Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch
Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy is composed of about 75 employees across two Divisions that provide policy analysis and advice on social issues and federal-provincial relations (such as funding transfers to PTs).
Federal-Provincial Relations Division
- Responsible for design and administration of the four major federal-provincial-territorial transfers ($78.7 billion in 2019-20) and policy development on income security issues, such as CPP, OAS/GIS and veterans.
- Also coordinates and provides policy analysis & advice for meetings and consultations with PTs, including Finance Ministers' Meetings.
Social Policy Division
- Responsible for analysis and policy advice on all social policy questions.
- Also leads on certain Northern issues.
Federal-Provincial Relations: Roles & Responsibilities
The Division supports the Government in its provision of the four major federal transfers.
- The Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and Canada Social Transfer (CST) are federal transfers which support specific policy areas such as health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, early childhood development and child care.
- Equalization enables less prosperous provincial governments to provide their residents with public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces, at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.
- Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) provides territorial governments with funding to support public services, in recognition of the higher cost of providing programs and services in the North.
$78.7 Billion in Major Transfers to Provinces and Territories in 2019-20
- Canada Health Transfer $5.4 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $2 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $4.7 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $1.7 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $1.3 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $456 Million
- Canada Health Transfer $1.5 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $531 Million
- Equalization $2.3 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $15.6 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $5.7 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $9.1 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $3.3 Billion
- Equalization $13.1 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $835 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $302 Million
- Equalization $2.0 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $1.0 Billion
- Canada Social Transfer $377 Million
- Equalization $2 Billion
Prince Edward Island
- Canada Health Transfer $169 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $61 Million
- Equalization $419 Million
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Canada Health Transfer $561 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $203 Million
- Canada Health Transfer $44 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $16 Million
- Territorial Formula Financing $997 Million
- Canada Health Transfer $48 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $17 Million
- Territorial Formula Financing $1.3 Billion
- Canada Health Transfer $42 Million
- Canada Social Transfer $15 Million
- Territorial Formula Financing $1.6 Billion
The Division also provides advice and analysis on public pension issues:
- The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a mandatory, defined benefit plan that provides a basic level of earnings replacement for workers throughout Canada, except in the province of Quebec, and is funded from contributions paid by employers and employees.
- Old Age Security (OAS) / Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is the Government of Canada's largest pension program funded through general tax revenues and providing income support to most Canadians who are 65 years or older.
Finally, the Division also plays a "challenge function" role in other files such as:
- Veteran Affairs
- Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Accessibility and Support for Persons with Disabilities
Social Policy: Roles and Responsibilities
The Branch is responsible for providing advice and analysis to the Minister and senior management on the government's broad social agenda, especially from the perspective of the intersection of social, economic and fiscal policy.
- Reconciliation and Rights Recognition (e.g., responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Métis rights, Recognition and Implementation of Aboriginal Rights and Title, Self-Government).
- Improvements/Reforms to Indigenous Programming (Indigenous healthcare, K-12 education, First Nations Child & Family Services, support for skills and post-secondary education, management of on-reserve infrastructure)
- Litigation Pressures (Indigenous childhood litigation, Historical Treaties, Specific Claims, Human Rights Complaints)
- Fiscal Relations (sufficient, predictable, and sustained funding including new fiscal policy with self-governing groups)
Health, Culture and Housing
- Health Policy (e.g., Public health issues, Opioid Strategy, Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis)
- Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport (e.g., Canadian Content in Digital World, Cultural Industries, Broadcasting Act, High performance athletes)
- Affordable Housing and Social Infrastructure (e.g., National Housing Strategy, Early Learning and Child Care)
- Women and Gender Equality (e.g., Gender-based Violence Strategy)
Justice and Security
- Justice matters (e.g., Criminal Code /family law changes, federal court operations, etc.)
- Public Safety matters (e.g., disaster assistance, national security framework, cyber security and cyber governance)
- Law enforcement and border security (e.g. RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency operations, CSIS, Corrections)
- Litigation management
Labour Markets and Immigration
- Employment Insurance (e.g., regular and special benefits (Part I), employment benefits and support measures (Part II))
- Student financial assistance (e.g., Canada Student Loans and Grants)
- Skills training (e.g., Labour Market Development Agreements (EI funded), Workforce Development Agreements, apprenticeship supports, Canada Training Benefit)
- Support for underrepresented groups (e.g., youth, recent immigrants, older workers)
- Immigration policy (e.g., asylum system, Permanent Resident Levels Plan, Temporary Residents permits, visa policy)
Strategic Policy Development
The Section is responsible for providing advice and analysis to the Minister and senior management on discrete social policy initiatives.
Most recently, the section has been working closely with Health Canada on national pharmacare, including:
- Identifying and refining overall options for design of national pharmacare
- Developing cost estimates and financing options
- Elaborating possible federal-provincial/territorial governance and funding/transfer arrangements
- Assessing potential private sector roles and impacts
Contribution to Flagship Commitments
FPRSP Branch has contributed to the Government's Flagship commitments, such as:
- Health funding agreements ($11 billion over 10 years - home care and mental health support)
- Revised national security framework ($67.4 million over five years) and $15.0 million per year ongoing)
- Enhancing the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
Annex 1: Management Structure
Assistant Deputy Minister: Michelle Kovacevic
- Associate Assistant Deputy Minister: Suzy McDonald
- Director General of the Federal-Provincial Relations Division: Galen Countryman
- Director General of the Social Policy Division: Tushara Williams
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