August 16-18, 2010
Conference Program [PDF - 1.14MB]
As the Canadian economy recovers, the context for social policy development will be powerfully shaped both by fiscal pressures and by intergovernmental relations. Fiscal pressures will grow more intense. On one side, income support programs will bear a heavy burden during a slow return to pre-recession employment levels, and long-standing pressures on health care and educational programs will continue to grow. On the other side, governments will seek to unwind the levels of spending associated with the stimulus.
Managing these fiscal pressures will strain intergovernmental relations which have always been central to social policy. Many programs are framed and financed through intergovernmental agreements, and coordination is a constant challenge where governments operate separate programs in the same sector. In recent years municipal governments have also come to play a bigger role. Multilevel governance will be central to the recovery, and debate over the issues involved will build as we approach the renewal of important federal-provincial fiscal agreements in 2014.
Canada went through a major fiscal crunch in the 1990s and intergovernmental relations were severely strained by the experience. Tensions were generated between the federal and provincial governments, and between provincial and municipal governments. We need to avoid a repeat of those experiences this time.
QIISP 2010 is designed to learn the lessons from our recent past and anticipate the challenges we will confront over the next five years. Hence our question: How do we recover together?