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Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal. Some responsibilities belong only to one level of government, while others are shared. The federal government, for example, has sole jurisdiction over the country's banks, airlines and telecommunications.

Below is a chart illustrating some of the roles and responsibilities of each level of government:

Roles and Responsibilities in Canada
Federal (F), Provincial (P), Municipal (M)

  F P M
Aboriginal peoples
Administration of justice  
Arts and culture facilities/events
Bylaw Enforcement  
Direct taxation
Economic development
Emergency medical services    
Emergency preparedness
Fire protection    
Health care *  
Hydro services  
Indirect taxation  
Municipal institutions  
Municipal licensing
(animal, building, business)
Municipal planning    
Municipal streets and roads    
Natural resources    
Parks and recreation    
Pensions/income support *
Post-secondary education, training and research  
Primary and secondary education  
Public Health
Public libraries    
Public transit    
Social assistance and social services  
Transportation infrastructure
Waste and recycling services    
Water and wastewater    
"Our cities, our future" Addressing the fiscal imbalance in Canada's cities today, Big City Mayors' Caucus, June 2006
* Provided by some municipalities

Rule of Law

While democratically elected legislators make laws, Canadian Courts interpret them.

Non-elected, non-partisan officials govern the Courts.

The Courts interpret Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the country’s ‘constitution’ of 1982 that outlines basic human rights.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has served as a model for the development of human rights declarations in a number of countries since that time, including Israel, New Zealand, and South Africa.

It is therefore fair to say that Canadian values have played an influential role on the international stage.

Ontario has a common law system of justice, similar to that of the United States, which relies on the historical record of court interpretations.

When combined with a strong code of conduct and stable regulation of financial markets, Canada’s Rule of Law creates a high degree of fairness for commercial development.

Table breaks down the roles and responsibilities of Toronto's municipal government compared to the provincial and federal governments.