Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial/territorial and municipal. Each level of government administers a different responsibility, as defined by Canada’s Constitution. This section will highlight the divisions of power in Canada to help you figure out where to go for your advocacy needs.
The federal government has responsibility over Canada’s military, foreign affairs, banking, trade and commerce, mail delivery, fisheries, federal taxes, Indigenous lands and rights, as well as criminal law. The federal government also delivers programs to Canadians such as employment insurance, Old Age Security, disability tax credit, the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan – Disability.
The federal government also has a department called Health Canada. While it may seem like a place to go to discuss healthcare related advocacy needs, often this is not the case. Health Canada creates regulations to keep Canadians safe, funds health research and starts the regulatory approval process for food and drugs. Mostly, Health Canada transfers federal money to the provinces for the delivery of heath care across the country.
The provincial governments have a different responsibility than the federal government. Provincial governments administer education, hospitals and the healthcare system, prisons, marriage, civil and property rights. Provincial governments have the responsibility to oversee your family doctor and rheumatologist.
Municipal governments are a body created by the provinces. The provinces, on their own, often offload responsibilities and duties to the municipalities. Each municipality can have different responsibilities. In order to find out what your municipality does, check out their website.