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G3 Symposium on Fiscal Federalism and Social Protection in Canada


Friday 20 Jan 2023
From 9AM To 5:30PM

As part of the comparative work on fiscal federalism and social protection in Belgium, Switzerland and Canada, a first symposium will brought together researchers from the three G3 universities ( Université de Genève, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Université de Montréal) on January 20, 2023 at CIRANO in Montréal. This meeting focused on the situation in Quebec and Canada, and  addressed major transfer programs, major social programs and the interaction between the two. The focus was on sources of tension in Canadian fiscal federalism, such as the issue of fiscal imbalance, the level and conditionality of transfers, and the use of the federal spending power.


Benoit Bayenet

Professeur de finances publiques au Département d’économie appliquée (DULBEA) de l’Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) et à l’Université de Liège. Il préside le Centre d’études et de recherches en administration publique (CERAP) de l’ULB. Il est également vice-président du Conseil de la fiscalité et des finances de la Région wallonne et président du Conseil central de l’économie « Un fédéralisme belge asymétrique, inachevé et peu coopératif sous tension »

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Daniel Béland

Professeur James McGill, Département de science politique et Directeur de l’Institut d’études canadiennes, Université McGill, Montréal « Le fédéralisme fiscal au Canada comme réalité politique: défis actuels et solutions potentielles »

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Anne-Sylvie Dupont

Professeure ordinaire, titulaire des chaires de droit de la sécurité sociale aux Facultés de droit de l’Université de Genève et de l’Université de Neuchâtel

« Le fédéralisme suisse à l’épreuve du financement de la protection sociale »

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Maxime Fontaine

chercheur doctorant en finances publiques au Département d’économie appliquée (DULBEA) de l’Université libre de Bruxelles

  « La répartition des compétences de sécurité sociale en Belgique : les conséquences des réformes institutionnelles successives »

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Tommy Gagné-Dubé

Professeur adjoint, Département de fiscalité de l’École de Gestion et Chercheur à la Chaire en fiscalité et en finances publiques, Université de Sherbrooke.« Les accords de perception fiscale entre le gouvernement fédéral et les provinces au Canada : quelles contraintes pour les provinces? »

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Antoine Genest-Grégoire

Doctorant, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa

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Luc Godbout

A Researcher and Fellow since 2004, Luc Godbout is Full Professor at the Department of Taxation of the Université de Sherbrooke. He also holds the Chaire de recherche en fiscalité et en finances publiques at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Holding a Ph.D. in Public Law from University Aix-Marseille III, he has a strong interest in comparative taxation, and his recent research has focused on the tax structure in determining economic growth, the impact of an aging population on public finances, and the financing of public pension plans.

His expertise has called him to advise the Government of Quebec, whether it is the Expert Panel on the Future of the Pension System or more recently the Quebec Taxation Review Commission, which he has chaired.

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Peter Graefe

Professeur agrégé, Département de science politique, Université McMaster, Hamilton, Ontario

« Le pouvoir de dépenser et la hiérarchie au sein de la fédération canadienne »

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Olivier Jacques

Olivier Jacques is an assistant professor in the Department of Management, Evaluation and Health Policy at the University of Montreal. He received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at McGill University in the fall of 2020 and was a postdoctoral researcher at Queen's University. He is interested in the political economy of public policy in Canada and Europe. More specifically, his research has three main axes. The first focuses on the consequences of fiscal austerity for politics and for public policy. The second examines the incentives for governments to propose public policies that are beneficial in the long term, particularly in public health. His third line of research examines citizens' preferences for fiscal policies, including fiscal austerity, willingness to pay taxes, and redistribution. He has also explored the relationship between social policies, income inequalities and population health. Finally, Olivier is developing a new line of research on the political economy of rising health care costs.

Peer-reviewed publications

Jacques, Olivier. 2021. “The Electoral Politics of Long-term Investments.” Party Politics

Jacques, Olivier. 2021. “Austerity and the path of least resistance : how fiscal consolidations crowd out long term investments.” Journal of European Public Policy. 28(4): 551-570.  

Jacques, Olivier and Lukas Haffert. 2021. “Are Governments Paying a Price for Austerity? Fical Consolidations Reduce Government Approval.” European Political Science Review. 13(2): 189-207. 

Jacques, Olivier and Benjamin Ferland. 2021. “Political discretion in infrastructure spending in Canada”. Canadian Journal of Political science. 54(1): 96-117.

Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2021. "Targeting Within Universalism." Journal of European Social Policy. 31(1): 15-29.

Jacques, Olivier. 2020."Partisan priorities under fiscal constraints in Canadian provinces." Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques

Jacques, Olivier. 2020. “Funding the state: taxation in Canada from a comparative politics perspective.” In E. Heaman et D. Tough (eds.) Who Pays for Canada, Taxation and Fairness. McGill Queen’s University Press. 58-89

Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2018. "The case for welfare state universalism, or the lasting relevance of the paradox of redistribution" Journal of European Social Policy. 28(1): 70-85

Arsenault, Gabriel, Olivier Jacques and Antonia Maioni. 2018. “Services de garde subventionnés: pourquoi le Québec continue-t-il de faire cavalier seul.” Institute for Research in Public Policy study. Study no 67.

Zorn, Nicolas, and Olivier Jacques. 2017. “Under the Rising Wave. How Disaggregated Revenue Sources Can Tell Another Story for Québec’s Top Income Share.” Journal of Income Distribution. 25 (1). 1-25

Jacques, Olivier. 2015. “Le compromis fiscal scandinave: la taxation néolibérale d'un État social-démocrate” Revue Politikos Journal 1: 25-39

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Marcelin Joanis

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2008, Main researcher of the theme Economic and Fiscal Policy and Researcher in charge of the "Le Québec économique" project, Marcelin Joanis is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. He is also Director of the Research Group on Management and Globalization of Technology (GMT).

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Toronto, his main research interests are public economics, public finance and policy analysis.

A specialist in public economics, his research focuses on public finance, public infrastructure, regional economics, fiscal federalism and political economy. His publications in international peer-reviewed journals include articles in the Journal of Development Economics, Fiscal Studies, Public Choice, Economics and Politics et Applied Economics. He has participated in research projects at CIRANO with several partners on topics ranging from public procurement to public debt, education economics, regional development, health financing and intelligent electronic markets.

He previously held positions as Economist in the federal government (Ministry of Finance) and the Government of Québec (Commission on Fiscal Imbalance) and recently worked as Consultant with the World Bank and the Auditor General of Quebec. Before joining Polytechnique Montréal in 2014, he was Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the Université de Sherbrooke.

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Alain Noel

Professeur titulaire, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal        

« Le retour inégal de la redistribution dans la fédération canadienne »


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François Vaillancourt

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2004, François Vaillancourt is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Economics at the Université de Montréal.

Holder of a PhD in economics from Queen's University (1978), he published over 300 texts, particularly on intergovernmental financial relations, the complexity and impact of Canadian taxation, the cost-effectiveness of linguistic studies and attributes, and the economics of language policies.

Named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva in 2021 for his work on the economics of language issues. Over his career, he has been a Fulbright Canadian Research Scholar in Kennesaw (2007) and a Shastri Lecturer in India (1993). He has been a visiting professor/researcher at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Atlanta (2007 and 2009), FUCaM (Mons, Belgium, 2006), École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (Paris, 2006 and 2008), the University of Toronto (1991) and the Australian National University (1991). He was also research coordinator for the MacDonald Commission (1983-1986) and associate editor of Canadian Public Policy-Analyse de Politiques (1986-1995). He has acted as a consultant for various national (including CIDA, House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Commission Séguin, Law Reform Commission of Canada, Conseil de la Fédération, Conseil de la langue française du Québec, CSST, Finance Canada, Forum of Federations, Federal Expert Panel on Equalization Reform, Institut Fraser, Office de la langue française, Statistics Canada and the Auditor General of Canada and Quebec) and international organizations (AFD, World Bank, IMF, OECD, UNDP). He has worked in 35 countries/entities on issues of regional and local financial resources (taxation, transfers) and provided training in this field for the African Tax Institute, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the World Bank, the IMF, and the Hague Academy for Local Governance.

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Catherine Xhardez

Professeure adjointe, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal

« La complexité des cadres fédéraux en Belgique et au Canada : similarités et différences »

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9:00 - 9:15
Welcome and words of welcome
9:15 - 10:45
The challenges of comparison
François Vaillancourt, Benoit Bayenet, Anne-Sylvie Dupont
10:45 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:30
The Canadian fiscal imbalance
Marcelin Joanis, Olivier Jacques, Tommy Gagné-Dubé
12:30 - 13:45
13:45 - 15:15
Compare Belgium and Canada
Catherine Xhardez, Maxime Fontaine, Daniel Béland
15:15 - 15:30
15:30 - 17:30
Fiscal Federalism and Social Protection in Canada
Alain Noel, Peter Graefe, Antoine Genest-Grégoire, Luc Godbout


1130 Rue Sherbrooke O #1400, Montréal, QC H3A 2M8, Canada