Local Government Facts & Framework

B.C.’s local government system is based on concepts of autonomy, empowerment, and accountability, and collaboration among local governments and with other forms and levels of government. Local governments make decisions based on a legislative framework, provide services and are accountable to their electors in a diverse range of communities.

Local Government System

With two types of local governments – municipalities and regional districts – the B.C. local government system is resilient and adaptable, with only targeted provincial oversight. There are 162 municipalities and 27 regional districts in B.C., serving both urban and rural populations. B.C.'s local government system has a long history of adapting to meet the needs of citizens and ensure the viability and accountability of local governments.

Collaborative bodies such as the Municipal Finance Authority are foundations of the local government system in B.C., providing key services to local governments. Other organizations such as the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Local Government Management Association represent collective interests in the system.

Local Government Legislative Framework

Provincial legislation such as the Local Government Act and the Community Charter defines the core authority and responsibilities of local governments. Since local governments deal with a wide range of matters, many other Acts and legal rules affect local governments. Legal instruments under legislation also apply – for example, municipalities and regional districts are incorporated through legal documents called letters patent. Together, this forms a primarily empowering legislative framework for the local government system.

Learn more about legislation that applies to and empowers local governments:

Provincial-Local Government Relations

Collaboration between municipalities, regional districts and the B.C. government is an important part of the local government system. Legislated principles and specific requirements–such as provincial consultation prior to Local Government Act and Community Charter amendments–are part of that collaboration.

Learn more about the relationship between local governments and the B.C. government:

Local Government Statistics

Local governments submit annual financial data to the B.C. government which is reviewed and published online. This includes financial statements and tax rate information.

View general and financial statistics, including statistics on tax rates, tax burdens and property assessments, as well as populations and numbers of regional district directors:

Local Government Publications

Reports, studies and guides prepared by or for the ministry responsible for local government.