The powers of federal and provincial governments in a pandemic

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The COVID-19 crisis has given rise to massive interventions by lawmakers and governments in the field of health, but also with respect to many other issues related to the well-being of populations. However, the Canadian Constitution does not assign specific power to either Parliament or the legislative assemblies of the provinces in matters of health. Which pillar, therefore, is competent to act on these questions?

In this video, Professor David Robitaille, co-director of the Public Law Centre at the University of Ottawa, discusses the scope of the powers of the various legislative and governmental orders in Canada in the very specific context of the COVID-19 crisis.

This health emergency has required collaboration between different national, provincial and local authorities. It represents a very concrete demonstration of the principles on which the Canadian Constitution is based – principles such as federalism, the coordinated interpretation of powers, and the balance between the powers of Parliament and those of the provinces.

Professor Robitaille offers a review of the role of each of these pillars of government in matters of health, interprovincial movement control, and the implementation of emergency measures within the Canadian constitutional framework.

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