Opting Out Formula

A quintessentially Canadian approach that enables provincial governments to “opt out” of federal-provincial agreements, but still receive funding from Ottawa as detailed in Section 33 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.1

Given that these initiatives are generally federal incursions into constitutional areas of provincial jurisdiction – particularly in the funding of social programs – “opting out” is certainly a legitimate approach. That a province can do this without sacrificing federal government financial compensation has also helped ensure a generally even level of services across Canada.

Not surprisingly, the province to first and most frequently “opt out” was Quebec. That is the reason, for example, while seniors in Quebec receive monthly QPP payments, and those elsewhere in Canada collect the CPP. It has also been used by Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons


  1. Constitution Act, 1982. Government of Canada.

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