Government of Nova
gov.ns.caGovernment of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Municipal Affairs
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Municipal - Provincial Relationships

The Constitution Act of 1867 granted the provinces exclusive jurisdiction over municipalities. This Act authorized the provinces the discretion to determine and delegate the powers and responsibilities to municipalities. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the legislated framework that gives Nova Scotia municipalities authority. It came into effect April 1, 1999. The MGA is often amended to respond to issues raised by municipalities, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, and the Province.

The Province of Nova Scotia has 54 municipalities which include and 21 incorporated villages. These villages are part of the rural municipalities and not considered municipalities themselves. The services provided by local governments can be classified into three groups:

  • active services provided directly to people, such as social assistance, education, garbage collection and disposal;
  • passive services that benefit the community by their existence, such as street lighting, snow removal, police and fire protection; and
  • regulatory services provided by means of certain by-laws relating to pollution control, curfews, zoning, and building standards.

Memorandums of Understanding