Intergovernmental Relations in Canada: A Horizontal Perspective

  • Benoît Pelletier


Canada consists of two orders of government, each sovereign in its exercise of legislative powers, which stem from the Constitution. Canada is hence a federation, and as in any such state, the division of legislative powers is characterized by a certain constitutional rigidity. It cannot be formally modified except by means of a relatively complex procedure requiring the participation of both orders of government. The particular complexity of the procedure for amending the Constitution of Canada explains, in part, why intergovernmental relations focus essentially on ways to improve the Canadian federation through non-constitutional means.

Note to the Reader

This text was presented in October 2011, long before a sovereignist government was elected in Quebec following the general elections held on September 4, 2012. Needless to say, this election should modify substantially the government of Quebec’s position on Canadian intergovernmental affairs. The current text was also presented before the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Reference re Securities Act, [2011] 3 SCR 837, which was favourable for the government of Quebec (and Alberta). This decision is linked to note 51 of this text.


Federal Government Supra Note Aboriginal People Canadian Province Constitutional Amendment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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