Local Government of Canada

Association: Federation of Canadian Municipalities

There are ten provincial governments. The three northern territories are controlled and administered by the federal government, although elected territorial councils have increasing jurisdiction in local matters. Local government in each province and territory is provided for by legislation that is unique to that province or territory and there is a wide variety of local government structures.

All but three provinces and all three territories have a single tier of local government; the others multitiered structures. There are in Canada some 3,600 local authorities. In the three provinces with multitiered local government there is also a superior tier totalling 143 regional authorities, and, in Québec, a further tier of two supra-regional authorities.

The provinces have jurisdiction for provincial constitutional amendments; direct taxation and debt raising for provincial purposes; provincial prisons; education; health care; municipal government; (nearly all) provincially incorporated companies; local works; property and civil rights; provincial justice, civil law and procedure; and enforcement of provincial laws. They also hold sway in most labour and social security matters.

The local authorities have revenue-raising powers, and property taxes are their main source of revenue. They are generally responsible for local services such as policing; fire protection; water and sewage; recreation services; and local public transport.