List of proposed provinces and territories of Canada
Since Canadian Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. Since 1982, the current Constitution of Canada requires an amendment ratified by seven provincial legislatures representing at least half of the national population for the creation of a new province while the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament. Because opening up the constitution to amendment could entice provinces to demand other changes too in exchange for such support, this is seen to be a politically unfeasible option. The newest province, Newfoundland and Labrador, joined Canada in 1949 by an act of the British Parliament before the 1982 patriation of the constitution.
Movements within Canada
There have been movements to redistrict existing land in order to create new provinces and territories within Canada. In late 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin surprised some observers by expressing his personal support for all three territories gaining provincial status "eventually". He cited their importance to the country as a whole and the ongoing need to assert sovereignty in the Arctic, particularly as global warming could make that region more open to exploitation leading to more complex international waters disputes.
|Atlantic Canada||Maritime Union||The Maritime Union is a proposed province which would be formed by a merger of the three existing Maritime provinces of Canada: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. This province would be the fifth-largest in Canada by population. The Maritime Union has also been expanded to a proposed "Atlantic Union" which would also include Newfoundland and Labrador.|
|Acadia||This province was promoted by the Parti Acadien and is similarly represented by the unrecognized state "Republic of Madawaska". The Parti Acadien supported the creation of a new province consisting of the francophone parts of New Brunswick, in tandem with most Acadian Society of New Brunswick members. The party went into the 1978 election with a platform of independence. However, Richard Hatfield and the governing Progressive Conservatives also promoted a platform that promised to increase the role of the Acadian people and culture within the province.|
|Cape Breton Island||Cape Breton Island had been a separate colony, but was incorporated into Nova Scotia. Provincehood was advocated by the Cape Breton Labour Party.|
|Labrador||Labrador is the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Labrador Party has campaigned on the platform of a separate province. A similar campaign was held by locals in 2016 with a petition written to the MP on the federal level and the Labrador MHAs on the provincial level, based on claims that the provincial government has been inadequately funding for Labrador's amenities such as roads; in contrast with Newfoundland; while largely benefiting from its resources. Neither the federal nor provincial representatives have yet responded.|
|Nunatsiavut||This is an area in northern Labrador, which is inhabited mainly by Inuit, many of whom wish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador and form a territory similar to Nunavut. It was granted certain self-government powers on 1 December 2005, while remaining within the province.|
|Quebec||Province of Montreal||It has been proposed to separate the city of Montreal, its metropolitan region or its English and non-Francophone regions into a separate province from Quebec. There have been several proposals of this nature from the mid-20th century onwards. Around the time of the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty, a self-named 'partition' movement flourished, advocating the separation of certain areas of Quebec, particularly the English-speaking areas such as Montreal's West Island, in the event of Quebec separation, with such areas remaining part of Canada. This movement is no longer active.|
|Nunavik||This is Quebec's northernmost Inuit and First Nation territory, as well as northernmost territory overall, which is seeking a status similar to Nunatsiavut in Labrador.|
|Kanien:keh||During the runup to the 1995 Quebec referendum, Mohawk leaders asserted a sovereign right to secede from Quebec if Quebec were to secede from Canada. In the CBC Television documentary Breaking Point, the Quebec Premier at the time, Jacques Parizeau, said that had the referendum succeeded, he would have allowed the Mohawk communities to secede from Quebec, on the grounds that they had never given up their sovereign rights.|
|National Capital Region||At various times, provincial, territorial or special federal status has been proposed for the metropolitan area consisting of Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, so that the national capital region would be a district like the Australian Capital Territory, District of Columbia or the National Capital Territory of Delhi (India).|
|Northern Ontario||Throughout the region's history, there have been various movements proposing that the region secede from Ontario to form its own province. The first such movement emerged in Sudbury in the 1890s, when the provincial government began taxing mines; a second movement emerged following the creation of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905. In the 1940s, an organization called the New Province League formed to lobby for the creation of a new territory of "Aurora".
In 1966, a committee of mayors from the region, comprising Max Silverman of Sudbury, G. W. Maybury of Kapuskasing, Ernest Reid of Fort William, Leo Del Villano of Timmins, Merle Dickerson of North Bay and Leo Foucault of Espanola, formed to study the feasibility of Northern Ontario forming a new province.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Party advocated the creation of a separate province by dividing from Southern Ontario in the 1970s, although the party did not attract widespread electoral support. A newer group, the Northern Ontario Secession Movement, began a similar campaign in 2006, but did not attract the same degree of attention.
In 1999, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association, a committee consisting of the mayors of 14 Northern Ontario municipalities, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien asking him to outline the necessary conditions for the region to secede from Ontario to form a new province. This movement emerged as a reaction to the government of Mike Harris, whose policies were widely unpopular in the region even though Harris himself represented the Northern Ontario riding of Nipissing in the legislature.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Party was reregistered in 2010, with a platform that did not call for full separation but instead supported a number of measures to increase the region's power within the province. In 2016, the party began advocating for the full secession of Northern Ontario from the province, but dropped separation from its platform again in 2018.
|Northwestern Ontario||In 2006, some residents of Northwestern Ontario proposed that the region secede from Ontario to join Manitoba, due to the perception that the government of Ontario does not pay sufficient attention to the region's issues. One paper in Canadian Public Policy suggested the region merge with Manitoba to form a new province called "Mantario."|
|Province of Toronto||Toronto is the largest city in Canada. Some have argued that the rest of Ontario benefits from Toronto more than the reverse. Some activists have lobbied for a separate Province of Toronto. Former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, while in office, floated the idea because of what he perceived as the province's excessive draining of tax resources from Toronto without providing sufficient support for public services within the city. In 2018, some activists revived the proposal again, after Ontario premier Doug Ford introduced legislation to cut the number of seats on Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 seats, months after the 2018 municipal election was already underway.|
|Western Canada||Province of Buffalo||Buffalo was a proposed Canadian province prior to 1905. Carved out of the southern portion (south of 55°N) of the North-West Territories, it would have comprised the southern halves of the present-day provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, including the already sizeable urbanized communities of Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina, with Regina as the capital. Its main proponent was Sir Frederick Haultain, then-Premier of the North-West Territories, who said in 1904 that "One big province would be able to do things no other province could." The proposal was not popular, especially with Calgarians and Edmontonians, who each had their own ambitions to be a capital city (Edmonton eventually became the capital of Alberta). The proposal was negated in 1905, when Prime Minister Laurier divided the region with a north–south boundary, reaching 60°N, as the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.|
|British Columbia||Vancouver Island||In 2013, in response to the federal electoral district redistribution, two separatist groups emerged to make Vancouver Island its own country or province. They hoped to move the British Columbia legislature to a different city, make Vancouver Island its own province, and fly the flag of Vancouver Island by 2021. In the 2017 provincial election, the Vancouver Island Party proposed a referendum for Vancouver Island residents to vote on the issue. Vancouver Island is more populous than three provinces, and all three territories.|
|Northern Canada||Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut||Each of the three Canadian territories has had movements lobbying for their territorial political status to be upgraded to full provincehood. Yukon premier Tony Penikett fought the Meech Lake Accord in the 1980s, on the grounds that provisions of the accord would have made it virtually impossible for the territory to ever become a province.|
Movements outside of Canada
British overseas territories
In 1905 British M.P. Ian Malcolm suggested in the British House of Commons that the U.K. might benefit from transferring one or some of the West Indies isles to Canada for national defence.
Robert Borden and his delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 discussed transferring parts of the West Indies as territories, sub-dominions or League of Nations mandates, including the possibility of exchanging certain ones to the United States for the Alaska panhandle.
Current British overseas territories
|Turks and Caicos Islands||
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. There is some support for a union with Canada; however, the islands' small economy and Canada's involvement in Haiti[clarification needed] have made this controversial. In 1917, the Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden first suggested that Canada annex the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Max Saltsman introduced a failed attempt at consolidating the islands.
The idea was brought up again in 1986 by Progressive Conservative MP Dan McKenzie, but it was rejected by his party's caucus committee on external affairs in 1987. The committee, chaired by MP David Daubney, looked at immigration, banking, health care and tourism issues in making its decision.
In 2004, Conservative MP Peter Goldring visited Turks and Caicos to explore the possibility once more. He drafted a motion asking the Canadian Government to look into the issue, but his party declined, citing immigration, tourism, and economic issues. However, the Canadian government does not dismiss the possibility of a future union. The province of Nova Scotia voted to invite Turks and Caicos to join the province in 2004, should the islands ever become part of Canada. This would bypass the problems with admitting Turks and Caicos as a separate province.
On 2 March 2009, the Ottawa Citizen ran an article on its online site reporting the interest of the Canadian government to open a deep-water port in the Caribbean that would open up "a new market for Canadian goods ... in the Caribbean and nearby Central and South America". "Suppose the port, unaffordable for Caribbean countries, boosted their standard of living and bolstered hemispheric security. Suppose the port doubled as a Canadian military operations base for countries wanting help to patrol their waters and to interdict the Caribbean's robust trade in smuggled arms, drugs and people."
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, support for a "special relationship" with Canada was at 90% in the 1990s, while in 2003 support for the relationship stood at around 60%. Goldring, an MP from Edmonton, has championed the cause of integrating the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Canadian territory for security benefits, as well as increasing Canada's influence in Central and Southern America with regard to counterterrorism, trade and combating encroaching Chinese influence in several small Caribbean islands, such as St. Lucia.
|Bermuda||In 1949 Henry Vassey, then Chairman of the Bermuda Trade Development Board, urged the House of Assembly of Bermuda to pursue a political union with Canada. Four Methodist church congregations in Bermuda are part of the United Church of Canada, forming Bermuda Presbytery of the United Church's Maritime Conference headquartered in Sackville, New Brunswick. The same Salvation Army Church territory serves both Canada and Bermuda with many of their pastors travelling between countries.
In January 2009, Nova Scotia's Premier, Rodney MacDonald, and the Premier of Bermuda, Ewart Brown, signed a five-year agreement that would strengthen Nova Scotia's ties with Bermuda and enhance service export opportunities, tourism, transportation and health links in both jurisdictions.
Bermuda's ties to Canada include the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda being overseen by Canada's Chartered Professional Accounting profession.
Former British overseas territories
Former British territories that have expressed interest in joining Canada:
|The Bahamas||In 1911, at the request of the Bahamian House of Assembly, the Canadian and the Bahamian governments began serious negotiations for Bahamian accession to the Canadian confederation. However, a racial panic ignited by the migration of over one thousand African-Americans fleeing violence in Oklahoma derailed the discussions. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier turned against the idea, citing incompatible "ethnical origin". After Laurier lost the September 1911 federal election, Bahamian Governor William Grey-Wilson travelled to Canada to reopen accession talks with newly elected PM Robert Borden. In a meeting between Grey and Borden on 18 October 1911, Borden rejected the possibility of taking the Bahamas into the Canadian confederation. His reasoning was that the events of the past year had proved that Canadian public opinion would not countenance the admission of a majority-black province. The British Colonial Office concurred: "No doubt for the moment the Dominion government would safeguard their interests, but there are signs of the rise of a colour question in Canada and in any case it cannot be long before U.S. opinion gives the tone to Canada in regard the Negro."|
|Barbados||In 1884, the Barbados Agricultural Society sent a letter to Sir Francis Hincks requesting his private and public views on whether the Dominion of Canada would favourably entertain having the then colony of Barbados admitted as a member of the Canadian Confederation. Asked of Canada were the terms of the Canadian side to initiate discussions, and whether or not the island of Barbados could depend on the full influence of Canada in getting the change agreed to by Britain. Then in 1952 the Barbados Advocate newspaper polled several prominent Bajan politicians, lawyers, businessmen, the Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly and later as first President of the Senate, Sir Theodore Branker, and found them to be in favour of immediate federation of Barbados along with the rest of the British Caribbean with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada. In 2008, the former President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) reflected on the close historical relations between both nations and questioned whether a political union was possible within the next 100 years.|
|Jamaica||In the late 19th century, there was some discussion of some form of political union between Canada and Jamaica.|
|The West Indies Federation||In a 1952 letter by T. G. Major, a Canadian Trade Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago, it was stated to the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs that the respective leaders of the British Caribbean could not reach a clear consensus for the exact style of a federal union with Canada. During a parliamentary conference held in Ottawa, it was also noted though that the then colony of British Honduras (present-day Belize, which held observer status in the West Indies Federation) showed the most interest in a union with Canada exceeding that of the other British Caribbean colonies.|
|Vermont||Some supporters of the Vermont independence movement propose that Vermont join Canada as a province.|
|Maine||Some propose that Maine secede from the United States and join Canada as a province. Maine was briefly held by British forces and was part of British North America during the War of 1812. It was returned to the United States as part of the Treaty of Ghent.|
|Minnesota||In the late 2010s, petitions and discussions have launched what people are calling "Minnexit". Although no political party has floated the notion of secession, there is a long-standing history of reconnecting (at least part of) Minnesota with Canada through Manitoba's southeast attachment: the Northwest Angle.|
|All or part of the United States||In the 1979 Canadian federal election, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, a satirical federal political party, included annexation of the United States as part of its platform. It was proposed that the United States become the third territory of Canada. As well, following the 2004 U.S. presidential election, some American voters distributed the Jesusland map, which proposed that the 19 American "blue states" secede from the United States and become Canadian provinces. In both cases, however, Canadian annexation of all or part of the United States was a satirical idea rather than a serious proposal.|
European outer regions
|France||Saint Pierre and Miquelon||A small French dependency just off the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the past, a handful of politicians in Saint Pierre and Miquelon proposed that the islands pursue secession from France to become part of Canada (either as part of Quebec or as a new territory). This would be so that the islands, whose economy is highly dependent on the Atlantic fishery, could participate in Canada's much larger maritime fishing zone rather than France's limited "keyhole" zone.|
|Iceland||All||During the Icelandic financial crisis of the early 2010s, a small group of Icelanders launched "Invite Iceland In", a campaign to get Iceland admitted to Confederation as Canada's 11th province. The campaign did not attract widespread political support and is now dormant. A smaller-scale proposal for Iceland to adopt the Canadian dollar as its new official currency in lieu of the Icelandic króna received much more attention, including attracting comment from Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, but was also not adopted.|
|United Kingdom||Scotland||There were renewed calls for a second independence referendum from pro-independence parties such as the Scottish National Party after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union but with Scotland having voted to remain. Author Ken McGoogan suggested that Scotland should join Canada as its eleventh province, arguing that Scotland would be treated better under Canadian rule. However, there is little support for this either amongst the Scottish public or from Scotland's main political parties.|
Two small border exclaves of the United States have also been the subject of proposals to secede from the United States and join Canada. Neither would become its own standalone province or territory if it joined Canada, however, but rather both would simply be added to the existing provinces that they adjoin.
|Northwest Angle and Elm Point, Minnesota||Due to laws restricting fishing rights in Lake of the Woods, some residents of this part of Minnesota, which is accessible by road to the rest of the United States only through Manitoba (excluding winter ice roads), suggested leaving the United States and joining Canada in 1997. The following year, Representative Collin Peterson proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the residents of the Northwest Angle, which is part of his district, to vote on seceding from the United States and joining Canada, angering the leaders of Red Lake Indian Reservation, which holds most of the Northwest Angle's land. Whether this change would also include Elm Point, a small cape to the south of the angle but also cut off from the United States, is not determined.|
|Point Roberts, Washington||Point Roberts is a peninsula, attached by land to the city of Delta, British Columbia but surrounded entirely by water otherwise; residents of Point Roberts must travel through Canada, or by water or air, to reach any other part of Washington state. In 1949, there was talk about Point Roberts seceding from the U.S. and joining Canada, but this never happened. The idea has been periodically revived, most recently in 2020 after the community was heavily impacted by the closure of the Canada-U.S. border during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has still not been actively pursued.|
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- 51st state
- Alberta separatism
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- List of proposed states of Australia
- Quebec sovereignty movement
- Territorial evolution of Canada – after 1867
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