Council of the Federation

Council of the Federation

The Council of the Federation is a council in Canada made up of the premiers of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories. Its main function is to provide a united front amongst the provincial and territorial governments when interacting with Canada's federal government. It also promotes "constructive Confederation", working for Canadian unity and recognizing differences amongst the various provinces and territories within Canada's federal system of government.

The Council of the Federation meets twice annually to discuss issues relating to Canadian intergovernmental relations – those between the provinces and territories and the federal government.



The idea for such a body had long been present, but it was Quebec Premier Jean Charest who suggested it in preparation for negotiations with the federal government. The idea was (for the first time) embraced by all of the premiers, and the council was formed.

The foundation of the Council of the Federation was announced on December 5, 2003 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. This location was significant because Charlottetown was the venue for the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 (this conference was the first step towards Canadian Confederation).

The first true test of this united front occurred on September 13–16, 2004 when the premiers met with Prime Minister Paul Martin to discuss reforms to Canada's universal healthcare program. The premiers remained united, and in the end won $41 billion of federal funding for healthcare over the next ten years.

The 2008 meetings of the Council took place in Quebec City, which was celebrating its 400th birthday as a settlement. At the meeting all premiers agreed to amendments to the Agreement on Internal Trade which will create greater labour mobility between the provinces and territories, and will come into force on January 1, 2009.

The 2009 meetings of the Council took place in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Council's agenda was dominated by economic matters including trade issues with the United States, and formulating a post-recession interprovincial economic strategy.

On February 20, 2010, the Council met with their American counterpart, the National Governors Association, in a Washington, D.C. hotel, for an hour long session entitled "Common Border, Common Ground" to talk about issues such as environment and trade. Also attending this meeting were Lisa P. Jackson, of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Larry Summers, U.S. President Barack Obama's economic advisor. The Canadian Premiers commented on how much more open the Obama administration was to confronting and solving problems, compared to his predecessor, George W. Bush.[1]


  • Healthcare funding and innovation
  • Economic development (especially in the wake of the BSE crisis)
  • Strengthening Confederation (working for provincial input into the selection of Senators and Supreme Court Justices)
  • Reaching out to young Canadians, getting them involved in the political process
  • Helping those affected by emergencies
  • Inter-provincial/territorial trade
  • Water


Recent announcements

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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