The Division of Powers

The federal level of government has powers that are different from those of provincial governments, including:

  • national defence
  • foreign affairs
  • employment insurance
  • banking
  • federal taxes
  • the post office
  • fisheries
  • shipping, railways, telephones and pipelines
  • Indigenous lands and rights
  • criminal law

The federal government makes decisions that affect Canadians every day.

The federal government tries to make things fairer among the provinces. Through equalization payments (extra money) given to provinces that are less wealthy, the federal government tries to make sure that the standards of health, education and welfare are the same for every Canadian. In the same way that it lists the powers of the federal government, the Constitution Act, 1867 lists the powers of the provinces, including:

  • direct taxes
  • hospitals
  • prisons
  • education
  • marriage
  • property and civil rights

The Act also says that the power over agriculture and immigration should be shared between the federal and provincial governments.

WORD BUILDER
NOUN
ADJECTIVE
RELATED WORDS
federation  
federal 
confederation
 
 
federalize
 
 
federate
 
 
federalism

                                     

 

 


 

WHAT ABOUT ME?

The next time you go to a park, notice which level of government is managing it: federal, provincial or municipal. You can usually tell by the signs at the entrance. Do you notice any differences between these parks? Think about their location and what services and activities they have. Look at the Parks Canada website. Why do you think these national parks were created? How about provincial parks? City parks?