In 1628, King Louis the 13th of France approved a new company called Company of the Hundred Associates. The Company was given the right to settle all land from Florida to the Arctic and to make all efforts to populate New France. Major settlements of New France were briefly conquered by English troops but returned to France by a treaty between England and France signed in 1632. Two years later, the Company of the Hundred Associates implemented the seigniorial system of land ownership to New France. Large land grants were made to lords (called "seigniors") who rent out parts. Seigniors acted as judges for minor disputes between their tenants. The land property system would last until 1854.

The first "provincial" government was created by the Company of the Hundred Associates in 1647. A local council was made up of the governors of Quebec City and of Montreal and the senior representative of the Jesuit order. The Council had lawmaking power over the entire French colony. Meanwhile French explorers pushed deeper and deeper into North America and, by 1659, had reached the western end of Lake Superior. By 1663, New France was declared a province of France and a Sovereign Council replaced the local council. The Sovereign Council was given the mandate to oversee the implementation of French law in New France. The new Council was presided by a governor selected by the King and included a senior church representative. The arrival of French law included the payment of a "tithe" or a tax of eight per cent of the annual produce from land owned by the church. One of the first laws of the Sovereign Council was to prohibit straw and manure from city streets. Another threatened men with the loss of their trading rights if they refused to marry.