Fall/Winter Timetable

POL316Y1Y L0101

Contemporary Canadian Federalism


This course examines current issues in Canadian federalism within a historical and comparative perspective. It is divided into two major sections, each of which is covered in a semester. In the first semester we will treat some important theoretical and institutional issues in the study of Canadian federalism. These include the definition and origin of the concept of federalism, major theoretical approaches to federalism, and recurrent themes such as past and current constitutional conflicts, issues of judicial review of federalism and the Charter, conflicts in executive federalism and Quebec-Canada relations. In the second semester we will survey intergovernmental policy processes and substantive policy issues in a number of economic, social and cultural policy areas of Canadian federalism, such as national economic development, international economic relations and economic globalization, fiscal federalism, health care, post-secondary education, child care, the environment, and aboriginal reforms.


Bakvis, Herman & Skogstad, Grace (eds.), Canadian Federalism: Performance, Effectiveness, and Legitimacy, second edition (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2008); Rocher, Francois & Smith, Miriam (eds.), New Trends in Canadian Federalism, second edition (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2003); Bakvis, Herman, Baier, Gerald and Brown, Douglas, Contested Federalism: Certainty and Ambiguity in the Canadian Federation (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Format and Requirements

One two-hour lecture/class discussion per week and 4 intermittent one-hour tutorials during the year. Course requirements consist of a 1 hour mid-term test in each semester (10% per test), a 10 pages, double-spaced essay in each semester (15% per essay), a 2 hour end-of-term test each semester (20% per test), and class and tutorial participation in both terms (10% total).


POL214Y1 or POL214Y5 or POLB50Y3 or POL224Y1

POLC54H3 or POLC57H3 or POL316Y5 or POL353Y5