Difference Between Province and Territory

Province vs Territory
 

Difference between province and territory lies in the governance a government has over each geographical unit. We can take the very best example by focusing on Canada. Canada, which is the second largest country in the world in terms of the area, is made up of provinces and territories. Canada is a perfect example for the administration of large territories through a central government. With just 13 administrative units, of which 10 are provinces and 3 are territories, Canada is doing well in comparison to countries having a large number of states and provinces. However, for many, differences between provinces and territories are an enigma as they cannot understand this dichotomy. This article tries to find out subtle differences between provinces and territories through acts and laws that led to their creation and jurisdictional powers.

What is a Territory?

Territory is a political, administrative division under the state jurisdiction. In US, however, territory is an organized division of an area under the control of a country. However, this unit is not formally developed into the status of a province or a state. Generally, territories are not so developed socially and economically like provinces, and a major portion of their financial resources are generated with the help of the central government. There is more central interference in the case of territories than provinces. To make it clear, let us talk about territories of Canada, which are three in number and are namely The Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

Despite being 40% of the area of the country, these territories have just 3% of Canada’s population. These territories are created by federal laws and thus, the federal government has more direct control, power, and jurisdiction over these territories. These territories enjoy powers that are delegated to them by the parliament of Canada. Lying in the north of the country, with all 10 provinces lying down south, territories have had federal control and influence all through their existence.

However, things have changed a bit in the last 40 years, and governance of territories has also undergone a lot of changes. Not only have legislative assemblies and executive councils been set in place in territories, powers for administration similar to the provincial governments are also being developed for territories by the central government. This is a process that is being called devolution and aims to grant more decision-making powers as also accountability to local administration.

Difference Between Province and Territory

What is a Province?

Province is a sub-division of the country and is an administrative division of a country. To understand better, let us take the same example; Canada. In Canada, provinces have governments in place that have more autonomy, rights, and competences. These provinces have constitutional powers. Provinces are more developed and have their own resources to exploit for financial help. To someone who is an outsider, it is easy to deduce that provinces have more autonomy than territories. For those who know a bit about the history of Canada, the states of Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan were once parts of the North West territory. But as these parts grew and had a sizeable population, they opted out of this huge territory and chose to become a province. The same may happen to other parts of these territories, and they may also become provinces in the future. Even China has provinces.

Difference Between Province and Territory

What is the difference between Province and Territory?

Differences between territories and provinces pertain to governance and autonomy. There are 3 territories in Canada while the provinces are 10 in number. Territories lie in the Northern area while provinces are in the south of Canada. There are provincial governments in place, while there is federal influence in Canada’s territories. Some of today’s provinces, such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, were once a part of the North West territory.

• Definition of Province and Territory:

• Province is a sub-division of the country and is an administrative division of a country.

• Territory is a political, administrative division under the state jurisdiction. In US, however, territory is an organized division of an area under the control of a country. However, this unit is not formally developed into the status of a province or a state.

• Influence of Central Government:

This differs according to different countries.

• Province usually is under the central government control though there are provincial governing bodies. However, in Canada, provinces are more under the control of the local government.

• Territory is always under the direct control of the central government.

• Development and Financial Stability:

• Territories are not so developed socially and economically like provinces and a major portion of their financial resources are generated with the help of the central government.

• On the other hand, provinces are more developed and have their own resources to exploit for financial help.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Canada’s national, provincial and territorial capitals via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. China provinces by Miaow Miaow (CC BY-SA 3.0)