by Mark Milke
January 24, 2014
Equalization is a Canadian federal transfer program that is explicitly designed to subsidize provinces with weak own-source revenues and to be politically unifying. However, the flip in Ontario’s status from a “have” to a “have-not” province has had, and will continue to have, profound consequences for the country as a whole. This essay focuses on three results that have evolved since 2008/09, the year before Ontario became a “have-not” province: First, Ontario’s shift means the majority of Canada’s population now live in equalization-receiving provinces; second, a “have-not” province (Ontario) has higher average living standards than two “have” provinces (British Columbia and Newfoundland & Labrador); third, all four remaining “have” provinces are relatively rich in resources while no other province is.