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Variation in the Canadian provincial and territorial responses to COVID-19

Published March 16, 2021 this working paper (PDF) is a collaboration between the IRPP and Oxford University.

Abstract: This paper explores variation in the timing and relative stringency of government responses across 13 Canadian provinces and territories. Canada is a decentralized federation where provinces and territories develop policies to fit local epidemiological and political contexts. The authors find that many smaller, less populous provinces and territories created the conditions for greater freedom of movement and ‘normalcy’ as compared to larger provinces. With the creation of regional zones and tiered policy triggers, most regions have adopted reactive policies and restrictions, often too late, and not without unintended confusion. To date, the authors find that the benefits of federalism have been unevenly leveraged, a lack of coordination in planning and communication between the provinces and territories is an area of opportunity for improved future pandemic planning.

Recommended citation for this paper:
Emily Cameron-Blake, Charles Breton, Paisley Sim, Helen Tatlow, Thomas Hale, Andrew Wood, Jonathan Smith, Julia Sawatsky, Zachary Parsons, Katherine Tyson (2021). “Variation in the Canadian Provincial and Territorial responses to COVID19”. Blavatnik School of Government Working Paper.