Government in Canada is a multi-level system; regional government being one of the levels. Ontarians are governed locally by their community (town or city) council, regionally by Regional Municipalities or Counties, provincially by the Government of Ontario and federally by the Government of Canada.
Each level of government is its own entity, yet also exists in relation to the next highest level.
Each community in Ontario chooses its town or city council members every three years in a municipal election. The number of elected representatives on a town or city council varies, depending on the size of the community. Each community elects a number of councillors and one Mayor, who acts as the head of the council.
Niagara has 12 communities; five cities, five towns and two townships, whose local councils represent the first level of government.
Together, the twelve communities form the Niagara Region, which is the next level upward. The Niagara Region, while responsible to its residents, must answer to its provincial counterpart, The Province of Ontario.
The Province of Ontario enacts the laws that delegate certain responsibilities to the regional level of government. Niagara Region is responsible for facilities and services that are most effectively and efficiently managed on a regional scale.