Municipalities are responsible for many essential services and have become vital agents for implementing provincial policies, including those dealing with the environment, emergency planning, economic development, and land use. In Foundations of Governance, experts from each of Canada's provinces come together to assess the extent to which municipal governments have the capacity to act autonomously, purposefully, and collaboratively in the intergovernmental arena.
Each chapter follows a common template in order to facilitate comparison and covers essential features such as institutional structures, municipal functions, demography, and municipal finances. Canada's municipalities function in diverse ways but have similar problems and, in this way, are illustrative of the importance of local democracy. Foundations of Governance shows that municipal governments require the legitimacy granted by a vibrant democracy in order to successfully negotiate and implement important collective choices about the futures of communities.