IMFG Paper | 2020

Policy In Place: Revisiting Canada’s Tri-Level Agreements

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of cities as partners in implementing and enforcing national and provincial policies, programs, and services. An important question that arises is: what is the best way for different orders of government and stakeholders to coordinate their activities to deliver local solutions to the national and global issues playing out in cities?

In a new paper for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), Professor Neil Bradford revisits Canada’s history of successful tri-level agreements to address homelessness, immigrant settlement, economic development, infrastructure funding, and more. Bradford argues that these agreements offer a model for place-based federalism – a form of bottom-up policymaking that includes all orders of government, including municipalities and communities.

Based on an analysis of the workings and achievements of five tri-level agreements over the past four decades, Bradford identifies specific policy fields where new tri-level agreements could have a positive impact and sets out six principles to inform their design and implementation.

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The Urban Project:
This paper is the second in a series of papers IMFG is preparing for the Urban Project, an initiative led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) that brings city leaders together with other levels of government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to identify actionable and scalable solutions to the biggest challenges facing Canada’s cities. With generous support from Maytree, Metcalf Foundation, McConnell Foundation, and TD Bank Group, IMFG has commissioned papers focused on municipal legislative and fiscal autonomy, governance, and intergovernmental relations, drawing on discussions convened by the Urban Project. The first paper in the series is entitled Power and Purpose: Canadian Municipal Law In Transition

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