As the national police force of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is primarily responsible for enforcing federal laws throughout Canada, while general law and order including the enforcement of the Criminal Code and applicable provincial legislation is constitutionally the responsibility of the provinces and territories. This responsibility is sometimes further delegated to municipalities which can form their own municipal police departments. This is common in the largest cities.
The two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, maintain their own provincial forces; the Ontario Provincial Police and Sûreté du Québec. The other eight provinces, however, have chosen to contract most or all of their provincial policing responsibilities to the RCMP. Under these contracts the RCMP provides front-line policing in those provinces under the direction of the provincial governments in regard to provincial and municipal law enforcement. When Newfoundland joined confederation in 1949 the RCMP entered the province and absorbed the then Newfoundland Rangers and took over responsibilities in that area. Today the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has reclaimed some of that province to their jurisdiction. In the three territories, the RCMP serves as the sole territorial police force. Additionally, many municipalities throughout Canada contract the RCMP to serve as their police force. The RCMP consequently provides policing services at the federal, provincial and municipal level.
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