Government of Nova
gov.ns.caGovernment of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Municipal Affairs
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Municipal History Highlights


The Municipal Government Act is the legislated framework that gives municipalities authority. It came into effect April 1, 1999. Each year the MGA has been amended to respond to issues raised by municipalities, UNSM, and the provincial government.


Nova Scotia no longer has incorporated cities. They were amalgamated into Regional Municipalities. For example, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was established by amalgamating all levels of municipal government in Halifax County, including the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, into a single entity.


The Department of Municipal Affairs was established to exercise stricter control of municipal capital finance.


Nova Scotia's first planning statute, the Town Planning Act, granted municipalities the power to develop and implement town-planning schemes for land used in the course of development or likely to be used in future developments.


The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities was founded. As a result of early successes, every municipality became a member, which is a record among Canadian provinces.


The Towns Incorporation Act standardized the procedure for towns to incorporate and separate from their surrounding rural areas.


The first extensive creation of local government came from the County Incorporation Act. This Act established 24 rural municipalities on the basis of boundaries used by the sessions, essentially for court purposes.


Nova Scotia was one of the four founding provinces of the Canadian Confederation.

The Constitution Act granted the provinces exclusive jurisdiction over municipalities.


Through the efforts of Joseph Howe, Nova Scotia became the first British colony to be granted responsible government.


Province House was built; it is Canada's oldest house of government.


St John Island became a separate colony (now PEI).


Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) and Île St. Jean (PEI) became parts of Nova Scotia.


Nova Scotia became the first British colony to establish representative government.


The capital of Nova Scotia was changed to the newly established Halifax.


French colonists established the first permanent European settlement in Canada.