North America :: Canada

Introduction ::Canada

    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.

Geography ::Canada

    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
    60 00 N, 95 00 W
    total: 9,984,670 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 2
    land: 9,093,507 sq km
    water: 891,163 sq km
    slightly larger than the US
    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
    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
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
    iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
    arable land: 4.3%
    permanent crops: 0.49%
    other: 95.2% (2011)
    8,699 sq km (2004)
    2,902 cu km (2011)
    total: 42.2 cu km/yr (20%/70%/10%)
    per capita: 1,589 cu m/yr (2010)
    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
    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
    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
    second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km 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

People and Society ::Canada

Government ::Canada

    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Canada
    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 is divided into six time zones
    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)
    Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
    made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions; 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, which transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments
    common law system except in Quebec where civil law based on the French civil code prevails
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    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
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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
    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
    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
    Bloc Quebecois [Daniel PAILLE]
    Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER]
    Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]
    Liberal Party [Robert RAE (interim)]
    New Democratic Party or NDP [Thomas MULCAIR]
    other: agricultural sector; automobile industry; business groups; chemical industry; commercial banks; communications sector; energy industry; environmentalists; public administration groups; steel industry; trade unions
    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, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Gary DOER
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador David C. JACOBSON
    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
    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
    maple leaf
    name: "O Canada"

    lyrics/music: Adolphe-Basile ROUTHIER [French], Robert Stanley WEIR [English]/Calixa LAVALLEE
    note: adopted 1980; originally written in 1880, "O Canada" served as an unofficial anthem many years before its official adoption; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ; as a Commonwealth realm, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

Economy ::Canada

    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 affluent 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 exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great 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 2010-12 and plans to balance the budget by 2015. In addition, the country's petroleum sector is rapidly becoming an even larger economic driver with Alberta's oil sands significantly boosting Canada's proven oil reserves, ranking the country third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
    $1.513 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    $1.485 trillion (2011 est.)
    $1.448 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $1.819 trillion (2012 est.)
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    2.6% (2011 est.)
    3.2% (2010 est.)
    $43,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    $43,100 (2011 est.)
    $42,500 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    20.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    20.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    19.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 55.8%
    government consumption: 21.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 24%
    investment in inventories: 0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 30%
    imports of goods and services: -32%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 1.7%
    industry: 28.5%
    services: 69.8% (2012 est.)
    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
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    18.89 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    agriculture: 2%
    manufacturing: 13%
    construction: 6%
    services: 76%
    other: 3% (2006 est.)
    7.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    7.5% (2011 est.)
    9.4%
    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)
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 24.8% (2000)
    32.1 (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    31.5 (1994)
    revenues: $682.5 billion
    expenditures: $749.5 billion (2012 est.)
    37.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    -3.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    84.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    83.4% of GDP (2011 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
    1 April - 31 March
    1.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    2.9% (2011 est.)
    1% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    0.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
    3% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    3% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $654.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    $585 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.523 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    $1.404 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.083 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    $2.836 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.907 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    $2.16 trillion (31 December 2010)
    $1.681 trillion (31 December 2009)
    -$59.92 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    -$48.91 billion (2011 est.)
    $462.9 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    $461.4 billion (2011 est.)
    motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
    US 74.5%, China 4.3%, UK 4.1% (2012)
    $474.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    $460.4 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods
    US 50.6%, China 11%, Mexico 5.5% (2012)
    $68.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $65.82 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.326 trillion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $1.191 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $918.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $873.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $953.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    $899.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar -
    0.9992 (2012 est.)
    0.9895 (2011 est.)
    1.0302 (2010 est.)
    1.1431 (2009)
    1.0364 (2008)

Energy ::Canada

Communications ::Canada

    18.201 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    27.387 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    general assessment: excellent service provided by modern technology
    domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
    international: country code - 1; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean, and 2 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2011)
    2 public TV broadcasting networks each with a large number of network affiliates; several private-commercial networks also with multiple network affiliates; overall, about 150 TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable systems provide access to a wide range of stations including US stations; mix of public and commercial radio broadcasters with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the public radio broadcaster, operating 4 radio networks, Radio Canada International, and radio services to indigenous populations in the north; roughly 2,000 licensed radio stations in Canada (2008)
    .ca
    8.743 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    26.96 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 16

Transportation ::Canada

    1,467 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    total: 523
    over 3,047 m: 21
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 19
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 147
    914 to 1,523 m: 257
    under 914 m: 79 (2013)
    total: 944
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 75
    914 to 1,523 m: 385
    under 914 m:
    484 (2013)
    26 (2013)
    gas and liguid petroleum 100,000 km (2013)
    total: 46,552 km
    country comparison to the world: 5
    standard gauge: 46,552 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
    total: 1,042,300 km
    country comparison to the world: 6
    paved: 415,600 km (includes 17,000 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 626,700 km (2008)
    636 km (Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    total: 181
    country comparison to the world: 35
    by type: bulk carrier 62, cargo 15, carrier 1, chemical tanker 15, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 63, petroleum tanker 11, roll on/roll off 6
    foreign-owned: 19 (Estonia 1, France 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 4, Sweden 2, US 10)
    registered in other countries: 225 (Australia 5, Bahamas 96, Barbados 11, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 2, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 77, Liberia 2, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 8, Norway 1, Panama 6, Spain 4, Vanuatu 5) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Halifax, Saint John (New Brunswick), Vancouver
    river and lake port(s): Montreal, Quebec City, Sept-Isles (St. Lawrence); Fraser River Port (Fraser); Hamilton (Lake Ontario)
    oil/gas terminal(s): Lower Lakes terminal
    dry bulk cargo port(s): Port-Cartier (iron ore and grain),
    container port(s): Montreal (1,362,975), Vancouver (2,507,032)(2011)

Military ::Canada

Transnational Issues ::Canada

    managed maritime boundary disputes with the US at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Gulf of Maine including the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; Canada and the United States dispute how to divide the Beaufort Sea and the status of the Northwest Passage but continue to work cooperatively to survey the Arctic continental shelf; US works closely with Canada to intensify security measures for monitoring and controlling legal and illegal movement of people, transport, and commodities across the international border; sovereignty dispute with Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland; commencing the collection of technical evidence for submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in support of claims for continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its declared baselines in the Arctic, as stipulated in Article 76, paragraph 8, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
    refugees (country of origin): 17,563 (Colombia); 16,813 (China); 13,705 (Sri Lanka); 11,605 (Pakistan); 6,798 (Haiti); 5,995 (Mexico); 5,287 (India) (2012)
    illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market and export to US; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; increasing ecstasy production, some of which is destined for the US; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering because of its mature financial services sector