements have come about and what the consequences of municipal involvement have been, both in terms of federal administrative arrangements and in terms of policy, program, or project orientation. Similarly with minority francophone community involvement, we want to look at federal administrative arrangements and with policy, program, or project impact. Indeed,


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

Table 9.1 Government of Canada – Planned Spending by Program Areas 2008–09($) Economic affairs Social affairs International affairs Government affairs Other expenditures Total planned spending

101,186,098 47,787,447 27,356,088 12,487,898 34,821,575 223,639,106

Source: Citizen and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2007–08, 55; http://www.

in looking at these two dimensions, it is also possible to see whether there are tensions or complementarities between multilevel government and multilevel governance. Does the inclusion of municipal governments make the participation of non-governmental actors more likely and more significant or, on the other hand, is municipal involvement an alternative to civil society involvement? No definitive answers can be drawn, but this does not make the question less important. Indeed our interest in understanding the impact of the increasing relations between the federal government, municipal governments, and francophone associations in the field of immigration also allows us to situate the role of the lead ministry, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, within the evolution of federal activity in the field of immigration and also within the evolution of federal activity in relation to the provincial governments, and it is to these questions that we will now turn. Clarifying the federal context will allow us to better understand the emerging roles of local governments and of minority francophone interests.

Immigration within the Federal Government Citizenship and Immigration Canada is not one of the large federal departments in terms of expenditures. The government of Canada categorizes its expenditures into five categories and the planned spending for each of these categories was for 2008–09 is set out in table 9.1. As can be seen from the table, social affairs is a poor cousin to economic affairs, and within social affairs, health expenditures are

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Table 9.2 Social Affairs Planned Spending, by Objectives 2008–09 ($) Healthy Canadians Safe and secure communities Diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion Vibrant Canadian culture and heritage Total

28,179,942 10,424,536 6,008,812 3,174,157 47,787,447

Source: Citizen and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2007–2008, 55; http://

Table 9.3 Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Expenditures by Program Activity ($ millions)

Program Activity Immigration program Temporary Resident Program Canada’s role in International Migration and Protection Refugee Program Integration Program Citizenship Program Total department


Grants and Contributions

Total Main Estimates, 2008–2009

183.8 59.7 1.7

0 0 2.3

183.8 59.7 4.0

97.5 53.2 59.2 455.1

0 729.9 0 732.2

97.5 783.1 59.2 1,187.3

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2007–2008, 55; http://

clearly the most important. The federal government describes its social affairs as falling under four objectives (table 9.2). Of the four objectives, the one relating to immigration comes in third place as part of the objective of creating a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion. Within that objective, the largest expenditures are those of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Canadian Polar Commission ($4.2 billion), followed by CIC ($995 million). So federal expenditures on immigration are relatively small, and, moreover, as table 9.3 indicates, over 60 percent of departmental expenditures take the form of grants and contributions, rather than operating expenditures. This is most evident in the case for the integration program, by far the most important expenditure area for CIC. Table 9.4 gives details of the transfer payment programs and illustrates the impact of the signing of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. Planned federal s­ pending increased by $212 million between 2006–07 and 2007–08, and of


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

Table 9.4 Details of Transfer Payment Programs ($ millions)

Program Activity Integration Program – Grants Grant for the Canada-Quebec Accord Citizenship Program – Grants ­­­Institute for Canadian Citizens (note 2) Total grants Canada’s Role in International Migration and Protection – Contributions Migration Policy Development (note 3) International Organization for Migration Integration Program – Contributions Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program Host Program Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada Contributions to provinces (note 4) Resettlement Assistance Program Total Contributions Total Transfer Payments

Forecast Spending 2006–07

Planned Spending (note 1) 2007–08





0.3 1.1

0.3 2.0

72.8 5.2 119.7 77.6 46.3 323.0 520.9

173.6 10.1 174.7 97.6 49.5 507.8 732.2

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2007–2008, 62; http:// Note 1: Includes Main Estimates plus Supplementary Estimates, including the transfer to the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative to the Treasury Board Secretariat. Note 2: Represents resources approved for 2006–07 for the payment of a new grant to establish the Institute for Canadian Citizenship Note 3: Migration Policy Development provides funding to several organizations, including the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM or “Puebla”) and the Intergovernmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration Policies in Europe (IGC). Note 4: Contributions to provinces include contributions to British Columbia and Manitoba. Explanation of change: Planned spending for 2007–08 increases by $212 million over 2006–07 and includes new resources of $102 million for the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, $74 million for the extension of settlement services nationally, $28 million for increased costs under the CanadaQuebec Accord, and $20 million for additional settlement funding. These increases were partially offset by sunsetting funding of integration costs related to the processing of parents and grandparents, totalling $12 million.

this increase, almost half ($102 million) represented the amount allocated to Ontario. So not only is immigration a relatively small federal expenditure, the majority of the expenditures are grants and contributions to third parties, both non-governmental and governmental. Table

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9.4 also indicates the major programs within the integration s­ ection in terms of expenditures; for 2008–09 Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) were both around $175 million, and the comparatively very small HOST program was around $10 million. These programs have been well described in Biles (2008) and are also on the CIC web site ( html; Although the distinction in mandate between the responsibility of Citizenship and Immigration Canada for immigrant settlement during the first three years of arrival to Canada and of Canadian Heritage for programming the following three years is clear, the settlement period is in reality less clearly defined. Immigrant-serving agencies provide service to considerable numbers of people who have been in Canada for more than three years.2 It is not clear whether these are people who have been in on-going contact with the agencies since their arrival in Canada or whether conditions change and/or new problems emerge after a longer period in Canada. This distinction between the first three years as being settlementoriented and a later period as relating to full integration has been further complicated by the transfer of the multiculturalism program from Canadian Heritage to Citizenship and Immigration. Following the federal election of 2008 and the appointment of Jason ­Kenney as minister of citizenship and immigration, the responsibility for multiculturalism went with Minister Kenney from Canadian Heritage, where he had been the minister before the election, to his new portfolio in citizenship and immigration. At the time of writing this chapter, the implications of this transfer in broad policy terms are not clear: to what extent will it mean the lessening of the distinction between policies for the initial three-year period and for a longer time horizon or the elimination of this distinction? As we reported above, the immigrant-serving organizations deliver services to people well beyond the initial three-year period, but there are also clear differences in the program priorities between the language training and settlement programs of CIC and the focus on the adaptation of Canadian institutions that has marked the multiculturalism program. Its recent policy goals have been identity, social justice, and civic participation; the building of capacity within immigrant and visible minority communities to participate in Canadian society; eliminating barriers within Canadian institutions that prevent the


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

participation of the full diversity of Canadian society; and encouraging debate and action in combating racism (Biles 2008, 149).

Canadian Heritage Turning to Canadian Heritage, the focus is more, as noted earlier, on the capacity of the host society to offer an environment that allows for the successful integration of all Canadians, including ethnic, racial, linguistic, and religious minorities. This is the idea of the “two-way street” of Canadian immigrant integration, namely, that immigrants will adapt and so too will the host society. There has been much debate about the “two-way street,” particularly concerning the extent to which there really is one. Has Canadian society been willing to transform itself, to adapt itself, to consider that immigration will produce a new Canadian society? And there has been a whole different set of arguments: should Canadian society transform itself and should the goal be a new Canadian society or a society where the newcomers have adapted to the existing Canadian society with perhaps only marginal alterations at the edges (see, for example, Banting, Courchene, and Seidle 2007)? A lot has been written on these questions, much of which is polemical in tone. Moreover, considerable survey data suggests that Canadians, in the majority, feel that immigration has a positive effect on Canadian society (see, among others, Abu-Ayyash and Brochu 2006; M ­ cDonald and Quell 2008). However, some of the survey results certainly suggest that born-in-Canada Canadians do not see the “two-way street” as involving equal adaptation; they prefer a situation where more adaptation is done by immigrants than by themselves. These questions form an important backdrop to an understanding of the programming done by Canadian Heritage. The major program that relates to immigrant integration is the Multiculturalism Program, which, as mentioned, is now part of CIC. Another important area within Canadian Heritage that increasingly relates to immigrant integration is the Official Languages Program. We will discuss this involvement in much greater detail in terms of the influence of the minority francophone communities and their associations. Issues of coordination and of policy directive within Canadian Heritage have emerged concerning the department’s role as lead in the cross-government anti-racism plan. The Action Plan against Racism was designed to build links across federal departments,

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


including CIC, Canadian Heritage, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and Justice Canada, and thereby to build horizontal coordination.

Other Federal Departments If CIC and Canadian Heritage are the main policy players in terms of immigrant settlement and integration, they are certainly not alone. Human Resources and Social Development Canada has responsibilities in the area of foreign credential recognition, cited as a significant barrier to immigrant economic integration (Ikura 2007), and in relation to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, an indication of the increasing problems being faced by some immigrant families in finding adequate housing. Immigrant health raises the question of the involvement of Health Canada in federal immigration policy. Health has been an interesting area in that there has been much debate and much data around the question of the “healthy immigrant” effect. Immigrants are in better health on arriving in Canada than they are after being in Canada for several years, and there has been a vigorous debate about measurement, results, and policy implications (Chen et al. 1996a, 1996b; Guruge and Collins 2008; Hyman 2001; Parakulam et al. 1992; Tracey and Wheaton 2006; Vissandjee et al. 2004). Other relevant federal departments include Status of Women, Public Safety Canada, Industry Canada, and Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Coordination issues across the federal government can take several forms, and these can be measured in different ways. One can look to see which government programs have highlighted immigrant issues and which have not. One example is Status of Women Canada, where the emphasis on immigrant women has been relatively clear and where immigrant women are one of a limited number of priority groups, along with Aboriginal women, disabled women, and elderly women. This is, however, not so much the result of direct coordination between CIC, Canadian Heritage, and Status of Women as it is the result of the internal dynamics of the women’s movement, the importance of intersectional analysis both in theory and in practice, and the relations between the women’s movement and Status of Women Canada. Another coordination mechanism in federal immigration policy has been the Metropolis Project. Founded more than ten years ago,


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

Metropolis has had as one goal the funding of research on immigrant settlement, and it has created four (and later five) regionally based research centres that bring together university-based researchers, community agencies, and government policy-makers in order to produce and disseminate policy-relevant research. Metropolis has acted as a coordination mechanism in at least two ways. First, general funding for Metropolis, as well as specific funding for conferences and special projects, has come from a whole variety of federal departments and therefore involves coordination across the departments. Second, Metropolis’ annual conferences bring together policy-makers, along with the NGO community and university researchers. This is essential for linking research and policy, as well as for knowledge transfer and mobilization (often referred to as KT and KM). As John Shields and Bryan Evans concluded in their description of Metropolis as a case of knowledge mobilization and knowledge transfer, “The achievements and initiatives of this working experiment in research partnering is worthy of study. It offers valuable lessons for forging even deeper and more meaningful institutionalized KM/KT relationships” (2008, 23). From this description it is clear that even within the federal government coordination of immigration policy is a highly complex process. The recent transfer of the Multiculturalism Program to Citizenship and Immigration may signify the consolidation of some of the most important programs, but this is not yet clear. And even if this were to be true, there are still a large number of federal departments that have relevant immigration-related programs. All the challenges described in Bakvis and Juillet’s analysis of horizontality within the federal government (2004) are certainly present in the immigration field. As Canadian society becomes increasingly aware of the challenges of immigrant integration in Canada (Sweetman and Warman 2008), the pressures for better horizontal coordination increase. As we turn to the provincial and, later, the municipal role, these coordination challenges simply expand.

Provincial Involvement and Coordination As was noted at the outset, the question of growing provincial activity in the field of immigration is a necessary foundation for an understanding of federal-provincial-municipal arrangements.

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


Quebec was the first province in the recent period to want to expand its activity in the field of immigration, and with a clear objective: increasing francophone immigration to Quebec and integrating immigrants into a French-speaking host society (for a description of Quebec immigration policy, see Chiasson and Koji, in Tolley 2011). The beginning was marked by conflict between Quebec and the federal government, but over time the two governments worked out a more harmonious working relationship, beginning with the CullenCouture agreement in 1978. Since the Quebec-Canada Accord of 1991, Quebec has had powers in the area of immigrant selection and full responsibility for all settlement and integration services. After the initial hostility of the federal government to giving important powers to Quebec in the area of immigrant settlement, it is the federal government that offers full control over immigrant settlement to the other provinces as part of the Program Review exercise in 1995–96 (Vineberg 2010, 40). The Department of Citizenship and Immigration had to come up with savings of over $60 million, and the settlement services seemed to be the best option. Federal immigration activity overseas and federal activity relating to border services were seen to be clearly federal responsibilities and, in addition, the settlement services had only been back as part of immigration since 1993, having been part of the manpower portfolio for several decades (Vineberg 2010, 38).There was also a logic to offering settlement services to the provinces, in line with their responsibility for social services and education. Discussions were held in 1995 and 1996 with the provinces, and following federal promises to increase spending outside Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba accepted the federal offer and, in 1998, the two provinces signed settlement realignment agreements with the federal government (Vineberg 2010, 42). Manitoba has been seen as the success story of a provincial role in settlement services. Any initial concern of the settlement sector was soon over as the province quickly began improving settlement services. Manitoba developed an ambitious provincial nominee program, the first of the provinces to do so. The aim of the Manitoba program was both demographic, to use immigration to counter population decline, and economic, to use immigrants to stimulate economic and employment growth. Manitoba has played a major role in advancing the active provincial role as a model for Canadian immigration policy (Amoyaw 2008; Burstein 2007).


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

British Columbia also signed an agreement to take over responsibility for all integration and settlement programs, but the settlement sector in British Columbia was worried by the fact that a large part of the federal funds were put into general revenue and not clearly allocated to settlement services (Vineberg 2010, 43). The other provinces were not initially interested in taking over control of settlement services, arguing that the federal government was not putting enough money on the table. The Quebec agreement had always been a point of comparison for the provincial governments. This was clearly the case for the Ontario government which held out for an agreement comparable in financial terms to the agreement with Quebec. In 2005, with the approach of a federal election, the federal government agreed to the Ontario demands, which led the way to the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA) signed in November 2005 (Vineberg 2010, 45). Table 9.5 provides a list of the dates for the various federal-provincial agreements. The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement included municipal governments for the first time in a federal-provincial immigration agreement. One of the sub-agreements to the agreement covers partnership with municipalities: “The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement includes a provision to involve municipalities in planning and discussions on immigration and settlement. This marks the first time all three levels of government have worked together to meet the needs of immigrants across Ontario. Canada and Ontario will work with the City of Toronto, as well as the Municipal Immigration Committee, which has been established with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario” (Andrew 2008). The agreement set up a Joint Steering Committee, composed of the deputy ministers (DM) of CIC and MCI. The Steering Committee oversees implementation of the COIA, approves joint priorities annually, resolves disputes, and establishes the Management Committee. The Management Committee reports to the Steering Committee and is composed of the assistant deputy minister (ADM) of CIC and MCI. Its mandate is to recommend priorities and direct the development of annual work plans and establish and manage working groups related to the implementation of the annexes (as of September 2008 there was a Research and Accountability Working Group, and two sub-committees: Evaluation and Research). Below this management structure, there were three divisions: integration initiatives, economic initiatives, and municipal partnerships.

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


Table 9.5 Federal-Provincial/Territorial Agreements Agreement

Date Signed

Expiry Date

Agreement for Canada–­British Columbia Co-operation in Immigration Canada-Alberta Agreement on Provincial Nominees Canada-Saskatchewan Immigration Agreement Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement Canada-Quebec Accord Canada–New Brunswick Agreement on Provincial Nominees

5 April 2004 (original signed in May 1998)

5 April 2009

11 May 2007 (original signed in 2002) 7 May 2005 (original signed in March 1998) 6 June 2003 (original signed in October 1996) 21 November 2005


Agreement for Canada–Prince Edward Island Co-operation on Immigration Canada–Nova Scotia Agreement on Provincial Nominees Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Agreement on Provincial Nominees Agreement for Canada-Yukon Co-operation on Immigration

21 February 2005 28 January 2005 amended 29 March 2005 (original signed in February 1999) 2008 (original signed in 2001)

Indefinite Indefinite 21 November 2010 Indefinite Indefinite

29 March 2007

2007 (original signed in 2002)

27 August 2007

22 November 2006 (original signed in September 1999)


2 April 2007 2008 (original signed in 2001)

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada Report on Plans and Priorities, 2007–2008, 51. http://

The Municipal Immigration Committee is co-chaired by MCI, CIC, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and includes a representative from the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO). It has two working groups: Attraction and Retention, and Settlement and Integration. Municipal participation is also allowed in other COIA working groups (such as settlement and integration or language training). Also included in the municipal partnerships is the tripartite MOU with the City of Toronto. The MOU was signed in October 2006 and is managed by a Steering Committee composed of the Toronto City Manager and the ADMs of CIC and MCI. The Steering Committee identifies priorities for joint action/ initiatives and oversees the MOU. It allows for Toronto representation on other COIA working groups. Priorities as of September 2008


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included data sharing and research on temporary foreign workers (Andrew 2008). The municipal involvement has led to a new program initiative: Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs), which offered support to initiatives bringing together municipal and non-governmental bodies to improve access to, and coordination of, effective services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration. In the case of Toronto, there was a specific call for proposals focussing on the neighbourhood level, whereas outside Toronto it was at the level of the municipality. At the time this chapter was written, over forty LIP initiatives existed across Ontario (Bradford and Andrew 2010). To understand the COIA it is important to begin with the very special position of the City of Toronto in regard to immigration but also in terms of civil society initiatives, post amalgamation in Toronto, to rejuvenate economic development and to put pressure on the senior levels of government in order to give Toronto a greater say over its own destiny. To begin, Toronto has attracted an extremely high percentage of recent immigrants and even though the most recent period saw a slight decline in the numbers of immigrants going to the City of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Region is certainly the focal point for immigration in Canada. Recent immigration has transformed the demography of Toronto; approximately 50 percent of the population is foreign-born. The city had been active in adopting policies, developing programs, and establishing projects (Siemiatycki 2008). One example was the Break the Cycle of Violence grants whereby the city administration had taken a pro-active role in seeking out recent immigrant groups and encouraging and supporting them in applying for grants to develop projects improving culturally appropriate services around violence prevention. Both the demographic weight and the municipal activity made the case for Toronto exceptionality. Added to this were the series of civil society initiatives to increase the role of Toronto, starting with the Toronto Charter Movement, the mobilization against the Harrisimposed amalgamation, and the subsequent Toronto City Summit Alliance, which brought together a broad coalition of business and labour, cultural, educational, social, and civic leaders to develop initiatives to rejuvenate Toronto and to try and re-establish the economic, social, and cultural dynamism of the pre-amalgamation period. One of the programs falling under the Toronto City Summit Alliance was TRIEC, the Toronto Regional Immigration Employment

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


Council (Alboim and McIsaac 2004). It has an Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR), chaired by Naomi Alboim of Queen’s University (and a former deputy minster with the Ontario government), which includes representatives from four departments of the federal government (CIC, Service Canada, Canadian Heritage, and Industry), three departments of the Ontario government (CIC, Training, Colleges and Universities, and Economic Development and Trade), the City of Toronto, and the regions of York, Peel, and Halton. TRIEC recognized the importance of local labour markets and local coalitions bringing together business and labour along with government representatives. It served as a model and again illustrated the importance of Toronto in immigration policies and programs. It is important to underline the interrelated nature of the non-­ governmental and governmental initiatives. Civil society organizations, such as the United Way of Greater Toronto in collaboration with the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), published Poverty by Postal Code (2004), which linked visible minority status and poverty; the Toronto Metropolis project undertook research and disseminated the findings on the need for more regional activity on the part of the city. The city also undertook projects in partnership with the United Way, such as the Strong Neighbourhood Task Force, that recommended neighbourhood-based programming that could be sensitive to the particular make-up of specific neighbourhoods. This is not to say that there are not tensions and differences between the City of Toronto and the Toronto City Summit Alliance but rather that the importance accorded to Toronto in relation to immigration policy is the result both of civil society activities and those of the City of Toronto. If Toronto was the impetus for the recognition of the role of municipal governments within COIA, it was not the only factor. Municipal governments all across Canada, often in partnership with civil society organizations, were becoming more interested in the attraction and retention of immigrants. Issues of Our Diverse Cities (2004–08) and the 2009 special issue of Plan Canada have described a number of municipal initiatives across a wide variety of municipal policy areas. Local policies on housing, public transportation, recreation, public health, policing, culture, and, of course, education all have significant impact on the success of integration, and in all these areas, there are good practices of culturally s­ ensitive policy ­adaptations and transformations. Factors that influence the


Caroline Andrew and Rachida Abdourhamane Hima

likelihood of adaptation include demographic changes (the size of the immigrant population), administrative capacity, political will, and community mobilization and pressure. A recent Université de Montréal PhD dissertation comparing the immigration policies of Montreal and Laval emphasized the importance of local definitions of the legitimacy of various political actors by analyzing the differences between Laval, where group-based identities of all kinds were not recognized as legitimate by the municipal government, and Montreal, where immigrant group identities have been recognized as legitimate for many years (Fourot 2008). Municipalities all across Canada were becoming more active, but clearly for municipalities in Ontario, their inclusion in the COIA opened up new spaces for local activity. The agreement included a program to fund municipalities to create websites and as of September 2008, seventeen municipalities had received funding. In addition the funding of the LIPs proposals across Ontario increased municipal interest in developing immigration initiatives. All this led the then deputy minister of MCI to state that “municipalities are becoming more involved with immigration attraction and immigration initiatives” (Andrew 2008, 4). Up to the present, Ontario and Alberta have explicitly included municipal governments in the federal-provincial agreements, and so formally constituted federal-provincial-municipal collaboration may or may not spread beyond these two. But municipal activity will continue to grow and will necessarily influence the environment of both provincial and federal policy and program and project development. “What makes local involvement critical is the emphasis on retention and the influence of local authorities in the domain” (Burstein 2007, 43). As research indicates growing problems in the integration of recent immigrants, the importance of involving local government and local communities can only grow. In pursuing the idea of community involvement, we turn now to the role of minority francophone communities and their associations and their influence on federal multilevel governance of immigration settlement and integration.

Minority Francophone Communities and Immigration The official beginning of federal involvement in promoting immigration in minority francophone communities began in 2002 with the

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The 2002 amendment included the objectives of favouring the development of official language minority communities and ensuring conformity with the Charter of Rights and Liberties and therefore the equality of French and English as official languages (Farmer 2008, 125). This led to the creation in 2002 of a Citizenship and Immigration Canada–Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee, followed by the creation of sub-committees for Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba in 2003 and for British Columbia in 2004. The federal government support for this policy development was strengthened by the adoption in 2003 of the Action Plan for Official Languages, which included federal support for encouraging and promoting French-language immigration to francophone minority communities. The federal government interest was in fact the result of the growing activity of the organizations of the minority francophone communities. The Société franco-manitobaine (Farmer 2008, 126) can be seen as the initiator of this activity, paralleling the leadership role of Manitoba in provincial government activity in immigration policy. This activity was then picked up by the national association, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA), which played a leadership role in promoting the francophone immigration dossier. Many factors lay behind this growing interest: a movement to go beyond the traditional area of education where basic rights had more or less been won, a recognition that additional efforts had to be made to successfully integrate francophone immigrants, an increased preoccupation with levels of assimilation, and the aging of the minority francophone communities. Diane Farmer has outlined the development of the FCFA’s position through its major briefs (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007) to the federal government articulating the argument for the promotion of francophone immigration and for the appropriate federal role. The 2003 plan allocated some federal funds for this objective, which led to some specific projects, including public education, preparation of education material, and municipal and school projects. The CIC–francophone community National Committee produced a strategic framework in 2003 and a strategic plan in 2006. The objectives of the framework and the plan include increasing the number of francophone immigrants, improving the capacity of francophone minority communities to welcome francophone


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immigrants, ensuring the economic integration of the francophone immigrants, ensuring their social and cultural integration, and fostering the regionalization of francophone immigration. The political context was also extremely favourable during the Chrétien and Martin years, with Mauril Bélanger as minister in charge of the Official Languages Act. A study by Cardinal, Lang, and Sauvé (2005) discusses the potential and the challenges of the structures of joint governance across the various policy fields, including immigration. Although these structures remain, the political context is less favourable for federal initiatives in this area. Municipal involvement took place through the activities of the organizations that represent francophone and/or bilingual municipalities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Ontario. In New Brunswick the association got funds from the Canada–New Brunswick agreements for francophone municipalities to organize projects aimed at welcoming new immigrants and raising community awareness of the importance of attracting and retaining them. The municipalities were for the most part small, and the projects were limited in terms of funding. In Manitoba the organization representing francophone municipalities focussed its activity on economic development projects, and it feels that they have been successful. The small rural francophone communities had, for the most part, made small gains in population, in contrast to long-standing rural population loss in Manitoba. In Ontario the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO) has carried out, over the past few years, a number of research projects relating to the role of visible-minority and foreign-born francophones active in municipal government in Ontario. Although both Toronto and Ottawa are members of AFMO, the majority of the member municipalities have received little recent immigration. However, the annual conferences of AFMO have maintained the question of francophone immigration as an area of interest for the organization. Several of the federal-provincial agreements refer specifically to minority francophone communities and to their specific needs in immigration attraction and integration. This is true of the British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario agreements. However, with the arrival in power of the Conservative Party under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, the priority given to minority francophone communities lessened. The federal government did renew the Action Plan, but without expansion.

Federal Policies on Immigrant Settlement


What have been the results of the efforts to increase francophone immigration in minority francophone communities and to retain them in these communities? Research in Ontario (Andrew and ­Burstein 2007) demonstrated the considerable challenges involved in this policy. Francophone immigrants arriving in Ontario discover that English is required for the vast majority of employment in Ontario, which many of them felt had not been explained clearly to them before they came to Canada. Moreover, given the relatively small amount of public services in French in most, if not all, Ontario communities, francophone immigrants therefore choose English-­language services. There is also little evidence of a medium- or long-term clearly articulated federal plan for the development of francophone immigration in Ontario and for a strategy of working with provincial, municipal, and community partners to develop greater capacity to attract and retain francophone immigrants. One example of the absence of developed partnerships was a reference within the federal documentation to designated communities within Ontario that had been chosen for the development of French-­language services. However, because these communities had not been consulted about or even informed of this designation, it was not surprising that this designation had not had any impact on service delivery. In terms of process, minority francophone communities and their organizations did have an impact on federal policy: a national steering committee was set up, and it has met and articulated plans (Belkhodja 2008). There appears to have been some policy impact in Manitoba, but it seems to be more related to the pro-active nature of Manitoba provincial immigration policy. The arrival of the Harper government seems also to have lessened the influence of the minority francophone organizations. However, it is too early to tell to what extent their influence on federal policy was related to a specific political context or whether the demographic and community mobilization factors that remain important will re-establish a capacity to influence federal immigration policy. The impact of the increasing involvement of municipalities in activities aimed at attracting and retaining immigrants on federal immigration policy would seem to be more certain that that of the minority francophone organizations. This impact is, in part, a consequence of the increasing provincial government role in immigration policy but it is also a product of the increasing importance of “placebased” policy (Bradford 2007; 2008) and therefore an expanded


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local and municipal role (particularly in the case of the larger cities and metropolitan regions) in economic development and in the policies for social and cultural development that are increasingly understood as necessary for economic development. Immigration is a necessary base for economic development and the appropriate activities of local government, in partnership with the full range of local community actors, are seen to be crucial in attracting and retaining immigrants. Municipal governments in Canada are only just beginning to see that this can lead to greater municipal involvement in federal immigration policy, potentially through federal-provincial collaboration and coordination, including not only governments but also civil society organizations. Federal policies on immigration settlement will increasingly interact with municipal activities; what remains to be seen is whether this will occur through collaboration and coordination actively engaged in and supported by the federal government. The argument in this chapter is that this would be the route for improved policies for immigration settlement.

Notes This chapter was first published in Tolley/Young, Immigrant Settlement Policy in Canadian Municipalities, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011. 1 Information on COIA comes specifically from the slide presentation “Immigration Governance: Ontario’s Experience,” presented to the UK Study Tour by Joan Andrew, deputy minister, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MIC), Government of Ontario, 9 September 2008. 2 Interviews with Berna Bolanos, Catholic Crosscultural Services – Peel Region, and with Mohammed Dalmar, Catholic Immigration Centre, Ottawa.

References Abu-Ayyash, Caroline, and Paula Brochu. 2006. “The Uniqueness of the Immigrant Experience across Canada: A Closer Look at the Region of Waterloo.” Our Diverse Cities 2: 20–6. Alboim, Naomi, and Elizabeth McIsaac. 2004. “TRIEC: A Research Proposal in Action.” Our Diverse Cities 1: 146–7. Amoyaw, Benjamin. 2008. “Manitoba Immigration Policy and Programs.” inscan 21–3: 6–12.

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Andrew, Caroline, and Meyer Burstein. 2007. Fostering Francophone Immigration to Ontario: A Strategy in Attracting and Retaining Immigrants. Report to Citizenship and Immigration – Ontario Region. Andrew, Caroline, Katherine Graham, and Susan Phillips, eds. 2002. Urban Affairs: Back on the Policy Agenda. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Andrew, Joan. 2008. “Immigration Governance: Ontario’s Experience.” Presentation to the UK Study Tour. Bakvis, Herman, and Luc Juillet. 2004. The Horizontal Challenge. Ottawa: Canada School of Public Service. Banting, Keith, Thomas J. Courchene, and Leslie Seidle, eds. 2007. The Art of the State. Vol. 3, Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada. Institute for Research in Public Policy. Belkhodja, Chedly. 2008. “Immigration and Diversity in Francophone Minority Communities: Introduction.” Canadian Issues, Association for Canadian Studies (spring): 3–5. Biles, John. 2008. Integration Policies in English-Speaking Canada. In Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-first Century, edited by John Biles, Meyer Burstein, and James Frideres, 139–86. School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University and Metropolis. Biles, John, Meyer Burstein, and James Frideres, eds. 2008. Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-first Century. School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University and Metropolis. Bradford, Neil. 2007. Whither the Federal Urban Agenda? A New Deal in Transaction. CPRN Research Report F/65. – 2008. “Rescaling for Regeneration? Canada’s Urban Development Agreements.” Presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 4–6 June, Vancouver, BC. Bradford, Neil, and Caroline Andrew. 2010 . “The Harper Immigration Agenda: Policy and Politics in Historical Context.” In How Ottawa Spends, 2011–2012, edited by C. Stoney and G.B. Doern. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Burstein, Meyer. 2007. “Promoting the Presence of Visible Minority Groups across Canada.” Our Diverse Cities 3: 42–6. Cardinal, Linda, Stéphane Lang, and Anik Sauvé. 2005. Apprendre à travailler autrement: La gouvernance partagée et le développement des communautés minoritaires de langue officielle au Canada. Ottawa: Chaire de recherche sur la francophonie et les politiques publiques. Chen, J., E. Ng, and R. Wilkins. 1996a. “The Health of Canada’s Immigration in 1994–1995.” Health Reports 7 (4): 33–45.


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– 1996b. “Health Expectancy by Immigrant Status.” Health Reports 8 (3): 29–37. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 2008. Backgrounder: Legislation Amendments to the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act. Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada. 2008. “Immigration: A Concrete Contribution to the Vitality of French-speaking Minority Communities.” Canadian Issues (spring): 18–20. Dirks, Gerald E. 1995. Controversy and Complexity: Canadian Immigration Policy during the 1980s. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Esses, Victoria M., Joerg Dietz, Caroline Bennett-Abu Ayyash, and Uhetan Joshi. 2007. “Prejudice in the Workplace: The Role of Bias against Visible Minorities in the Devaluation of Immigrants’ Foreign-Acquired Qualifications and Credentials.” Canadian Issues; Foreign Credential Recognition (spring): 114–18. Farmer, Diane. 2008. “L’immigration francophone en contexte minoritaire: Entre la démographie et l’identité.” In L’espace francophone en milieu minoritaire au Canada, edited by J.-Y. Thériault, A. Gilbert, and L. Cardinal, 121–59. Montreal: Fides. Fourot, Aude-Claire. 2008. Gestions politiques de l’intégration des immigrants et des minorités ethnoculturelles à Montréal et à Laval (1960– 2008). PhD diss. Montreal: Université de Montréal. Guruge, Sepali, and Enid Collins. 2008. Working with Immigrant Women: Issues and Strategies for Mental Health Professionals. Toronto: CAMH. Hawkins, Freda. 1988. Canada and Immigration; Public Policy and Public Concern. 2d ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Hyman, I. 2001. Immigration and Health. Ottawa: Health Canada. Ikura, Justin. 2007. “Foreign Credential Recognition and Human Resources and Social Development Canada.” Canadian Issues: Foreign Credential Recognition (spring): 17–20. Kelley, Ninette, and Michael Trebilcock. 2000. The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Mahon, Rianne, Caroline Andrew, and Robert Johnson. 2007. “Policy Analysis in an Era of ‘Globalization’: Capturing Spatial Dimensions and Scalar Strategies.” In Critical Policy Studies, edited by Michael Orsini and Miriam Smith, 41–64. Vancouver: UBC Press. McDonald, Mark, and Carsten Quell. 2008. “Bridging the Common Divide: The Importance of both ‘Cohesion’ and ‘Inclusion.’” Canadian Diversity 6 (2): 35–8.

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Metropolis. 2004–08. Our Diverse Cities, 1–5. Ottawa: Metropolis. Parakulam, G., V. Krishnam, and D. Odynak. 1992. “Health Status of Canadian-born and Foreign-born Residents.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 83: 311–14. Shields, John, and Bryan Evans. 2008. “Building a Policy-Oriented Research Partnership for Knowledge Mobilization and Knowledge Transfer: The Case of Metropolis Canada.” Presentation at the Canadian Political Science Association meetings in the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 4–6 June, Vancouver, British Columbia. Siemiatycki, Myer. 2008. “Reputation and Representation: Reacting for Political Inclusion in Toronto.” In Electing a Diverse Canada, edited by C. Andrew, J. Biles, M. Siemiatycki, and E. Tolley, 23–45. Vancouver: UBC Press. Sweetman, Arthur, and Casey Warman. 2008. “Integration, Impact and Responsibility: An Economic Perspective on Canadian Immigration Policy.” In Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-first Century, edited by John Biles, Meyer Burstein, and James Frideres, 19–44. School of Policy Studies Series, McGill-Queen’s University Press and Metropolis. Tolley, Erin, and Robert Young. 2011. Immigrant Settlement Policy in Canadian Municipalities. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Tracey, Jacinth, and Blair Wheaton. 2006. “Ethnoracial Differences in Mental Health in Toronto: Demographic and Historical Explanations.” In Inside the Mosaic, edited by Eric Fong, 169–98. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. United Way of Greater Toronto and CCSD. 2004. Poverty by Postal Code. Toronto: United Way. United Way of Greater Toronto and the City of Toronto. 2004. Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force. Vineberg, Robert. 2010. A History of Canada’s Immigrant Settlement Program 1974–2010. Vissandjee, B., M. Desmeules, Z. Cao, and S. Abdool. 2004. “Integrating Ethnicity and Migration as Determinants of Canadian Women’s Health.” bmc Women’s Health 4: S32.

10 Federal Urban Aboriginal Policy: The Challenge of Viewing the Stars in the Urban Night Sky frances abele and katherine a.h. graham In 1996, the Canadian Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) observed that “[t]he issues confronting urban Aboriginal people – governance, access to culturally appropriate services, cultural identity, and intercultural relationships –­ have been woefully neglected by Canadian governments and Aboriginal ­ authorities in the past” (RCAP 1996b, 5). The Commission’s finding raises two important questions for those interested in public policy and municipalities: What were the causes of past deficiencies? What are the necessary social, economic, and political conditions necessary for good urban Aboriginal policy?

• •

This chapter considers these questions as they relate to the evolving federal government policies and programs concerning urban Aboriginal people. It complements the studies of Aboriginal policy in the cities of four provinces – Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick. These studies focus on how policy is made in Canadian municipalities and attempt to assess what constitutes good public policy in local contexts. They consider the interplay of all three levels of government, the economic, political, and social state of the cities, and the extent to which urban Aboriginal issues were recognized and acted upon. They also consider non-governmental institutions and movements, namely, the social forces that contribute to the shape and impact of urban Aboriginal policy.

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Understanding federal urban Aboriginal policy requires consideration of all of these matters. In this chapter, we ask: what would be the best alignment of social forces, conditions in municipalities, and federal priorities and institutions that would result in good urban Aboriginal policy? Our analysis is based on the premise that good policy follows from the consistent engagement of federal and municipal governments with social forces, that is, citizen organizations and movements that seek to bring about change. Good public policy is fluid; it constantly adapts to changing social circumstances, responds to the needs of the people for whom it is relevant, and balances their concerns with the welfare of the general population. In this chapter, we do not attempt a comprehensive assessment of the various phases of federal urban policy, but focus instead on the factors that make for good urban Aboriginal policy. While all levels of government are important, no other level of government has the financial resources and the reach of the federal government. One way or another, federal sponsorship or direct participation affects virtually all aspects of urban life in Canada, and in this regard, Aboriginal policy is no exception. We provide an answer to our two main questions by briefly reviewing the history of federal urban Aboriginal policy and then assessing at some length the current (post-1993) policy situation in light of this history. We examine the extent to which there is a necessary alignment among social forces, conditions in cities, and federal approaches for urban Aboriginal policy to be effective. Metaphorically, we investigate whether or not the stars can actually be seen to align in a busy and often hazy urban night sky.

the evolving federal problématique Federal governments have long been ambivalent about their urban Aboriginal responsibilities. For decades, policy limited attention to the needs of First Nations people living on reserves. Only gradually have federal policies and programming recognized that First Nations people live in cities as well as on reserves and that, along with Inuit, Métis, and the other “Section 35” groups,1 they require urban-based programming. Clearly, one factor driving the recent change in federal policy has been the relatively rapid urbanization of Aboriginal peoples. Today, more than half of the Aboriginal people of Canada live in


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cities. These people, regardless of how they may have come to live in urban areas, remain Aboriginal and their constitutional rights are unchanged. Furthermore, they are connected with ­Aboriginal peoples living in home territories (i.e., reserves, settlements, and regions) through family, culture, law, and politics. While policy must focus on the distinct needs and contributions of urban Aboriginal people, it must also recognize their connections with the broader and equally diverse polity of Aboriginal peoples in Canada as a whole. Federal initiatives relevant to urban Aboriginal people date back to 1957 and generally have been marked by degrees of ambivalence about the boundaries of federal responsibility, both geographical and jurisdictional. A full review of the history of federal Aboriginal policy and programming is outside the scope of this chapter, which focuses principally on policy changes that occurred during the last fifteen years. We have found that the evolution of federal programs in the urban Aboriginal policy field is best understood as consisting of four distinct time periods. We have labeled these periods according to the general characteristics of the political and policy-making processes that shaped them. The first period, 1955 to 1977, may be seen as the period in which significant activity in urban Aboriginal affairs began. We have dubbed it the period of “activist engagement.” It includes the earliest stirrings of federal activity in urban Aboriginal affairs, as well as the run-up to and the immediate aftermath of the release of the 1969 White Paper on Aboriginal Policy, which many identify with the rising of a grassroots and nationally organized Aboriginal political movement.2 This was also a period of heightened federal government interest in cities, manifested, for example, by the establishment of the first-ever Ministry of State for Urban Affairs,3 and the federal convening of a series of intergovernmental conferences with provinces and municipal governments, represented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Federal initiatives with respect to Aboriginal peoples and (independently) with respect to cities reflected the fiscal buoyancy and general readiness to take executive action of the time as well as the relatively undeveloped state of mutual expectations in this period. The federal role with respect to programming for Aboriginal peoples in cities was minimal and indeed the object of considerable conflict (Ryan 1978; Peters 2001). The “activist engagement” period was full of overt conflict and some confusion, and, ultimately, considerable success for Aboriginal

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activism. Political representative organizations4 focused increasingly on the recognition of Aboriginal rights, a new term that gained considerable traction during this period, partly as a result of a series of rights-based court cases. By contrast, (although not in complete contradiction) broader social forces and other Aboriginal organizations (for example, women’s organizations) sought social justice and poverty reduction. Aboriginal people and their organizations formed alliances with others who were working for social justice, poverty reduction, and environmental protection. In the cities, a new municipal government activism was shaped considerably by the demands of these broader social forces, which also shaped the activism of the federal government. This is the context for the first major foray by the federal government into specifically defined “urban Aboriginal policy,” which was cast as a matter of good social policy rather than as a recognition of Aboriginal rights. Funding for Indian Friendship Centres dates from this period, as do debates over what programs were required for the growing urban Aboriginal population, how these should be conceived, and what the balance of federal and provincial involvement should be. As Evelyn Peters (2001, 77) notes, “Competing frameworks for understanding Indian urbanization made the exercise of program development and administration unstable and unpredictable.” The second period, from 1978 to 1986, is overwhelmingly the period of “high politics” in matters both intergovernmental and constitutional. The constitutional patriation debates and the consti­ tutional aftermath dominated public affairs and consumed the energies of leaders, governments, and organizations. Throughout this period, most active members of the political elites inside and outside government focused on the constitution and the law, while matters of daily life and community well-being tended to receive less attention. The specific needs and unique circumstances of Aboriginal people living in cities were universally recognized, but they did not fit readily into the national debates about rights, land, and political institutions. Like their political counterparts, social groups and organizations – especially those committed to advocacy – were caught up in the high politics of the period. Any discussions about social justice and social inclusion were subsumed under the rubric of “constitutional negotiations.” The high politics associated with patriation and its aftermath underlined concerns of governance at the expense of all others and created a line of public discourse in which the specific, local, and heterogeneous concerns of urban


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Aboriginal life were difficult to situate. This situation was to persist for a number of years. In parallel fashion, this period saw the concerns of Canadian cities take a back seat to the high-stakes issues of national unity and economic restructuring that were being discussed by federal, provincial, and territorial elites. Though their concerns were indeed implicated in these discussions to the extent that they would reap the benefits and bear the brunt of political and economic restructuring, their voices were otherwise eclipsed. The third period, from 1987 to 1992, is a period of “deteriorating relations” between Aboriginals and the state. This period also featured a great deal of civil disobedience. In the aftermath of the failure of the last First Minister’s Conference on Aboriginal Rights either to advance the Aboriginal agenda or establish alternative frameworks for policy discussion, a period of Aboriginal protest ensued (Peach 2004). Grassroots conflicts over land rights spilled into munici­ palities small and large. The most prominent example is probably the conflict over “the Pines” at Kanesatake/Oka near Montreal.5 In response to the armed standoff at Oka (and perhaps gathering protests across the country) in 1991, the federal Cabinet established the long-promised Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) as a body responsible for fostering collective reflection, research, and debate, and founded the Indian Specific Claims Commission (ISCC) as an arms-length body responsible for reviewing (but not adjudicating) allegations of specific infringements of Treaty rights (Indian Specific Claims Commission 2008). The five years of deteriorating relations after 1987 saw Aboriginal peoples and governments coping with the aftermath of patriation, including the consequences of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. It was also a period in which the fundamental issues of Aboriginal rights spilled into the everyday life of one of Canada’s largest cities (Montreal) and into the consciousness of all Canadians and their governments. While the specific needs and unique circumstances of Aboriginal people living in cities were subordinated to other concerns during the previous period, these same concerns now moved to the centre of the national stage and, not coincidentally, to the agendas of provinces and cities. The final period, from 1993 to the present, we have dubbed a period of “consolidation and construction.” For various reasons, the stars seem to have aligned and made possible a positive change in

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urban Aboriginal policy. The 1996 publication of the Royal Commission’s report, and the public and political reaction to it, led to a number of measures that were particularly helpful to urban Aboriginals. In the same period, there was perhaps a growing shift in the way city life was perceived, especially with respect to the increasing role of ethnic diversity within the urban landscape. With the reductions in public expenditures during the 1990s, the dimensions of urban poverty became more visible. Public discussion of the whole system of social provision and the challenges of homelessness led to debates about the role of different levels of government and civil society organizations in dealing with both diversity and poverty. From the federal perspective, a myriad of policy issues began, to varying extents, to be viewed through an urban lens. This period is our central focus. In analyzing it, we will compare it to the three earlier periods in terms of the interplay among social forces, the state of our cities and towns, and federal government initiatives, all of which have shaped urban Aboriginal policy in Canada.

stars in alignment: 1993–2006 Two events in the early 1990s set the stage for major changes in urban Aboriginal politics. The first was the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord in 1992. The defeat of the Accord was the final act in the long drama that was twentieth-century constitutional politics in Canada. A document drafted by a wide selection of elite representatives (including Aboriginal representatives) after a very public participatory process, the Accord envisioned a new constitution for Canada in which Aboriginal governments formed a third order in the federation. When the Accord was put to a Canada-wide referendum, it was defeated. With the end of the Charlottetown process, the high politics of constitutional negotiation subsided; the political space and funding for the institutions and processes of high politics in Aboriginal affairs disappeared.6 The second inaugural event of this period was the election of the new Liberal government of Jean Chrétien in 1993. Chrétien and his minister of finance, Paul Martin, became convinced that it was necessary to make reduction of the federal deficit a priority and ended years of increased federal expenditures. A Program Review carried out during the fiscal year 1994–95 affected all Canadians because it changed the pattern of federal spending in all areas of social provision.


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City governments began to feel the effects of federal fiscal restraint and, in some cases, perhaps most dramatically in Ontario, of provincial cutbacks as well (Marquardt 2007). The federal and provincial governments’ withdrawal of funding from programs like social housing and social assistance had an impact on the health of many Canadian cities. One manifestation of this impact was the rise of homelessness as a visible fact of urban life in the mid-1990s. The funding shortfall began to place increasing financial pressure on city governments as well as voluntary organizations; it occurred at the same time as the economic infrastructure of many Canadian cities felt the effects of recent free trade agreements (Canada-United States and the North American Free Trade Agreement) and increasing internationalization (Gertler and Wolfe 2002). Extremes of wealth and poverty became more visible all across the country, albeit unevenly. In Aboriginal affairs, the effects of the fiscal changes of the early 1990s were mixed. Aboriginal people, as all other Canadians, found their life prospects reorganized not only by the restructuring economy but also by the restructuring state: a new model of federal funding of Aboriginal social programs emerged (Abele 2004). The new model involved support for the establishment of numerous small Aboriginal-controlled service organizations, most of which were situated in cities. Some examples of these organizations include the Vancouver Native Health Society walk-in clinic, Poundmakers Lodge (Edmonton), the Joe Duquette High School (Edmonton), the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (Regina and Saskatoon), the Estey School Aboriginal Employment Program (Saskatoon), and Anishinaabe Oway-Ishi ­– an Aboriginal youth employment preparation and placement program in Winnipeg (Newhouse 2003, 248–9). This was also a period in which some long-standing organizations reached institutional maturity, with established lines of operation, a network of contacts, and experienced staff (Peters 2005). At the same time, in a number of areas of service provision, policy deliberations were opened to Aboriginal participation through the use of advisory and, in some cases, decision-making appointed councils. New initiatives in Aboriginal service provision emphasized mutual respect and partnership – a more collaborative approach between government and Aboriginal organizations in the development of programs (Abele 2004). Although the new policy councils and committees were introduced for programs that affected Aboriginal people in the cities and in the countryside, they engaged mainly

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the urban-dwelling organizational representatives and staffers with the side effect that the relationship these urban individuals maintained with federal institutions was altered. In earlier periods, political leaders and their support staff maintained regular contact with federal institutions, while people in social service and health professions were employees of governments or non-governmental organizations. The changes of the early 1990s drew some of these staffers into advisory roles, even while they created a large number of new organizations (Abele and Papillon 2008). The effect was to broaden the exposure of federal officials to urban Aboriginal activists working as advocates and service providers. As these changes were occurring, the ethnic character of major Canadian cities began to change as a result of an amended immigration policy and current world events. For example, the Asian population of Vancouver began to grow rapidly as the new immigration policy that gave priority to immigrants with significant capital resources intersected with the immanent transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese jurisdiction. Immigration, however, was by no means confined to the rich. In fact, the number of newcomers to Canadian cities who did not bring substantial financial resources with them was so large that there was an increasingly strong link during this period between being a recent immigrant and being poor (Graham and Phillips 2007). The challenges of diversity and prosperity in Canadian cities now propelled a broad-based constellation of local social forces into action. Social forces and city governments have been working “at the coal-face” to address these challenges and they have been dealing with constrained or reduced federal and provincial funding. The new challenges facing Canada’s cities induced co-operation and competition among the organizations representing various social and ethnic groups. It is in this context that Aboriginal people and their representative organizations began to formulate a new agenda for the 1990s in which urban affairs received much more emphasis than in the past. The move towards the “Aboriginalization” of service-delivery organizations created many more institutional actors, each of which had an interest in certain policy areas (Loxley and Wien 2003). Between 1993 and 2000, the number of Aboriginal organizations (for-profit and NGOs) more than tripled (Newhouse 2003). Along with this expansion came significant differences of opinion about how these organizations should be organized; some people favoured “status-


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blind” approaches while others favoured a segmented approach in which organizations and services are keyed to constitutional status.7 Meanwhile, the proportion of Aboriginal people living in Canadian cities continued to grow. In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the proportion of the total population in Canada who identified as Aboriginal who lived in urban areas grew from 47 to 49.1 per cent (Statistics Canada 2003). The increasing prominence of urban issues has been reflected in the politics of Aboriginal organizations at the national level. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), which asserts that it represents First Nations citizens regardless of age, gender, or place of residence, struggled with the reality that its internal centre of power was the assembly of reserve-based chiefs even as the people it sought to represent were living off-reserve in Canadian cities. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) grew out of the Native Council of Canada, an organization representing “non-status Indians.” In the 1990s, CAP began to identify itself firmly as the representative of all urban Aboriginal people, whatever their status. CAP also sought to represent urban Métis people, an increasingly heterogeneous group no longer the exclusive preserve of the Métis National Council. Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women’s Association, turned its attention to the needs of Inuit women living in the cities. All of these national organizations were constrained in their advocacy role during the 1990s by reduced federal funding and were consequently forced to survive on overheads generated by federal contracts. Despite general fiscal restraint, there were some new program initiatives during this period that were relevant to Aboriginal people living in cities, such as the Aboriginal Head Start Initiative (Health Canada 1995) and the Aboriginal Justice Strategy (1995). To these general application programs was added a single program focused on the cities, the Urban Aboriginal Employment Initiative (1996–99). In more pure policy terms, there was an important change with the 1995 recognition of the inherent right of self-government for Aboriginal peoples of Canada (including the Indian, Inuit, and Métis people) mentioned in Section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982. Released jointly by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and NonStatus Indians, the “inherent right policy” explicitly recognized the right of self-government of Métis and Indian groups “off a land base” (Canada 1995). In fact, no negotiations began with Métis and

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Indian groups residing off a land base south of the sixtieth parallel, and no policy respecting urban Aboriginal people was developed. Métis Nation proposals for self-government subsequently laid out in the RCAP report did include an urban land dimension, but, despite its mandate, RCAP did not judge their workability (Cairns 2000). The Métis Nation Framework Agreement was signed with the federal government in 2005, and it aimed to address this urban issue as well as other longstanding issues, particularly for members of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia. However, there is no mention of an urban-specific framework despite the fact that 65 per cent of the Métis population live in urban areas (RCAP 1996c, 604). In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples released its final report. In retrospect, the analytical attention devoted to urban concerns is remarkably scant: just one chapter in its five-volume opus was devoted exclusively to urban Aboriginal issues, with occasional references to urban concerns in the rest of the report. The section on urban economic issues occupies four pages out of 248 devoted to economic development. Nevertheless, the report speaks eloquently about the challenges faced by Aboriginal people in Canadian cities as well as their resiliency and some of their successes. It recognizes the centrality of identity to Aboriginals living in cities and the scourge of the racism frequently experienced by urban Aboriginals, which sometimes came at the hands of the police and other municipal authorities. The special challenges faced by Aboriginal women and youth in cities are also addressed in the report: the Commissioners note that, for some women who gained Indian status through Bill C-31, cities remain a relatively welcoming environment in comparison with reserves. The Commission recommends an enhanced role for the federal government in financing social programs for Aboriginal people living off a land base and it offers a powerful argument for parallel provincial responsibility in this area. The report proposes some ways in which urban governments can reform their institutional arrangements and services to become more understanding and responsive to the needs and interests of the Aboriginal population. Finally, the report offers a range of models for achieving Aboriginal self-government in urban centres, not prescriptively, but by way of illustrating workable alternatives.


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One year later, in 1997, the federal Cabinet issued its formal response to the RCAP report. Gathering Strength: Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan is thirty-six pages long and has two paragraphs that deal with urban issues. Gathering Strength focuses on the need to “strengthen partnerships with provincial governments and Aboriginal groups to develop practical approaches for improving the delivery of programs and services to urban Aboriginal people” (Canada, IAND 1998, 12). The document then gives the example of a new “single window” approach to service delivery in Winnipeg, involving the federal, provincial, and city governments collocating in the Winnipeg Aboriginal Centre. The publication of A Guide to Federal Initiatives for Urban Aboriginal Peoples was cited as an example of recent good practice. From a practical perspective, the impact of RCAP on the urban Aboriginal front was to give urban Aboriginal people a public voice, through its hearing process. It also contributed modestly to increased awareness among municipal governments in Canada of the situation and aspirations of urban Aboriginal people. One part of the hearing process was the Urban Aboriginal Working Group, a group of Aboriginal leaders with an urban focus and city managers from Fredericton, Toronto, and Winnipeg. This group met regularly through the research and policy phase of RCAP and reached consensus on new ways ahead. This was not only a vehicle for education among the participants but also a new opportunity to catalyze broader municipal action on urban Aboriginal issues through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 1996, the Centre for Municipal-Aboriginal Relations (CMAR) was established as a joint initiative between the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB). Its mandate was to “promote effective municipal-Aboriginal relations based on the principles of mutual recognition, respect, sharing, and mutual responsibility” by undertaking targeted research and acting as a clearing house to develop a database of agreements and effective practices (Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg et al. 1998). The focus was on rationalizing urban-reserve issues in situations where a reserve was located in or near an urban area, not on relations between municipal governments and their Aboriginal residents. The initiative was funded in part by INAC, though it was housed in ITAB’s Ottawa offices, had no full-time staff, and operated on a project­-to-

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project basis. An important CMAR project was the 2001 formation of the Municipal Aboriginal Adjacent Community Cooperation Project, a committee whose partners included the FCM, ITAB, and INAC, and whose mandate was to identify best practices in municipal and First Nations’ partnership-building (Larbi 1998). Their final report analyzed five municipal case studies, provided recommendations from each of these communities, and demonstrated that mutually beneficial economic development initiatives are possible with the commitment of both parties (Tamera Services L ­ imited 2002). In light of intervening changes in the federal political landscape, it seems likely that had RCAP begun its work perhaps a decade later, in 2000 rather than 1990, urban matters would have had more prominence. If RCAP devoted comparatively little ink to urban issues, so too did the formal federal policy response. An important ­contributing factor to this dearth is the Commission’s primary focus on the reinterpretation of Canadian history built upon a more solid understanding of the role of Indigenous peoples and on large matters of constitutional status and political change. Above all, RCAP settled upon a “nation-to-­nation” perspective8 that sits somewhat uneasily with urban Aboriginal realities. In many urban centres, particularly large ones such as Vancouver and Toronto, the Aboriginal population represents many nations, rendering urban Aboriginal governance complex. Gathering Strength, as the formal federal policy response, had to deal with this central thrust of the RCAP report. The federal response rested on a partnership paradigm between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples, without directly stating the federal view on the Commission’s concept of nationhood. Interestingly, this partnership paradigm would inform future federal initiatives related to urban Aboriginal policy. For example, the federal government’s National Homelessness Initiative, established in 1999, contained a segmented fund for Aboriginal homelessness and provided for designated Aboriginal organizations to adjudicate projects to be undertaken using these funds. The partnership paradigm is perhaps most fundamental to what is now arguably the cornerstone of federal urban Aboriginal policy, namely, the 1998 Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS). There is, however, another key dimension that distinguishes the UAS. It is founded on the premise that place-based policy making best meets the circumstances of urban Aboriginal people and cities. The


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judicious e­xtension of federal support in response to local activity also ­exemplifies the “steering not rowing” paradigm of 1990s public management, in which the role of the state was redefined in the devolution of r­ esponsibilities to private or non-profit organizations. The UAS began as a four-year, $50 million initiative that was introduced following the release of Gathering Strength: ­Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan. Funding was renewed in 2003, and from 2003 to 2006 over 300 pilot projects were funded. As of 2007, the federal government has committed another $68.5 million over the next five years. Led by the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and NonStatus Indians in collaboration with eight other federal departments, the UAS aims to address socio-economic needs of at-risk Aboriginal people in urban centres. It is a community-based approach that supports projects and priorities identified by ­community members, and, in so doing, works to build organizational capacity within urban Aboriginal organizations. The goal of this strategy is to develop partnerships that better align federal, other government, and nongovernmental programs to respond to these priorities; to coordinate federal resources across departments; and to test policy and programming ideas in order to provide strategic direction. The Office of the Federal Interlocutor (OFI) leads the UAS nationally in the coordination and management of an inter­departmental committee structure that oversees its implementation. Steering committees have been formed in each participating city. As of 1 April 2007, the OFI assumed full responsibility for the implementation of the program and took over from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) in British Columbia and Manitoba, and Service Canada in Saskatchewan and Ontario. The same principles of partnership and place-based policy making also form the core of another federal urban initiative that carries implications for urban Aboriginal people. The 2000 Vancouver Agreement between the federal government, the government of British Columbia, and the City of Vancouver is intended to ameliorate the appalling social pathology and impoverishment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Aboriginal people, along with Chinese and Latinos, are the predominant residents of this area. The Vancouver Agreement was a conscious experiment. In the latter days of the Chrétien era and during the Martin prime ministership, there was even some appetite to replicate the agreement in other cities. In Vancouver, the experiment was a success: Aboriginal people were direct

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beneficiaries of a federal urban initiative that saw them as part of a very complex whole. While these broad changes were occurring in federal-Aboriginal relations, Canadian cities also formulated a response to the impacts of 1990s fiscal restraint. Faced with continuing financial challenges, economic competitiveness, crumbling public infrastructure, the challenges of immigrant settlement, and managing diversity and homelessness, Canadian cities became increasingly active in lobbying for a new federal urban agenda as the 1990s wore on. Local social forces, from chambers of commerce to social and environmental groups, were also supportive of this goal. The federal government responded with a Task Force on Urban Issues, led by MP and former Toronto city councillor, Judy Sgro. Its objective was to find ways in which the federal government could become more active on urban issues without running afoul of jurisdictional boundaries and without committing significant financial resources. The 2002 Task Force Report proposed three priority programs in urban areas: affordable housing, transit/transportation, and sustainable infrastructure. Perhaps sensitized by the RCAP report but more likely realizing firsthand urban Aboriginal realities and the experience to date with the UAS, the Sgro Task Force had several recommendations specifically related to urban Aboriginal peoples. The government was called on to coordinate strategic intergovernmental policy delivery; to address issues related to poverty, employment, and housing, especially as they relate to urban Aboriginal youth; to increase the pilot projects that had been started under the Urban Aboriginal Strategy; to encourage the co-operation of urban reserves with the surrounding urban areas; to include the needs of Métis and non-status urban Aboriginal peoples; and to strengthen educational supports at the post-secondary level (Sgro 2002, 30–1). While the channels of communication between Aboriginal peoples and the federal government were being adjusted during this period, some municipal-Aboriginal frequencies remained fuzzy. A survey undertaken in 1998 by the Centre for Municipal-Aboriginal Relations (since defunct) showed that, while many municipal players were aware that “Aboriginal agencies provided services, many of them were not sure about the number of agencies involved or the types of services provided” (Larbi 1998, 18). At a minimum, however, it can be argued that there is now greater awareness among and interaction between municipal governments, the federal government,


Frances Abele and Katherine A.H. Graham

Aboriginal organizations, and other local social forces whose interests intersect with those of Aboriginal people in urban centres that have participated in implementation of the UAS. Participating cities include Vancouver, Prince George, Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thompson, Toronto, and Thunder Bay. As Andersen and Strachan on Peters argue the federal government can play an important leadership role simply in coordinating the multiple actors in every Canadian city. The federal government’s urban Aboriginal agenda since the Sgro report has, to a considerable degree, rested on the UAS foundation. The period 2002 to the present has seen dramatically s­ hifting political winds in Canada and the fact that the UAS has been sustained may be thought of as remarkable. The Martin government’s “Communities Agenda,” during its brief life from 2004 to 2005, was more holistic than targeted. It was replaced by a Conservative agenda that, if it is focused on anything “urban,” is more about infrastructure and environment. In the case of the UAS, the Conservatives have chosen to place somewhat more emphasis on economic development. Nonetheless, the Urban Aboriginal Strategy has been renewed – something that suggests that the stars may be in alignment for some progress on service delivery capacity, if not, as Walker et al. argue, for movement towards the development of an Aboriginal presence in the politics of Canadian cities.

conclusions: good governance? For most of the twentieth century, federal urban Aboriginal policy was overwhelmed by or subsumed under the meta-policy questions related to Aboriginal rights and self-determination. There has never been a comprehensive urban Aboriginal policy framework in Canada. Aboriginal issues have appeared on the federal policy agenda only when the government of the day or a minister has been seized by some aspect of the “urban Aboriginal fact” due to that government’s or minister’s preoccupation with cities, poverty, and economic development or with crime or other aspects of social pathology. The constitutional breakthrough in 1982 entrenched “existing Aboriginal and treaty rights” without reference to place of residence and made no distinctions among “Indians, Inuit and Métis.” In spite of this constitutional change, successive Ministers of Indian and

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Northern Affairs remained unwilling to pick up the urban file and followed the long-standing federal policy of financing social welfare projects only on reserves. It is notable that the Urban Aboriginal Strategy was originally developed by the minister who served as the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and not by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development – although both sets of responsibilities have been assigned to the same individual since the election of the Harper government in 2006. This constitutional change, the signing of modern treaties and post-1995 self-government agreements, and the urbanization of the Aboriginal population, have all rendered the federal “on-reserve only” policy untenable because of its limitations. In light of the seemingly episodic policy interest and action, and the historic dispersion of responsibilities for urban Aboriginal issues within the federal government documented here and discussed in Peters’ Introduction to this volume, one would normally ask whether there was consistency in the general direction of federal policies affecting urban Aboriginal people or whether they acted at cross purposes. This is a difficult question to answer because devel­ op­ments were so dispersed and episodic. Certainly, there are signs that a sustainable federal approach to urban Aboriginal policy and social policy in particular is beginning to emerge. The Urban Aboriginal Strategy, which we have already discussed at length, is one such sign; it is significant that this program has been continued by the Harper Conservative government after it was created under the Martin Liberals. The strengths of the UAS approach include its ability to adapt to local circumstances, its ­community-based approach, its allowance for federal information sharing and coordination, and its receiving strong provincial support. On the other hand, there are some difficulties with this approach. There is significant tension between the UAS’ supposed strategic focus and the reality of project funding pressures, weak communication with the Aboriginal community at large, a lack of clear terms of reference for the steering committees, a lack of ongoing strategic direction, a lack of direction from senior managers in participating federal departments, and a lack of a commonly understood longerterm vision for the UAS (Canada, OFI 2005). As an evaluation assessing the first five years of the program noted, “Collaboration among federal departments and agencies is generally constructive but limited by: a shortage of funds at the local


Frances Abele and Katherine A.H. Graham

federal level; well-entrenched policy and program instruments; a lack of impetus from senior management in partner departments/agencies; a focus of project expenditures as opposed to the longer-term strategic focus; [and] a lack of clarity as to how the partner departments/agencies are intended to contribute” (Canada, OFI 2005). This chapter began by asking a complex question: what would be the best alignment of social forces, conditions in municipalities, and federal priorities and institutions that would result in good urban Aboriginal policy? As defined by this project, good public policy has four characteristics: effectiveness, efficiency, equitability, and optimality. Our historical review suggests that only recently – perhaps only in the last few years – have the stars been aligned to favour positive action on all four of these axes. Many broad challenges and city-specific difficulties remain but the conditions for constructive federal policy and programming are more favourable than in previous periods. Urban Aboriginal people are more organized than ever before. Many urban Aboriginal organizations have well-developed working relationships with municipal, provincial, and federal governments. They have developed area-specific policy expertise and connections into each general policy area. They benefit, of course, from the growing presence of well-educated Aboriginal professionals who are attracted to the employment opportunities available in cities. At the same time, more and more Canadian city governments are recognizing the need for engagement with Aboriginal residents and neighbouring Aboriginal communities. While there remain many areas of conflict – some cities have yet to establish effective channels of communication – there has been much progress in Aboriginal-government relations overall, a fact that will soon become apparent to all. Most strikingly, in recent years it has been clear that effective federal social policy will require that good working relations be maintained with the Aboriginal policy delivery sector and with Canadian cities.

notes This chapter was first published in Peters, Urban Aboriginal Policy Making in Canadian Municipalities (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Universtity Press 2012).

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1 Section 35 of the Constitution Act recognizes “existing aboriginal and treaty rights of Indians, Inuit and Metis.” 2 Indigenous peoples’ mobilization on a Canada-wide basis actually predates the White Paper, though resistance to the White Paper provided the catalyst for a more united and focused movement of First Nations and other peoples and for a proactive federal response (Abele 2000; Weaver 1975; Ponting and Gibbins 1980). 3 The Ministry of State for Urban Affairs closed in 1979. 4 These included the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations), the Native Council of Canada (later the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples), Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (now Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami), and the Métis National Council. 5 Other conflicts in this period included the Peigan protests over the Oldman River Dam in 1990 and the Bear Island/Temagami conflict in 1991. 6 Although not all funding disappeared, the extra amounts provided for constitutional deliberations to the Assembly of First Nations and other peak organizations were expended and did not continue. Inuit had formed a separate institution for constitutional negotiation, the Inuit Committee on National Issues, which was wound up after the failure of the Charlottetown Accord referendum. 7 The term “status-blind” refers to measures that are available to all Aboriginal people whether or not they have status under the Indian Act. Those who have status are registered in federal records for differentiated services under the Indian Act and associated federal policies. People who have status are typically descendants of individuals who signed treaties or who were afforded “status” by administrative action. Today, they make up a large minority of the total Aboriginal population. 8 This concept of Aboriginal-Canada relations is rooted in the treaty relationship, which is comprised of a negotiated contract between two sovereign entities or nations.

references Abele, Frances and Martin Papillon. 2008. “Tracing the Contours of Neoliberal Citizenship: Aboriginal Peoples and Welfare State Restructuring.” Paper presented at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, 25 May, at the University of British Columbia. Abele, Frances. 2004. Urgent Need: Serious Opportunity: Towards a New Social Model for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. Ottawa: CPRN.


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– 2000. “Small Nations and Democracy’s Prospects: Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and Greenland.” Inroads 10: 137–49. Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, Institute on Governance, and C ­ entre for Municipal-Aboriginal Relations. 1998. Aboriginal ­Governance in Urban Setting: Completing the Circle Conference Summary and ­Conclusions. Available: ps.pdf. Cairns, Alan C. 2000. Citizens Plus: Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian State. Vancouver: UBC Press. Canada, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. 1995. The Government of Canada’s Approach to Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-Government. Available: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND). 1998. Gathering Strength: Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Canada, Office of the Federal Interlocutor (OFI). 2005. Urban Aboriginal Strategy Formative Evaluation – Final Report. Available: http://www. Canada, Statistics Canada. 2003. Aboriginal Peoples of Canada: A Demographic Profile (2001 Census: Analysis Series). Ottawa: Ministry of Industry. Gertler, Meric S. and David Wolfe, eds. 2002. Innovation and Social Learning: Institutional Adaptation in an Era of Technological Change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Graham, Katherine A. and Susan Phillips. 2007. “Another Fine Balance: Managing Diversity in Canadian Cities.” In The Art of the State III : Belonging? Diversity, Recognition, and Shared Citizenship in Canada, eds. Keith Banting, Tom Courchene, and Leslie Seidle, 155–94. Montreal: IRPP. Indian Specific Claims Commission. 2008. Available: http://www.tbs-sct.–2009/inst/ICC/icc01-eng.asp. Larbi, Patrick. 1998. A Portrait of Municipal-Aboriginal Relations in Canada. Prepared for CMAR [Ottawa Centre for Municipal-Aboriginal Relations]. Loxley, John and Fred Wien. 2003. Urban Aboriginal People: History of Discriminatory Laws. Ottawa: Depository Services Program, Law and Government Division.

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Marquardt, Richard. 2007. The Progressive Potential of Municipal Social Policy: A Case Study of the Struggle over Welfare Reform in Ottawa during the Common Sense Revolution. PhD diss., School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University. Newhouse, David. 2003. “The Invisible Infrastructure: Urban Aboriginal Institutions and Organizations.” In Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples, eds. David Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters, 243–53. Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative. Peach, Ian. 2004. The Death of Deference: National Policy Making in the Aftermath of Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy. Peters, Evelyn J. 2005. “Progress in Planning: Indigeneity and Marginalization.” Planning for and with Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada 63 (4): 325–404. – 2001. “Developing Federal Policy for First Nations People in Urban Areas: 1945–1975.” The Canadian Journal of Native Studies 21 (1): 57–96. Ponting, J. Rick and Roger Gibbins. 1980. Out of Irrelevance: A Socio­ political Introduction to Indian Affairs in Canada. Toronto: Butterworth and Company. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. 1996c. Perspectives and Realities. Vol. 4 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada: Minister of Supplies and Services. Ryan, Joan. 1978. Wall of Words: The Betrayal of the Urban Indian. Toronto: PMA Books. Sgro, Judy. 2002. Canada’s Urban Strategy: A Blueprint for Action (Sgro Report). Ottawa: Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues. Tamera Services Limited. 2002. Report Governing Relations Between Local Government and First Nation Government. Available: www. Weaver, Sally. 1975. Making Canadian Indian Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

11 Conclusion Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

We hope that while reading the chapters in this volume, you have had an opportunity to reflect on the federal role in municipalities in each of the policy fields and interventions. They cover a wide range of public policy, and each offers particular subject-specific knowledge and analytical insights. The reader will also have had an opportunity to reflect on the three themes that emerge from the case collection. As discussed in the introduction, we believe that these are the role of frames as markers of federal policy over time and as a way of understanding how federal policy has evolved; how the choice of policy instruments is crucial in shaping the kinds of policy actors from governments and civil society (as well as the private sector) that will be involved, the role they will play, and the modalities of policy implementation; and finally, the role of changing demographics as a driver of federal policy priorities, choices, and frames in the municipal arena. This collection also raises other questions. Importantly, these are largely left unanswered. Perhaps this is a result of the diversity of the cases. Perhaps it is because of the breadth of the overarching research program of Public Policy and Municipalities of which these federally focused studies were just one (but a major) part. Regardless, we think it is important to raise and briefly explore these questions by way of conclusion. This is intended to spur further thought and further research, either on federal policy and municipalities in specific policy areas or comparatively across fields and interventions. Equally important, there is significant scope for comparative research that focuses on the federal role in Canada and in other federal states. This type of comparative research is particularly

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i­mportant in the context of international competiveness and the global challenge of creating and maintaining sustainable cities and communities in the broadest sense of the phrase. By way of conclusion, we think it is important to raise one outstanding analytical question from the construct of this federal policy case set. The research began by distinguishing between “policy fields,” and “policy interventions.” Policy fields were conceived to be established domains in which the federal government has a constitutional responsibility or has exhibited a clear interest over time. These fields include Aboriginal policy, emergency planning, infrastructure, and federal property. Policy interventions, on the other hand, were intended to denote areas in which the federal government had begun interest and action on a more contingent basis in response to a “crisis” (homelessness), the need for federal political commitment to demonstrated localized needs (community economic development, the gas tax), or to relentless lobbying by a variety of social forces (child care). It is worth noting that the original research design for the Public Policy and Municipalities program intentionally did not specify the complete set of policy interventions to be studied. This was to allow flexibility to respond to changing political winds. Adams and Maslove’s study of the gas tax, for example, was added as the research program proceeded. So it remains to consider if there is any difference between policy fields and interventions? At this point we conclude that the difference may be more one of degree than of kind. One reason is that federal interest and action in policy fields ebbs and flows. While there may be well-established federal machinery to deal with Aboriginal issues and issues related to federal property, for example, the priority attached to these and other policy fields varies over time. Abele and Graham’s chapter on urban Aboriginal policy demonstrates this quite clearly. This is reasonably consistent with the course of federal action in the policy interventions explored in this volume. In the case of child care, for example, the federal government has been drawn (generally reluctantly) into action by peaks in the noise made by social forces concerned with the issue. In the case of the gas tax, the federal government intervened, engaged in substantial policy innovation and then regularized the gas tax regime. Metaphorically, it seems to have said “job done.” A further sign that the constructs of fields and interventions may be on a continuum is that the federal government has shown ­increasing


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willingness to adapt traditional machinery for policy fields to the perceived need to deal with diversity among municipalities in the country. The Urban Aboriginal Strategy provides a prime example of this. As federal action in a policy field, the federal machinery associated with the government’s response shares many characteristics with federal interventions in homelessness and community economic development. The focus in all three cases on place-based policy is a marker of this. Looking to future research, it will be important to explore further the similarities and differences between federal action in municipalities in traditional policy fields and interventions. The overarching theme of path dependency explored in the introduction and evident in a number of the cases seems to be particularly important in this regard. Once the federal government engages in an issue that has a municipal dimension, is there a set of actors – municipalities themselves, social forces, provincial/territorial governments – that effectively lock the federal government into some level of engagement, however variable, for the long term? Tracking the nature of these engagements and federal adaptation and learning over time will constitute an important role for research to help us understand the adaptability of the federal government to changing realities at the municipal level. Further research should also improve our understanding of particular political dynamics at the federal level. As stated in the introduction, the analysis for all of the cases in this volume concludes before the election of the Harper majority government in 2011. The case studies presented here are intended to be models of analysis, not political commentary. But political commentary does lead to some fruitful understandings. These include the role of ideology in shaping the actions of federal governments and the influence of majority/minority status of the ruling party in shaping policy initiatives that affect municipalities. This speaks particularly to the themes of path dependency (the extent of movement from the already charted course) and demographics (federal policy to expand electoral support for the party in power) that emerge from this volume. This leads to the question of policy learning. The phrase “the federal role in municipalities” implies a unity of purpose and action. In this context, unity does not imply uniformity. It should, however, suggest a collective memory and current consciousness within the federal government about the municipal sphere. Given our

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­ emocratic political reality, the federal bureaucracy would seem to d have a key role in nurturing both memory and current consciousness. What can we suggest in this vein? Zachary Spicer examines directly the question of federal policy learning in terms of formal federal-urban engagement. His article compares the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs (MSUA) of the 1970s with the Ministry of State for Infrastructure and Communities (MSIC) from 2004 to 2006 from a policy-learning and lesson-­ drawing framework. He thinks that “there is a convincing argument that the comparison between MSUA and MSIC reflects policy learning” (2010, 117) but concludes that it was both specific policy learning by the Privy Council Office but also thirty years of “general institutional experience with intergovernmental and interdepartmental interaction” (2010, 116). The federal government has also experimented with a variety of internal approaches to building an understanding within the federal bureaucracy of potential appropriate federal policy approaches to multilevel governance. One such example was the “federal family” (an informal community of practice within the federal government that was active in reflecting on “place-based” policy and the role of the federal government between 2007 and 2009), and another can be seen in some of the work of the Policy Research Initiative, as illustrated by its publication on place-based sustainability initiatives. These internal federal activities are particularly interesting from the point of view of federal leaning. The document produced by the federal family, “This Much We Know” (Plan Canada 2009), clearly demonstrates a learning perspective. Finally, in their overview of federal machinery related to urban affairs since the days of the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, ­Graham and Stoney conclude that there has been a shift in the federal approach from a rather dirigist model (MSUA within the federal government and with provinces and municipalities) to a more collaborative strategy (Graham and Stoney 2009). Their review suggests federal learning from bitter experience. Looking at our evidence, the urban Aboriginal and community economic development cases in this volume also suggest evidence of some appetite for federal learning and sustained experimentation with place-based approaches. The gas tax case also demonstrates a federal willingness for varied approaches to policy implementation across jurisdictions that appear to have yielded salutary political and


Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

practical results. On the other hand, Filion and Sanderson’s study of Toronto waterfront development over the past century (chapter 6) suggests the dominance of path dependency and inter-agency rivalries, rather than consideration of “good public policy” in the federal approach. We can conclude, then, that the federal government has sometimes engaged in policy learning, both with respect to the machinery it deploys for engagement on municipal issues and with respect to instrument choice and the modalities of implementation. Interestingly, if we look at policies that were implemented by the Chretien and Martin governments (homelessness policies, infrastructure policies, urban Aboriginal policies) and continued by the Harper governments, there was considerable continuity in substance, albeit with changes in political frame. Nonetheless, intra-federal rivalries remain important, limiting collective learning and action. These rivalries may be institutional, shaped by department and agency perceptions about their particular role in the policy firmament and by their past practice. They may also have their roots in competition among ministers vying for political attention and power. More research needs to be done about the conditions for policy learning within the federal government on municipal affairs and the institutions and practices that can support it. A discussion of federal policy learning would be incomplete without examining provincial and municipal policy learning. Provincial governments have been relatively small players in many of the chapters in this volume. The provincial role in public policy and municipalities is, however, the major focus of other volumes of the broad research program of which this book is a part. But looking at the evidence from the cases presented here, we suggest that provincial policy learning and, equally important, provincial policy capacity with regard to municipalities may be declining. We also observe signs that municipal governments may be becoming more aggressive policy learners and policy players. The same may be true for civil society organizations. These observations require scrutiny in future municipal policy research. They suggest a changing dynamic in the national policy process that may be more or less shaped by formal constitutional considerations. In our view, this conclusion and contemporary conditions suggest the need for ongoing research specifically on the federal government’s policy analysis capabilities related to changing conditions

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at the municipal level. If changing demographic patterns have been a significant driver of federal action, one needs to ask if the government will continue to have the core analytical resources and capabilities to undertake grounded policy analysis and action. This question is prompted by changes in the mandate and capacity of Statistics Canada, as well as by the continued erosion of internal policy capacity within the federal public service. We think of policy capacity as primarily residing in the national capital. Monitoring federal headquarters capacity will be important. Further, however, it will be important to monitor the impact of the shift to e-government in terms of having federal public servants in field offices, not only as eyes and ears but as potential policy implementation entrepreneurs, enabling further adaptation of federal initiatives to local conditions. Moving from the sometimes intricate dance of policy learning over time, we think it is also important to conclude by asking whether the concept of “meta-governance” is useful in thinking about an appropriate federal approach to areas of concern to municipalities? What do we mean by this? For us, the concept of meta-governance in the domain of federalmunicipal affairs implies two key elements. The first would be an overarching federal government strategy for action and for thinking about the impact of its policies and programs on municipalities. In a sense, this represents looking at federal action through a municipal lens. The second element would be federal determination that it should focus thinking and action about policy issues in the paradigm of multi-scalar networked governance. This is the perspective that Bradford builds on in his study of the federal communities agenda. By this we mean that the federal government’s horizon consciously would extend to listening to the voices and thinking about the roles of many segments of society in dealing with policy issues related to municipalities. Certainly this would include municipal governments and the provinces and territories. But it also would include civil society organizations, the private sector, and social forces. In the metagovernance paradigm, these diverse actors make significant use of networks to achieve influence and agency. If nothing else, the selection of cases in this volume points to the diversity of actors involved in federal matters that affect municipalities as well as in local issues that may call for some federal policy action. As Bradford suggests in his discussion of meta-governance (chapter 2), the ability of the


Katherine A.H. Graham and Caroline Andrew

federal government to work with the diverse networks interested in municipal matters and the presence of some type of medium to hold the networks together are key requisites of this mode of governance. In short, the concept of meta-governance in federal-municipal affairs suggests both a breadth of understanding and engagement and a grand design (which may change over time) as defining characteristics of the federal government. There were two periods in post–World War II Canada when the federal government seemed to think about municipal issues from a meta-governance perspective. The first was in the mid- to late 1970s. It was characterized, however briefly, by institutional reform designed to foster an urban lens across the government through the coordinating mandate of the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs. The three Tri-level Conferences on Public Finance convened during the same period also suggested, at least to municipal governments, that the federal government was willing to consider changes in fiscal federalism that would yield strategic long-term benefits to municipalities. The second was the Martin government’s 2004 “New Deal for Communities,” which Bradford ably describes. His conclusions about the traction of meta-governance precepts in the Martin Communities Agenda speak for themselves. There have been challenges in federal “learning, linking and leveraging.” Looking at the 1970s, there are somewhat different reasons why the federal government did not sustain a meta-governance approach. They include resistance within the federal government, both at the political and the bureaucratic levels to coordination by MSUA and the fear factor that emerged once the federal government (alerted by the Department of Finance) realized the potential impact of changes to the federal fiscal regime in response to the challenges of urbanization (Feldman and Graham 1979; Graham and Stoney 2009). It seems reasonable to conclude, then, that the municipal metagovernance paradigm described above represents a concept that will never be fully realized. Nonetheless, it is in our view a valuable task for future research to explore the federal-municipal policy arena to determine to what extent different elements of the paradigm are being realized or not and what the implications are for good public policy. We suggest this as an important stream of policy-­making research on municipal affairs. This volume has identified three important drivers affecting the federal government’s role and p ­ erformance on

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matters of key interest to municipalities. Much more remains to be learned in support of good federal-municipal policy.

References Feldman, Lionel, and Katherine Graham. 1979. Bargaining for Cities: Municipalities and Intergovernmental Relations – An Assessment. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. Graham, Katherine, and Christopher Stoney. 2009. “Federal Municipal Relations in Canada: The Changing Organizational Landscape.” Canadian Public Administration 52 (3). Plan Canada, Special Edition. 2009. 19–22. Spicer, Zachary. 2010. “Institutional Policy Learning and Formal FederalUrban Engagement in Canada.” Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (7): 99-119.


FRANCES ABELE is at the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, and academic director, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. ERIKA ADAMS is adjunct professor, Institute of Health: Science, Technology and Policy, Carleton University. CAROLINE ANDREW is director, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa. NEIL BRADFORD is in the Department of Political Science, Huron University College. ERIC CHAMPAGNE is in the School of Political Studies, Public Administration, and assistant director, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa. LEONORE EVANS is an MA student in Geography at Carleton University. PIERRE FILION is in the School of Planning, University of Waterloo. KATHERINE A.H. GRAHAM is in the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University. RACHIDA ABDOURHAMANE HIMA is with the Canada Revenue Agency, Debt Management Centre.

280 Contributors

LUC JUILLET is in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. FRAN KLODAWSKY is in the Department of Geography and Environ­mental Studies, Carleton University. JUNICHIRO KOJI is a lecturer in the Department of International and Regional Studies of the Hokkaido University of Education. RIANNE MAHON is in the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University, and CIGI chair in Comparative Social Policy. ALLAN M. MASLOVE is distinguished research professor in the School of Public Policy & Administration, Carleton University. CHRISTOPHER SANDERSON was, at writing, a doctoral candidate at the School of Planning of the University of Waterloo.


Abella Royal Commission on Equality in Employment (1984), 199 Aboriginal-federal relations, 254, 263, 267n8 Aboriginal-municipal relations, 253 Aboriginal peoples, 29; and homelessness, 80, 81, 87; national organizations of, 258; in policymaking, 256; self-government of, 258, 259, 265; urbanization of, 251–2, 258. See also First Nations; Inuit; Métis Aboriginal policy (urban), 250–66 Aboriginal rights, 252–3, 254 Aboriginalization of service delivery, 256, 257 accountability, 95, 105; in child care financing, 201; and gas tax agreements, 110, 113, 116–17; and infrastructure policy, 7, 123–4, 170, 185; in provincial systems, 177 Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), 5, 20–3, 31, 33, 95 Action Plan against Racism, 234–5

Action Plan for Official Languages (2003), 243 Advantage Canada (2006 economic plan), 176, 189n4 affordable housing, 86, 88, 144. See also homelessness Affordable Housing Program, 171 Alberta: and child care, 196–7, 199, 207–10; and homelessness (NHI), 90; and immigrant settlement, 242, 244; and provincial fuel tax, 105 Alberta Preventative Social Services Act (1960s), 197 Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA): and ICSP compliance, 177 Alboim, Naomi, 241 Anthony Gidden’s structuration theory, 134–5 anti-drug strategy: and the Vancouver Agreement, 17, 18, 19 Assembly of First Nations (AFN), 258 Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO), 244

282 Index

Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO): and gas tax fund allocation, 117–18 Baird, John, 179, 183 Bakopanos, Eleni, 23, 24 Bélanger, Mauril, 244 Best Generation Yet (Toronto), 206 Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC), 53 Bill C-31: and Indian status, 259 Bloc Québécois (BQ): on federalmunicipal jurisdiction, 66–7, 68 Border Infrastructure Fund (BIF), 171 Bradshaw, Claudette (minister): on homelessness file, 6, 84–6, 90, 91 Break the Cycle of Violence grants (Toronto), 240 British Columbia: CFDC example in, 29; and child care, 199, 210–15; and fuel tax, 105; and gas tax funds, 114, 117–19; and immigrant settlement, 238, 244; and social housing, 78; and the Vancouver Agreement, 18 Building Canada Plan (2007), 166, 176–9 Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies, 59 Caledon Institute of Social Policy, 13, 21, 25 Call to Action, FCM report, 82 Calgary: and child care, 8, 195, 207–10; and homelessness, 91 Calgary Children’s Initiative, 210 Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), 91

Calgary Local Council of Women, 208 Campbell, Larry, 104 Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) 1966, 194, 196; and child care 197, 198, 208, 215 Canada Health and Social Transfer fund (CHST) 1996, 194, 200 Canada Infrastructure Works Program (CIWP), 169 Canada Lands Company, 146 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): and homelessness, 85, 87; in suburban development, 140 Canada Social Transfer, 203 Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), 171 Canada–Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA), 229, 231, 238–40, 242 Canada’s Economic Action Plan (2009), 180–3 Canada’s Urban Strategy: A Blueprint for Action, 104 Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet), 13, 24, 25 Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), 241 Canadian federalism, 32–3, 52, 204; and emergency management, 52; and the FCM, 168–9; and federal–municipal relations, 165–6. See also specific types Canadian Foundation for Innovation, 122 Canadian Heritage: and immigrant settlement, 233, 234–5 Canadian Jobs Strategy (1986), 27

Index 283

Canadian Polar Commission, 231 Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), 25 Cannon, Lawrence, 175, 179 CAP. See Canada Assistance Plan; or Congress of Aboriginal Peoples capacity building: and the ANC, 20; through gas tax funds, 115–16; and homelessness, 97; for immigrants, 233; and the Vancouver Agreement, 16, 19 capital costs: and gas tax funds, 115 Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues, 103 Centre for Municipal-Aboriginal Relations (CMAR), 260, 263 Centres de la Petite Enfance (CEP), 216, 217 Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSCs), 216, 217 Charest government: and child care, 217–18 Charlottetown Accord, 254, 255 Charter of Rights and Liberties, 243 Chicago waterfront development, 153 child care policy, 8, 193–220. See also specific cities child development: and the national economy, 12 Chow, Olivia: on municipal-federal relations, 65 Chrétien government, 6; after 1993 election, 167–8, 255; and child care, 200, 202, 220; and city agenda, 103; on homelessness, 84; and Infrastructure Canada, 170–2

Citizenship and Immigration ­Canada (CIC), 229, 230; expenditures 2008–09, 231; and francophone minority communities, 243–4; and immigrant settlement, 233, 236 City Centre Airport (Toronto), 148–9 City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), 146, 148 City Place (Toronto), 148 civil disobedience, 254 civil liberties: in national emergencies, 49 civil society: and immigration policy, 241–2 classic federalism, 5. See also Canadian federalism CLSCs. See Centres locaux de services communautaires CMHC. See Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation CN Tower: erection of, 142 Coalition for Improved Day Care Services (Vancouver), 211 coalitions: and influence on urban development, 135–6 Coffey-McCain report (Toronto), 219 Comartin, Joe, 65–6 commercial child care, 207–8, 216, 221n10 Common Sense Revolution, 78 communities agenda, 10–33, 264. See also the New Deal community-amenity contributions: in child care, 212, 214 community-based policy making, 10–33

284 Index

community building policies: requirements of, 33 community “buy in” approach, 76 community economic development, 23–30 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), 27–8 Community Futures Program (CFP), 26, 27–30, 31, 33 Community Works Fund: in Gas Tax Fund (BC), 119 conditional grants: for municipal infrastructure, 165; to provinces, 124 conflict of interest: in organizations, 151–2 Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), 258 Conseil Régional de Développement (CRD), 217, 218 Conservative government: and child care, 194, 199, 203, 207, 220; and emergency management, 63–4, 68; and homelessness, 96; on infrastructure, 168, 173–83; initiatives from, 7, 26, 32, 33, 164–5, 180; and urban Aboriginal agenda, 264. See also Harper government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), 107 Constitution Act (1867), 50; (1982), Section 35, 258–9, 264 constitutional debates (1976– 1986), 253–4, 255 continuity in federal programs, 274 contribution agreement model, 106; and gas tax transfers, 121–2

Cooke Task Force on Child Care (1986), 199, 200 cost-sharing: and child care, 205, 207; and municipal infrastructure, 165 Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada (1993), 169 Crombie, David, 145, 146 Crowe, Cathy: on homelessness, 79 Cullen–Couture agreement (1978), 237 day care, 195, 196, 205. See also child care policy Day, Stockwell: on the Emergency Management Act, 63–4 decision making: and inter-agency cooperation, 153; and organizational structure, 135 Defence of Canada Regulations, 49 demographic changes, 7–9; as driver of federal priorities, 270, 275; electoral 272. See also Aboriginal peoples; immigration Dion, Stephane: on the National Homelessness Initiative, 90 dirigist vs collaborative federal strategies, 273 Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), 51 discursive frames, 43. See also frames diversity, 255, 257 Domestic Group on Emergency Management, 57 downloading, 78, 165, 219 Downtown Eastside (DTES): and the Vancouver Agreement, 16, 17, 18, 19 drug strategy. See anti-drug strategy

Index 285

Early Childhood Development initiative (2000), 201 early childhood education. See child care policy East Bayfront neighbourhood (Toronto), 147 Eastern Canada: inter-agency collaboration in, 90 Economic Council of Canada, 13 economic development: and civil society initiatives, 240; and First Nations, 261; and human capital investment, 103; and immigration, 237, 246; on industrial lands, 146; through infrastructure, 179–83; in municipalities, 103; and urbanization, 125n3 Edmonton, 208; and emergency response, 54 e-government: potential impacts of, 275 emergency management: community resilience in, 47–8; in municipalities, 45–8, 65–6; policy of, 5, 39–71; in the United States, 48 Emergency Management Act (EMA) (2007), 42, 43; debates on, 63–9 Emergency Management Framework for Canada (2007), 61 Emergency Preparedness Act (1985), 51–2 Emergency Preparedness in Canada (2008), 56 emergency response systems, 45–8; first responders in, 53, 57–8 employment and labour market programs, 27, 28, 29, 87, 93 Employment and Social Development Canada (ESCD). See HRSDC enabling investments, 23–30

environmental policy: discursive practices in, 41; and gas tax funds, 108–10; and infrastructure, 176, 181–2; and the New Deal, 108–10; and the Toronto waterfront, 146 equalization payments, 196 External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities (EACCC), 104 FCM. See Federation of Canadian Municipalities federal-Aboriginal relations, 254, 263, 267n8 federal government: coordination within, 93, 235–6, 274; and urban affairs, 6, 103, 273, 263 Federal Municipal Infrastructure Program (1994), 164–88 federal-municipal relations, 51–2, 54, 62–3, 166; Bloc Québécois opposition to, 66–8; in emergency management, 64, 65, 68; and fiscal arrangements, 106, 123, 165–6; historical reluctance of, 102; and homelessness, 76; and the Gas Tax Program, 102–24; themes in, 4–9 federal policies: role of frames, 4–5 Federal Policy for Emergency ­Management (2009), 62 federal policy learning, 273, 274 federal spending on social provision, 230, 231, 255 federal transfer payments, 121–2, 232 federal-provincial relations, 7, 70, 105; and child care, 194, 200,

286 Index

202, 207, 218; in ­emergency management, 60–2; fiscal arrangements, 123; and homelessness, 86; and immigration, 229, 236–42 federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) framework, 51, 53, 89–90 federal spending (planned) ­2008–09, 230 federal urban Aboriginal policy, 250–66 Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes (FCFA), 229, 243 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), 6, 7, 168–9; on emergency management, 66; on fiscal balance, 175; on Gas Tax Program, 104–5, 113; on homelessness, 82, 83; on municipal infrastructure, 182, 183, 185–6; on social infrastructure, 13; on urban Aboriginal issues, 252, 260 feminism: and child care, 206, 208, 215 financing: macroeconomic impacts of, 182 First Minister’s Conference on Aboriginal Rights, 254 First Nation communities: and allocations under Tax Program, 113–14 First Nations, 29, 251, 258, 261, 263. See also Aboriginal peoples First Nations Infrastructure Fund (FNIF), 127n11 first responders: in emergency management, 53, 57–8 fiscal federalism, 185, 276

fiscal zoning: and municipal economic development, 133 Fontana, Joe: as federal housing minister, 94, 96 four-pillar model of sustainability, 108 FPT framework, 51, 53, 89–90 frames: concept of, 4–6, 42–5, 270, 274; in different political systems, 45; of emergency management, 5, 41–5, 52–8, 70; of homelessness debate, 5–6, 82 francophone minority communities: and immigrant settlement, 8, 228–9, 237, 242–6 free trade agreements, 256 French-language services: in Ontario, 245 Front d’action populaire en réamenagement urbain (FRAPU), 83 Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ), 49 funds: combining across jurisdictions, 21, 28 Gas Tax Fund (GTF), 102–24, 185; 2007 extension of, 175–7; and First Nations communities, 127n22; and public transit, 127n14 Gas Tax Program, 6, 75, 98, 102–24 Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, 178 Gathering Strength: Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan, 260 Godfrey, John, 172; on the gas tax, 105, 106, 111, 124 Golden, Anne: and the Homelessness Task Force (Toronto), 79

Index 287

Golden Report, The, 79–81 good public policy: definition of, 251, 266 Green Infrastructure Fund, 181 GST rebate, 176, 178 Guide to Federal Initiatives for Urban Aboriginal Peoples, 260 Gutteridge, Barry, 54, 55 Harbourfront Corporation, 143, 144, 149 Harbourfront project (Toronto), 142–6 Harbour Square: construction of (Toronto), 142–3 Harcourt, Mike, 104 Harper government, 4, 11; and 2006 election, 173; and 2008 election, 179, 180; and child care agreements, 124, 203; and emergency management, 63–4; and federalism, 8; and the Gas Tax Fund, 108; and immigration, 228, 244, 245; and urban Aboriginal issues, 8, 265 Harris Conservative government (Ontario), 78, 103, 222n3, 240 Hawn, Laurie: on emergency management, 68 Highways and Border Infrastructure Fund, 175 Holland, Mark: on municipalities in emergency management, 65, 68 Homeless Individuals and Families Information Systems (HIFIS), 95 Homeless Partnership Strategy, 76 Homelessness in Canada (1999), 81–2 Homelessness Partnering Strategy, 96–7, 235,

homelessness: and Aboriginal peoples, 80, 81, 87; and community processes, 86, 89; and federal agenda, 75–98; and refugees, 80; and urban life, 256 Homelessness Task Force: Toronto mayor’s, 79 HOST program, 232, 233 housing, 95–6. See also homelessness HRSDC, 20, 76, 85, 203; and accountability crisis, 95; and child care, 203; and homelessness, 85, 87; and immigration, 235 ICSPs. See Integrated Community Sustainability Plans ideology in shaping federal action, 272 Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP), 232, 233 immigrants: and homelessness, 80, 235 immigration, 8, 103, 227–46, 257, 165. See also Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 243 income vs means test for CAP subsidies, 198 Indian and North Affairs Canada (INAC): expenditures, 231 Indian Friendship Centres, 253 Indian Specific Claims Commission (ISCC), 254 Indian Taxation Advisory Board, 260 Industry Canada, 24 infrastructure, 7, 110, 164–88; broadband access in ­Northern

288 Index

BC, 29; and economic growth, 103; vulnerabilities of, 47–8, 182. See also municipal infrastructure Infrastructure Canada, 111, 121, 170–2, 173, 174, 181 Infrastructure Canada Program (ICP), 171 Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, 181 inherent right policy, 258–9 Inner City Inclusiveness Commitment (Vancouver), 18 Innovations Fund: in Gas Tax Fund (BC), 119 institutional theory, 7, 131, 132–6, 151–3 Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs), 110, 126n10, 177 inter-agency relations, 7; in child care, 210; and infrastructure, 171, 172; and the Toronto waterfront, 131, 134, 144–5, 148–9, 150–4, and urban diversity, 257 intergovernmental relations, 166 internationalization, 165, 256 Inuit, 264, 267n6; Women’s Association, 258. See also Aboriginal peoples Island Airport (Toronto), 141 Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP), 51 Kanesatake/Oka conflict, 254 Kenney, Jason, 233 Keynesian era, 194 Klein Conservative government (Alberta), 209

Knight, James: emergency management, 66 knowledge-based economy, 11 knowledge mobilization /transfer, 236 Kovach, Gloria: on disaster planning, 53 Kyoto Protocol, 108 labour force participation: of women, 193, 200 land-use planning, 7. See also Toronto: waterfront redevelopment Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), 232, 233 Lastman, Mel: on homelessness, 79 Laval: and immigration policy, 242 Layton, Jack, 6, 79, 82 Leslie Spit: and the Toronto Harbour Commission, 138 Liberal government: initiatives from, 10, 11, 59–60, 104, 164, 167–78. See also Chrétien government Liberal Party: and the case for municipal integration, 64 Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) (Ontario), 240, 242 Local Initiative Projects (Montreal), 215 MacKenzie, Dave: on emergency management, 64, 68 Manitoba: and child care, 199; and francophone immigration, 243, 244, 245; and immigrant settlement, 237, 243; and urban Aboriginal policy

Index 289

Martin government: and child care agreements, 124, 194, 202, 220; and emergency management, 59–60; and the New Deal, 10, 14, 95–6, 104, 172–3, 264; and urban Aboriginal issues, 8, 265. See also Social Economy Pilot Initiative (SEPI) Martin, Paul: as finance minister, 103–4 McLaughlin, Stephen: on the Toronto Waterfront, 145 McLellan, Anne: and national security, 59 Meech Lake Accord, 254 Ménard, Réal: on provincial jurisdiction, 66–7 Ménard, Serge: and emergency management, 67 metagovernance, 15, 275–6; for place-based policy, 10–33 Métis, 258–9. See also Aboriginal peoples Métis National Council, 258 Métis Nation Framework Agreement, 259 Metropolis Project, 235–6, 241 Miller, David: on the Toronto airport, 149 Ministry of Environment, 172 Ministry of State for Infrastructure and Communities (MSIC), 106, 273 Ministry of State for Urban Affairs (MSUA), 168 Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, 2006: creation of, 175 modernist redevelopment schemes: of Toronto Waterfront, 140–1, 142

Montreal: and Aboriginal protest, 8, 254; borough structure of, 217, 218; and child care, 195, 215–8; and community economic development, 23; and immigration policy, 242 Montreal Citizens’ Movement (MCM), 218 Mulroney government: on CAP funds, 221n11; and child care, 199 multiculturalism, 233, 234, 236. See also immigration multilevel governance, 5, 7, 58, 228–9; and cities agenda, 104; and emergency management, 39–71; and homelessness, 81; and infrastructure, 164–88 Municipal Aboriginal Adjacent Community Cooperation Project, 261 municipal-federal relations. See federal-municipal relations municipal government: and immigrant settlement, 227, 242, 244. See also specific cities municipal infrastructure, 125n4, 104, 182; and the Gas Tax Program, 102. See also infrastructure municipalities: constitutional legitimacy of, 50, 68; funding of, 50, 184; and infrastructure, 166, 172, 175, 176–7. See also specific cities municipal policy learning, 274 municipal-provincial relations. See provincial-municipal relations Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, 106

290 Index

Murray, Glen, 104 National Child Benefit (NCB), 201 National Emergencies: Canada’s Fragile Front Lines, 55 National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) 1999, 75–98; and Aboriginal peoples, 261 National Liberal Task Force on Municipal Infrastructure (1989), 169 National Secretariat on Homelessness (NSH), 20 nation-to-nation perspective, 261 Native Council of Canada, 258 neighbourhood revitalization, 21–3 neo-liberalism, 11, 206, 219 New Brunswick: and francophone immigration, 244 New Deal for Cities and Communities (2004), 4, 28–9, 104, 108–10; Conservative expansion of, 95, 173–4; as response to downloading, 219–20. See also communities agenda; Martin government new federalism, 204 new institutionalism, 133–4 New Public Management, 31, 85, 262 non-governmental organizations: as delivery vehicles for funding, 117–18, 123 non-status Indians, 258 Northwest Territories: and ICSP compliance, 177 Nova Scotia: and allocation of Gas Tax Funds, 114

Office des services de garde à l’enfance (OSGE), 216 Office of Child and Family Affairs, 197 Office of the Federal Interlocutor (OFI) for Métis and Non-Status Indians, 262 official languages: and immigration, 234, 243 Official Languages Act, 244 Oka standoff, 254 Olympic Games: 2008 Toronto bid for, 147 Ontario, 103, 206; and allocation of gas tax funds, 117–18; CFDC examples in, 29; and child care, 196–7, 199, 204–7; and ICSP compliance, 177; and immigrant settlement, 8, 229, 242, 244; and Toronto waterfront, 145. See also Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA) open federalism, 32–3 Opportunities for Youth (Montreal), 215 organizational behaviour patterning, 132–6, 151–2 organizational learning: and the federal government, 32 Owen, Steven, 17 P3 Fund, 178–9, 185 Pan-Canadian Community Futures Network, 28 parliamentary rules: and institutional leverage, 70 path dependency, 7, 72, 132–6, 272, 274, patriation, 253–4 Pauktuitit, 258

Index 291

per capita allocation approach, 119, 173 Perreault, Jean, 183 place-based policy, 5, 6, 11–14, 272, 273; and homelessness, 98; and immigration, 245–6; and urban Aboriginal people, 262 policy fields vs policy interventions, 271–2 policy instruments: federal, 6–7, 12, 14–16, 270 policy processes: discourse on, 42, 43 Policy Research Initiative, 25, 273 Poverty by Postal Code (2004), 241 Preventative Social Services Act (PSSA), 207 Privy Council Office, 49, 83, 273 property tax: and municipal revenues, 50, 133 provincial-federal relations. See federal-provincial relations provincial government, 5, 56; and child care, 197, 202; funding of, 89, 184; policies of, 103, 274. See also specific provinces provincial-municipal relations, 50, 54, 166; and child care, 196; and the gas tax agreements, 111, 114; and revenue, 125n2 Public Policy in Municipalities project, 132 public policy: post-positivist approaches to study, 42 Public Safety Canada, 20, 56, 57–8, 59 public transit: and the gas tax, 127n14 public-private partnerships (P3s), 178–9, 185

QUAD principles, 202, 204, 209 Quebec: and 1995 referendum, 12; and child care, 199, 202–3, 215–18; and community economic development, 23–4, 26, 29; and gas tax fund allocation, 119–20; and homelessness/housing, 77, 90; and ICSP compliance, 177; and immigrant settlement, 237; and provincial fuel tax, 105 Quebec-Canada Accord (1991), 237 Québec Chantier de l’économie sociale, 23 Quiet Revolution, 215 RCAP. See Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples RCMP: and non-federal entities, 92 realpolitik, 5 Red Book, The (1993), 169 reframing. See frames Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), 24 Regional Umbrella Group (RUG) (Vancouver), 213 Residential Rehabilitation and Assistance Program (RRAP), 87 resource allocation powers, 209 Restoring Municipal Fiscal Balance (FCM report), 175 Robillard, Lucienne, 25 Rock, Allan, 17 Roundtable on Children, Youth and Education (2003) (Toronto), 205 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), 250, 254, 255; 1996 report, 259, 260, 261

292 Index

Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront, 145–6, 154 Royal Commission on the Status of Women, 197 rural Canada, 28, 30 Safe/Supervised Injection Sites (Vancouver), 18 Saskatchewan: and child care, 199 scalar analysis: on state and nonstate actors, 228 Section 35 of the Constitution Act (1982), 258–9, 264 self-government for Aboriginal peoples, 258, 259, 265 Service Canada: and the UAS, 262 Sewer Treatment Program (1960s), 167 Sgro, Judy (MP), 103, 263 Sgro Report (2002): on infrastructure, 126n5 Sgro Task Force: on Aboriginal issues, 263 shared entity model: in community coordination, 91–2 single window service delivery, 260 social affairs: federal spending on 2008–09 (table), 231 social assistance: cutbacks on, 256 Social Development Canada, 24, 25 Social Economy Pilot Initiative (SEPI), 5, 23–7, 33 social forces: in homelessness, 83; in immigrant settlement policy, 227; and influence on urban development, 135–6, 154; and urban Aboriginal policy, 253, 255–64 social housing, 6, 256

social policy: federal capacity in, 10–33 Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA), 85, 201, 202, 219 Société de financement des infrastructures locales du Québec (SOFIL), 120 Société franco-manitobaine, 243 Solberg, Monte, 204 Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, 55, 70 Statistics Canada, capacity of, 275 status-blind vs status-based approaches, 257–8, 267n7 Status of Women Canada, 235 strategic priorities: for CFDCs, 27–8 structuration theory, 134–5 subsidiary principle, 175, 189n3 subsidy models: for child care, 193, 208, 209, 211 SUFA. See Social Union Framework Agreement Supporting Community Partnerships Initiatives (SCPI) 2002, 76, 88–92, 219 sustainable development: and the New Deal, 109–10 Task Force on Urban Issues (2002), 263 Toronto, 6, 46, 132; and Aboriginal population, 261; and child care, 8, 194, 196, 204–7; and emergency response, 39, 54, 55; and gas tax agreements, 118, 120–1; homelessness in, 6, 76, 78–9, 80–1, 83, 92; and immigration, 238–41; waterfront redevelopment, 7, 131–56

Index 293

Toronto Central Waterfront, map of, 139 Toronto City Summit Alliance, 240–1 Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, 79 Toronto Harbour Commission (THC), 137–8, 144–5, 146, 149 Toronto Port Authority (PTA), 147 Toronto Regional Immigration Employment Council (TRIEC), 240–1 Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC), 147 treaty rights, 254 Tri-level Conferences on Public Finance, 276 tri-level governance. See multilevel governance True North Strong and Free, The (2008), 180 trust fund transfers, 122 Turner, John, 168–9 United Way Canada, 13, 210, 241 Urban Aboriginal Employment Initiative (1996), 258 urban Aboriginal policy, 8–9, 250– 66. See also Aboriginal peoples Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) 1998, 8, 87, 93, 261, 262–6 Urban Aboriginal Working Group, 260 urban development, 135–6, 140–1, 146, 154 urbanization of Canada, 125n1, 125n3

urban planning, 48, 131, 132–6 urban revitalization, 104 vacating tax room transfers, 122 Vancouver, 18, 104, 257; and Aboriginal population, 261, 262; and child care, 8, 195, 210–15 Vancouver Agreement (2000), 5, 16–19, 262 Vancouver Children’s Advocate, 212 Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, 18 Vancouver Society of Children’s Centres, 212 Vibrant Communities initiative, 13 War Measures Act, 49 Waterfront Toronto, 147 watershed perspective: on Toronto waterfront, 146 welfare reform: discursive practices in, 41 Westcoast Child Care Resources Centre, 213–14 West Don Lands (Toronto), 147 Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC), 17, 262 White Paper on Aboriginal Policy, 252 Winnipeg, 104, 260 Wolsey, Randy, 54 World War II: influences of, 49, 195, 210, 215, 276 Youth Employment Strategy, 87, 93