Levels of government in Canada

There are federal, provincial (or territorial) and municipal (or local) levels of government in Canada. Canadian citizens 18 years of age and over can vote in elections for all levels of government.

Federal Government

Canada is a democracy. It has a system of parliamentary government. Parliament has three parts: the Queen, the House of Commons and the Senate. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our Head of State. The Governor General of Canada is the Queen's representative in Canada.

The House of Commons consists of all Members of Parliament (elected by Canadians) - while the Senate is made up of Senators appointed by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the political party with the most elected members of Parliament sitting in the House of Commons. Parliament's areas of responsibility under our Constitution include citizenship, foreign policy and relations with other countries, national defence, matters of criminal law and the postal service.

The responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments were first defined in 1867 in the British North America Act. The act was renamed the Constitution Act in 1982 with the patriation of the constitution. In general, the federal government takes major responsibility for matters that affect all of Canada.

For more information on the Canadian government and the country overall, visit

Provincial Government

Canada has 10 provinces and three territories. Provincial or territorial governments are responsible for many government regulated activities such as education and the way municipalities function. They also share responsibility with the federal government in the areas of health services, immigration, farming, social assistance, transportation and the environment.

To learn more about Ontario, the most multicultural province in Canada, visit

Municipal Government

Municipal governments run cities and towns. The groups of elected representatives at the municipal level are called councils with each council being led by an elected mayor or reeve. They are given authority over areas such as firefighting, policing, snow removal, public transportation, community services and collecting property taxes. 

To find out more about the municipal governments in Lanark County please visit their website at