A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically, the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across the world’s longest unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care, education, social services, and economic competitiveness, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.

Canadian Flag

Canadian Flag


Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US

Geographic coordinates:
60 00 N, 95 00 W

Map references:
North America

total: 9,984,670 sq km
country comparison to the world: 2
land: 9,093,507 sq km
water: 891,163 sq km

Area – comparative:
slightly larger than the US

Land boundaries:
total: 8,893 km
border countries: US 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)
note: Canada is the World’s largest country that borders only one country

202,080 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north
mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m

Natural resources:
iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 4.3%
permanent crops: 0.49%
other: 95.2% (2011)

Irrigated land:
8,699 sq km (2004)

Total renewable water resources:
2,902 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 42.2 cu km/yr (20%/70%/10%)
per capita: 1,589 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards:
continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country’s rain and snow east of the mountains
volcanism: the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada’s Coast Mountains remain dormant

Environment – current issues:
air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting on agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Marine Life Conservation

Geography – note:
second-largest country in world (after Russia) and largest in the Americas; strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km (100 mi) of the US border; Canada has more fresh water than any other country and almost 9% of Canadian territory is water; Canada has at least 2 million and possibly over 3 million lakes – that is more than all other countries combined.

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People & Society

noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian

Ethnic groups:
Canadian 32.2%, English 19.8%, French 15.5%, Scottish 14.4%, Irish 13.8%, German 9.8%, Italian 4.5%, Chinese 4.5%, North American Indian 4.2%, other 50.9% (2011 est.)

English (official) 58.7%, French (official) 22%, Punjabi 1.4%, Italian 1.3%, Spanish 1.3%, German 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2%, Tagalog 1.2%, Arabic 1.1%, other 10.5%
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2011 est.)

Catholic 40.5% (includes Roman Catholic 38.7%, Orthodox 1.6%, other Catholic .2%), Protestant 20.3% (includes United Church 6.1%, Anglican 5%, Baptist 1.9%, Lutheran 1.5%, Pentecostal 1.5%, Presbyterian 1.4%, other Protestant 2.9%), other Christian 6.3%, Muslim 3.2%, Hindu 1.5%, Sikh 1.4%, Buddhist 1.1%, Jewish 1%, other 0.6%, none 23.9% (2011 est.)

34,834,841 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38

Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.5% (male 2,764,691/female 2,628,413)
15-24 years: 12.7% (male 2,267,210/female 2,142,085)
25-54 years: 41% (male 7,244,109/female 7,052,512)
55-64 years: 17.3% (male 2,336,202/female 2,380,703)
65 years and over: 16.8% (male 2,670,482/female 3,348,434) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 47.2 %
youth dependency ratio: 24.2 %
elderly dependency ratio: 22.9 %
potential support ratio: 4.4 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 41.7 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 42.9 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.76% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144

Birth rate:
10.29 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188

Death rate:
8.31 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Net migration rate:
5.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

urban population: 80.7% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.06% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas – population:
Toronto 5.573 million; Montreal 3.856 million; Vancouver 2.267 million; Calgary 1.216 million; OTTAWA (capital) 1.208 million; Edmonton 1.142 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
28.1 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
12 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 147

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.71 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 182
male: 5.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.67 years
country comparison to the world: 14
male: 79.07 years
female: 84.42 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.59 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
note: percent of women aged 18-44 (2002)

Health expenditures:
11.2% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 13

Physicians density:
2.07 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density:
3.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.8% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.2% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.8% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.2% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
68,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
26.2% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 48

Education expenditures:
5.4% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 62

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2000)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 14.3%
country comparison to the world: 88
male: 15.9%
female: 12.6% (2012)

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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada

Government type:

a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy

name: Ottawa
geographic coordinates: 45 25 N, 75 42 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
note: Canada has six time zones

Administrative divisions:
10 provinces and 3 territories*; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories*, Nova Scotia, Nunavut*, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon*

1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK per Statute of Westminster)

National holiday:
Canada Day, 1 July (1867)

made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions dating from 1763; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982; several amendments to Constitution Act, 1982, last in 2011 (2011)

Legal system:
common law system except in Quebec where civil law based on the French civil code prevails
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
head of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General David JOHNSTON (since 1 October 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister Stephen Joseph HARPER (since 6 February 2006)
cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among the members of his own party sitting in Parliament
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons generally designated prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (105 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and serve until 75 years of age) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a maximum of four-year terms)
elections: House of Commons – last held on 2 May 2011 (next to be held no later than 19 October 2015)
election results: House of Commons – percent of vote by party – Conservative Party 39.6%, NDP 30.6%, Liberal Party 18.9%, Bloc Quebecois 6%, Greens 3.9%; seats by party – Conservative Party 166, NDP 103, Liberal Party 34, Bloc Quebecois 4, Greens 1

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Canada (consists of the chief justice and 8 judges)
note – in 1949, Canada finally abolished all appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges appointed by the prime minister in council; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: federal level: Federal Court of Appeal; Federal Court; Tax Court; federal administrative tribunals; courts martial; provincial/territorial: provincial superior, appeals, first instance, and specialized courts; in 1999, the Nunavut Court – a circuit court with the power of a superior court and the territorial courts – was established to serve isolated settlements

Political parties and leaders:
Bloc Quebecois [Daniel PAILLE]
Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER]
Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]
Liberal Party [Justin TRUDEAU]
New Democratic Party or NDP [Thomas MULCAIR]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: agricultural sector; automobile industry; business groups; chemical industry; commercial banks; communications sector; energy industry; environmentalists; public administration groups; steel industry; trade unions

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gary DOER (since 23 October 2009)
chancery: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone: [1] (202) 682-1740
FAX: [1] (202) 682-7726
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Seattle
consulate(s): Anchorage (AK), Houston, Palo Alto (CA), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh (NC), Salt Lake City, San Diego, Tucson

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (Bruce A. Heyman has been nominated; The ambassador is scheduled to present his credentials on 8 April 2014); Charge d’Affaires Richard M. Sanders (since 25 July 2013)
embassy: 490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
mailing address: P. O. Box 5000, Ogdensburg, NY 13669-0430; P.O. Box 866, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
telephone: [1] (613) 688-5335
FAX: [1] (613) 688-3082
consulate(s) general: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Flag description:
two vertical bands of red (hoist and fly side, half width) with white square between them; an 11-pointed red maple leaf is centered in the white square; the maple leaf has long been a Canadian symbol; the official colors of Canada are red and white

National symbol(s):
maple leaf

National anthem:
name: “O Canada”

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Economy – overview:
As a high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban.

The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs about three-fourths of Canadian merchandise exports each year. Canada is the US’s largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its abundant natural resources, highly skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007.

Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada’s major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the financial sector’s tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization. Canada achieved marginal growth in 2010-13 and plans to balance the budget by 2015. In addition, the country’s petroleum sector is rapidly expanding, because Alberta’s oil sands significantly boosted Canada’s proven oil reserves. Canada now ranks third in the world in proved oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.518 trillion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
$1.494 trillion (2012 est.)
$1.469 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.825 trillion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
1.6% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
1.7% (2012 est.)
2.5% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$43,100 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
$42,900 (2012 est.)
$42,700 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
21.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
21.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
21.1% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 55.8%
government consumption: 21.6%
investment in fixed capital: 24.6%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 30.1%
imports of goods and services: -32.3%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 1.7%
industry: 28.4%
services: 69.9% (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; fish; forest products

transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

Industrial production growth rate:

1.4% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139

Labor force:
19.08 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
manufacturing: 13%
construction: 6%
services: 76%
other: 3% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate:
7.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
7.3% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line:
note: this figure is the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), a calculation that results in higher figures than found in many comparable economies; Canada does not have an official poverty line (2008)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 24.8% (2000)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
32.1 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 105
31.5 (1994)


revenues: $687.8 billion
expenditures: $740.8 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
37.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Public debt:
86.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
85.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: figures are for gross general government debt, as opposed to net federal debt; gross general government debt includes both intragovernmental debt and the debt of public entities at the sub-national level

Fiscal year:
1 April – 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
1.5% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
1% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
0.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
3% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
3% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$699.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$648.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$1.539 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$1.488 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$3.126 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$3.091 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.016 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$1.907 trillion (31 December 2011)
$2.16 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance:
-$59.5 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
-$62.27 billion (2012 est.)

$458.7 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$462.9 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum

Exports – partners:
US 74.5%, China 4.3%, UK 4.1% (2012)
$471 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$474.9 billion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods

Imports – partners:
US 50.6%, China 11%, Mexico 5.5% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$68.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
$65.82 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt – external:
$1.331 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$1.191 trillion (31 December 2011)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$1.038 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$992.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$1.047 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$991.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar –
1.03 (2013 est.)
0.9992 (2012 est.)
1.0302 (2010 est.)
1.1431 (2009)
1.0364 (2008)

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