Cape Breton – Unama’ki is democratically governed by three levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal. Individuals who are Canadian citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in elections for all levels of government. Mi’kmaw communities have their own governing bodies.


Municipal matters include street maintenance, fire and police services, local recreational facilities, and garbage removal. Municipal elections are held once every four years. During these elections, municipal councilors are selected by the electorate. There are five municipalities across the Island, including Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Municipality of the County of Richmond, the Municipality of the County of Victoria, the Municipality of the County of Inverness, and the Town of Port Hawkesbury.

View the Municipal Elections Act.


The Nova Scotia Provincial Government covers healthcare, education, infrastructure and other significant areas that impact the well-being of the province. Provincial elections happen at most every four years; sometimes sooner. Provincially-elected officials are called Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs, each representing an electoral district. As of 2021, there are 8 provincial electoral districts located in the Cape Breton region.

In Nova Scotia, Elections Nova Scotia oversees all provincial elections.


The Government of Canada is the body of government responsible for the federal administration of Canada. The British North America Act gives Parliament responsibility over national defence, money, banking, bankruptcy, Indigenous affairs, citizenship, marriage and divorce, shipping, railways, fisheries, and more. Federal jurisdiction oversees all ten Canadian provinces and three territories. Federal elections are held at most every four years; sometimes sooner. Federally-elected officials are called Members of Parliament or MPs. In Cape Breton there are two electoral districts: Cape Breton-Canso and Sydney-Victoria.

Across Canada, Elections Canada oversees all elections at the Federal level.


Cape Breton – Unama’ki is home to five Mi’kmaw communities: Membertou First Nation, We’koqma’q First Nation, Eskasoni First Nation, Wagmatcook First Nation and Potlotek First Nation.

Each community has its own governing body, consisting of elected band members. This consists of a Chief and several councillors, with elections being held roughly every four years.

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Last Modified: October 4, 2021