Educational Resources

Levels of Government

Municipal: The Municipality of Chatham-Kent

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is your local government and is responsible for water treatment, parks, libraries, garbage collection, public transit, land use planning, traffic signals, police, paramedics, fire services, sewers, homeless shelters, childcare, recreation centres and more! Powers are defined under the Municipal Act, 2001.​

Provincial: The Province of Ontario

The provincial government of Ontario is responsible for health, education, river and vehicle licensing, energy, human rights, natural resources, environment, social services and more! Powers are defined by the Constitution Act, 1867.

Federal: The Country of Canada

The federal government of Canada is responsible for national defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, postal service, banking, employment, citizenship and immigration, census, foreign affairs and international trade, agriculture and more! Powers defined by the Constitution Act, 1867.

Your Municipal Government

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is your local government, also known as the municipal level of government. In Canada, we also have federal and provincial governments. Each of these levels has different responsibilities but they often work together. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent provides services that have a direct impact on our daily lives.

Chatham-Kent Council is made up of 18 members - the mayor, who is elected municipality-wide, and 17 councillors. who are elected across six wards within the municipality. The mayor and councillors each have one vote in Council and a majority vote decides most matters. The mayor and councillors are not elected to represent a political party, but are independent and can choose how they vote on any issue.


The Municipal Act, 2001, Section 225 identifies the mayor's responsibilities:

  • To be head of the municipal council and to act as Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation.
  • To preside at council meetings
  • To provide leadership to council.
  • To represent the municipality at official functions.
  • To carry out the duties of the Head of Council under this or any other Act.
  • To perform duties of a member of council as outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001, Section 224.

The Municipal Act, 2001, Section 224 identifies the role of council:

  • To represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality.
  • To develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality.
  • To determine which services the municipality provides.
  • To ensure that administrative practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council.
  • To ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality.
  • To maintain the financial integrity of the municipality.
  • To carry out the duties of council under this or any other Act.

The Municipal Act, 2001 is legislation provided by the provincial government. The act gives the Municipality power to make decisions and provide the services and programs the public needs.

How Decisions Are Made at Municipal Council

The workflow image attached is a Notice of Motion (14 x 5 in) that outlines the steps involved in making decisions at Municipal Council. The steps are connected from left to right and are as follows:        Notice of Motion: This is the first step in the decision-making process. A Notice of Motion is a written statement that proposes a course of action to be taken by Municipal Council.      Recommendations to Council: Once a Notice of Motion has been submitted, recommendations are made to Municipal Council. These recommendations are based on research and analysis of the proposed course of action.      Final Decisions: Municipal Council makes the final decisions based on the recommendations provided.      Committee of Council: The Committee of Council is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on matters that are referred to it by Municipal Council.      Community Engagement: Community engagement is an important part of the decision-making process. Municipal Council seeks input from the community to ensure that decisions are well-informed and take into account community feedback and ideas.      Council passes By-laws: Once a decision has been made, Municipal Council passes By-laws to give legal effect to the decision.      Confirming Decisions: Municipal Council confirms its decisions through a process of voting.      Staff Puts the Decisions into Action: Once a decision has been confirmed, Municipal Staff puts the decision into action.      Reports from Municipal Staff: Municipal Staff provides reports to Municipal Council on the progress of the decision.      Staff may hold consultations to get community ideas and feedback: Municipal Staff may hold consultations with the community to get ideas and feedback on the progress of the decision.      Deputations: Deputations are presentations made to Municipal Council by individuals or groups on matters of concern.      Provides options to attend virtually or in person: Municipal Council provides options for attending meetings virtually or in person.      Petition: A petition is a written request signed by a number of people asking Municipal Council to take a particular course of action.

Committees of Council

A committee of council is a division of sub-unit of the municipal council and acts on council's behalf. A committee of council may be made up of members of council, members of the public or any combination of council members and members of the public.

Committees of council have different purposes and operate under different by-laws or provincial legislation, which determines their operation and purpose. Subject to the restrictions in their governing by-laws or provincial legislation, a committee of council works under the authority of the municipal council and is subject to the municipal council's direction and decisions.

Committees of council can be categorized into two types, advisory and authoritative.

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee of council provides advice or recommendations to council but leaves decisions or actions required to be determined by council. Examples include the Budget Committee, Museum Heritage Committee and the Community Strategic Planning Committee.

Authoritative Committee

An authoritative committee has delegated authority from council to make decisions or take action. Examples include the Property Standards Committee and the Committee of Adjustment.

Local Board

A local board is different from a committee of council in that it is independent from the Corporation of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and is more similar to an independent corporation. Depending on the governing by-law or provincial legislation, the municipal council may have some authority over the local board, but the local board will always have some measure of independence that cannot be interfered with by the municipal council.


A corporation is a separate legal entity from the Corporation of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and is normally created under the authority of the municipal council for a certain designated purpose.

If the Municipality of Chatham-Kent owns all the shares of the corporation, then the corporation is said to be wholly owned and can be controlled by the municipal council through the appointment of the board of directors and the passing of by-laws to direct the corporation.

If the Municipality of Chatham-Kent owns only some of the shares of the corporation, then the municipal council can only control or influence the corporation through the appointment of the board of directors, usually on a percentage basis in accordance with its percentage of shares ownership. Municipal council cannot pass by-laws directing the corporation as it can with a wholly-owned corporation.