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Québec’s territory is divided into administrative regions. It also includes local municipalities, which can be part of an agglomeration or be divided into boroughs. At the supralocal level, it includes regional county municipalities, metropolitan communities, and the Kativik Regional Government. Special municipal plans are provided for and mainly target the northern villages, the Cree villages and the Naskapi village, the Kativik Regional Government, and the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government.
The Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire is primarily responsible for municipal organization.
Québec is divided into administrative regions. This territorial division serves, notably, as a framework for the organization of the activities and interventions of different ministries and government organizations. The administrative regions are defined by government decree, particularly on the basis of their characteristics and their homogeneity in terms of geography and natural resources, demography, and their economy.
Local municipal organization
The local level of the municipal organization includes local municipalities and in certain cases, agglomerations. The local authority makes decisions on municipal policies and priorities and manages municipal operations.
A local municipality consists of a territory and its inhabitants and taxpayers. The municipality is administered by a council made up of a mayor and councillors, all elected from the territory's population. The number of councillors varies by municipality. The municipality’s mandate is to meet the needs of the community it serves in keeping with the budget it administers. The municipal council’s role is to ensure that services meet the needs of the community.
Several acts govern municipal operations and activities. The Cities and Towns Act applies to all municipalities with city status and a few others. The Municipal Code of Québec is the cornerstone legislation for other municipalities in Québec that were originally rural in character. For its part, the Municipal Powers Act groups together the municipal powers enumerated under the Cities and Towns Act and the Municipal Code of Québec.
Divisions into boroughs
Municipal tasks that are best suited for small communities are assigned to the councils of these boroughs. The tasks vary from one municipality to another and also from one borough to another. The role of the borough council is, notably, to
- administer certain local services
- consult the community on land-use bylaws
- make recommendations for the borough at municipal council meetings
An agglomeration is a territory including a certain number of linked municipalities, among which there is a central municipality. Only the central municipality may act with respect to agglomeration jurisdictions, which are jurisdictions of common interest. To this end, it has jurisdiction not only over its own territory but also over the territory of any other linked municipality. To exercise these various jurisdictions, the central municipality has an urban agglomeration council composed of representatives from the other linked municipalities of the agglomeration.
A northern village municipality has essentially the same powers and jurisdiction as other local municipalities. However, some elements set them apart, particularly in terms of elections, taxation and municipal staff.
The northern villages of Quebec are governed by the Act respecting Northern villages and the Kativik Regional Government.
The Cree villages and the Naskapi village
A Cree village or the Naskapi village, constituted for the municipal management of land of category IB, has essentially the same powers and jurisdiction as other local municipalities; however, some elements set these villages apart. It is worth noting in this regard that the Cree and Naskapi communities are located on land of category IA of federal jurisdiction and are not part of the municipalities. This categorisation as IA and IB land stems from the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.
Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government
The Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government is a municipal organization governed by the Cities and Towns Act. It acts as a local municipality on its territory and can declare its jurisdiction in fields under the purview of a regional county municipality.
The counsel of the Regional Government is composed in equal parts by members of the Grand Council of the Cree Nation Government as well as by representatives of the municipalities within its territory (Chapais, Chibougamau, Lebel-sur-Quévillon, and Matagami) and residents of its territory.
Supralocal Municipal Organization
The supralocal organization deals with issues that are under local jurisdiction but require the cooperation of neighbouring municipalities. The supralocal level consists of regional county municipalities (RCMs), metropolitan communities, and one regional government.
Regional county municipalities and metropolitan communities were created to facilitate the pooling of services and the management of regional decisions that affect a number of municipalities.
Regional County Municipalities
A regional county municipality consists of municipalities of different sizes and may include territory that is not a local municipality, known as “unorganized territory.” A regional county municipality assumes several responsibilities and jurisdictions, including urban planning and development, regional watercourse management, and the preparation of property assessment rolls.
Metropolitan communities are planning, coordinating and funding bodies. Québec has the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) and the Québec Metropolitan Community (QMC). Their jurisdictions and powers are granted to each by the Act respecting the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the Act respecting the Communauté métropolitaine de Québec.
The Kativik Regional Government
The Kativik Regional Government (KRG) presides over people living north of the 55th parallel, with the exception of a Cree community. The KRG is governed by a council composed of representatives and elected municipal officials, appointed by each northern Village and by the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. The KRG’s special status gives it distinct powers. It is responsible for local administration, police, transportation, communications, and also workforce training and administration.
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