Government and Law
Canada is one of the world’s most admired democracies.
Under the Constitution of Canada, the federal government makes laws for the entire country, provides federal services, and administrates matters under federal jurisdiction.
The Government of Alberta makes laws that apply to the province only, provides provincial services, and administrates provincial matters.
Edmonton’s city government is made up of the Mayor and 12 Councilors. Elections are held every 3 years, with voting across the city for Mayor. Two Councilors are elected for each of 9 wards. All citizens over the age of 18 years are eligible to vote, if they have lived in Edmonton for a minimum of 6 months.
City Council appoints the City Manager, who supervises daily administration and services, under council’s overview. City Council and its committees usually meet several times each month, and their meetings are open to the public.
Visit The City of Edmonton website for information on civic boards and agencies and other aspects of city government.
The Canadian Legal System
The foundation of Canada’s legal system is British common law, inherited from being a part of the British Commonwealth.
There are 3 levels of courts. The Edmonton City Courts deal with bylaw enforcement and civic issues. The Provincial Courts of Alberta and the Supreme Court of Canada deal with criminal trials and human rights issues.
For Help with the Law
- Edmonton Community Legal Centre provides free advice, representation, and referrals on legal matters. The website has excellent links to key legal issues like human rights and immigration law.
- Legal Aid Alberta will help if someone is charged with a crime and cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
- Student Legal Services of Edmonton is an organization of University of Alberta law students who provide legal advice and services to various community groups and to individuals who cannot afford legal help.