Commemorating the Byrne Commission’s legacy and tackling today’s local governance challenges

The University of New Brunswick’s Urban and Community Studies Institute (UCSI) is marking the 50th anniversary of The Byrne Commission report with a one-day symposium in Fredericton, November 4. The report helped modernize regional governance in New Brunswick and paved the way for sweeping reforms including equal opportunity.

Fifty years later, New Brunswick and similar jurisdictions around the world still grapple with challenges related to shared government responsibilities and revenues, sustaining public programs and infrastructure, and promoting economic and population growth within a landscape of smaller cities. What have we learned? How do we measure today’s challenges? What ideas help us move forward?

Dr. John Hardin, executive director, Office of Science & Technology (OST), North Carolina Department of Commerce, will give the lunch keynote address sharing North Carolina’s efforts to enhance collaborations between its research institutions, the private sector and the surrounding cities.

Provincial party leaders Brian Gallant (Liberal), Dominic Cardy (NDP) and David Coon (Green) will share their views on local governance challenges during a leaders panel discussion.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Meloche (Université de Montréal), and Dr. Michael Haan (UNB) will make presentations on municipal finance and demographic challenges in Canada and New Brunswick, kicking off panel discussions with experts from New Brunswick and beyond.

To start the day, former Byrne Commission secretary Jim O’Sullivan will share insights on the Commission’s work, followed by presentations on the Commission’s legacy by UNB’s Greg Marquis, David Frank and Nicole O’Byrne and Université de Moncton’s Maurice Basque.

An expected 150 academic, policy and community leaders from around North America will share research, knowledge and experience in addressing 21st century regional challenges.

For more information or to register, visit

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