Can Canada Abolish the Monarchy?

In the News

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s comments during their interview with Oprah have rocked the monarchy. They have also brought an old question to the forefront: can Canada abolish the monarchy?

Amend the Constitution

Canada must modify its Constitution to abolish the monarchy. Other commonwealth countries have already done so, including Barbados.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the country and sets out the rules that the government must follow. Because of its importance, there is a special procedure to change the Constitution.

Difficult but not impossible

The process of changing the Constitution depends on what type of change is wanted.

The process is particularly difficult if Canada were to abolish the monarchy. The federal government and each province, including Quebec, must agree. Provinces have the option to hold a referendum to ask their citizens to decide.

For other changes, the federal government and 7 provinces is enough. These 7 provinces must represent at least 50% of the population of all provinces.

A province can also modify the Constitution with the federal government if that change affects only that province. For example, Quebec modified its school system in 1997.

To learn more, read our capsule Laws of Quebec and Canada.