Canada is one of the well-developed and successful decentralised federal countries in global terms. The federal Canadian government is based in Ottawa, Ontario, and, as the state consists of three territories and ten provinces, it correspondingly has three territorial and ten provincial governments. The Constitution Act of 1867 defines the powers for each of the governmental levels, which might be concisely be outlined as follows: federal government is responsible for national defence, banking, foreign affairs, immigration, intellectual property, criminal law, international trade, and national currency; provincial governments refer to the issues of more regional essence, for example, natural resources, direct taxation, private-property and commercial rights, social programs, education, and healthcare.
Being a decentralised state, Canadian provinces and territories have separate legal systems, which possess more extensive powers compared to the federal ones. Different legal systems have formed in Canada due to the historical background of the country, as it was not originally established as a single unified state. The current legal system is a compilation of the French and English legal system, which were brought in by the 17th-18th cc. colonists and explorers. There are three legal systems in Canada: Civil law based on the Napoleonic Code is applicable in Quebec (former French colony), the Common law (precedent-based rules which are not written as a code), and aboriginal / treaty rights (treaties between the Aboriginal people and the Crown). In order to attend to all issues properly, Canadian government operates at three different levels.
The administrative duties in Canada are performed by the federal, provincial, and municipal (local) governments. Each of these layers have specific obligations and responsibilities to fulfil and areas to attend to. Decentralised governmental system suggests minimum of resources being concentrated in the central government, as most of them have been shifted to the provincial governments. As the globally most decentralised country, Canada has managed to eliminate economic and social centralisation. The levels of Canadian government strictly limit the responsibilities for each of them.
The federal government is responsible for the issues that affect the country as a whole. These issues are enlisted in the Constitution Act 1867. Federal government is located in the capital of the country – Ottawa, and consists mainly of the Public service and the Cabinet. The government is presided by the Prime Minister and Governor General: the former is the person responsible for the executive branch, whereas the latter is the representative of the Queen of the United Kingdom. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Legislative duties are accomplished by the Senate and the House of Commons. The federal court system consists of the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the Tax Court.
The provincial (territorial) government is also regulated by the Constitutional Act 1867, which implies regional issues to be the major duty of the government. Furthermore, federal government might give particular responsibilities to the provincial (territorial) governments. Commonly, the major aspects regulated by the provincial government are the system of public health, housing, transportation infrastructure, healthcare of the province, industry, enforcement of bylaws, natural resources, income support, administration of justice, and hydro services, etc. The structure of the provincial governments might be vary from province to province, as they do not always share the same fundamental values.
The legislative powers in the provincial government are concentrated within the National Assembly, the House of Assembly, or the Legislative Assembly. Each of the provinces is divided into the electoral regions with one legislator being elected from them. The legislators represent political parties, and thus, the political party with the highest amount of representatives is assumed as the governing party. The Premier of the province is also selected from the representatives of the dominant political party. The provincial government has the Cabinet which is formed out of the ministers assigned by the Premier. The Lieutenant Governor is regarded officially as the Head of the State. The court system of the provinces enforces the criminal and civil laws. Provincial government regulates management and sales of the provincially-owned public lands, and oversees local (municipal) facilities.
The local (municipal) government refers to a city-/ town-, district- / township-, or village-based government, which undertakes responsibility for the community water system, public utilities, libraries, local police, firefighting stations, parking, parks, bus and train services, roadways / tracks / small roads, administration of residential and commercial zones, use of local land, and collection of the municipal taxes in the area. They are formed and their powers are granted by the provincial governments. Another form of the local (municipal) government is the Band councils, which regulates and administers local communities of the First Nations. There are about 3,700 local governments in Canada, and though they are autonomous in a way, the bylaws which they pass can be altered by the government of the province / territory. Municipal governments occasionally consist of two tiers: municipal government and the regional municipal county. If the provincial and local government are not able to place responsibility for a particular duty (when it is not defined by the legislation), the federal government, by default, assumes the issue. Some issues, for example, language, is regulated as a political issue of the country, with Quebec being the only province to be majorly operated in French instead of English.
To conclude, Canada is a brilliant example of successful decentralization within the governmental system of the country. It allowed to divide the government into three separate levels (federal, provincial, and municipal) with each of them undertaking different areas of responsibilities and duties. Federal government regulated foreign policy, national defense, and economic, etc. issues. Provincial government is responsible for healthcare, transportation, immigration, natural resources, and industry, etc. of the respective province or territory. Municipal (local) government holds responsibility for management of the firefighting stations, local police, administration of the residential and commercial zones in the area, libraries, and collection of municipal taxes, etc. Decentralization allows proper political representation and adequate involvement of citizens into the governing process.