Skip links
Canada's government system

Who has More Power over Canada’s Government System? The King or Prime Minister?

If you want to learn about Canada’s government system and know who has more power over Canada’s government system, don’t waste your time with many websites and sources because you can quickly get the gist of Canada’s government here. In this study, we talk about the structure of Canada’s government, the federal government, provincial government, and other related cases. Get quick for easy access to all information about Canada’s government on our website, and thanks to the handy guide that we have provided for you.

It is interesting to know that although Canada is a constitutional monarchy, the executive authority is formally by the King, and the executive function belongs to the Prime Minister. But, how does it work? Read about everything you want to know about Canada’s Government in this article. First, let’s take a look at Canada’s national and provincial flag and anthem to become familiar with this country’s political identity, then find the answer to your questions one by one. 

Canada’s national and provincial flag & anthem 

Knowing a country’s political identity that is considered expressive of cultures and causes a feeling of patriotism or other strong emotions, be they positive or negative, is necessary for everyone who wants to immigrate to a new country and a must work. Providing the following table, you can discover the flags that make up Canada and provinces’ past and when the anthems were raised for the first time.

Canada’s national and provincial flag & anthem
Canada’s national and provincial flag & anthem

How does Canada’s Government System work? 

Canada is a constitutional monarchy, its government act within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government. The monarch is head of the state, but the executive authority ,after Queen Elizabeth II, now is King Charles III who is the head of the state. Every governmental act is performed in the name of the Crown. However, the authority for those acts is from the Canadian people. 

King Charles III, Head of Canada's government system

King Charles III

The executive function belongs to the Governor-General in Council, who is the representative of the King. The governor-general acts following the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. There will be one Parliament for Canada, composed of three distinct elements: the Crown, the Senate, and the House of Commons. But, as a federal state, responsibility for making law in Canada is performed among one federal, ten provincial, and three territorial governments.

Canada is governed by independent governments, which the federal government covers. The government’s responsibilities are divided into federal, provincial & territorial, and municipality governments in the Constitution of Canada. The municipal consists of regional and local parts. Each has various responsibilities by either the Constitution or a higher level of government.

Canada’s government system

Canada’s government system
Canada’s government system

Federal Government: The federal government makes decisions that affect Canadians every day. The Prime Minister heads the federal government based in Ottawa. It deals with national and international matters listed in the Constitution Act, 1867. This government generally affects the whole country, including federal taxes, money, the post office, banking, shipping, railways, criminal law, foreign affairs, pipelines, national defense, employment insurance, Aboriginal lands, and rights. 

Justin Trudeau, head of Canada's government system
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada

This government tries to make things fairer among the provinces by equalizing payments to less wealthy provinces. Moreover, it tries to ensure that every Canadian’s health, education, and welfare standards are the same. The responsibility for lawmaking in Canada shall be borne by one federal, ten provinces, and three territories government. The Federal Government is seated in Ottawa, headed by the Governor-General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister. Its responsibilities include:

  • Defense,
  • Criminal law,
  • Employment insurance,
  • Postal service,
  • Census,
  • Copyrights,
  • Trade regulation,
  • External relations,
  • Money and banking,
  • Transportation,
  • Citizenship, and
  • Indian affairs
Canadian Parliament Building, a nest to part of Canada's government system
Canadian Parliament Building
Parliament hill

The Federal Government or Parliament of Canada consists of three elements:

  • The Sovereign 
  • The Senate
  • The House of Commons. 

For legislation passage, the consent of all three elements is needed. 

Structure of Federal Government

Structure of Federal Government, part of Canada's government system
Structure of Federal Government

Provincial and Territorial Governments in Canada’s Government System

In every ten provinces, the provincial government is responsible for the listed areas in the Constitution Act, 1867. These governments are headed by a Lieutenant Governor (provinces) or a Commissioner (territories) on the advice of a Premier and have their capital city. They are in charge of health care, education, and road regulations. A province exists in its own right, but the territory is created through federal law. 

Also, federal Parliament may enter into provincial-type affairs in a territory, such as a school curriculum, and territorial governments are not included in the Constitutional amending formula. But when a change is proposed in provinces, they get a vote— territories do not. The federal government governs these territories but elects members to the House of Commons and enjoys local self-government.

Generally, the responsibility of provincial and territorial government include:

  • property and civil rights,
  • administration of justice,
  • natural resources and the environment,
  • education,
  • health, and
  • Welfare
Structure of Provincial Government, part of Canada's government system
Structure of Provincial Government

Municipal Governments: Another part of Canada’s government system is municipality government. Mayors lead these governments. Municipal governments run cities, towns, or districts. Each province and territories have hundreds of municipalities, and their responsibilities vary from location to location. The mayor receives authority for these areas from the provincial governments. They are in charge of things, including:

  • Community water systems
  • Roadways
  • Parks
  • Parking
  • Public transportation
  • Sewage,
  • Waste collection,
  • Local police
  • Fire protection
  • Land-use planning,
  • Libraries,
  • Emergency services,
  • Animal control, and
  • Economic

Three branches are working together to govern Canada:

  • The executive: The executive branch is also called the Government; this branch is the decision-making, made up of the Monarch represented by the Governor-General, Prime Minister, and the Cabinet.
  • Legislative: This branch is the law-making branch. The parliament of Canada is a legislature made up of the appointed Senate and the elected House of Commons.
  • And judicial branches: This branch is a series of independent courts that interpret the laws passed by the other two branches. The federal, provincial, and territorial governments are all liable for the judicial system in Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada

The bench for justices of the Supreme Court of Canada

Political Parties in Canada

Another aspect of Canada’s government system is political parties. Political parties have a critical role in the parliamentary system of Canada. These Parties are organizations, related together by a common ideology, or other ties, looking for political power to enforce their policies. In a democratic system, the competition for control happens in the context of an election. The list of Federal political parties is as follows:

Political Parties in Canada, part of Canada's government system
Political Parties in Canada

How Canada’s government system relates to Britain and the federal-provincial administration?

In 1763, France officially left Canada and handed over all its North American colonies to Great Britain. Different parts of the colonies were admitted as provinces from 1867 to 1949 and joined the confederation. Eventually, all vestiges of British control ended in 1982. Broadly speaking, the two countries are historically related, the Commonwealth of Nations and their sharing of the same Head of State and monarch. 

Now, these two countries are in a good relationship and are known as members of sixteen commonwealth realms, the Commonwealth of Nations, NATO, the United Nations, etc. Also, London and Ottawa enjoy an intimate and cooperative contact, which has grown deeper over the years; Canada has a high commission in London. The United Kingdom has a high commission in Ottawa and consulates-general in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Flags of Canada & the United Kingdom
Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson

Last words on Canada’s government system

In this section, you’ve been familiarized with Canada’s government system, and you learned that the government’s responsibilities are divided into federal, provincial & territorial, and municipality. Moreover, you briefly read about Canada’s relationship with Britain from 1763 up to now. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article.

Feel free to leave your comments, and let us know if you want to know more about Canada’s politics, and we look forward to seeing your comments.

You can also read more about Canada’s geographyhistoryeconomics, and Socio-cultural aspects.

Last Update: August 2023

Leave a comment