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The Democratic Content of Intergovernmental Agreements in Canada
Description:

SIPP’s 29th Public Policy Paper investigates the charge that intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) are in conflict with the tenets of democratic government. "The Democratic Content of Intergovernmental Agreements in Canada", authored by Gordon DiGiacomo, assesses the democratic character of IGAs based on the criteria of responsiveness, effectiveness, participation, and transparency and accountability through the examination of the Canada-Wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization and the bilateral Labour Market Development Agreements.

In general, based on the criteria set out, DiGiacomo concludes that the democratic content of the two IGAs studied is not substantial. Therefore, to enhance the democratic character of IGAs, the author offers suggestions for reform: · IGAs ought to be subject to ratification by the House of Commons and the sub-national legislatures. · IGAs should ensure that stakeholders have opportunities to give their input to decision-makers on the implementation and evaluation of IGAs. · Policy-makers at both levels of government should, before negotiating an IGA, carefully consider whether the IGA is necessary in the first place, and whether it is preferable for one level of government to assume full responsibility for a policy domain.

DiGiacomo recognizes that not all IGAs are equally important. Criteria such as amount of money involved or IGAs that transfer jurisdiction could be used to determine the level of scrutiny the IGA receives.

Author(s)

Gordon DiGiacomo


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