Course Description

This online course is 18 learning hours over six weeks, including 4.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth.

This course introduces students to the general elements of local government and governance. It explains how municipalities fit into the constitutional framework, discusses the various reforms that have occurred throughout the years, discusses the processes and institutions of local government, and explains the context in which the governments exist.

Course Outline

Module 1: What are Local Governments

Module 2: The Evolution of the Local Government System

Module 3: Local Government and Governance

Module 4: Municipalities in a Wider World

Module 5: Future Prospects for Canadian Local Government

What You Will Learn

  • The link between municipal government and democracy
  • The pressures of growth and change, especially those associated with urbanization, and the impact of these pressures on traditional municipal systems
  • Approaches taken to municipal restructuring in the various provinces
  • The main challenges facing local governments today


This course provides learners with the opportunity to earn a microcredential. A microcredential is evidence of a skill or competency that is employment related. Dalhousie microcredentials are developed in collaboration with employers, industries, and/or organizations that relate to the content. A microcredential can be displayed on social media pages, digital resumes, personal webpages, and in email signatures. To earn the microcredential in this course, learners will need to successfully complete a competency-based assessment.


To learn more about microcredentials and how they can enhance your learning portfolio, watch this 30-second YouTube video (video opens in a new window).



The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.

Recommended For

  • Municipal employees looking to advance their career
  • Individuals looking to transition to a career in local government
  • Individuals who interact with municipal staff and politicians
Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Local Government
Online - Self-Paced
May 24, 2024 to Jul 05, 2024
Online - Scheduled
7:00PM to 8:30PM
May 30, 2024 to Jun 27, 2024
Schedule and Location
Total Learning Hours
  • Online Campus - Atlantic Time
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $525.00
Required Software
Students will require a webcam and microphone to participate in live sessions.
Reading List / Textbook

There are no required textbooks to be purchased for this course. All readings will be available within the online course platform.

Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. There will also be 3 facilitated online sessions - click on View Details for exact dates. Attendance at live sessions is required to obtain the full participation grade for the course.

The course site will be open at 4:00 PM Atlantic Time on the course start date.

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