Form of Government: Federal state
Area: 9 897 170 sq km
Population: 38 048 738 inhab. (estimate 2021)
Density: 3.84 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 83° - 42° N; long. 141° - 53° W
Capital: Ottawa (capital) 934 243 inhab. (2016); Ottawa-Gatineau 1 461 494 inhab. (2020), urban agglomeration
Currency: Canadian dollar (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.929 (rank: 16)
Head of State: The British Sovereign
Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau (LPC), since 4 November 2015
House of Commons: seats based on the elections of 21 October 2019: LPC (Liberal Party), 157; CPC (Conservative Party), 121; BQ (Bloc Québecois), 32; NDP (New Democratic Party, social democratic), 24; Greens, 3; independent, 1
Internet: www.statcan.gc.ca (Statistics Canada)
Member of APEC, Commonwealth, Council of Europe observer, EBRD, NATO, OAS, OECD, OSCE, UN, USMCA, WTO
International license plate code CDN
International dialling code 001
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 120
Driving side rigth
Internet code .ca
GMT Ottawa -5; Saint John's (Newfoundland and Labrador) -3.30; Halifax -4; Winnipeg -6; Regina -6; Edmonton -7; Vancouver -8
DST Ottawa -4; Saint John's (Newfoundland and Labrador) -2.30; Halifax -3; Winnipeg -5; Regina not applied; Edmonton -6; Vancouver -7
DST duration (start-end) mid March (Sunday 9)-early November
Annual average temperature (°C) Ottawa 6.3; Montréal 6.5; Coppermine -11; Fort Smith -3; Halifax 7.2; Vancouver 11
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Ottawa -10.5/20.5; Montréal -10/19; Coppermine -28/9; Fort Smith -25/16; Halifax -4/18.5; Vancouver 5/18
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Ottawa 8.5/2.5; Montréal 8/2; Coppermine 9/0; Fort Smith 11/1; Halifax 7/3; Vancouver 7/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Ottawa 925; Montréal 1060; Coppermine 236; Fort Smith 333; Halifax 1530; Vancouver 1595
Days of rainfall (annual average) Ottawa 147; Montréal 139; Coppermine 84; Fort Smith 95; Halifax 132; Vancouver 155
Politics and current affairs
The popularity of the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister J. Trudeau, who was obliged to form a minority government after the elections on 21 October 2019, gained strength in 2021 also thanks to the vaccination campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed itself to be effective, despite the slow start.
Canada is bordered by the United States to the south, and Alaska (USA) to the west. To the north lies the ice-cap of the Arctic Ocean and, to the east, the Atlantic Ocean, while the Pacific Ocean lies off its west coast. Canada comprises four great natural regions: the Canadian Shield, the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Coast, the lowlands of the River St. Lawrence, and the Canadian Appalachians. The Canadian Shield, which occupies about half the country, forms a broad basin around Hudson Bay and is dotted with lakes (Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca, Lake Winnipeg), with higher land in the Plains to the west stretching as far as the Rocky Mountains. To the east, the Shield continues in the form of the Labrador Peninsula. The north is fragmented into many small islands which form the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Mountain ranges form the northern part of the Rockies, the highest peak of which, Mount Robson, is 3954 m above sea-level. West of the Rockies stretches a vast plateau, crossed by many rivers and streams (River Yukon and its tributaries) and dotted with a multitude of lakes. Beyond, parallel to the coast, lies the chain of Coast Mountains (Mount Logan, 5959 m, in the Saint Elias Mountain range). The Appalachian Mountains are located in the south-east of the country (extending to the island of Newfoundland), while the valley of the River St. Lawrence, Canada’s most fertile area, which also has the highest population, separates the Canadian Shield from the Appalachians.
The largest rivers are the Yukon, the Fraser and the Columbia, which flow into the Pacific Ocean; the Mackenzie which flows into the Arctic Ocean; the Saskatchewan, which flows into Lake Winnipeg; the Churchill and the Nelson, whose waters flow into Hudson Bay, and the St. Lawrence, which flows out of Lake Ontario and into the Atlantic Ocean.
The climate is predominantly continental, with long, cold winters and short summers with light rainfall.
A federal state, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 and member of the British Commonwealth in 1926.
Its own Constitution was issued on 25 April 1982. There are ten provinces (each with its own legislative and executive bodies) and three territories. Since 1935 the country has been governed alternately by the Liberal Party (progressive) and the Reform Alliance Party (conservative).
To protect the indigenous minorities, on 1 April 1999, the autonomous territory of Nunavut was created (separated officially from the Northwest Territories), for the Inuit people to govern themselves. On 29 May 1993, a framework agreement was signed in response to the requests for independence made by the various indigenous communities of the Yukon. On 27 April 1999, a treaty was signed, assigning 2000 km2 of land to the Nisga’a people, over which they have considerable autonomy. A similar treaty was signed on 26 August 2003 with the Tlicho, to whom an area of 39 000 km2 was allocated.
The head of state is the British Sovereign, represented by a Governor General appointed on the recommendation of the Canadian Prime Minister. The government is accountable to Parliament, which is made up of two houses: the House of Commons (338 members, elected by direct suffrage, usually the house is dissolved after four years) and the Senate (105 members appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and in office up to the age of 75 years).
Military service is voluntary.
The legal system is based on British Common Law, with the exception of the Province of Québec, where the organization is influenced by the French legal system.
The Supreme Court of Canada is based in Ottawa. Each province has its own Supreme Court as well as lower-level courts and its own police force. There is also a federal police force (the RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police) which operates on a national level.
|Toronto||2 731 571||inhab.||2016|
|Montréal||1 704 694||inhab.||2016|
|Toronto||6 555 205||inhab.||2020|
|Montréal||4 364 189||inhab.||2020|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
The population is centred in the southern part of the country, particularly in the Ontario and Québec areas close to the border with the US. The growth rate is positive, partly because of the contribution of immigrants (mainly from Asia).
In 2021, the country came out of the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; the rise in oil prices, which play an important role in the economy of the central western provinces, also supports the economic growth. The government, led by J. Trudeau, loosened its tight control over the budget to allow for an expansion in public spending, particularly investments in infrastructure, and to boost the economy. Stimulus measures were taken to provide credit and support families, whose debt is very high.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||113.12||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||110.63||index||2019|
|Active population||19 896 600||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||47.1||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||46.6||%||2020|
|Expenses||353 794||M LCU||2019|
|Revenues||344 207||M LCU||2019|
|Currency in circulation||106.925||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||90 428.136||M US$||2020|
Thanks to the high level of mechanization, farming is very productive and promotes substantial exports. Cereals are grown on a very large scale, especially wheat and oats (in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba), barley (Alberta and Saskatchewan), and maize (Ontario and Québec). Potatoes are grown only in New Brunswick, on Prince Edward Island and in Ontario. In the other Atlantic provinces the predominant crops are flax (Canada is the world’s largest producer of linseed), soya (Ontario), rapeseed (Saskatchewan, Alberta), blueberries, sugar beet and tobacco.
Forest covers about one third of the land. The most common tree species is spruce, followed by pine, cedar, birch and maple. Canada’s large cover of forest, exploited in a sustainable manner, has created a flourishing timber industry (solid wood and wood pulp).
Livestock and fishing.
Intensive livestock farming, particularly of cattle and pigs, is practised mainly in the provinces of Alberta, Québec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Rearing and, on a smaller scale, hunting animals for their pelts, particularly minks and silver foxes, are practiced.
Cod, salmon and sole fishing is very important (along the fragmented Pacific coast), as well as lobster, prawns, crab, halibut, pollack, cod and shellfish (on the Atlantic coast), whitefish, pike, perch, trout and sturgeon (in the lakes). Fish farming is also widespread (mussels, oysters, salmon and perch).
|barley||10 382.6||1000 t||2019|
|cereals, total||61 134.5||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||5 409.739||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||5 409.739||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||316.8||1000 t||2019|
|beans, green||67.369||1000 t||2019|
|rapeseed||18 648.8||1000 t||2019|
|soybeans||6 045.1||1000 t||2019|
|mustard seed||134.6||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||903.8||1000 t||2019|
|barley||2 727.5||1000 ha||2019|
|maize||1 451.2||1000 ha||2019|
|carrots and turnips||7.943||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||150.2||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, green||7.842||1000 ha||2019|
|rapeseed||8 319.2||1000 ha||2019|
|soybeans||2 270.5||1000 ha||2019|
|mustard seed||154.7||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||12.4||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||145 167 801||m³||2019|
|cattle||11 500||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||11 500||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||14 399.339||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||4$||1000 heads||2019|
|equines, total||402.701||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||178 951||1000 heads||2019|
|crustaceans and molluscs||407 603||t||2019|
|freshwater fishes||20 519.722||t||2019|
Canada is extremely rich in mineral and energy resources. Oil extraction from oil shales (Alberta) put the country in first place worldwide for oil deposits in the early 21st century. The largest coal deposits are at Castor, Drumheller, Pembina, Sheerness, Crowsnest, Mountain Park, Coalspur, Alix, Camrose and Lethbridge (Alberta); Cape Breton Island and areas of Cumberland, Sydney and Pictou (Nova Scotia); Crowsnest and Vancouver (British Columbia); Minto, Chipman and Coal Creek (New Brunswick); Bienfait and Estevan (Saskatchewan).
There are important oil reserves at Swan Hills, Bonnie Glen, Mitsue, Zama, Rainbow Lake, Utikuma Lake, Redwater, Leduc-Woodbend, Pembina, Kaybob, Sylvan Lake, Medicine River, Deer Mountain and Goose River (all in Alberta), at Boundary Lake and Peejay (in British Columbia), at Midale, Dodsland and Weyburn (in Saskatchewan) and at Hartney in (Manitoba). There are many oil pipelines, the most important of which are those from Alberta’s oil fields to the US, Edmonton-Vancouver, Edmonton-Montréal. In areas with oil reserves, natural gas is also extracted. The largest field is at Medicine Hat, in Alberta, known as “Natural Gas City”. Other places where natural gas is produced include Martin Hills, Edson, Olds, Hussar, Cessford, Provost, Viking-Kinsella and Kessler; in Saint John (New Brunswick) there is a regasification plant. Canada is also a large producer of uranium and radium: the most important mines are in Saskatchewan (Cigar Lake, Key Lake, McArthur River, McClean Lake, Rabbit Lake). Lithium reserves are also significant (Québec).
Canada has deposits of almost all minerals. Nickel is mined in the district of Sudbury (Totten, Copper Cliff North, Kirkwood, Coleman, Little Stobie, Frood Stobie, Garson, Levack, Murray and Clarabelle), at Lynn Lake, Thompson, Creighton, Birchtree, Soab (in Manitoba) and near Voisey’s Bay. Iron is mined at Algoma and Steep Rock (in Ontario), Burnt Creek, Lake Carol, Wabush, Mount Wright, Schefferville and Québec Cartier (in Labrador), Michipicoten (a small island on Lake Superior), Quinsam Lake (Vancouver Island) and at Wabana (on Belle Isle, Newfoundland). There are considerable deposits of gold (at Kirkland Lake, Porcupine, Bourlamaque and Yellowknife), silver (at Cobalt and Atlin), platinum (at Sudbury), palladium (Lac des Iles) and diamonds, which are found in the territory of Nunavut (at Ekati, Diavik, Jerico and Snap Lake).
Other minerals mined are cobalt, lead (Nelson and Atlin, in British Columbia), zinc (at Amos, Mattagami and Rouyn in Québec, at Flin Flon in Manitoba, at Nelson, Riondel, Kimberley, Salmo, Remac and Windermere in British Columbia, at Timmins in Ontario, at Buchans in Newfoundland and at Bathurst in New Brunswick), copper (Sherridon and Flin Flon in Manitoba, Noranda in Québec, Geco, North Coldstream, Willroy and Kam-Kotia in Ontario, at River Jordan, Benson Lake, Britannia Beach, Merritt, Greenwood and Highland Valley in British Columbia, and on the Gaspé Peninsula). Large deposits of zinc, copper and silver are also found at Timmins, in Ontario. Other minerals include molybdenum (in British Columbia), tin, tungsten (Yukon), antimony (Lake George), bismuth (Pressiac Township and Trail), selenium, titanium (Allard Lake and St. Urbain), niobium and tantalum (Lake Bernic) and mica. Canada is one of the world’s leading producers of sulfur (a by-product from the processing of pyrites and natural gas) and potassium chloride (at Regina, Pine Point and Esterhazy). Rock salt is extracted in Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan.
Most of the energy produced comes from exploiting the country’s huge hydro-electric potential. The James Bay Project (Québec) and Churchill Falls (Québec) are two of the largest power plants. Mostly in Ontario, there are 19 active nuclear reactors, based on CANDU technology, which has been developed independently and sold abroad. Thermal power plants are located at Lennox (Ontario) and Wabamun (Alberta).
The most important segments of industry are those associated with the exploitation of natural resources, but hi-tech sectors are also expanding, including IT and electronics (Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montréal), aerospace (Québec and Montréal), engineering with hi-tech materials, bio-technologies, healthcare products and telecommunications. In addition, Vancouver now claims to be the third-largest hub in North America for films and television (after Los Angeles and New York). The metal-working industry produces cast iron and iron alloys, with steelworks (at Hamilton), zinc foundries (at Trail, Valleyfield, Flin Flon and Timmins), copper foundries (at Noranda, Montréal-East, Copper Cliff, Coniston, Flin Flon, Falconbridge and Murdochville), tough copper plants (at Montréal and Copper Cliff), lead and casting lead plants (at Trail, Belledune Point, Calgary and Montréal), nickel plants (at Thompson, Port Colborne, Falconbridge, Fort Saskatchewan, Coniston, Copper Cliff and Sherritt Gordon), cadmium processing (at Flin Flon, Trail and Valleyfield), and cobalt processing (at Port Colborne, Thompson, Cobalt and Fort Saskatchewan). Canada is one of the world’s leading aluminium producers, with plants (at Arvida, Kitimat, Isle Maligne, Shawinigan and Beauharnois) which process imported bauxite. There are oil refineries at Lloydminster, Edmonton and Scotford (in Alberta); Burnaby, Price George (in British Columbia); St. John (in New Brunswick); Dartmouth (in Nova Scotia); Sarnia, Nanticoke, Oakville, Clarkson (in Ontario); Lévis, Montréal (Québec); Regina (in Saskatchewan); Come By Chance (Newfoundland).
Chemical companies tend to produce fertilizers (at Sarnia, Welland, Port Maitland, Fort Saskatchewan, Trail, Calgary, Redwater and Brandon), ammonia (at Trail), synthetic rubber, plastic materials and resins, helium (at Swift Current, in Saskatchewan) and chlorine. The industry associated with forest exploitation is very important. Production plants making cellulose, wood pulp and paper are concentrated in Québec, Ontario and British Columbia. Ottawa is one of the world’s largest trading centres for timber. Montréal, Toronto and Kitchener are important for the furniture industry. Canada is one of the world’s top producers of groundwood pulp and chemical pulp. Companies in the sector are moving towards developing activities with a high degree of added value (such as components for furniture, prefabricated houses).
The automotive industry is based in Ontario, with plants at Alliston, Brampton, Cambridge, Ingersoll, Oakville, Oshawa, Windsor and Woodstock. Montréal, Rivière-du-Loup, Winnipeg and Calgary are important railway construction centres. There are shipyards at Lauzon, Halifax, Sydney, Victoria, Vancouver and Montréal. The textile industry is based in Québec where the processing of cotton predominates, but also of silk and yarns in general (at factories in Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Drummondville, Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan Falls, Sherbrooke, Magog and Valleyfield). In Ontario there are many woollen mills, knitwear companies and carpet factories (in Toronto, Hamilton, Woodstock, London, Galt, Ingersoll, Briantford, Niagara Falls, Saint Catharines, Kingston and Peterborough). Artificial textile fibres are produced in Cornwall, Drummondville and Edmonton. Synthetic fibres are made in the valley of the St. Lawrence (at Drummondville, Ste.-Thérèse, Richmond and Cornwall) and in Ontario (at Millhaven, Galt, Brantford, Kingston, Cobourg and Welland).
|coal||50 677.9||1000 t||2019|
|coal, total||39 550.3||1000 t||2020|
|limestone||1 700||1000 t||2020|
|diamonds||17 000||1000 ct||2020|
|- hydro||377 979.03||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||113 726.84||M kWh||2019|
|- hydro||81 386||1000 kW||2019|
|- thermal||34 631||1000 kW||2018|
|total net generation||632 302||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||147 811||1000 kW||2018|
|alumina||1 500||1000 t||2020|
|aluminium||3 100||1000 t||2020|
|commercial vehicles||1 048 942||no.||2020|
|bitumen||5 420||1000 t||2018|
|petrol||37 942.4||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||4 887.1||1000 t||2020|
|caustic soda||514.8||1000 t||2011|
|footwear||7 638 500||pairs||2004|
|beer of barley||2 165||1000 t||2018|
|fish, frozen||98$||1000 t||2003|
|cigarettes||18 511.6||M units||2020|
|chemical pulp||9 021||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||16 195||1000 t||2019|
|cement||13 554||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||16 008.76||M US$||2017|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||27 770.831||M US$||2017|
Canada is a world leader in terms of international trade; the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union is active from 2017. It is the largest exporter of timber for the construction industry, wood pulp, paper, aluminium, uranium, oil, chemicals, machinery, vehicles and agricultural commodities. The main imports are vehicles and spare parts, industrial machinery, chemicals, food products, computers, oil and consumer durables. The USA, Canada’s main trading partner, absorbs approximately 75% of its total exports (especially hydrocarbons, uranium, electricity).
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) crude oil 54 055, cars 46 527, machinery 32 394, vehicles and parts thereof 15 930, timber 14 095, gold 13 224, electric and electronic appliances 12 973, plastics 12 595, petroleum products 12 300, iron and steel 11 608, natural gas 10 302, aluminium 9 823, aircraft and parts thereof 9 692, chemicals 9 334, oil seeds 7 865, paper and paperboard 7 227, metal ores 6 997
Finance and banking.
The Canadian banking system withstood the global financial crisis of 2008-09 better than other developed countries, thanks to the high level of capitalization and a cautious credit policy. The central bank is the Bank of Canada. The First National Bank has been entrusted with the task of funding investments in Amerindian and Inuit communities. The Toronto and Montréal stock exchange, which are part of the TMX Group.
|manufactures||47.91||% of goods exports||2019|
|fuels||24.044||% of goods exports||2019|
|United States||286 020||M US$||2020|
|China||18 827||M US$||2020|
|United States||197 593||M US$||2020|
|China||57 221||M US$||2020|
Tourism. Tourism, especially in Canada’s great national parks, is supported by marketing activities and excellent facilities. Most of Canada’s tourists come from the USA.
|Expenditures||35 314||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||22 145 000||units||2019|
The transport system, which has been developed particularly between east and west, is well integrated with the American transport network. The railway network is based on two large trans-continental systems (the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway), plus a company specialised in passenger transport (VIA Rail Canada) and other minor companies. The trans-continental motorway (the Trans-Canada Highway), connecting Saint John’s (in Newfoundland) to Vancouver, with extensions to Alaska and the north, deserves special mention. The air transport system is based on a network of about 1400 airports.
|Civil aviation, km flown||935 600 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||93 352||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||408.262||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||943.4||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education and research.
Individual provinces are responsible for providing education. School is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15 or 18 (according to the province). Primary education lasts between six and eight years, followed by between four and six years of secondary studies. In Québec, students who speak French have the right to be taught in their own language. There are similar guarantees for other ethnic minorities (Amerindians and the Inuit).
Social security and health.
The Federal Government administers the retirement pension system and provides support for families and the unemployed. Healthcare is free for everyone and is the responsibility of the provinces and the territories.
|Expected years of schooling||16.225||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||2 407 006||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||2 654 199||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||30.1||% of total expenses||2007|
|Social protection spending||17.985||% of GDP||2018|
|Hospital beds||2.52||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Physicians||2.74||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|HIV||0.3||% of adults||2011|
|Museums, visitors||27 840 000||units||2002-03|
|Research and development spending||1.543||% of GDP||2019|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|