In Canada, there are four levels of government that have their own responsibilities. These are the federal, provincial/territorial, municipal, and Indigenous jurisdictions. 


The responsibilities of the federal government include:

  • National defence 
  • Foreign affairs
  • Employment insurance and social programs
  • Banking
  • Federal taxes
  • Canada post
  • Copyright law
  • Criminal law
  • Prisons
  • Immigration
  • Environment
  • Veterans affairs
  • Fisheries
  • Shipping, railways, telephones and pipelines
  • Indigenous lands and rights
  • Other matters of national concern


The responsibilities of the provincial and territorial governments include: 

  • Provincial taxes
  • Hospitals and healthcare 
  • Jails
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Property and civil rights
  • Social welfare
  • Rules of the road, transportation, and highways
  • Age of majority


The responsibilities of the municipal government include:

  • Building permits and zoning
  • Municipal parks
  • Public transportation
  • Collection of garbage and recycling
  • Water and sewer services
  • Fire prevention
  • City roads and sidewalks
  • Recreation
  • Libraries
  • Licensing and control of pets


Indigenous governments have the power to make their own decisions in regard to the way they deliver programs and services to their communities. These decisions include:

  • Protection of culture and language
  • On-reserve education
  • Land management
  • Business partnerships and job creation
  • Allocation of community assets and funds
  • Administration of community programs 
  • and more