Premiers agreed to create a Council of the Federation, as part of their plan to play a leadership role in revitalizing the Canadian federation and building a more constructive and cooperative federal system. Premiers recognize that: Canada was established as a federation in 1867.

Under the Constitution, Canada's two orders of government are of equal status, neither subordinate to the other, sovereign within their own areas of jurisdiction and accordingly, they should have adequate resources to meet their responsibilities.

Federalism is based on shared principles including respect for the constitution and the division of powers, while being aware that Quebec has not agreed to the Constitution Act, 1982, and accepting that there are differences among the provinces and territories and that governments may have different policy priorities and preferences.

There is a need to institute a new era of intergovernmental collaboration by promoting a constructive dialogue between the partners of the federation.

It is important to participate in the evolution of the federation and to demonstrate their commitment to leadership through institutional innovation.

The Council of the Federation will be an enduring and evolving institution that will be flexible, efficient and able to anticipate and act quickly to make Canada work better for Canadians.

Read the full text of the Founding Agreement:

Council of the Federation Founding Agreement
December 2003

Did you know?

When the Council was created in December 2003 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada’s Premiers were:

Ontario: Dalton McGuinty
Québec: Jean Charest
Nova Scotia: John Hamm
New Brunswick: Bernard Lord
Manitoba: Gary Doer
British Columbia: Gordon Campbell
Prince Edward Island: Pat Binns
Saskatchewan: Lorne Calvert
Alberta: Ralph Klein
Newfoundland and Labrador: Danny Williams
Northwest Territories: Stephen Kakfwi
Yukon: Dennis Fentie
Nunavut: Paul Okalik