The Social Union Framework Agreement represents a major turning point in Canadian Federalism. The Social Union Framework agreement was signed by the Prime Minister and .
Canada's Premiers, except for the Premier of Quebec, on February 4, 1999. The agreement guides intergovernmental cooperation on social policy in Canada. The idea is that greater things can be accomplished collectively than individually, but this must be done within the framework of Canada's federal political system. The constitution defines the power of the federal and provincial governments in exclusive terms, but in order to deliver policies to citizens it requires cooperation and coordination among governments. The social union is a network of social policies and programs that have been developed over decades. The social union is constantly evolving as the government continually seeks to best meet the needs of Canadians. However, it maintains the principles of equality, fairness, respect for diversity, and mutual aid and responsibility for one another. The social union is a defining characteristic of Canada, it ensures that wherever Canadians live, they will have access to services that meet their basic social and economic needs. The social union is the result of the federal, provincial and territorial governments working together to design, fund and deliver programs that meet the needs of all Canadians. The different revenue raising powers of the federal, provincial and territorial governments, combined with their different policy making and program delivery powers make it a necessity that governments work together in order to design policies that are cost efficient and respond to the needs of Canadians. .
The Social Union Framework Agreement provides a framework that is based upon a mutual respect between orders of government and a willingness to work more closely together to meet the needs of Canadians.