Federal-Provincial Division of Powers
The central government of Canada exercises all powers not specifically assigned to the provinces. It has exclusive jurisdiction over administration of the public debt, currency and coinage, taxation for general purposes, organization of national defense, fiscal matters, banking, fisheries, commerce, navigation and shipping, energy policy, agriculture, postal service, the census, statistics, patents, copyright, naturalization, aliens, indigenous peoples affairs, marriage, and divorce. Among the powers assigned to the provincial governments are authority over education, hospitals, provincial property, civil rights, taxation for local purposes, regulation of local commerce, and the borrowing of money. Some of these may be allocated to the municipal level at the discretion of the provincial government. With respect to certain matters, such as immigration, the federal and provincial governments have concurrent jurisdiction.

The provinces and territories control the establishment and operation of local units of government within their borders. The categories and functions of local governmental units vary from province to province, depending on population density and local custom. In densely populated areas, such as southern Ontario, the system of local governmental units includes counties, districts, cities, towns, villages, and townships. Large metropolitan areas may have regional governments comprising several local governments. Certain powers, such as transit and regional planning, are the responsibility of the regional government, although each local unit usually retains powers of local self-government, with responsibility for local public services. Unincorporated rural districts are usually administered by the provincial or territorial government.


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