Regional county municipality

The term regional county municipality or RCM (French: municipalité régionale de comté, MRC) is used in the Canadian province of Quebec to designate one of 86 county-like political and geographic units. In most cases, they are also census divisions. Regional County Municipalities are a supralocal type of "Regional Municipality" and are still commonly referred to as counties. "RCM"s also act as the local municipality in areas within their borders that are not organised as municipalities.

For a list of RCMs and equivalent territories, see List of regional county municipalities and equivalent territories in Quebec.

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Governance and responsibilities

The council of an MRC 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.

An 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:

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 18 "territories equivalent to an RCM" (French: territoires équivalents à une MRC or territoires équivalents, abbreviated ), 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:

Census divisions

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.

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.

See also