A Review and Assessment of Privatization in Canada

32 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2012

See all articles by Anthony E. Boardman

Anthony E. Boardman

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Division of Strategy and Business Economics

Aidan Vining

Simon Fraser University

Date Written: February 2, 2012


Most privatizations in Canada occurred in the 10-year period from the mid-1980s to the mid- 1990s, and while many of the remaining candidates are both politically and economically problematic, the Harper government has signaled its renewed interest in more privatizations. This paper, written by two of Canada’s leading experts on the subject, comprehensively assesses hard data from the earlier privatizations in Canada, including sectors such as energy, transport and telecommunications. They find that the overall impacts have been largely positive, in many cases impressively so. Key economic indicators such as capital expenditures, dividends, tax revenues and sales per employee tended to increase, while others such as employment initially fell, only to rise again over the long term. Ultimately, most of the privatized firms continue to operate efficiently, making them positive contributors to Canadians’ social welfare through the provision of increased economic opportunities, higher profits and taxes. Drawing on lessons learned, the authors propose a common-sense framework to guide future privatizations and ensure all Canadians derive the maximum possible benefits from them. No Canadian government has ever formulated such a plan for a privatization regime, making this paper a must-read for anyone with a stake in the future of Canadian business.

Keywords: privatization, private, public, enterprise, state owned, crown corporation, government, transport, telecommunications, share-issue, energy

JEL Classification: L9, L33

Suggested Citation

Boardman, Anthony E. and Vining, Aidan, A Review and Assessment of Privatization in Canada (February 2, 2012). SPP Research Paper No. 12-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2000172 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2000172

Anthony E. Boardman (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Division of Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia

Aidan Vining

Simon Fraser University ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6

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