• Canada;
  • metropolitan governance;
  • municipal amalgamations


This article briefly examines five significant Canadian developments with respect to the governance of metropolitan areas: annexations and mergers such that there is one main municipal government for the metropolitan area, two-tier metropolitan government, the amalgamation of two-tier metropolitan systems into a single municipality, demergers in Quebec, and the creation of flexible and innovative entities for metropolitan governance. Special attention is paid to the Greater Toronto Area, a continuous built-up urban area that transcends at least three metropolitan areas as defined by Statistics Canada. In the absence of any authority covering the entire metropolitan area, it now appears that the Ontario provincial government is becoming the key policy maker. As an example of a flexible and innovative form of metropolitan governance, the Greater Vancouver Regional District merits attention elsewhere in the world. Canada's experiences with so many different institutional arrangements in recent years means that there is much to be learnt from their obvious failures and occasional successes. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.