Public Policy | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

    Prior to colonization, Indigenous Peoples possessed rich and diverse healing systems. Settlers’ introduction of new and contagious diseases placed these healing systems under considerable strain. Europeans also brought profound social, economic and political changes to the well-being of Indigenous communities. These changes continue to affect the health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada today. (See also Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Economic Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

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  • Article

    Assisted Suicide in Canada

    Assisted suicide is the intentional termination of one’s life, assisted by someone who provides the means or knowledge, or both. (See also Suicide.) Between 1892 and 2016, assisted suicide was illegal in Canada under section 241(b) of the Criminal Code. In 2015, after decades of various legal challenges, the Supreme Court of Canada decided unanimously to allow physician-assisted suicide. In June 2016, the federal government passed the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Act, which established the eligibility criteria and procedural safeguards for medically assisted suicide. In March 2021, new legislation was passed that expanded eligibility for MAID. This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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  • Article

    Bennett's New Deal

    In the mid-1930s, at the height of the Great Depression, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett’s political demise seemed inevitable. He sought to reverse the tide running against his Conservative Party. In January 1935, he began a series of live radio speeches outlining a “New Deal” for Canada. He promised a more progressive taxation system; a maximum work week; a minimum wage; closer regulation of working conditions; unemployment insurance; health and accident insurance; a revised old-age pension; and agricultural support programs. But Bennett’s 11th-hour proposals were seen as too-little, too-late. He lost the 1935 election to William Lyon Mackenzie King and the Liberals.

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  • Article


    This neologistic term came into public consciousness with the appointment of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1963. On examining its terms of reference the commission could not find the word in a dictionary.

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  • Article


    Bilingualism is the ability to speak fluently in two languages. In Canada, the term has taken on a more particular meaning: the ability to communicate, or the practice of communicating, in both of Canada's official languages, English and French. According to the 2021 census, 18 per cent of Canadians are able to speak in both English and French. See also Canadian English; French Language; Indigenous Languages of Canada.

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  • Macleans

    Breaches of Personal Privacy Are Growing

    JENNIFER STODDART IS A DEDICATED public servant who has spent years - first working for the province of Quebec, and since 2003 as the federal privacy commissioner - trying to protect Canadians' personal information from prying governments and greedy businesses.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on November 21, 2005

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  • Article

    Budgetary Process

    Canada's federal and provincial governments follow a budgetary process, designed to ensure control, accountability and planning in the spending of public money.

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  • Article

    Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

    The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) was established by an act of the National Assembly on 15 July 1965. The CDPQ was created to  manage funds deposited by the Québec Pension Plan (QPP), a public insurance plan similar to the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). The CDPQ is a global investment group with 10 international offices. As of 30 June 2021 the CDPQ’s net assets totaled $390 billion.

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  • Article

    Canada's Opioid Crisis

    Overdoses from a class of painkiller drugs called opioids are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life. The death count is the result of an escalating public health crisis: an epidemic of opioid addiction. The crisis is made deadlier by an influx of illicit fentanyl and chemically similar drugs, but it can be traced to the medical over-prescribing of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

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  • Article

    Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politique

    Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiqueCanadian Public Policy/Analyse de politique was established in 1974 by the Canadian Economics Association with the cooperation of the Canadian Political Science Association and scholarly associations in the areas of political science, sociology, anthropology, law, geography, public administration and others. A quarterly journal, it occasionally publishes a fifth issue devoted to some particular question of public policy. It is funded primarily by subscriptions, but also receives a grant from the Social...

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  • Article

    Carbon Pricing in Canada

    Carbon pricing refers to a cost that is imposed on the combustion of fossil fuels used by industry and consumers. Pricing can be set either directly through a carbon tax or indirectly through a cap-and-trade market system. A price on carbon is intended to capture the public costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and shift the burden for damage back to the original emitters, compelling them to reduce emissions. In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national climate change policy that includes a system of carbon pricing across Canada. Provinces can either create their own systems to meet federal requirements or have a federal carbon tax imposed on them. Nine provinces and territories have their own carbon pricing plans that meet federal requirements. Ottawa has imposed its own carbon tax in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

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  • Article

    C.D. Howe Institute

    The C.D. Howe Institute (formerly the Howe Research Institute), is a nonprofit policy research organization established in 1973 by a merger of the Private Planning Association of Canada, formed in 1958, and the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation. It is located in Toronto.

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  • Macleans

    Child Poverty in Canada

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 24, 1997. Partner content is not updated. At times, the surroundings must seem grim. The white walls are devoid of decoration, except for a home-made Valentine addressed to "Maman" on the refrigerator, and twin beds are pushed together in the dining-room to create more space.

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  • Article

    Child Welfare in Canada

    Child welfare in Canada refers to a system of children's aid societies established by provincial and territorial governments, at times in partnership with private organizations, to provide services that supplement or substitute for parental care and supervision.

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  • Article

    Conscription in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

    Conscription is the drafting of people for mandatory military service. Canadians have been conscripted twice in history. Both times, only males were conscripted. The first time was during the First World War. The second time was during the Second World War. Conscription was an issue that divided Canada. Most English-speaking Canadians supported it. Most French-speaking Canadians opposed it. (This article is a plain-language summary of Conscription in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see the full-length entry.)

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