Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Mario Levesque (Mount Allison University)
Explaining Support for Separate School Funding in Ontario: An Experimental Study: Adrienne Davidson (Queen's University), Jack Lucas (University of Calgary), Michael McGregor (Ryerson University) Abstract: The purpose of this study is determine the correlates or support for (or opposition to) the merging of public and Catholic school systems in Ontario. The existence of publicly funded Catholic schools has been constitutionally guaranteed in the province since 1867. Polls suggest, however, that opinions on the maintenance of two parallel school systems, based upon religious grounds, are divided.
Drawing upon survey data from the Canadian Municipal Election Study, this piece proceeds in three stages. First, we use survey data from 6,000 electors in London, Mississauga and Toronto to develop a comprehensive understanding of the sociodemographic and attitudinal correlates of support for merging the province’s school systems. Next, we present the results of a survey experiment, meant to examine the effect of being provided with information on school systems in other provinces. Prior to being asked their opinions on merging school systems, respondents in treatment groups were shown messages with information on provinces that have either maintained separate school systems or merged them with the public system. We conclude with a consideration of whether certain types of individuals are affected differently by experimental treatments. Our findings have implications for understanding the correlates of support for this important feature of Ontario politics, as well as the prospects (or lack thereof) of merging Ontario’s school systems.
Intergovernmental Relations and the Governance of Service Delivery Systems: Rachel Laforest (Queen's University) Abstract: Intergovernmental dynamics in the field of immigration settlement and labour market agreement have gone through similar ebbs and flows over the past twenty-five years, from moments of bilateral devolution to some provinces, to moments of strong federal involvement. These ebb and flows have had major impacts on the delivery and management of programs. They have redesigned the channels of funding and accountability with huge implications for voluntary organizations that are often at the forefront of service delivery in these areas. Over time, amalgamation and mergers of voluntary organizations have become more prevalent in order to foster the integration of services and a greater control over the quality of services being offered. In this paper, we examine trends in the restructuring of service delivery systems, with a view as to how these reforms are shaping the nature of governance. This paper looks at the legacy of these policy shifts both on intergovernmental relations and on voluntary sector capacity in Canada.