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Sub-national governments in Canada: some financial and fiscal aspects


This paper presents the Financial and Fiscal Features (FFF) of the three major types of Sub-National Governments (SNG) in Canada : provinces/territories, regional/urban/municipal bodies and school authorities. The paper is divided into three parts. The first one presents the institutional framework : numbers, size, taxation powers and so on. The second presents the financial situation for the most recent year for which data are available, usually 1997, and thus the importance of taxes and transfers in revenues. The third examines three topics : fiscal competition, transfers and local taxation/finance. We conclude that there is little fiscal competition between provinces, if any, but fiscal diversity is present. We note a trend towards downloading in intergovernmental relations. In the case of federal- provincial relations, this means a reduction in financial transfers with responsibilities and requirements unchanged. In the case of provincial-local (municipal/ school), this means the shifting of responsibilities to municipalities without increased funding and the reduction of the responsibilities of school boards.

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