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Canadian Govt. & Politics: Provincial/Local — Clarifying

Provincial/Local Government & Politics: Clarification and Direction: Finding the Facts

The following are sources that specifically address contemporary provincial/territorial and local government and politics. These sources should be consulted in addition to those listed in the main sections of this guide.


Glossary of Parliamentary Terms. Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

One of the best of the provincial legislative dictionaries online. Some of the terms are specific to Alberta. Most provincial Legislative Assembly sites have something similar.

Municipal Administration Terminology: (English-French). By Noella Richard, Revised and enlarged by Catherine Bowman, Helene Tremblay and Lois Vincent. Terminology Bulletin 168. Ottawa: Translation Bureau and Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 1981. 134,132 p.

Provides the French and English equivalents for hundreds of terms, with definitions, context, and usage samples in both languages.

The Urban Politics Dictionary. By John Smith and John Klemanski. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1990. 613 p.

About 600 entries have a paragraph-length definition on the term's historical and current significance. Many also have a short bibliography on related sources for more information. Geographic coverage is the U.S. and Canada. Subdisciplines covered include planning, law, urban economy, geography, and sociology, public administration and public policy analysis.

Facts & Figures

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Under "General Facts & Figures" are listed sources that provide contact information, details on the structure of government, election results, etc. as well as broader sources that may also cover important dates, people, places and statistics.
NOTE: Some of the sources listed in the main part of this guide (e.g. Canadian Almanac & Directory and Scott's Directory also provide contact information for municipalities and provincial departments and agencies, and the Canadian Parliamentary Guide also includes provincial election results from 1867 on, with information on legislators). The following sources are more specifically focused on provincial/territorial and local government and politics:

Official Provincial/Territorial Government Websites.

All provinces and territories have official websites with details on the government structure, their departments and agencies, contact information, etc. These are usually the best source for current, very basic facts and updated contact information for each province and territory.

British Columbia:
New Brunswick:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Northwest Territories:
Nova Scotia:
Prince Edward Island:

Provincial/Territorial Departments Responsible for Local Government. All provinces and territories have a Minister responsible for local government. Responsibilities vary as does the amount of information provided on their  websites:

Alberta Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing
British Columbia Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Manitoba Municipal Relations
New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government
Newfoundland and Labrador Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities
Northwest Territories Municipal and Community Affairs
Nova Scotia Dept of  Municipal Affairs
Nunavut Department of Community and Government Services
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
PEI Dept of Fisheries and Communities (more information available at: Municipal Governments topic page).
Quebec Ministère des Affaires Municipales et de l'Habitation
Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
Yukon Department of Community Services

Official Municipal Government Websites. Some provincial/territorial departments responsible for local government have a link to their municipalities' websites, with contact information, staff and elected official listings, statistics, etc. Where an official municipal directory or listing doesn't exist, the most complete alternative is listed:

Alberta. Municipal Profiles. By Municipal Affairs:
British Columbia. Municipalities, Regional Districts, First Nations, etc. By CivicInfoBC:
Manitoba. Municipal Directory by Association of Manitoba Municipalities:
New Brunswick. Community Profiles. By Dept of Env't & Local Government:
Newfoundland & Labrador. Municipal Directory. By Env't, Climate Change & Municipalities.
Northwest Territories. Communities. By Municipal and Community Affairs.
Nova Scotia. Find Your Municipality. By Property Valuation Services Corp.
Nunavut. By Dept. of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Ontario. List of Municipalities
Prince Edward Island. Municipal Directory:
Quebec. Répertoire des Municipalités et MRC.
Saskatchewan. Municipal Directory
Yukon. Local Government Directory

Provincial and Territorial Election Officials. By Elections Canada.

This page links to the official websites of the provincial and territorial Chief Electoral Officers. The amount of information varies, but most have links to the websites and contact information for provincial political parties, details on electoral boundaries, election results and statistics, reports and historical information on elections past, related legislation, details on how to vote in upcoming provincial elections, etc.
NOTE: Some of these also have details on municipal elections within their province, or a link to the provincial department responsible.

Municipal and Provincial/Territorial Electoral Histories:

Municipal Elections in Edmonton 1892-1998: Summary of Results With Short Biographies of Mayors and Councillors. By Edmonton Public Library.

Provincial / Territorial:
A Report on Alberta Elections, 1905-1982. Edmonton: Chief Electoral Officer, 1984. 204 p.
Alberta Election Returns 1905-1994: With Electoral Division Maps and Index of Members. By Ernest Mardon and Austin Mardon. Edmonton: Shoestring Press, 1994. 160 p.
British Columbia:
Electoral History of British Columbia 1871-1986 and Supplements. By Elections BC and BC Legislative Library.
Supplement 1987-2001.
Supplement 2002-2013.

Historical Summaries: Statement of Votes. Elections Manitoba. 323 p.

New Brunswick:
Elections in New Brunswick, 1784-1984. By N. B. Legislative Library. 311p. and 1984-2006. 160 p.
Promises, Promises: An Almanac of New Brunswick Elections, 1870-1980. By Robert Garland and L. Gregory Mochum. Saint John: UNBSJ, 1979. 222 p.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Elections in Newfoundland and Labrador 1949-Present. By Legislative Library, 2009. 18 p.
Northwest Territories:
Official Voting Results. Elections NWT.
Nova Scotia:
Provincial Election Returns, 1867-1973. Halifax: Legislative Library, 1974.
Election Results and Financial Returns. Elections Nunavut.
Electoral History of Ontario: With Statistics from the Records 1867-1982. Toronto: Chief Electoral Officer, 1985. 308 p.
Prince Edward Island:
Prince Edward Island Historical Review of Provincial Election Results 1900 to January 2009. Charlottetown: Elections P.E.I., 2009. 167 p.
Élections et résultats électoraux depuis 1867. By Assemblée Nationale du Québec.
Statistiques électorales du Québec, 1867-1989. 3rd ed. By Pierre Drouilly. Quebec: Bibliothéque de l'Assemblée nationale, 1990. 692 p.
Provincial Elections in Saskatchewan, 1905-1987. 3rd ed. Regina: Chief Electoral Officer, 1987. 236 p.
Territorial Elections. Elections Yukon.

See also the Canadian Elections Database, etc. (under "Statistics", below), for election results, voter turnout, etc. from each province and territory's elections.

Provincial and Territorial Legislatures:

Legislative Assembly of Alberta:
Legislative Assembly of British Columbia:
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba:
Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick:
Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly:
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories:
Nova Scotia House of Assembly:
Legislative Assembly of Nunavut::
Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island:
Assemblée du Québec:
Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan:
Yukon Legislative Assembly:

Provincial and Territorial Representation in the House of Commons. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, ed. by Marc Bosc & André Gagnon. 3rd. ed. 2017.

This section titled "Composition of the House" shows the number of members from each province and territory in the House of Commons since 1867, and explains the current formula used.

Finding Aids:

Provincial and Territorial Administrative Histories. These are guides to the establishment, name changes, mergers, and other changes to government departments or ministries over time:

An Administrative History of the Government of Alberta. Edmonton: Provincial Archives of Alberta, 2006. 648 p.

From Sissons to Meyer: The Administrative Development of the Yukon Government, 1948-1979. By Janet Moodie Michael. Whitehorse: Yukon Archives, 1987. 166 p.

Government Administrative Histories Online. By Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management.

Histoire de l'administration publique québécoise, 1867-1970. By James Iain Gow. Montreal: Presses de l'université de Montreal, 1986. 443 p.

Keystone Archives Descriptive Database. Manitoba Archives.

Les Ministères québécois depuis 1867. Bibliothèque de l'Assemblée nationale du Québec.

Note: Changes in government ministries and agencies may also be traced using government publication catalogues. See Finding Sources -- Government Information.

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Municipal Election Schedule in Canada. Muniscope.

For each province and territory, this list has the fixed election date schedule and the date of the next municipal election.

Sitting Days of the Provincial and Territorial Legislatures by Calendar Year 1987 to Date. Library of Parliament. (Archived in summer 2017):

Tables show the session dates and total number of sitting days for each Legislature to May 31, 2017.

For legislative session dates, see also the entries above under "Electoral Histories".

General | Dates | People | Statistics


The following are examples of sources of biographical information on people involved in municipal and provincial/territorial government and politics since 1945. See the websites listed above for the most current biographies and contact information. See also the Provincial Legislative Libraries listed in Finding -- Government Information. Many have posted compilations of historical information.

Canadian Mayors.  By City Mayors Foundation.

A list of the mayors of Canada's largest cities, with date elected, brief profile, and link to the city website.

Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec 1792-1992. By Gaston Deschênes. Sainte-Foy, QC: Presses de l'université Laval, 1993. 859 p. and Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec 1792 à nos jours. By Assemblée nationale du Québec.

A compilation of brief biographical sketches of Quebec Parliamentarians; also includes a list of the dates of general elections and MPs by riding.

Governors, Lieutenant Governors and Administrators, 1769 to May 2009: Pictures and Biographical Information. Comp. and ed. by Lowell Croken and Norma Palmer. Charlottetown, PEI: Elections P.E.I., 2009. Update #3. 53 p.

The Growth of the N.D.P. in B.C., 1900-1970: 81 Political Biographies. By Daisy de Jong Webster. Vancouver, Broadway Printers, 1970. 103 p.

The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, 1758-1983: A Biographical Directory. Ed. and rev. by Shirley Elliott. Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia, 1984. 397 p. and ... A Biographical Directory 1984 to the Present. By the Nova Scotia Legislative Library.

Brief sketches of Members. Lists include Premiers, Speakers, Opposition Leaders, and more.

Lieutenant Governors.

This federal government page explains the role and links to each province's L-G website with information on the current Lieutenant Governor. Most provincial sites have a "History" page with at least the names of previous Lieutenant Governors.

Lieutenant Governors and Territorial Commissioners - Historical List. By Library of Parliament. Archived in 2016:

This list of all provincial Lieutenant Governors and Territorial Commissioners has their date sworn in and age. For some there is a link to brief biographical information, a photograph, and where they served in government, dates of elections ran in and results, years of service, party affiliation, portfolios held, etc.

The Mantle of Leadership: Premiers of the North-West Territories and Alberta, 1897-2005. By Sandra Perry et. al. Edmonton: Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 2006. 753 p.

Minding the House: A Biographical Guide to Prince Edward Island MLAs, 1873-1993. Ed. by Blair Weeks. Charlottetown, PEI: Acorn Press & Association of Former MLAs of PEI, 2002. 217 p.

Has biographies and electoral histories of the premiers and over 400 members of the PEI Legislative Assembly.

Premiers of British Columbia 1871 - Present. Legislative Library of British Columbia, 2017.

A list of Premiers with party affiliation and dates in position. Provides detailed source information.

Premiers of New Brunswick. Legislative Library of New Brunswick. Archived in 2006.

Lists all New Brunswick Premiers, their terms of office and party, and links to a pdf file with a 1- or 2-page biography.

Your Worship: The Lives of Eight of Canada's Most Unforgettable Mayors. Ed. by Allan Levine. Toronto: Lorimer, 1989. 205 p.

Profiles eight "colourful" mayors and their reigns: Gerry McGear, Vancouver, Jean Drapeau, Montreal, David Crombie, Toronto, William Hawrelak, Edmonton, Allan O'Brien, Halifax, Grant MacEwen, Calgary, Stephen Juba, Winnipeg, and Charlotte Whitton, Ottawa.

See also the Note on Major Biographies in the main guide: Facts & Figures section.

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Electoral Statistics:

Canadian Elections Database. By University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

For each province and territory's election year it has the Legislature composition, statistics on each electoral district and election results: total electors, number of valid votes, turnout rate, and for each party, the number of candidates, seats won, percentage of seats won and percentage of the vote, and more.

Canada Votes 1935 - 1988. By Frank Feigert. Duke University Press, 1989. 351 p. Archived online:

Provides federal election results (the number of votes and seats won for each party) broken down by province and riding, and for provincial elections a summary of votes and seats won by year and party.

Municipal Statistics. Budget information, financial statements, tax rates, property assessments, and similar financial statistics can be obtained directly from city halls, town clerks, etc. of municipal and regional governments, and in some cases are available on their official websites. Local governments also report these annually to the provincial department responsible for municipal affairs. The provinces publish annual reports with the combined municipal statistics. These are available in print in libraries; recent years also on the websites of the provincial/territorial departments responsible (see links above under "General"). Selected examples:

Alberta: Municipal Statistics for the Year Ended....
BC: Municipal Statistics Including Regional Districts Local Government Statistics
Manitoba: Municipal Statistics
New Brunswick: Local Government Statistics for New Brunswick.
Newfoundland: Annual Report of Municipal Statistics.
Nova Scotia: Annual Report of Municipal Statistics.
Ontario: Financial Information Return Data (FIR)
Quebec: Finances Municipales.

TIP: If tracing these back to 1945, note that most will have several changes in title and name of government authoring body over the years. Check the full cataloguing record to link to all versions.

For more finance-related statistics See "Government & Political Party Finance".

Local Government Types. By Muniscope.

Undated table shows, for each province and territory, the population, number of local governments, and the number of each type of government, such as town, village, county, etc.

Provincial and Territorial Statistical Agencies. By Statistics Canada.

Official statistical agencies responsible for statistics-gathering exist for most provinces and territories. Information provided varies.

Note: Almost all provincial departments and agencies collect statistics related to their responsibilities; these may be found only on the relevant department's website (e.g. Dept of Finance for Public Accounts and financial statistics, Elections Offices for election statistics, etc.), in their annual reports, or other official publications.

Statistics Canada. Most Statistics Canada databases and publications provide a provincial/territorial breakdown for the statistics gathered. See the entries in the main guide under Clarifying - Statistics for details on these. These and some others also provide municipal-level data. Search the Statistics Canada Online Catalogue for specific publications and datasets, or search the website by keyword or "Subject" groupings.
Selected collections useful for municipal and provincial statistics:

Community Profiles. Census data for cities, towns, villages, reserves, settlements, counties, metropolitan areas and health regions.
Provincial/Territorial Profiles. The print and electronic versions of the Profiles series provide census variables by province and territory for many census years.
Maps and Geography. Maps and reference materials describing the boundaries used for Statistics Canada data within the provinces, cities, and other areas.

Historical Statistics of New Brunswick. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1984. 231 p.

TIP: If you are a student or faculty member at a Canadian university, check whether your university library is a member of DLI - the Data Liberation Initiative. This will enable you to access more information than what is available on the Statistics Canada website.

Finding Aids:

Index to Municipal Data, 1982. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1982. 553 p. Cat. no. 11-515.

List of Provincial and Territorial Government Statistical Publications. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1986. 59 p.

Small Area Data Guide: A List of Sources. Toronto: ICURR Press, 1991. 267 p.

A list of the data available to the public, whether in print or on request as custom tabulations from a database, it does not include municipal government or private sources, although Appendix A lists the type of data available from municipal and regional governments. Part 1 lists federal sources, and Part 2 lists provincial/territorial sources with each chapter on a province subdivided into geographic levels for which the province/territory provides information, giving the source, title, format, frequency, contact information and special notes on availability.

Statistical Information on Municipalities Available from Provincial and Territorial Governments. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1983. 155 p.

NOTE: Many provincial publications include statistics. If significant, they will be catalogued with "statistics" as part of a subject heading. Search your library's catalogue using the keywords in the subject field: statistics and [the name of the province] to find these. Otherwise, check the main official publications of the government or its departments, agencies, etc. responsible for or most closely related to your topic. Their annual reports and similar publications will likely contain some statistics.


Overview & Background Information

A few brief but useful overviews:
"Canada Offers its People an Array of Local Governments." By Nick Swift. July 8, 2003.

"The Differences Between Provinces and Territories." Information Sheet 7. By the Yukon Legislative Assembly. Rev. 2012.

Describes differences in the structure and powers of government between the provinces and territories and among the three territories.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers


The Canadian Encyclopedia, "Provinces & Territories"

The Provinces & Territories subject heading brings together the essays, of varying lengths, on each province and territory. Most have a "Government & Politics" subheading which includes a few paragraphs on local government as well.

Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Canadian Provinces. 5th ed. Detroit, MI: U.X.L., 2007. 276 p.

Intended for Grades 6-9, this encyclopedia has about 20 pages on each province and territory, covering basic facts and a brief introduction to its history, economy, geography, social demographics, government and politics. Each has a map, a list of premiers/territorial leaders, and other information under 40 headings, such as environmental protection, public finance, industry, etc.

A few provinces have their own encyclopedia:

Encyclopedia of British Columbia. Ed. by Daniel Francis. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2002.

Topics covered include BC government and politics. Online version requires subscription.

Encyclopedia of Manitoba. Ed. by Ingeborg Boyens. Winnipeg: Great Plains Publications, 2007. 814 p.

Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's, NL: Harry Cuff Pub. and J.R. Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University, 1997. 5 vols., on CD-ROM and online:

Encyclopédie du Québec. Ed. by Louis Landry. Montreal: éditions de l'Homme, 1973. 2 vols., 1,010 p.

Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, 2005. 1,071 p.

Includes subject entry: "Politics & Government". Also has an alphabetical entry list and image index.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Annual Reviews:

Canada: The State of the Federation. Kingston, Ontario: Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, Queen's University. 1985 - .  

Each book in this series has a special focus, but a regular feature is the list (with index) of major municipal, provincial, and federal government and political events of the year. Most of these are also available online: Chronology of Events. 1985 - 2009:

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1901 - . (Title varies.)

Essays provide a survey of politics and related subjects in each province or region, and nationally. Also has a chapter on municipal affairs.

Finances of the Nation. By Canadian Tax Foundation. (Formerly The National Finances and Provincial & Municipal Finances). Annual. Print: 1955 - 2001. Online: 2002 - 2012:
Continued by FON Data Sets:

Provides an annual review of the expenditures and revenues of the federal, provincial/territorial, and selected city governments in Canada. The Data Sets include historical data, e.g. federal debt and interest paid since 1867, federal revenue and spending across the provinces since 1961, provincial income statistics and tax rates, etc. Articles analyzing the data are also available on the site.

L'Année Politique au Québec. Montreal, QC: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal. 1987-1998.

These annual volumes can be browsed by date and headlines or searched by keyword.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Textbooks (Selected Titles):

Canadian Local Government: An Urban Perspective. By Andrew Sancton. 3rd ed. Oxford U. Press, 2020. 400 p.

An introduction to the organization and politics of urban local government in Canada.

City Politics, Canada. By James Lightbody. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2006. 576 p.

An introduction to the politics and policies of municipal institutions, this textbook also provides an overview of metropolitan politics, theories of non-partisanship, the impact of intergovernmental and worldwide issues on urban politics and government.

Foundations of Governance: Municipal Government in Canada's Provinces. Ed. by Andrew Sancton and Robert Young. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 2009. 453 p.

Chapters are studies on each province following a similar template that covers municipal government structure, functions, finances, provincial oversight, demography, political culture, and more.

Local Government in Canada. Ed. by C. Richard Tindal, Susan Nobes Tindal and Kennedy Stewart. 9th ed. Top Hat Press, 2016. 456 p.

This is a frequently used textbook in university-level courses. It provides a good introduction to government at the municipal or local level, with a select bibliography for further reading. Issues covered include the future of local government, past issues, pressures, restructuring, finances, policy making, intergovernmental relations, etc.

Provinces: Canadian Provincial Politics. Ed. by Christopher Dunn. 3rd. ed. U. of Toronto Press, 2015. 600 p.

Essays by leading scholars cover provincial politics in general, its structures and processes, provincial political economies, and public policy.

The Provincial State in Canada: Politics in the Provinces and Territories. Ed. by Keith Brownsey and Michael Howlett. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2001. 494 p.

Thirteen chapters, each on a province or territory, provide an overview of the political development in each, with extensive reference notes. There is also an introductory chapter by the editors and a final one on comparative provincial politics.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers:

The Distribution of Legislative Powers: An Overview. By Isabelle Brideau and Laurence Brosseau. Background Paper 2019-35-E. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Information & Research Service, Oct. 2019. 16 p.

Describes the provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867 that concern the division of power between Parliament and provincial legislatures.

Electoral Reform Initiatives in Canadian Provinces. By Andre Barnes and James R. Robertson. PRB04-17E. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Information & Research Service, Rev. August 2009. 21 p.

Provides an overview of recent electoral reform initiatives in five provinces, a chronology and links to their websites.

Municipal Restructuring and Megacities in Ontario. By Jerry Richmond. Current Issue Paper no. 205. Toronto: Ontario Legislative Library, Research & Information Services, 2000. 16 p.

Reviews municipal restructuring in Ontario since 1995, Toronto's experience, and the arguments for and against the megacity model.

Municipalities, the Constitution, and the Canadian Federal System. By Michael Dewing, William Young and Erin Tolley. Background Paper BP-276. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Information & Research Service, Rev. 2006. 23 p.

Gives an excellent historical overview of municipalities in the Canadian federal system and the debate over constitutional recognition for cities.