Regional county municipality
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The term regional county municipality or RCM (French: municipalité régionale de comté, MRC) is used in Quebec to refer to one of 87 county-like political entities. In some older English translations they were called county regional municipality.
Regional county municipalities are a supralocal type of regional municipality, and act as the local municipality in unorganized territories within their borders. The system of regional county municipalities was introduced beginning in 1979 to replace the historic counties of Quebec. In most cases, the territory of an RCM corresponds to that of a census division, however there are a few exceptions.
Some local municipalities are outside any regional county municipality (hors MRC). This includes some municipalities within urban agglomerations and also some aboriginal lands, such as Indian reserves that are enclaves within the territory of an RCM but not juridically part of it. Where complete territorial coverage is desired, for example for the census, the Indian reserve enclaves are added in to create "geographical RCMs", and the urban agglomerations are considered to be "territories equivalent to an RCM".
For a list of RCMs and equivalent territories, see List of regional county municipalities and equivalent territories in Quebec.
RCMs as political entities
Governance and responsibilities
The council of a RCM is composed of the mayors of the member municipalities as well as a prefect.
The prefect is usually elected by and from the council by secret ballot. Universal suffrage may also be used. The prefect's mandate is 2 years when elected by council or 4 years when elected by universal suffrage.
A MRC must:
- manage land use by creating a land use scheme and revise it every five years;
- establish a plan for waste management, fire protection, and civil protection (police);
- apply the land use scheme;
- make and administer urban planning rules in unorganized territories;
- see to the proper functioning of watercourses in its territory, especially those used for agricultural drainage;
- prepare the evaluation rolls for local municipalities;
- sell buildings for property tax default;
- name or create, and fund, a local development centre to support regional businesses.
Municipalities not belonging to an RCM
RCMs, in their definition as political units, do not cover the entire territory of Quebec. The local municipalities of Quebec (and equivalent Aboriginal territories) not belonging to an RCM fall into the following categories:
- all Indian reserves;
- 14 cities and urban agglomerations which do not belong to any RCM because they themselves exercise some or all of the powers which are normally those of an RCM (a city or agglomeration in some cases exercises only some of these powers because some RCM powers are in turn delegated to a metropolitan community), namely the:
- urban agglomeration of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
- urban agglomeration of Quebec
- city of Lévis
- city of Shawinigan
- city of Trois-Rivières
- city of Sherbrooke
- urban agglomeration of Longueuil
- city of Laval
- urban agglomeration of Montreal
- city of Mirabel
- city of Gatineau
- city of Rouyn-Noranda
- urban agglomeration of La Tuque
- city of Saguenay;
- all the municipalities of the Nord-du-Québec administrative region; and
- the parish municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Anges.
RCMs as geographical units
For provincial statistical purposes, the Institut de la Statistique du Québec uses the following system so that the entire territory of Quebec is divided into 104 units known as municipalités régionales de comté géographiques (MRCG) "geographical regional county municipalities".
Indian reserves which would, but for their status as Indian reserves, belong to a certain RCM in the political sense are included in the geographical RCM corresponding to that RCM. There are 86 MRCGs of this kind, one for each RCM.
The rest of the province is grouped into 16 "territories equivalent to an RCM" (French: territoires équivalents à une MRC or territoires équivalents, abbreviated TÉ), which are also considered to be MRCGs. This is done as follows.
- The 14 cities and urban agglomerations not belonging to an RCM (see above) each form their own TE, except that:
- The TE of Kativik is contained in the Nord-du-Québec region and consists of those municipalities under the jurisdiction of the Kativik Regional Government. The Kativik region comprises all northern villages and Inuit reserved lands, the only Naskapi village in the province, and two unorganized territories.
- The TE of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James was formed in 2012 by the merger of two former TEs, Eeyou Istchee and Jamésie. The pre-2012 Eeyou Istchee consisted of those municipalities under the jurisdiction of the Cree Regional Authority—all Cree villages and Cree reserved lands, and the Indian settlement of Oujé-Bougoumou. The pre-2012 Jamésie was that portion of the Nord-du-Québec region which was not in the Kativik TE or the Eeyou Istchee TE. It consists of the five non-Aboriginal municipalities in the Nord-du-Québec region. Local administration of the new TE is shared by Cree and non-Natives, essentially along pre-2012 lines.
Census divisions (CDs) are used for statistical purposes by Statistics Canada. Quebec is divided into 98 CDs, each of which is assigned a unique two-digit geographical code. For the most part, census divisions consist of a single RCM or TE (territory equivalent to an RCM), exactly as defined above. The only exceptions are five census divisions divided into 11 RCMs or TEs, two or three each. For a list, see List of regional county municipalities and equivalent territories in Quebec#Use as census divisions.
Geographical code of Quebec
All local municipalities, equivalent Aboriginal territories, Indian settlements and unorganized territories in Quebec are assigned a unique five-digit geographical code. The first two-digits are the code of the census division in which the municipality is located. For a list of all municipalities in Quebec together with their legal status, geographical code and date of incorporation, see List of the official municipalities of Québec, Institut de la Statistique du Québec (ISQ). Note that the ISQ includes the six Indian settlements in the list, whereas the Répertoire des municipalités of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et régionales does not list them as separate from the legal municipalities or unorganized territories in which they are located. Both sources include all other types of Aboriginal communities.