A regional municipality (or region) is a type of Canadian municipal government similar to and at the same municipal government level as a county, although the specific structure and servicing responsibilities may vary from place to place. Regional municipalities were formed in highly populated areas where it was considered more efficient to provide certain services, such as water, emergency services, and waste management over an area encompassing more than one local municipality. For this reason, regions may be involved in providing services to residents and businesses.
Regional municipalities, where they include smaller municipalities within their boundaries, are sometimes referred to as "upper-tier" municipalities. Regional municipalities generally have more servicing responsibilities than counties. Typical services include maintenance and construction of arterial roads (including in urban areas, where counties do not), transit, policing, sewer and water systems, waste disposal, region-wide land-use planning and development and health and social services.
Regions are typically more urbanized than counties. Regional municipalities are usually implemented in census divisions where an interconnected cluster of urban centres forms the majority of the division's area and population.
Alberta does not have an official municipal status type of regional municipality. However, that has not prevented one municipality from branding itself as one. Wood Buffalo, formed as a specialized municipality on April 1, 1995, through the amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143, changed its official name from Municipality of Wood Buffalo to Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on August 14, 1996, while maintaining its specialized municipality status.
There is only one regional municipality in British Columbia, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM), formerly a regional district of the same name. Unlike other Canadian regional municipalities it is near-entirely wilderness and has only one "urban" centre, the former Town of Fort Nelson. Only sparsely populated outside of Fort Nelson, it is vast in extent, covering the northeastern corner of the province north of the 58th Parallel, from the Grand Canyon of the Liard on the west to the Alberta boundary on the east.
Regional districts, which cover most of the rest of the province, are technically municipalities, though containing other municipalities within them. In the NRRM the government of the former Fort Nelson and the regional municipality are merged. Like regional districts, the regional municipality does not include Indian Reserves or their governments.
In Nova Scotia, regional municipalities are a single level of government, and provide all municipal services to their communities. As they include both urban centres and rural areas, they are not called cities, towns or villages. Such municipalities in Nova Scotia take over the area and name of a county. Counties still exist as a geographic division but may contain a single municipality or may be divided into municipal districts within them.
In Ontario, regional municipalities were created to provide common services to urban and rural municipalities in the way that counties typically provide common services to rural municipalities. Only certain predominantly urban divisions are given the status of a regional municipality in Ontario; most census divisions instead retain the status of a county or a district.
The specific relationship of a regional government and the cities, towns, townships and villages within its borders is determined by provincial legislation; typically the regional municipality provides many core services such as police protection, waste management and (in some RMs) public transit. Similar to counties, they also provide infrastructure for major roads, sewers, and bridges and also handle social services. Organization of regional government has occasionally been controversial, as council membership is sometimes determined by the constituent municipalities rather than elected directly.
The province's first regional municipality, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, was created in 1954. It was the only regional municipality in the province until the Regional Municipality of Ottawa–Carleton was created in 1969. Between 1970 and 1974, several more regional municipalities were created by the government of Bill Davis.
The later government of Mike Harris subsequently dissolved four regional municipalities into amalgamated single-tier cities. In 1998, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto became the amalgamated City of Toronto, and in 2001, three other regional municipalities—Ottawa–Carleton, Hamilton–Wentworth and Sudbury—were similarly amalgamated into the single-tier cities of Ottawa, Hamilton and Greater Sudbury.
The Harris government also split the former Regional Municipality of Haldimand–Norfolk into two separate single-tier municipalities—the Town of Haldimand and the Town of Norfolk, which immediately changed their names to Haldimand County and Norfolk County.
In January 2019, the provincial government announced a review of the eight regional municipalities in the province (Durham, Halton, Muskoka, Niagara, Oxford, Peel, Waterloo, and York) and Simcoe County, as well as their constituent lower-tier municipalities. The review will be headed by special advisers Ken Seiling and Michael Fenn, who will conduct consultations with politicians, civil servants, business owners, and residents of the nine affected municipalities.
Bellechasse Regional County Municipality is a regional county municipality in the Chaudière-Appalaches region of Quebec. The county seat is Saint-Lazare-de-Bellechasse.Saint-Lazare was originally chosen as the county seat because of its central location. Other municipalities, such as Saint-Anselme, Sainte-Claire, Saint-Damien originally wanted to be the county seat because of their larger population. The region belongs to the Lévis—Bellechasse federal electoral district.Caledon, Ontario
Caledon (2016 population 66,502) is a town in the Regional Municipality of Peel in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada. Caledon is a developing urban area although it remains primarily rural. It consists of an amalgamation of a number of urban areas, villages, and hamlets; its major urban centre is Bolton on its eastern side adjacent to York Region.
Caledon is one of three municipalities of Peel Region. The town is just northwest of the city of Brampton. At over 688 km², Caledon is the largest city or town by area in the Greater Toronto Area.
Maclean's magazine named Caledon the safest town in Canada to live in for two years running during the 2000s. In their 2018 list, Caledon was listed as the 20th safest.Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Cape Breton Regional Municipality, often referred to as simply CBRM, is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia's second largest municipality and the economic heart of Cape Breton Island. As of 2016 the municipality has a population of 94,285. The municipality was created in 1995 through the amalgamation of eight municipalities located in Cape Breton County.
The region is home to a significant concentration of government services, social enterprise and private sector companies, including the Canadian Coast Guard College, Cape Breton University, NSCC Marconi campus, and New Dawn Enterprises. The rural areas of the municipality continue to host resource industries such as agriculture, fishing, mining, and forestry. CBRM is host to many cultural landmarks and institutions such as the Celtic Colours International Festival, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft, the Highland Arts Theatre, and Holy Angels Arts & Cultural centre, currently undergoing a $12 million renovation.The area hosts one of Nova Scotia's premier tourism destinations, the Fortress of Louisbourg national park site, operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum. The site stands as the largest reconstruction project in North America. The Port of Sydney was projected to welcome a record 135,000 cruise ship visitors in 2017, a 67% increase on 2016. The Trans-Canada Highway terminates in North Sydney where Marine Atlantic ferries connect to both Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, where the highway starts again, and Argentia.Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth ( DART-məth) is a former city and urban community located in the Halifax Regional Municipality of Nova Scotia, Canada. Dartmouth is located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour. Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes, after the large number of lakes located within its boundaries.
On April 1, 1996, the provincial government amalgamated all the municipalities within the boundaries of Halifax County into a single-tier regional government named the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Dartmouth and its neighbouring city of Halifax, the town of Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax were dissolved. The city of Dartmouth forms part of the urban core of the larger regional municipality and is officially designated as part of the "capital district" by the Halifax Regional Municipality. At the time that the City of Dartmouth was dissolved, the provincial government altered its status to a separate community to Halifax; however, its status as part of the metropolitan "Halifax" urban core existed prior to municipal reorganization in 1996.
Dartmouth is still an official geographic name that is used by all levels of government for legal purposes, postal service, mapping, 9-1-1 emergency response, municipal planning, and is recognized by the Halifax Regional Municipality as a civic addressing community. The official place name did not change, due to the confusion with similar street names, land use planning set out by the former "City of Dartmouth," and significant public pressure. Today the same development planning for Downtown Dartmouth and the rest of the region is still in force, as well as specific bylaws created prior to April 1, 1996.Georgina, Ontario
Georgina (Canada 2016 Census population 45,418) is a town in south-central Ontario, and the northernmost municipality in the Regional Municipality of York. The town is bounded to the north by Lake Simcoe. Although incorporated as a town, it operates as a township, in which dispersed communities share a common administrative council. The largest communities are Keswick, Sutton and Jackson's Point; smaller communities include Pefferlaw, Port Bolster, Udora and Willow Beach.
The town was formed by the merger of the Village of Sutton, the Township of Georgina and the Township of North Gwillimbury in 1971, and was incorporated in 1986. North Gwillimbury had previously been part of Georgina, but became its own township in 1826. It took its name from the family of Elizabeth Simcoe, née Gwillim.
Georgina was the proposed name for London, Ontario by John Graves Simcoe.Gregoire Lake Estates
Gregoire Lake Estates is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within the Regional Municipality (R.M.) of Wood Buffalo. It is located on Highway 881, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Fort McMurray.Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax, formally known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It had a population of 403,131 in 2016, with 316,701 in the urban area centred on Halifax Harbour. The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996: Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County.
Halifax is a major economic centre in Atlantic Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality.Halifax County, Nova Scotia
Halifax County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The Municipality of the County of Halifax was the municipal government of Halifax County, apart from the separately incorporated towns and cities therein. The Municipality was dissolved in 1996, together with those town and city governments, in their amalgamation into Halifax Regional Municipality.List of census divisions of Ontario
There are 49 census divisions of Ontario used by Statistics Canada to aggregate census data. With two exceptions, they correspond to Ontario's first-level administrative divisions, of which there are three types: single-tier municipalities, upper-tier municipalities (which can be regional municipalities or counties), and districts. These differ primarily in the services that they provide to their residents, and their different structures result from the vast disparities among Ontario's different regions. They may comprise smaller municipalities or other types of administrative divisions, which are generally treated as census subdivisions by Statistics Canada.
In some cases, a census division may retain its historical name even if it changes government type. For instance, Oxford County, Haldimand County, Norfolk County and Prince Edward County are no longer counties: Oxford is a regional municipality and the others are single-tier municipalities. Several census divisions in Ontario have significantly changed their borders or been discontinued entirely: see Historic counties of Ontario.Norfolk County, Ontario
Norfolk County is a rural single-tier municipality on the north shore of Lake Erie in Southwestern Ontario, Canada with a 2016 population of 64,044. The largest community in Norfolk County is Simcoe, Ontario with a 2016 population of 13,922. The other population centres are Port Dover, Delhi, Waterford and Port Rowan, and there are many smaller communities. For several years in the late 20th century, the county was merged with Haldimand County but the merged entity was dissolved in 2000.Portneuf Regional County Municipality
Portneuf is a regional county municipality (RCM) in the Capitale-Nationale administrative region of Quebec, Canada. RCM of Portneuf has been established on January 1, 1982. It is composed of 21 municipalities: nine cities, seven municipalities, two parishes and three unorganized territories. The county seat is located in Cap-Santé.Region of Queens Municipality
The Region of Queens Municipality is a Canadian regional municipality located in southwestern Nova Scotia. Queens is the southern gateway of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, where outdoor activities are always close at hand. Campgrounds at Kejimukujik National Park and National Historic Site, Thomas H. Raddall Provincial Park, and several other locations are great places for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The seacoast and inland areas provide excellent photo opportunities.Regional Municipality of Durham
The Regional Municipality of Durham, informally referred to as Durham Region, is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada. Located east of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York, Durham forms the east-end of the Greater Toronto Area and the core part of the Golden Horseshoe region. It has an area of approximately 2,500 square kilometres. The regional government is headquartered in Whitby.
The southern portion of the region, on Lake Ontario is primarily suburban in nature, forming the eastern end of the 905 belt of suburbs around Toronto. The northern area comprises rural areas and small towns. The city of Pickering, town of Ajax and the township of Uxbridge are considered part of Toronto's Census Metropolitan Area, while the communities of Oshawa, Whitby, and Clarington are part of the Oshawa's Census Metropolitan Area.Regional Municipality of Halton
The Regional Municipality of Halton, or Halton Region, is a regional municipality in Ontario, Canada, located in the Golden Horseshoe of Southern Ontario. It comprises the city of Burlington and the towns of Oakville, Milton, and Halton Hills. The region provides policing by the Halton Regional Police Service. The regional council's headquarters are located in Oakville. Burlington and Oakville are largely urban and suburban, while the towns of Milton and Halton Hills are more rural.
Halton is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), although it is the only regional municipality in the GTA that is not situated directly adjacent to Toronto’s city proper. However, the region is split between the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Toronto and Hamilton. Burlington is part of the Hamilton CMA, while the rest of the region is part of the Toronto CMA.
Halton experienced a growth rate of 17.1% between 2001 and 2006, and 14.2% between 2006 and 2011, giving it one of the highest growth rates in the country. Despite the unprecedented growth in residential development, agriculture and protected lands along the Niagara Escarpment are still the predominant land uses in the region. Halton has been ranked by Maclean's national crime ranking report as being the "safest place to live" in the GTA and one of the top five in Canada.Regional Municipality of Niagara
The Regional Municipality of Niagara, also colloquially known as the Niagara Region, is a regional municipality comprising twelve municipalities of Southern Ontario, Canada. The regional seat is in Thorold. It is the southern end of the Golden Horseshoe, the largest megalopolis in Canada.
The region occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula. Its eastern boundary is the Niagara River, which is also the border with the United States. It is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario and on the south by Lake Erie.
Unique natural landscapes make the Niagara Region an important centre for agriculture and tourism in Canada. The most important agricultural enterprise in Niagara is viticulture, or winemaking. The Niagara Wine Route, which connects visitors to dozens of wineries, is a growing tourism draw while the internationally renowned Niagara Falls is one of Canada's major tourist attractions. Along with Shaw Festival, held annually in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Welland Canal, the Regional Municipality of Niagara receives up to 12 million visitors each year.Regional Municipality of Peel
The Regional Municipality of Peel (also known as the Region of Peel or Peel Region) is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada. It consists of three municipalities to the west and northwest of Toronto: the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, and the town of Caledon. The entire region is part of the Greater Toronto Area and the inner ring of Golden Horseshoe. The regional seat is in Brampton.
With a population of 1,296,814 (2011 census), Peel Region is the second-largest municipality in Ontario after Toronto. Its growth can be credited largely to immigration and its transportation infrastructure: seven 400-series highways serve the region, and Toronto Pearson International Airport is located within its boundaries.
Mississauga occupies the southernmost portion of the region, and is, with 713,443 residents, the largest in population (the sixth-largest in Canada). It reaches from Lake Ontario north to near Highway 407. In the centre is Brampton, a city of 523,911 (ranked 9th by population in Canada). Finally up north, by far the largest in area and the most sparsely populated part of the region is Caledon, which is home to 59,460 residents.Regional Municipality of Waterloo
The Regional Municipality of Waterloo is a regional municipality located in Southern Ontario, Canada. It consists of the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo (collectively called the Tri-Cities), and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. It is often referred to as the Region of Waterloo or Waterloo Region. The region is 1,369 square kilometres in size and its regional seat of government is in Kitchener.
The region's population was 535,154 at the 2016 census. In 2016, the Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo area was the third
best place in Canada to find full-time employment based on data from StatsCan.The region was preceded by Waterloo County, Ontario, created in 1853 and dissolved in 1973. That entity consisted of five townships: Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot, Waterloo, and North Dumfries, including the cities and towns in each area.Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (sometimes RMWB) is a specialized municipality located in northeastern Alberta. Formed as a result of the amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143 on April 1, 1995, it is the second largest municipality in Alberta by area. It is home to vast oil sand deposits, also known as the Athabasca oil sands, helping to make the region one of the fastest growing industrial areas in Canada.
Until the Alberta electoral boundary re-distribution of 2004, the municipality was divided between the provincial electoral districts of Fort McMurray (the community itself) and Athabasca-Wabasca (the surrounding area). The re-distribution amalgamated the municipality into a single electoral district covering the entire municipality. As a result, the new Wood Buffalo electoral district became the most populous such district in Alberta.Regional Municipality of York
The Regional Municipality of York, also called York Region, is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada, between Lake Simcoe and Toronto. It replaced the former York County in 1971, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area and the inner ring of the Golden Horseshoe. The regional government is headquartered in Newmarket.
The 2016 census population was 1,109,909, with a growth rate of 7.5% from 2011 to 2016. The Government of Ontario expects its population to surpass 1.5 million residents by 2031.
Designations for types of administrative territorial entities
1 Used by ten or more countries or having derived terms. Historical derivations in italics.