The provinces and territories of Canada are the sub-national governments within the geographical areas of Canada under the authority of the Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of British North America—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which upon Confederation was divided into Ontario and Quebec)—were united to form a federated colony, becoming a sovereign nation in the next century. Over its history, Canada's international borders have changed several times, and the country has grown from the original four provinces to the current ten provinces and three territories. Together, the provinces and territories make up the world's second-largest country by area.
Several of the provinces were former British colonies, and Quebec was originally a French colony, while others were added as Canada grew. The three territories govern the rest of the area of the former British North America.
The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their power and authority from the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867), whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the Parliament of Canada. The powers flowing from the Constitution Act are divided between the Government of Canada (the federal government) and the provincial governments to exercise exclusively. A change to the division of powers between the federal government and the provinces requires a constitutional amendment, whereas a similar change affecting the territories can be performed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada or government.
In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be sovereign within certain areas based on the divisions of responsibility between the provincial and federal government within the Constitution Act 1867, and each province thus has its own representative of the Canadian "Crown", the lieutenant governor. The territories are not sovereign, but instead their authorities and responsibilities come directly from the federal level, and as a result, have a commissioner instead of a lieutenant governor.
|Provinces and territories of Canada|
|Prince Edward Island||PE||142,907||5,660||0||5,660||English[c]||4||4|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||NL||519,716||373,872||31,340||405,212||English[c]||7||6|
There are three territories in Canada. Unlike the provinces, the territories of Canada have no inherent sovereignty and have only those powers delegated to them by the federal government. They include all of mainland Canada north of latitude 60° north and west of Hudson Bay, as well as most islands north of the Canadian mainland (from those in James Bay to the Canadian Arctic islands). The following table lists the territories in order of precedence (each province has precedence over all the territories, regardless of the date each territory was created).
|Capital and largest city||Entered Confederation||Population[a]||Area (km2)||Official languages||Seats|
|Northwest Territories||NT||41,786||1,183,085||163,021||1,346,106||Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich'in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłįchǫ||1||1|
Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were the original provinces, formed when several British North American colonies federated on July 1, 1867, into the Dominion of Canada and by stages began accruing the indicia of sovereignty from the United Kingdom. Prior to this, Ontario and Quebec were united as the Province of Canada. Over the following years, Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873) were added as provinces.
The British Crown had claimed two large areas north-west of the Canadian colony, known as Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory and assigned them to the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1870, the company relinquished its claims for £300,000 ($1.5 million), assigning the vast territory to the Government of Canada. Subsequently, the area was re-organized into the province of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. The Northwest Territories were vast at first, encompassing all of current northern and western Canada, except for the British holdings in the Arctic islands and the Colony of British Columbia; the Territories also included the northern two-thirds of Ontario and Quebec, and almost all of present Manitoba, with the 1870 province of Manitoba originally being confined to a small area in the south of today's province. The British claims to the Arctic islands were transferred to Canada in 1880, adding to the size of the Northwest Territories. The year of 1898 saw the Yukon Territory, later renamed simply as Yukon, carved from the parts of the Northwest Territories surrounding the Klondike gold fields. On September 1, 1905, a portion of the Northwest Territories south of the 60th parallel north became the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1912, the boundaries of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba were expanded northward: Manitoba's to the 60° parallel, Ontario's to Hudson Bay and Quebec's to encompass the District of Ungava.
In 1869, the people of Newfoundland voted to remain a British colony over fears that taxes would increase with Confederation, and that the economic policy of the Canadian government would favour mainland industries. In 1907, Newfoundland acquired dominion status. In the middle of the Great Depression in Canada with Newfoundland facing a prolonged period of economic crisis, the legislature turned over political control to the Newfoundland Commission of Government in 1933. Following Canada's participation in World War II, in a 1948 referendum, a narrow majority of Newfoundland citizens voted to join the Confederation, and on March 31, 1949, Newfoundland became Canada's tenth province. In 2001, it was officially renamed Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 1903, the Alaska Panhandle Dispute fixed British Columbia's northwestern boundary. This was one of only two provinces in Canadian history to have its size reduced. The second reduction, in 1927, occurred when a boundary dispute between Canada and the Dominion of Newfoundland saw Labrador increased at Quebec's expense – this land returned to Canada, as part of the province of Newfoundland, in 1949. In 1999, Nunavut was created from the eastern portion of the Northwest Territories. Yukon lies in the western portion of Northern Canada, while Nunavut is in the east.
All three territories combined are the most sparsely populated region in Canada, covering 3,921,739 km2 (1,514,192 sq mi) in land area. They are often referred to as a single region, The North, for organisational and economic purposes. For much of the Northwest Territories' early history it was divided into several districts for ease of administration. The District of Keewatin was created as a separate territory from 1876 to 1905, after which, as the Keewatin Region, it became an administrative district of the Northwest Territories. In 1999, it was dissolved when it became part of Nunavut.
Theoretically, provinces have a great deal of power relative to the federal government, with jurisdiction over many public goods such as health care, education, welfare, and intra-provincial transportation. They receive "transfer payments" from the federal government to pay for these, as well as exacting their own taxes. In practice, however, the federal government can use these transfer payments to influence these provincial areas. For instance, in order to receive healthcare funding under Medicare, provinces must agree to meet certain federal mandates, such as universal access to required medical treatment.
Provincial and territorial legislatures have no second chamber like the Canadian Senate. Originally, most provinces did have such bodies, known as legislative councils, with members titled councillors. These upper houses were abolished one by one, Quebec's being the last in 1968. In most provinces, the single house of the legislature is known as the Legislative Assembly; the exceptions are Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the chamber is called the House of Assembly, and Quebec where it is called the National Assembly. Ontario has a Legislative Assembly but its members are called Members of the Provincial Parliament or MPPs. The legislative assemblies use a procedure similar to that of the House of Commons of Canada. The head of government of each province, called the premier, is generally the head of the party with the most seats. This is also the case in Yukon, but the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have no political parties at the territorial level. The Queen's representative to each province is the Lieutenant Governor. In each of the territories there is an analogous Commissioner, but he or she represents the federal government rather than the monarch.
|Jurisdiction||Legislature||Lower house||Members of lower house||Head of Government||Viceroy|
|Canada||Parliament||House of Commons||Member of Parliament||Prime Minister||Governor General|
|Ontario||Legislative Assembly||Member of the Provincial Parliament*||Premier||Lieutenant Governor|
|Quebec||Legislature||National Assembly†||Member of the National Assembly†|
|Nova Scotia||General Assembly||House of Assembly||Member of the Legislative Assembly§|
|New Brunswick||Legislature||Legislative Assembly§|
|Prince Edward Island||General Assembly|
|General Assembly||House of Assembly||Member of the House of Assembly|
|Northwest Territories||Assembly||Legislative Assembly||Member of the Legislative Assembly||Premier‖||Commissioner|
Most provinces have rough provincial counterparts to major federal parties. However, these provincial parties are not usually formally linked to the federal parties that share the same name. For example, no provincial Conservative or Progressive Conservative Party shares an organizational link to the federal Conservative Party of Canada, and neither do provincial Green Parties to the Green Party of Canada. Provincial New Democratic Parties, on the other hand, are fully integrated with the federal New Democratic Party – meaning that provincial parties effectively operate as sections, with common membership, of the federal party. The Liberal Party of Canada shares such an organizational integration with the provincial Liberals in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Other provincial Liberal Parties are unaffiliated with their federal counterpart.
The provincial political climate of Quebec is quite different: the main split is between sovereignty, represented by the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire, and federalism, represented primarily by the Quebec Liberal Party. The Coalition Avenir Québec, meanwhile, takes an abstentionist position on the question and does not support or oppose sovereignty.
|Province/Territory||Premier||Party in government||Party political position||Majority
|Alberta||Rachel Notley||New Democratic||Centre-left ||◕ Majority||Lois Mitchell|
|British Columbia||John Horgan||New Democratic||Centre-left to Left-wing||◔ Minority[note 1]||Janet Austin|
|Manitoba||Brian Pallister||Progressive Conservative||Centre-right||◕ Majority||Janice Filmon|
|New Brunswick||Blaine Higgs||Progressive Conservative||Centre to centre-right||◔ Minority||Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Dwight Ball||Liberal||Centre to centre-left||◕ Majority||Judy Foote|
|Nova Scotia||Stephen McNeil||Liberal||Centre to centre-left||◕ Majority||Arthur Joseph LeBlanc|
|Ontario||Doug Ford||Progressive Conservative||Centre-right||◕ Majority||Elizabeth Dowdeswell|
|Prince Edward Island||Wade MacLauchlan||Liberal||Centre to centre-left||◕ Majority||Frank Lewis|
|Quebec||François Legault||Coalition Avenir Québec||Centre-right||◕ Majority||J. Michel Doyon|
|Saskatchewan||Scott Moe||Saskatchewan Party||Centre-right||◕ Majority||W. Thomas Molloy|
|Northwest Territories||Bob McLeod||Consensus government||Nonpartisan||Margaret Thom|
|Nunavut||Joe Savikataaq||Consensus government||Nonpartisan||Nellie Kusugak|
|Yukon||Sandy Silver||Liberal||Centre to centre-left||◕ Majority||Angélique Bernard|
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, near Vimy, Pas-de-Calais, and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, near Beaumont-Hamel, France are ceremonially considered Canadian territory. In 1922, the French government donated the land used for the Vimy Memorial "freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada the free use of the land exempt from all taxes". The site of the Somme battlefield near Beaumont-Hamel site was purchased in 1921 by the people of the Dominion of Newfoundland. These sites do not, however, enjoy extraterritorial status and are thus subject to French law.
Since Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. The Constitution of Canada requires an amendment for the creation of a new province but the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament, a legislatively simpler process.
In late 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin surprised some observers by expressing his personal support for all three territories gaining provincial status "eventually". He cited their importance to the country as a whole and the ongoing need to assert sovereignty in the Arctic, particularly as global warming could make that region more open to exploitation leading to more complex international waters disputes.
Assiniboia District refers to two historical districts of Canada's North-West Territories. The name is taken from the Assiniboine First Nation.Badminton Canada
Badminton Canada is the national governing body for the sport of badminton in Canada. The association is composed of 13
member associations representing all of the provinces and territories of Canada.Bibliography of Canadian provinces and territories
This is a bibliography of works on the Provinces and territories of Canada.Extreme points of Canadian provinces
This is a table of extreme points (north, south, east and west) of each of the provinces and territories of Canada. Many of these points are uninhabited; see also extreme communities of Canada for inhabited places.List of Canada-related topics by provinces and territories
This is a list of topics related to the provinces and territories of Canada, listed by topic type.List of Canadian provinces and territories by Human Development Index
Below is a list of Canadian provinces and territories by their Human Development Index, which is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standard of living and overall well-being of the citizens in each province and territory. All Canadian provinces and territories have a very high (greater than 0.800) HDI.List of Canadian provinces and territories by area
As a country, Canada has ten provinces and three territories. These subdivisions vary widely in both land and water area. The largest subdivision by land area is the territory of Nunavut. The largest subdivision by water area is the province of Quebec. The smallest subdivision of both land and water area is the province of Prince Edward Island.
Canada is the second-largest country in the world; it has the fourth-largest dry land area, and the largest freshwater area.List of Canadian provinces and territories by gross domestic product
This article lists Canadian provinces and territories by gross domestic product (GDP).
While Canada’s ten provinces and three territories exhibit high per capita GDPs, there is wide variation among them. Ontario, the country's most populous province, is a manufacturing and trade locus with extensive linkages to the northeastern and midwestern United States. The economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and the territories rely heavily on natural resources and produce the highest per capita GDP values in the country. On the other hand, Manitoba, Quebec and The Maritimes have the country's lowest per capita GDP values.
In the face of these long-term regional disparities, the Government of Canada redistributes some of its revenues through unconditional equalization payments and finances the delivery of comparable levels of government services through the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer.List of Canadian provinces and territories by life expectancy
This is a list of Canadian provinces and territories by life expectancy. Life expectancy is the average number of years of age that a group of individuals born in the same year can expect to live, if maintained, from birth. The source is from the CSLS Research Report with results for the year 2015 and previous years.List of Canadian provinces and territories by population
Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories. The majority of Canada's population is concentrated in the areas close to the Canada–US border. Its four largest provinces by area (Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta) are also (with Quebec and Ontario, switched in order) its most populous; together they account for 86% of the country's population. The territories (the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) account for over a third of Canada's area but are home to only 0.3% of its population, which skews the national population density value.
Canada's population grew by 5.0% between the 2006 and 2011 censuses. Except for New Brunswick, all territories and provinces increased in population from 2011 to 2016. In terms of percent change, the fastest-growing province or territory was Nunavut with an increase of 12.7% between 2011 and 2016, followed by Alberta with 11.6% growth. New Brunswick's population decreased by 0.5% between 2011 and 2016.
Canada's population has increased every year since Confederation in 1867: see List of population of Canada by years.List of Canadian provinces and territories by population growth rate
This is a list of Canadian provinces and territories by population growth rate, based on the Statistics Canada 2016 Census of Population.List of Canadian provincial and territorial name etymologies
This page lists the etymologies of the names of the provinces and territories of Canada.List of Canadian provincial and territorial symbols
This is a list of the symbols of the provinces and territories of Canada. Each province and territory has a unique set of official symbols.List of governments in Canada by annual expenditures
In Canada, governments at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels have the power to spend public funds. This is a list of governments by annual expenditures, in Canadian dollars.List of proposed provinces and territories of Canada
Since Canadian Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. Since 1982, the current Constitution of Canada requires an amendment ratified by seven provincial legislatures representing at least half of the national population for the creation of a new province while the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament. Because opening up the constitution to amendment could entice provinces to demand other changes too in exchange for such support, this is seen to be a politically unfeasible option. The newest province, Newfoundland and Labrador, joined Canada in 1949 by an act of the British Parliament before the 1982 patriation of the constitution.Nunavik
Nunavik (Inuktitut: ᓄᓇᕕᒃ) comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada in Kativik, part of the Nord-du-Québec region. Covering a land area of 443,684.71 km2 (171,307.62 sq mi) north of the 55th parallel, it is the homeland of the Inuit of Quebec. Almost all of the 12,090 inhabitants (2011 census) of the region, of whom 90% are Inuit, live in fourteen northern villages on the coast of Nunavik and in the Cree reserved land (TC) of Whapmagoostui, near the northern village of Kuujjuarapik.
Nunavik means "great land" in the local dialect of Inuktitut and the Inuit inhabitants of the region call themselves Nunavimmiut. Until 1912, the region was part of the District of Ungava of the Northwest Territories.
Negotiations for regional autonomy and resolution of outstanding land claims took place in the 2000s. The seat of government would be Kuujjuaq. Negotiations on better empowering Inuit political rights in their land are still ongoing.A flag for Nunavik was proposed by Nunavik artist and graphic designer Thomassie Mangiok during an April 2013 Plan Nunavik consultation in Ivujivik.Provincial and territorial courts in Canada
The provincial and territorial courts in Canada are local trial "inferior" or "lower" courts of limited jurisdiction established in each of the provinces and territories of Canada. These courts typically hear criminal, civil (or “small claims”), family, traffic, and bylaw cases. Unlike the superior courts of Canada, the jurisdiction of the provincial courts is limited to those matters which are permitted by statute. They have no inherent jurisdiction. Appeals of provincial court decisions are usually heard by the superior court of the province.
These courts typically evolved from older magistrate, municipal, or local courts. Many of these former courts were as likely to have lay magistrates or justices of the peace presiding as they were to have a judge who had formal legal training.
In the province of Ontario, most municipal and provincial offences are dealt with in the Provincial Offences Court, established under the Ontario Provincial Offences Act and the Courts of Justice ActTerritorial evolution of Canada
The Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867, when the British colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were merged to form a single Dominion within the British Empire. Canada continued to expand across North America as other British colonies and territories joined with or were ceded to Canada, eventually growing from four provinces to ten provinces and three territories. Politically, Canada gained increasing independence in the 20th century, eventually becoming a fully sovereign state in 1982.