Regional county municipality

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.