North America :: Canada
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag of Canada
Map of 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 an unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services, 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
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)
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
Current Weather
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, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 4.57%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 94.78% (2005)
Irrigated land:
7,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
3,300 cu km (1985)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 44.72 cu km/yr (20%/69%/12%)
per capita: 1,386 cu m/yr (1996)
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
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border
People ::Canada
33,759,742 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.9% (male 2,747,226/female 2,612,943)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 11,712,238/female 11,456,512)
65 years and over: 15.5% (male 2,291,928/female 2,938,895) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.7 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 41.8 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.804% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Birth rate:
10.28 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
Death rate:
7.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Net migration rate:
5.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
urban population: 80% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.056 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.99 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 188
male: 5.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.29 years
country comparison to the world: 9
male: 78.72 years
female: 84 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.58 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
73,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian
Ethnic groups:
British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (including United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16% (2001 census)
English (official) 58.8%, French (official) 21.6%, other 19.6% (2006 Census)
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: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2004)
Education expenditures:
5.2% of GDP (2002)
country comparison to the world: 62
Government ::Canada
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 is divided into 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 Territory*
1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK)
National holiday:
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
Legal system:
based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
head of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Michaelle JEAN (since 27 September 2005)
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 five-year terms)
elections: House of Commons - last held on 14 October 2008 (next to be held no later than 15 October 2012)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative Party 37.6%, Liberal Party 26.2%, New Democratic Party 18.2%, Bloc Quebecois 10%, Greens 6.8%, other 1%; seats by party - Conservative Party 145, Liberal Party 77, New Democratic Party 37, Bloc Quebecois 48, other 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Canada (judges are appointed by the prime minister through the governor general); Federal Court of Canada; Federal Court of Appeal; Provincial Courts (these are named variously Court of Appeal, Court of Queen's Bench, Superior Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Justice)
Political parties and leaders:
Bloc Quebecois [Gilles DUCEPPE]; Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER] (a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party); Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]; Liberal Party [Michael IGNATIEFF]; New Democratic Party [Jack LAYTON]
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:
ACCT, ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ESA (associate), ESA (cooperating state), FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gary DOER
chancery: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone: [1] (202) 682-1740
FAX: [1] (202) 682-7701
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson
consulate(s): Anchorage, Houston, Philadelphia, Princeton (New Jersey), Raleigh, San Jose (California), Tucson
Diplomatic representation from the US:
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, 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
Economy ::Canada
Economy - overview:
As an affluent, 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 nearly 80% 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, 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 country's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.285 trillion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$1.318 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.313 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.335 trillion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-2.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
0.4% (2008 est.)
2.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$38,400 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$39,700 (2008 est.)
$39,900 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.3%
industry: 26.4%
services: 71.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
18.39 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
manufacturing: 13%
construction: 6%
services: 76%
other: 3% (2006)
Unemployment rate:
8.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
6.2% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line:
10.8%; 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 (2005)
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: 100
31.5 (1994)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
revenues: $521.6 billion
expenditures: $578.7 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
75.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
64.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
2.4% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
1.75% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 109
4.5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
4.73% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 137
6.1% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$356.2 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 6
$391.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$1.299 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
$1.381 trillion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$2.335 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 9
$2.382 trillion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 10
$1.002 trillion (31 December 2008)
$2.187 trillion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish
transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Industrial production growth rate:
-13% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Electricity - production:
620.7 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Electricity - consumption:
536.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Electricity - exports:
55.73 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
23.5 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
3.289 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Oil - consumption:
2.151 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Oil - exports:
2.421 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Oil - imports:
1.165 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
Oil - proved reserves:
178.1 billion bbl
country comparison to the world: 2
note: includes oil sands (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
161.3 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Natural gas - consumption:
94.62 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Natural gas - exports:
94.67 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Natural gas - imports:
16.59 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.64 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Current account balance:
-$36.13 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
$7.61 billion (2008 est.)
$323.4 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$459.1 billion (2008 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 75.02%, UK 3.37%, China 3.09% (2009)
$327.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$415.2 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 51.1%, China 10.88%, Mexico 4.56% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$54.36 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
$43.87 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$833.8 billion (30 June 2009)
country comparison to the world: 12
$781.1 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$494.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$412.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$576.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$520.4 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar - 1.1548 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005)
Communications ::Canada
Telephones - main lines in use:
18.25 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 17
Telephones - mobile cellular:
21.455 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 37
Telephone system:
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) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 245, FM 582, shortwave 6 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
148 (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
7.193 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 14
Internet users:
25.086 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 13
Transportation ::Canada
1,388 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 4
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 515
over 3,047 m: 19
2,438 to 3,047 m: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 148
914 to 1,523 m: 251
under 914 m: 79 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 873
1,524 to 2,437 m: 73
914 to 1,523 m: 373
under 914 m: 427 (2009)
12 (2009)
crude and refined oil 23,564 km; liquid petroleum gas 74,980 km (2009)
total: 46,688 km
country comparison to the world: 5
standard gauge: 46,688 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
country comparison to the world: 78
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 175
country comparison to the world: 38
by type: bulk carrier 60, cargo 13, carrier 1, chemical tanker 10, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 64, petroleum tanker 12, roll on/roll off 6
foreign-owned: 17 (Germany 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 3, US 10)
registered in other countries: 206 (Australia 9, Bahamas 84, Barbados 9, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 2, Denmark 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 44, Liberia 7, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 6, Norway 10, Panama 18, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Spain 4, Taiwan 2, Vanuatu 5) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Fraser River Port, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec City, Saint John (New Brunswick), Sept-Isles, Vancouver
Military ::Canada
Military branches:
Canadian Forces: Land Forces Command (LFC), Maritime Command (MARCOM), Air Command (AIRCOM), Canada Command (homeland security) (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (with parental consent); 16 years of age for reserve and military college applicants; Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status required; maximum 34 years of age; service obligation 3-9 years (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 8,051,656
females age 16-49: 7,780,644 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 6,642,190
females age 16-49: 6,402,896 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 220,538
female: 208,033 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
Transnational Issues ::Canada
Disputes - international:
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, the US, and other countries dispute the status of the Northwest Passage; 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
Illicit drugs:
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

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)