OTTAWA — The federal government is aiming to lock in the equalization formula for payments to provinces until 2029, as part of an omnibus motion in Parliament that seeks to implement budget measures.
Some provincial politicians blasted the Liberals in 2018 after they similarly used a budget document to bury plans to extend the current formula until 2024.
The latest promise of another five-year extension comes nearly 200 pages into a 400-plus page motion tabled in the House of Commons this week.
The government makes annual equalization payments to provinces with below-average revenue per capita, meaning that the contributions are necessarily unequal across the board — unlike payments such as health transfers that are paid out on a per-capita basis.
The Alberta government is currently producing a policy paper on equalization following a 2021 referendum in which nearly 62 per cent of voters in the province agreed that Canada should remove equalization from the Constitution.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has proposed changing the equalization formula to be paid out on a per-capita basis, but the idea has gained little traction federally since he first proposed it in 2018.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2023.
The Canadian Press