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Provinces and territories of Canada
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Provinces and territories of Canada

Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories. The major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is that a province is a creation of the Constitution Act, while a territory is created by federal law. Thus, the federal government has more direct control over the territories, while provincial governments have many more competences and rights.

Provinces have a great deal of power relative to the federal government, having a large measure of control over spending on social programs such as medicare, education, employment insurance, and the like. They receive "transfer payments" from the federal government to pay for these, as well as exacting their own taxes.

Provincial and territorial legislatures are unicameral, having no second chamber equivalent to the Canadian Senate. Originally several provinces did have such bodies, known as legislative councils, but these were subsequently abolished, Quebec's being the last in 1968. In most provinces, the single house of the legislature is known as the Legislative Assembly except in Newfoundland and Labrador where it is called the House of Assembly, and in Quebec where it is called the National Assembly. The legislative assemblies use a procedure similar to that of the Canadian House of Commons. Members of the Legislative Assembly in Ontario are called Members of Provincial Parliament or MPPs. 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. Each of the territories has a commissioner in the place of a lieutenant-governor. These terminologies are summarized in the following table:

Provincial and Territorial Terminology Compared with Federal
Canada Governor general Prime minister Parliament House of Commons Member of Parliament
Quebec Lieutenant governor Premier Legislature National Assembly Member of the National Assembly
Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly Member of the House of Assembly
Ontario Legislative Assembly Member of Provincial Parliament
Other provinces Member of the Legislative Assembly
Territories Commissioner
Provinces, their capitals, and the date that they joined Confederation:

Territories, their capitals, and the date that they joined Confederation:

Note: Canada did not acquire any new land to create Manitoba, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Nunavut. All of these originally formed part of the Northwest Territories.

British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were separate colonies before joining Canada. Ontario and Quebec were united before Confederation as the Province of Canada.

The Northwest Territories were created in 1870 from Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory. The land of the Northwest Territories at the time is, today, all of western Canada except British Columbia, and the northern three-quarters of Ontario and Quebec.

See also


Provinces and territories of Canada
Provinces: British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario | Quebec | New Brunswick | Prince Edward Island | Nova Scotia | Newfoundland and Labrador
Territories: Yukon | Northwest Territories | Nunavut