Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories. The major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is that a province is a creation of the Constitution Act, while a territory is created by federal law. Thus, the federal government has more direct control over the territories, while provincial governments have many more competences and rights.
Provinces have a great deal of power relative to the federal government, having a large measure of control over spending on social programs such as medicare, education, employment insurance, and the like. They receive "transfer payments" from the federal government to pay for these, as well as exacting their own taxes.
Provincial legislatures are unicameral, having no second chamber equivalent to the Canadian Senate. Originally several provinces did have such bodies, known as Legislative Councils, but these were subsequently abolished, Quebec being the last in 1968. They operate on a procedure similar to that of the Canadian House of Commons. In most offices, the provincial legislature is known as the Legislative Assembly, except in Newfoundland and Labrador where it is called the House of Assembly, and in Quebec where it is called the National Assembly. Members of the Legislative Assembly in Ontario are called Members of the Provincial Parliament or MPPs. The head of government of each province, called the premier, is the head of the party with the most seats. This is also the case in Yukon. The legislatures of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have no parties. The Queen's representative to each province is the Lieutenant-Governor; to each territory, the Commissioner. These terminologies are summarized in the following table:
|House of Commons
|Member of Parliament
|Member of Provincial Parliament
|Member of the National Assembly
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|House of Assembly
|Member of the House of Assembly
|Member of the Legislative Assembly
Provinces, their capitals, and the date that they joined Confederation: