Confederation of Tomorrow 2021 (Report 2) ~ The Role of Governments and the Division of Powers: Federalism in the Context of a Pandemic

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The Confederation of Tomorrow surveys are annual studies conducted by an association of the country’s leading public policy organizations: the Environics Institute for Survey Research, the Canada West Foundation, the Centre D’Analyse Politique – Constitution et Fédéralisme, the Institute for Research on Public Policyand the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The surveys give voice to Canadians about the major issues shaping the future of the federation and their political communities. The 2021 study consists of a survey of 5,814 adults, conducted online in the provinces between January 25 and February 17; and online and by telephone in the territories between January 25 and March 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented governments in Canada with enormous challenges. While the current priority remains stemming the spread of the virus and accelerating the pace of vaccinations, governments are also looking ahead to the measures needed to shape an economic recovery. In this context, it is striking that Canadians’ views on the role of government – and on how the different governments in the federation work together – generally have not changed that much since the onset of the pandemic. Notably, most Canadians continue to be comfortable with the decentralized nature of the federation. And while there is widespread support for increases in federal transfers to provinces and territories for health care, care for the elderly, and child care, the public is more divided as to whether this funding should be tied to the acceptance of national standards.

Confederation of Tomorrow 2021 (Report 1) ~ All in this Together? Canadians’ Views on Masks, Vaccines and Lockdowns during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo Credit: Mat Napo from Unsplash

The Confederation of Tomorrow surveys are annual studies conducted by an association of the country’s leading public policy organizations: the Environics Institute for Survey Research, the Canada West Foundation, theCentre D’Analyse Politique – Constitution et Fédéralisme, the Institute for Research on Public Policyand the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The surveys give voice to Canadians about the major issues shaping the future of the federation and their political communities. The 2021 study consists of a survey of 5,814 adults, conducted online in the provinces between January 25 and February 17; and online and by telephone in the territories between January 25 and March 1.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to limit the spread of the virus continue to depend in large part on the willingness of citizens to modify their behaviours to conform with public health guidelines, notably those relating to physical distancing and wearing masks. More recently, the focus has turned to ensuring that citizens will agree to get vaccinated once a vaccine becomes available to them. The Confederation of Tomorrow 2021 survey of Canadians finds that there is widespread agreement across the country on key aspects of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the requirement to wear masks in public, the importance of getting vaccinated, and the need for a prudent approach to reopening the economy. One reason for this agreement is that, in the midst of a public health crisis, the public continues to place a high degree of confidence in scientists and medical experts.

Saskatchewan and Climate Change: The Challenges, Policy Options and Implications

Saskatchewan and Climate Change: The Challenges, Policy Options and Implications
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The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy has issued an in-depth policy paper on climate change. It examines the policy instruments being used to reduce carbon emissions, and the projected economic impact of each on the province of Saskatchewan. The study sets out the geopolitical, social, economic, environmental and fiscal challenges that are central to the climate change policy debate. It also explores the legal arguments likely to frame an expected constitutional challenge by the Saskatchewan government of a federally imposed carbon price.

 

Legalizing & Regulating Cannabis in Saskatchewan

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The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) has issued an in-depth policy paper on the legalization of cannabis in Canada. By July 2018, the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis will be legal across the country. The Government of Canada’s decision to legalize and regulate was driven by three core objectives:

  1. Dismantle the illicit market
  2. Restrict youth access
  3. Minimize harm

In very short order, provincial governments have to develop policy regimes and in some instances without the necessary evidence typically required to ensure effectiveness. One of the biggest problems is that a fully legalized cannabis sector is so new that we lack any system of best practices and must instead rely on piecing together evidence from across a number of policy lenses, including public health, public safety, economics, and innovation. While some provinces and professional associations have understandably requested more time to prepare for the Act coming into force, the Federal Government has had little appetite for putting off legalization. The underlying logic is that any delay would mean another year of doing nothing to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and to keep profits out of the illicit market.

Faced with the scope of the policy issues and the time pressure to put an effective regulatory system in place, the JSGS has released a report examining the policy challenges.

On November 21, 2017, an amendment was made to the full-length report, Legalizing & Regulating Cannabis in Saskatchewan, to clarify a statement on page 40.