Coordination in Canadian Governments: A Case Study of Aging Policy


78 pages
ISBN 0-919696-25-2




Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


There aren’t many things we’re all doing at the same time. One undoubted one, however, is aging. Yet very little has been written on how our elected politicians and governments, in all their ramifications, deal with the social and political questions posed by aging.

This is a pretty specialised study. It’s clearly written, yet the subject matter doesn’t make for simple reading. One glance at Table I on page 10, “The Institutional Framework,” will demonstrate that the book’s audience is those who take a particular interest in the problems of public administration.

It’s such an important topic, however, that the study repays some consultation. Right from the start, the well-nigh incredible statistics of the rate of aging of Canada’s population are ably summarized. Then all the various levels of governments — federal, provincial and municipal — are assessed to see how they coordinate matters: Nova Scotia, apparently, is the only province that deals formally with policy coordination at Cabinet level — i.e., by elected politicians rather than appointed bureaucrats — and the authors hope this may prove a model to be adopted or adapted by other governments. Municipal governments are examined by means of a case study of the Regional Municipality of Niagara (the authors are associated with Brock University).

The authors don’t look at, or even define, the opposite of coordination — anarchy, conflict, disorder, whatever. Nor do they look very much at the coordination of policy and implementation — which would, of course, probably require a much more extensive and prolonged study. Nonetheless, they do look at length at various types of coordination, between and within different levels of governments. Thus, this monograph should prove of interest to anyone concerned either with aging policy or with governmental organization in general.


Kernaghan, Kenneth, and Olivia Kuper, “Coordination in Canadian Governments: A Case Study of Aging Policy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,