Provinces, feds to debate equalization program
A decades-old sore spot in the Canadian federation is days away from another flare-up as the country’s finance ministers prepare to discuss potential tweaks to the formula behind equalization payments. British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James said in an interview that the federal government is proposing a change to include non-residential property values as part of the complex calculation. The adjustment would likely make it more difficult for provinces with property values well above the national average — such as B.C. and Ontario — to qualify as recipients of equalization payments from Ottawa. Equalization is designed to help poorer provincial governments provide public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces.