Fiscal Federalism

These pages present Finances of the Nation’s datasets on various aspects of Canada’s system of fiscal federalism. Currently, these datasets are available:

Federal Transfers, 1867-2018

Canada’s long history of federal-provincial transfers are presented here for each province from their entry into Confederation until the most recently available fiscal year. This includes all transfers through both major transfer programs, statutory subsidies, grants-in-aid, cost sharing arrangements, ad-hoc transfers, and more. Data are available as nominal and real per capita dollars, nominal and real total dollars, as a share of Canada’s GDP, and (from 1961 onwards) as a share of each province’s GDP.

Major Transfers

Finances of the Nation’s Major Transfers data contains federal transfers to each province and territory under each major federal transfer program from 1980 to present and, for the Equalization program, from 1957 to present. The underlying data were provided by the Department of Finance Canada, and reflect transfers as booked in the federal public accounts on a cash basis. Data are available as real per capita dollars, nominal dollars, and as a share of Canada’s GDP.

Federal Fiscal Balances

These data report the distribution of federal revenue and expenditures from 1961 to 2018 across each of Canada’s provinces and territories. It reflects estimates around the location of taxpayers and the destination of expenditures. The underlying data are compiled from several Statistics Canada data tables. In addition, Finances of the Nation adjusts these data to reflect a “Balanced Budget Approach” that adjusts for federal aggregate budget imbalances on an equal per capita basis. Data are available as real per capita dollars, nominal dollars, and as a share of each province’s GDP.

Equalization Simulator

Canada’s equalization program is one of the most important federal transfers — and one of the most misunderstood. This new tool from Finances of the Nation opens the black box and understand how it works and how it doesn’t. It recalculates payments in real time under an arbitrary number of scenarios selected by the user.