Hey Kitchener will you vote for my Dad Wes Hill? Kitchener Council Ward 4
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

James Baldwin

Understanding how municipal government works and who to hold responsible for what,  helps us understand the big picture. How all the pieces of the different tiers of government fit together (and often overlap) can be confusing.

The  good news is, once you figure it out, it all gets a lot less frustrating and a lot easier to get involved in keeping every day life AND democracy working.

What does Municipal Government do?

Municipal governments are cities, towns, villages, counties, districts, or metropolitan regions. They are responsible for local services such as water supply, sewage and garbage disposal, roads, sidewalks, street lighting, building codes, parks, playgrounds and libraries.

If you only watch one video on the page... make it 'Who Does What'!

How do does municipal government work in Ontario?

Ontario  municipalities are either single-tier or part of a two-tier system.

single-tier municipality assumes all municipal responsibilities. Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie and most municipalities in Northern Ontario are examples of single-tier municipalities.

In a two-tier system responsibilities are divided between an upper-tier and a lower-tier municipality. The upper-tier municipality provides services like regional or county roads or sewer and water services for the lower tier municipalities. Upper-tier municipalities are either a county (such as Brant or Wellington) or a regional municipality (such as Halton or Waterloo).

Kitchener and Cambridge are lower-tier of upper-tier Waterloo Region for example.

What do governments do for me?

There are differences in how municipalities are set up in different provinces, but this video tutorial from Halifax Nova Scotia, does a great job explaining how the different levels of government make our daily lives easier -- and how we pay for that. For more the differences between provinces, check out this wikipedia 'Municipal Government in Canada' entry.

What do School Board Trustees do?

Why are they importantSchool board trustees are the members of a school board. They are locally-elected representatives of the public, and they are the community's advocate for public education. Trustees must also communicate the views and decisions of the board back to their constituents. Please visit the Ontario School Board Election 2018 website for more, they have a great website with everything you need to understand this important job.

What about our Canadian Federal Government?

Type of government: Federal Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy. Canada is a federation, which means powers are shared between federal and provincial governments.

Levels of government across Canada and what we call them, and what they do.

This is where we look at the tiers together .... Municipal, Provincial, and Canada's Federal Government. How it all ties together and who does what.

Voting: It matters!

“Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.” G.J. Nathan
  • The average voter turnout across Ontario in the 2014 municipal elections was only 43 per cent. (Kitchener Ward 4 had under 30 per cent turnout)
  • More people vote in provincial and federal elections, but not by very much.
  • Democracy only works when people care, become informed and participate.


Government & Democracy - why they matter.

To put it simply, if people stop participating, and stop voting, then democracy goes away -- and if it does, it isn't easy to get it back.

VOTE on October 22

Get out and vote, remind your neighbours, friends, and family to vote. It takes all of us together to build a strong, healthy municipality, province and country. Find more on how to vote, and links to find out more about all the offices to be filled, and the candidates who are running.

How, What, When, Where, Who