The Challenges and Opportunities for Fiscal Reform in Alberta


Canada may be one country, but it is effectively 13 separate markets. Differences in provincial regulations, standards, certifications, and so on, inhibit trade across provincial boundaries. I will review the latest data and analysis on the topic, and discuss the latest estimates we have of the consequences of internal trade costs. Based on recently released analysis published by the IMF, whose research team I was a part, internal trade costs add significantly to the price we pay for goods and services and potentially shrink Canada’s economy by nearly 4 per cent - an amount equivalent to nearly $6,000 per family. There’s much that governments can do to help. I’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of Alberta’s recent moves to liberalize trade and ask what more Canada’s federal government can and should do. In addition, a National Infrastructure Corridor is gaining traction across Canada. This initiative is not just a market access issue for oil and gas, but could improve the trade flows for many other commodities. I will review some of the latest estimates, published through The School of Public Policy, of what such a corridor might mean for Canada in general and for remote communities in particular.

Vintage Chophouse and Tavern, 11 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, AB, Canada
Trevor Tombe
Professor of Economics