Map of Canada with Nova Scotia highlighted in red
Location of Nova Scotia in Canada
Map showing locations of all of Nova Scotia's municipalities
Distribution of Nova Scotia's 49 municipalities by municipal status type

Nova Scotia is the seventh-most populous province in Canada with 969,383 residents as of the 2021 Census of Population, and the second-smallest province in land area at 52,824.71 km2 (20,395.73 sq mi).[1] Nova Scotia's 49 municipalities cover 99.8% of the territory's land mass, and are home to 98.7% of its population.[a][2]

Unlike the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, which have two-tiered municipal systems, Nova Scotia has a one-tier system of municipalities[3] inclusive of four municipality types – regional municipalities, towns, county municipalities and district municipalities.[4] Regional municipalities may incorporate under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) of 1998, which came into force on April 1, 1999,[5] while towns, county municipalities and district municipalities are continued as municipalities under the MGA.[6] The MGA gives municipal councils the power to make bylaws for "health, well being, safety and protection of persons" and "safety and protection of property" in addition to a few expressed powers.[7]

Of its 49 municipalities, Nova Scotia has 4 regional municipalities, 25 towns, 9 county municipalities and 11 district municipalities.[4][8] The regional municipality of Halifax is the capital and largest municipality of Nova Scotia by population with 439,819 residents representing 45% of the total population of the province and land area at 5,475.57 km2 (2,114.13 sq mi).[2] Pictou was the first municipality to incorporate May 4, 1874,[9] and the newest municipality is West Hants Regional Municipality that incorporated through an amalgamation of the Municipality of the District of West Hants and the Town of Windsor on April 1, 2020.[8]

Regional municipalities

Main article: Regional Municipality

Regional municipalities are incorporated under the authority of section 372 of Nova Scotia's Municipal Government Act. To consider the incorporation of a regional municipality, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) must receive a request from all municipalities within a county. If the request is unanimous, the NSUARB commissions the preparation of a study to determine if the incorporation of "a regional municipality would be in the interests of the people of the county." Nova Scotia's Governor in Council can order the incorporation of a regional municipality if the results of the study are deemed to be in the best interests of the people, and if a plebiscite is undertaken that results in the majority of electors in the county voting in favour of incorporation of a regional municipality.[6]

Nova Scotia has four regional municipalities. The largest regional municipality by population is Halifax, which is the capital and largest municipality of Nova Scotia by population. Halifax's 439,819 residents represent 45% of the total population of the province. Halifax is also the largest municipality by land area at 5,475.57 km2 (2,114.13 sq mi). Cape Breton Regional Municipality is the second largest municipality with a population of 93,694 and a land area of 2,419.70 km2. The Region of Queens Municipality is Nova Scotia's smallest regional municipality by population with 10,422 residents and West Hants Regional Municipality is the smallest by land area 1,250.50 km2 (482.82 sq mi) respectively.[2] The province's newest regional municipality is West Hants Regional Municipality.[8]

Rural municipalities

See also: List of counties of Nova Scotia

A rural municipality in Nova Scotia provides local government for rural areas outside incorporated towns. Rural municipalities were established in 1879 and are inclusive of county municipalities and district municipalities. District municipalities are within historical counties that were previously subdivided into districts, whereas county municipalities are within historical counties that were not previously subdivided into districts.[10]

County municipalities

Map showing locations of Nova Scotia's historical counties
Distribution of Nova Scotia's 18 historical counties by municipal status

Nova Scotia's county municipalities originate from a historical system of 18 counties.[11] Prior to the establishment of rural municipalities in 1879, local government was administered by appointed courts of sessions.[10] On April 17, 1879, the original non-elected courts of sessions were abolished in favour of elected councils when The County Incorporation Act came into force.[10] As a result, 12 county municipalities were established, while the remaining 6 counties, which were previously divided into districts for court sessional purposes, were established as district municipalities.[10]

The province had 12 county municipalities for over a century until the mid-1990s when 3 became regional municipalities.[12] Its 9 remaining county municipalities were then continued as county municipalities in 1998 under the authority of the Municipal Government Act.[6] These county municipalities provide local government to the residents of their historical counties who live outside incorporated towns.[10]

Nova Scotia's largest county municipality by population is the Municipality of the County of Kings at 47,918 residents, while the largest by land area is the Municipality of the County of Cumberland at 4,253.04 km2 (1,642.11 sq mi). The Municipality of the County of Victoria is the least populated county municipality at a population of 6,750. The Municipality of the County of Richmond is Nova Scotia's smallest county municipality by land area at 1,240.46 km2 (478.94 sq mi).[2]

District municipalities

Prior to the establishment of elected rural local government in Nova Scotia, 6 of the 18 historical counties were divided into districts for court sessional purposes.[10] On April 17, 1879, these 6 historical counties were established as 12 district municipalities, rather than county municipalities, based on their previous district divisions.[10] The district municipalities provide local government to the residents of the 6 historical counties who live outside incorporated towns.[10] On April 1, 2020, the Municipality of the District of West Hants amalgamated with the Town of Windsor to become a regional municipality,[8] reducing the number of district municipalities in Nova Scotia to 11. These continue administratively as district municipalities under the authority of the Municipal Government Act of 1998.[6]

Nova Scotia's largest and smallest district municipalities by population are Lunenburg and St. Mary's with 25,545 and 2,161 residents respectively.[2] Nova Scotia's largest district municipality by land area is Guysborough at 2,115.25 km2 (816.70 sq mi), while the smallest by land area is Yarmouth at 584.69 km2 (225.75 sq mi).[2]

Towns

Map showing locations of Nova Scotia's towns
Distribution of Nova Scotia's 25 towns by population

Main article: List of towns in Nova Scotia

Prior to mid-2015, towns were incorporated under the authority of sections 383 through 388 of Nova Scotia's Municipal Government Act (MGA).[13] To incorporate an area as a town, 100 electors within the area were required to prepare and submit an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB).[13] Upon receiving the application, the NSUARB would undertake a hearing to solicit input from interested parties and determine if there were reasonable grounds to incorporate as a town.[13] The NSUARB would issue an incorporation order if the application was deemed reasonable.[13] On May 11, 2015, sections 383 through 388 of the MGA were repealed, thereby preventing further incorporations of towns.[14]

Nova Scotia had 27 towns at the time of the 2016 census.[2] This total has since been reduced to 25 due to the dissolution of the Town of Parrsboro and the amalgamation of the Town of Windsor with the Municipality of the District of West Hants.[15][8] In the 2021 census, the remaining 25 towns had a cumulative population of 96,580. Nova Scotia's largest and smallest towns by population are Truro and Lockeport with 12,954 and 476 residents respectively.[2] Truro is also Nova Scotia's largest by land area at 34.49 km2 (13.32 sq mi) and Annapolis Royal is the smallest by land area at 1.98 km2 (0.76 sq mi).[2]

List of municipalities

List of municipalities in Nova Scotia
Name Municipal type County[2] Incorporation
date[9]
2021 Census of Population[2]
Population
(2021)
Population
(2016)
Change
Land area
(km²)
Population
density
(/km2)
Cape Breton Regional municipality Cape Breton August 1, 1995 93,694 94,285 −0.6% 2,419.70 38.7
Halifax Regional municipality Halifax April 1, 1996 439,819 403,131 +9.1% 5,475.57 80.3
Queens Regional municipality Queens April 1, 1996 10,422 10,302 +1.2% 2,387.52 4.4
West Hants Regional municipality[8] Hants April 1, 2020[8] 19,509 19,016 +2.6% 1,250.50 15.6
Annapolis[b] County municipality Annapolis April 17, 1879 18,834 18,252 +3.2% 3,172.36 5.9
Antigonish[c] County municipality Antigonish April 17, 1879 15,101 14,584 +3.5% 1,448.72 10.4
Colchester[d] County municipality Colchester April 17, 1879 36,044 36,091 −0.1% 3,568.71 10.1
Cumberland[e] County municipality Cumberland April 17, 1879 19,964 19,402 +2.9% 4,253.04 4.7
Inverness[f] County municipality Inverness April 17, 1879 13,239 13,170 +0.5% 3,795.34 3.5
Kings[g] County municipality Kings April 17, 1879 47,918 47,404 +1.1% 2,087.88 23.0
Pictou[h] County municipality Pictou April 17, 1879 20,676 20,692 −0.1% 2,795.08 7.4
Richmond[i] County municipality Richmond April 17, 1879 8,509 8,458 +0.6% 1,240.46 6.9
Victoria[j] County municipality Victoria April 17, 1879 6,750 6,552 +3.0% 2,832.48 2.4
Argyle District municipality Yarmouth April 17, 1879 7,870 7,899 −0.4% 1,526.07 5.2
Barrington District municipality Shelburne April 17, 1879 6,523 6,646 −1.9% 631.98 10.3
Chester District municipality Lunenburg April 17, 1879 10,693 10,310 +3.7% 1,120.61 9.5
Clare District municipality Digby April 17, 1879 7,678 8,018 −4.2% 851.14 9.0
Digby District municipality Digby April 17, 1879 7,242 7,107 +1.9% 1,654.59 4.4
East Hants District municipality Hants April 17, 1879 22,892 22,453 +2.0% 1,786.53 12.8
Guysborough District municipality Guysborough April 17, 1879 4,585 4,670 −1.8% 2,115.25 2.2
Lunenburg District municipality Lunenburg April 17, 1879 25,545 24,863 +2.7% 1,757.79 14.5
Shelburne District municipality Shelburne April 17, 1879[10] 4,336 4,288 +1.1% 1,816.71 2.4
St. Mary's District municipality Guysborough April 17, 1879 2,161 2,233 −3.2% 1,904.08 1.1
Yarmouth District municipality Yarmouth April 17, 1879[10] 10,067 9,845 +2.3% 584.69 17.2
Amherst Town Cumberland December 18, 1889 9,404 9,413 −0.1% 12.07 779.1
Annapolis Royal Town Annapolis November 29, 1892 530 491 +7.9% 1.98 267.7
Antigonish Town Antigonish January 9, 1889 4,656 4,364 +6.7% 4.98 934.9
Berwick Town Kings May 25, 1923[16] 2,455 2,509 −2.2% 6.53 376.0
Bridgewater Town Lunenburg February 13, 1899 8,790 8,532 +3.0% 13.63 644.9
Clark's Harbour Town Shelburne March 4, 1919 725 758 −4.4% 2.82 257.1
Digby Town Digby December 18, 1890 2,001 2,060 −2.9% 3.16 633.2
Kentville Town Kings May 1, 1886 6,630 6,271 +5.7% 17.08 388.2
Lockeport Town Shelburne February 26, 1907 476 531 −10.4% 2.32 205.2
Lunenburg Town Lunenburg October 29, 1888 2,396 2,263 +5.9% 4.04 593.1
Mahone Bay Town Lunenburg March 31, 1919 1,064 1,036 +2.7% 3.12 341.0
Middleton Town Annapolis May 31, 1909 1,873 1,832 +2.2% 5.55 337.5
Mulgrave Town Guysborough December 1, 1923 627 722 −13.2% 17.83 35.2
New Glasgow Town Pictou May 6, 1875 9,471 9,075 +4.4% 9.96 950.9
Oxford Town Cumberland April 19, 1904 1,170 1,190 −1.7% 10.68 109.6
Pictou Town Pictou May 4, 1874 3,107 3,186 −2.5% 7.99 388.9
Port Hawkesbury Town Inverness January 22, 1889 3,210 3,214 −0.1% 8.10 396.3
Shelburne Town Shelburne April 4, 1907[17] 1,644 1,743 −5.7% 8.75 187.9
Stellarton Town Pictou October 22, 1889 4,007 4,208 −4.8% 8.99 445.7
Stewiacke Town Colchester August 30, 1906 1,557 1,373 +13.4% 17.62 88.4
Trenton Town Pictou March 18, 1911 2,407 2,474 −2.7% 6.07 396.5
Truro Town Colchester May 6, 1875 12,954 12,261 +5.7% 37.52 345.3
Westville Town Pictou August 20, 1894 3,540 3,628 −2.4% 14.24 248.6
Wolfville Town Kings March 4, 1893 5,057 4,195 +20.5% 6.46 782.8
Yarmouth Town Yarmouth August 6, 1890 6,829 6,518 +4.8% 10.57 646.1
Sub-total regional municipalities 563,444 526,734 +7.0% 11,533.29 48.9
Sub-total county municipalities 187,035 184,605 +1.3% 25,194.07 7.4
Sub-total district municipalities 109,592 108,332 +1.2% 15,749.44 7.0
Sub-total towns 96,580 93,847 +2.9% 242.06 399.0
Total municipalities 956,651 913,518 +4.7% 52,718.86 18.1
Province of Nova Scotia 969,383 923,598 +5.0% 52,824.71 18.4

Former municipalities

See also: Former municipalities of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has undergone reforms to local government since the mid-1990s, which has seen various municipalities amalgamate to form larger municipalities or dissolve into surrounding municipalities.

Amalgamations

The Municipality of the County of Cape Breton, the City of Sydney, and the towns of Dominion, Glace Bay, Louisbourg, New Waterford, North Sydney, and Sydney Mines dissolved and amalgamated on April 1, 1995 to form the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The City of Halifax along with the City of Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax also dissolved and amalgamated on April 1, 1996 to become the Halifax Regional Municipality. Also on April 1, 1996, the Municipality of the County of Queens amalgamated with the Town of Liverpool to form the Region of Queens Municipality.[12] The latest amalgamation to occur involved the Town of Windsor and the Municipality of the District of West Hants merging to form the West Hants Regional Municipality on April 1, 2020.[8]

Dissolutions

Five towns have dissolved since 2011 and are now under the jurisdiction of their adjacent rural municipalities. Canso dissolved on July 1, 2012 to become part of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.[4] On April 1, 2015, Bridgetown and Springhill dissolved to become parts of the Municipality of the County of Annapolis and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland respectively.[4] Hantsport became part of the Municipality of the District of West Hants on July 1, 2015.[4] Parrsboro dissolved to become part of the Municipality of the County of Cumberland on November 1, 2016.[15]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The remaining 1.3% of Nova Scotia's population resides on Indian reserves, which occupy the remaining 0.2% of the province's land mass.[2]
  2. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Annapolis are derived from summing the census results for its four county subdivisions (A, B, C and D).[2]
  3. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Antigonish are derived from summing the census results for its two county subdivisions (A and B).[2]
  4. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Colchester are derived from summing the census results for its three county subdivisions (A, B and C).[2]
  5. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Cumberland are derived from summing the census results for its four county subdivisions (A, B, C and D).[2]
  6. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Inverness are derived from summing the census results for its three county subdivisions (A, B and C).[2]
  7. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Kings are derived from summing the census results for its four county subdivisions (A, B, C and D).[2]
  8. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Pictou are derived from summing the census results for its three county subdivisions (A, B and C).[2]
  9. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Richmond are derived from summing the census results for its three county subdivisions (A, B and C).[2]
  10. ^ Population and land area figures for the Municipality of the County of Victoria are derived from summing the census results for its two county subdivisions (A and B).[2]

References

  1. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, 2021 and 2016 censuses – 100% data". Statistics Canada. March 14, 2022. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Nova Scotia". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Gonzalo Pineros (2015). "Upper Tier and Lower Tier Municipality Integration to Collaboratively Address Population Growth, Aging Infrastructure and Climate Change" (PDF). McMaster University. p. 7. Retrieved December 28, 2016. The Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have two-tier municipality systems.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Nova Scotia Annual Report of Municipal Statistics for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015" (PDF). Department of Municipal Affairs. 2015. p. 12. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Municipal History Highlights". Province of Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs. October 8, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Municipal Government Act" (PDF). Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. June 19, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Assessment of the Municipal Acts of the Provinces and Territories" (PDF). Federation of Canadian Municipalities. April 2004. p. 30. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Ashley Thompson (May 5, 2020). "How council landed on the new name West Hants Regional Municipality". The Chronicle Herald. Saltwire Network. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Municipal Incorporation Timeline". Province of Nova Scotia. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Establishment of Elective Rural Municipal Government in Nova Scotia" (PDF). Government of Nova Scotia: Department of Municipal Affairs. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "History of County Boundaries". Province of Nova Scotia: Department of Municipal Affairs. October 8, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Nova Scotia Annual Report of Municipal Statistics for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014" (PDF). Department of Municipal Affairs. 2014. p. 12. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d "Municipal Government Act, Part XVII: Municipal Incorporation". Office of the Legislative Counsel. April 22, 1999. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "Bill No. 103: An Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998, the Municipal Government Act" (PDF). Government of Nova Scotia. May 11, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Decision 2016 NSUARB 100 – M07110". Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. June 15, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  16. ^ Canadian Almanac & Directory. Scobie & Balfour. 2010. ISBN 1592374395.
  17. ^ "Shelburne's History: Settlement of Shelburne". Town of Shelburne. Retrieved January 2, 2017. It was incorporated as a town on April 4, 1907.