FLAG: The national flag, adopted in 1964, consists of a red maple leaf on a white field, flanked by a red vertical field on each end.

ANTHEM: Since 1 July 1980, O Canada has been the official anthem.

MONETARY UNIT: The Canadian dollar (c$) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, 1 dollar and 2 dollars, and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 1,000 Canadian dollars. Silver coins of 5 and 10 dollars, commemorating the Olympics, were issued during 197376. c$1 = us$0.82645 (or us$1 = c$1.21) as of 2005. US currency is usually accepted, especially in major cities and along the border.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Victoria Day, the Monday preceding 25 May; Canada Day, 1 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Thanksgiving Day, 2nd Monday in October; Remembrance Day, 11 November; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Other holidays are observed in some provinces.

TIME: Newfoundland, 8:30 am = noon GMT; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Québec, 8 am = noon GMT; Ontario east of 90° and western Québec, 7 am = noon GMT; western Ontario and Manitoba, 6 am = noon GMT; Alberta and Saskatchewan, 5 am = noon GMT; British Columbia and Yukon Territory, 4 am = noon GMT.


Canada consists of all of the North American continent north of the United States except Alaska and the small French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Its total land area of 9,976,140 sq km (3,851,809 sq mi) makes it the second-largest country in the world (slightly larger than China and the United States), extending 5,187 km (3,223 mi) ew from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, to Mt. St. Elias in the Yukon Territory and 4,627 km (2,875 mi) ns from Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island to Pelee Island in Lake Erie. Canada is bounded on the n by the Arctic Ocean, on the e by Kennedy Channel, Nares Strait, Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, and the Atlantic Ocean, on the s by the United States, and on the w by the Pacific Ocean and the US state of Alaska. The coastal waters of Canada also include the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay. The country's total land boundary length is 8,893 km (5,526 mi). Its total coastline length is 202,080 km (125,566 miles) Canada's capital city, Ottawa, is located in the southeastern part of the country.


Canada's topography is dominated by the Canadian Shield, an ice-scoured area of Precambrian rocks surrounding Hudson Bay and covering half the country. This vast region, with its store of forests, waterpower, and mineral resources, is being increasingly developed. East of the Shield is the maritime area, separated from the rest of Canada by low mountain ranges pierced by plains and river valleys, and including the island of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. South and southeast of the Shield are the Great LakesSt. Lawrence lowlands, a fertile plain in the triangle bounded by the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Georgian Bay.

West of the Shield are the farmlands and ranching areas of the great central plains, some 1,300 km (800 mi) wide along the US border and tapering to about 160 km (100 mi) at the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Toward the north of this section is a series of rich mining areas, and still farther north is the Mackenzie low-land, traversed by many lakes and rivers. The westernmost region of Canada, extending from western Alberta to the Pacific Ocean, includes the Rocky Mountains, a plateau region, the coastal mountain range, and an inner sea passage separating the outer island groups from the fjord-lined coast. Mt. Logan, the highest peak in Canada, in the St. Elias Range near the Alaska border, is 5,959 m (19,551 ft) high. The Arctic islands constitute a large group extending north of the Canadian mainland to within 885 km (550 mi) of the North Pole. They vary greatly in size and topography, with mountains, plateaus, fjords, and low coastal plains.

The central Canadian Shield area is drained by the Nelson-Saskatchewan, Churchill, Severn, and Albany rivers flowing into the Hudson Bay. The 4,241-km (2,635-mi) Mackenzie Riverwith its tributaries and three large lakes (Great Bear, Great Slave, and Athabasca)drains an area of almost 2.6 million sq km (1 million sq mi) into the Arctic Ocean. The Columbia, Fraser, and Yukon rivers are the principal drainage systems of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. The Great Lakes drain into the broad St. Lawrence River, which flows into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Other rivers flow laterally from the interior into Hudson Bay or the Atlantic or Pacific ocean.


Most of northern Canada has subarctic or arctic climates, with long cold winters lasting 8 to 11 months, short sunny summers, and little precipitation. In contrast, the populated south has a variety of climatological landscapes. The greatest temperature range is in the Northwest Territories, where the average temperature at Fort Good Hope ranges from -31°c (-24°f) in January to 16°c (61°f) in July.

Cool summers and mild winters prevail only along the Pacific coast of British Columbia. There the mean temperatures range from about 4°c (39°f) in January to 16°c (61°f) in July, the least range in the country. On the prairies there are extreme differences in temperature between day and night and summer and winter. In Ontario and Québec, especially near the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence River, the climate is less severe than in western Canada. This region has abundant precipitation that is highly uniform from season to season. The growing season is short, even in the south. Much of the interior plains area does not get enough rain for diversified crops.

East of the Rockies across the flat prairie lies the meeting ground for air from the Arctic, Pacific, and American interior. The mixing of air masses leads to a turbulent atmosphere and the emergence of cyclonic storms, producing most of the rain and snow in the country. The northwest and the prairies, having fewer or weaker storms, are the driest areas, although the prairies are the site of some heavy blizzards and dramatic thunderstorms. The windward mountain slopes are exceptionally wet; the protected slopes are very dry. Thus, the west coast gets about 150300 cm (60120 in) of rain annually; the central prairie area, less than 50 cm (20 in); the flat area east of Winnipeg, 50100 cm (2040 in); and the maritime provinces, 115150 cm (4560 in). The annual average number of days of precipitation ranges from 252 along coastal British Columbia to 100 in the interior of the province.


A great range of plant and animal life characterizes the vast area of Canada, with its varied geographic and climatic zones. The flora of the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region resembles that of the adjacent US section, with white pine, hemlock, sugar and red maples, yellow birch, and beech trees. Coniferous treesparticularly red sprucepredominate in the Maritime region, black spruce in the eastern Laurentian zone, white spruce in the western. In the east are also found the balsam fir, white cedar, tamarack, white birch, and aspen, with jack pine in the drier areas. From the prairie grassland to the Arctic tundra there are aspen, bur oak, balm of Gilead, cottonwood, balsam poplar, white birch, and other deciduous trees. Conifers dominate the northern section. Many types of grasses grow on the interior plains. The wet area along the west coast is famous for its tall, hard conifers: western hemlock and red cedar, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, and western white pine. Subalpine forests cover the Rocky Mountain area, where there are such conifers as alpine fir, Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine and aspen, and mountain hemlock. The great Arctic region is covered with low-growing grasses, mosses, and bushes.

The fauna of the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region includes deer, black bear, opossum, gray and red squirrels, otter, beaver, and skunk; birds include eastern bluebird, red-winged blackbird, robin, wood thrush, woodpecker, oriole, bobolink, crow, hawk, bittern, heron, black duck, and loon. In the boreal forest area there are moose, caribou, black bear, lynx, timber wolf, marten, beaver, porcupine, snowshoe rabbit, red squirrel, and chipmunk. Typical mammals of the Rocky Mountain area are grizzly bear, mountain goat, moose, wapiti, cougar, and alpine flying squirrel. In the plains are rabbits, gophers, prairie birds, and waterfowl. Abundant on the west coast are deer, Cascade mountain goat, red squirrel, mountain beaver, various species of mice, and Puget striped skunk; common birds include northern Pigmy-owl, band-tailed pigeon, black swift, northern flicker, crow, rufous-sided towhee, and black brant. Over the stretches of the Arctic are the musk ox and reindeer, polar bear, caribou, white and blue fox, arctic hare, and lemming, as well as the snowy owl, ptarmigan, snow bunting, arctic tern, and other birds. Walrus, seals, and whales inhabit Canada's coastal waters.


Canada's principal environmental agency is the Department of the Environment, established in 1971 and reorganized in 1979. Responsibilities of this department, also known as Environment Canada, include air and water pollution control, land-use planning, and wildlife preservation. Responsibility for maritime resources was vested in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans under the 1979 reorganization. Air pollution and the resulting acid rain have posed a threat to lakes and forests in an area of eastern Canada about 2.6 million sq km (1 million sq mi). Canadian sources estimate that about 14,000 lakes in eastern Canada are acidified and another 300,000 lakes will remain in danger if adequate emission reductions are not implemented. As of the mid-1990s, acid rain had affected a total of 150,000 lakes throughout Canada. Waterfowl populations have already been depleted. About half the acid rain comes from emissions from Canadian smokestacks, but Canada has blamed US industry for 75% of the Ontario pollution.

Canada's rivers and ocean waters have been contaminated by toxic pollutants from agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities. As of the mid-1990s, 50% of Canada's coastal shellfish areas were closed because of the dangerous levels of pollutants.

Canada has more than 90 bird sanctuaries and 44 National Wildlife Areas, including reserves in the western Arctic to protect waterfowl nesting grounds. In May 1986, Canada and the United States signed an agreement to restore the breeding habitat of mallard and pintail ducks in the midcontinental regions of both countries. The project, which spanned 15 years and cost c$1.5 billion, was meant to protect and improve 1,200,000 hectares (3,000,000 acres) of duck habitat in order to reverse the decline in waterfowl populations and raise the average annual fall migration to 100 million birdsthe level of the 1970s. The project also called for the protection of waterfowl habitats in the lower Mississippi River and Gulf Coast region, and the black duck habitat in eastern Canada and the East Coast of the United States.

The annual Newfoundland seal hunt, producing seals for pelts and meat, drew the ire of environmentalists chiefly because of the practice of clubbing baby seals to death (adult seals are shot). Approval by the European parliament of a voluntary boycott on seal-skin imports undercut the market, and the Newfoundland seal catch dropped from about 1,400 in 198182 to 360 in 198283. In 1987, Canada banned the offshore hunting of baby seals, as well as blueback hooded seals.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 16 types of mammals, 19 species of birds, 2 types of reptiles, 1 species of amphibian, 24 species of fish, 1 type of mollusk, 10 other invertebrates, and 1 species of plant. Endangered species in Canada include the Vancouver Island marmot, eastern puma, wood bison, sea otter, right whale, St. Lawrence beluga, Acadian whitefish, mountain plover, piping plover, spotted owl, leatherback turtle, cucumber tree, Furbish's lousewort, Eskimo curlew, Kirtlands warbler, American peregrine falcon, whooping crane, and the southern bald eagle. The longjaw cisco, the Labrador duck, and the great auk have become extinct.


The population of Canada in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 32,225,000, which placed it at number 36 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 13% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 18% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.3%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 36,027,000. The population density was 3 per sq km (8 per sq mi).

Statistics Canada is the Canadian government bureau that conducts the census; every five years, forms are included with the annual income tax returns that are sent to every mailing address. The population doubled between 1945 and 1993, although the growth rate has been declining since the 1970s, when it was 12.9% (197181).

The UN estimated that 79% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.05%. The capital city, Ottawa, had a population of 1,093,000 in that year. The Toronto metropolitan area had an estimated population of 5,060,000; Montréal, 3,511,000; Vancouver, 2,125,000; Edmonton, 1,005,000; and Calgary, 1,074,000. Other large cities and their estimated populations include Winnipeg, 706,900; Québec, 670,000; Hamilton, 662,401; Kitchener, 450,100; London, 432,451; St. Catherines-Niagara, 377,009; Halifax, 375,000; Victoria, 335,000; Windsor, 307,877; Oshawa, 296,298; and Saskatoon, 236,000. Ontario, with 81.8% of its population classed as urban, was the most urbanized province, followed by British Columbia (80.4%), Alberta (79.8%), and Québec (77.6%). Only New Brunswick (47.7%), Prince Edward Island (39.9%), and the Northwest Territories (36.7%) have less than half their population in urban areas.

The population is unevenly distributed, ranging from 0.045 per sq km (0.02 per sq mi) in the Northwest Territories to 59 per sq km (22.8 per sq mi) on Prince Edward Island. Nearly 85% of the people live within 150 km (93 mi) of the US boundary. All except the Maritime provinces have large areas virtually uninhabited.


Canadians of French origin are descendants of about 10,000 settlers who arrived in the 17th century and in the first half of the 18th century. Black slaves were brought to Canada as early as 1608. Later in the 18th century, thousands of British settlers came to Canada from New England and other colonies to the south. By 1850, 500,000 persons had left the British Isles for Canada; between 184654, an additional 500,000 arrived, mainly from Ireland. The Underground Railway, a network of people and safe houses that helped runaway slaves reach freedom, operated from 184060, and enabled about 30,000 blacks to reach Canada. The peak year for immigration was 1913, when 400,870 people arrived. From 192130, there were 1,230,202 immigrants; in 193140, 158,562; in 194665, 2,504,120. Many re-emigrated, mainly to the United States; by 1950, Canadian-born persons formed the second-largest group of foreign-born US inhabitants. Between 195156, however, the excess of immigration over emigration was almost 600,000. After a lull in the early 1960s, immigration reached a peak of 222,876 in 1967. In 1974, immigration controls were tightened, and between 197585, the number of immigrants per year averaged 118,656, and between 198693, 193,881. In 1993, total immigration was 252,042. Of these, immigrants from Asia numbered 134,532; from Europe, 50,050; Africa, 19,033; the Caribbean, 19,028; the United States, 6,565; and South America, 11,327. Emigration is mainly to the United States.

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which became law in 2001, determines admissibility, emphasizing education, language, and skills. As of May 2001, 18.4% of Canada's population was foreign born. Over half was made up of immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. In 2004 Canada led the G-8 nations (Canada, the United States, the Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan) in gains in migratory exchanges, with the highest international migration rate of any G8 country. In 2005, the net migration rate for Canada was estimated as 5.9 migrants per 1,000 population.

Interprovincial migration is generally from east to west. During 199091 British Columbia gained 37,620 more people from other provinces than it lost, and Alberta 7,502, while provinces experiencing net population loss were Ontario (lost 22,301), Saskatchewan (9,941), and Québec (7,690). However, from 19962001, the Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, and Nunavut, respectively, had the greatest percentage population increases among the provinces, and Québec and Ontario had the lowest.

In 2004, Canada had 168,688 applications for asylum, primarily from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Colombia, China, Iran, and Sudan. There were 141,398 refugees in the country in 2004, and 27,290 asylum seekers.


More than 80% of the population is Canadian-born. In general, the percentage of the population born outside Canada increases as one goes westward from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Persons of whole or partial British (including Irish) origin make up about 28% of the total population; those of whole or partial French origin (centered mainly in Québec, where they constitute some 80% of the population) make up 23%. Other European groups account for 15% of the total populace. About 26% of the population are from mixed backgrounds. Others, mostly Asian, African, and Arab, make up about 6% of the population.

Amerindians constituted about 2%. These Amerindians were classified into ten major ethnolinguistic groups; the métis, of mixed European and Indian extraction, were recognized as an aboriginal people in the Constitution Act of 1982. Most of the Inuit (Eskimos) live in the Northwest Territories, with smaller numbers in northern Québec and northern Newfoundland (Labrador). Since 1959, Inuit cooperatives have been formed to finance fishing, fish processing, retail, housing, and tourist enterprises, and to promote the graphic arts.


English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equal status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all governmental institutions. The federal constitution also gives the English and French minorities the right to publicly funded education in their own language at the primary and secondary levels, wherever the number of children warrants it.

The constitution provides for bilingualism in the legislature and courts of Québec, New Brunswick, and Manitoba. Although there are no similarly entrenched constitutional rights in Ontario and Saskatchewan, these provinces have made English and French the official languages of the courts. In 1984, the Northwest Territories Council adopted an ordinance providing for the use of aboriginal languages and establishing English and French as official languages.

English was proclaimed the sole official language of Manitoba in 1890, and French was made the official language of Québec in 1974. However, the 1890 Manitoba legislation was declared unconstitutional in 1979, as was a Québec law passed in 1977 declaring French to be the sole language of the legislature and the courts.

Although Canada is frequently referred to as a bilingual country, only a minority are able to speak both English and French. In Québec, more than 80% of the people speak French as a native language; in the other provinces, most of the people speak only English, although there are sizable proportions of people able to speak French in New Brunswick and parts of Ontario and Manitoba. Some 60% of Canadians report that their only mother tongue is English, and only about 24% say that is French. About 15% report a single mother tongue other than English or French. Italian, German, Chinese, Ukrainian, Portuguese, and Polish are spoken by small numbers of people. There are at least 58 different Indian languages and dialects, in 10 major language groups. Cree is the most common Indian language.


About 74.6% of the Canadian population belong to Christian denominations. Roman Catholics constitute the largest single group, with 43% of the population. Other Catholic groups include Eastern Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholics. Protestants make up 29% of the populace; the largest denominational groups include the United Church; Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, and Pentecostals. Members of other religions include Jews (1.1% of the population), Muslims (2%), Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs. There are a number of parareligious faiths, including Scientology, Kabalarianism, and Rastafarianism. Shintoism and Taoism are also represented within the country. Approximately 16% of the population has no religious affiliation.

Freedom of religion has been specifically protected by the constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The right has generally been respected in practice. Certain Christian holidays are observed as public holidays. In 2003, a group of Muslims in Ontario established an Islamic Court of Civil Justice, designed to rule on civil disputes between Muslims using the tenets of Shariah law.


With such a vast land area, and with most production inland, all forms of transportation are vital. Since 1945, with the rapid growth of road, air, and pipeline services, the trend has been away from railways for carrying both freight and passengers. But because they can supply all-weather transportation in large volume over continental distances, railways are still important. The federal government, through the Canadian Transport Commission, has allowed a few rate rises and has insisted on a slow curtailment of services; nevertheless, the companies have traditionally operated at a deficit or very low margin of profit because of competition and rising costs. In 2004, the Canadian railway system consisted of 48,683 km (30,281 mi) of all standard gauge track. Two great continental systems operate about 90% of the railway facilities, the formerly government-owned Canadian National Railways (CNR), which was privatized in 1995, and the privately owned Canadian Pacific Ltd. (CP). They compete in some areas but cooperate where duplication of service is not profitable. In addition to their railway operations, CNR and CP maintain steamships and ferries, nationwide telegraph services, highway transport services, and hotel chains.

The populated sections are generally well supplied with roads and highways, but because of difficult winter weather conditions, road maintenance is a recurring and expensive task and puts a tremendous strain on road-building facilities. As of 2002, there are about 1,408,800 km (876,273 mi) of roads, 493,080 km (306,696 mi) of which are paved, including 16,906 km (10,516 mi) of expressways. The 7,820-km (4,860-mi) paved Trans-Canada Highway, a c$500-million project financed jointly by the federal and provincial governments, was completed in 1962. Canada ranks next to the United States in per capita use of motor transport, with one passenger car for every 2 persons. Motor vehicles in use in 2003 totaled 18,495,531, including 17,755,075 passenger cars and 740,456 commercial vehicles.

Bounded by water except for the Alaskan and southern land boundaries with the United States, Canada has many inland lakes and rivers that serve as traffic arteries. In addition, there is also the 3,769-km (2,355-mi) Saint Lawrence Seaway (which includes the 3,058 km/1,911 mi Saint Lawrence River) and Canada's portion of the Great Lakes, each of which are shared with the United States. Canada has access to three oceans, the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic. Canada's merchant fleet was comprised of 169 ships, totaling 1,784,229 GRT, in 2005. Most overseas commerce is carried by foreign ships. Montréal is Canada's largest port and the world's largest grain port. Others among the many well-equipped ports are Toronto, Hamilton, Port Arthur, and Fort William on the Great Lakes, and Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. The Montréal and lake ports are closed by ice from December to April, during which time Halifax on the Atlantic and Saint John on the Bay of Fundy are the only Atlantic Ocean traffic terminals.

The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, constructed jointly by Canada and the United States, and its many canals provide an 8-m (27-ft) navigation channel from Montréal to Lake Superior. The Athabasca and Slave rivers and the Mackenzie, into which they flow, provide an inland, seasonal water transportation system from the end of the railway in Alberta to the Arctic Ocean. The Yukon River is usually open from mid-May to mid-October. All Canadian inland waterways are open on equal terms to the shipping of all nations.

Canada had an estimated 1,326 airports in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 508 had permanent runways and there were also 319 heliports. Principal airports include Calgary International at Calgary, Edmonton International at Edmonton, Halifax International at Halifax, Lester Pearson at Toronto, Vancouver International at Vancouver, Winnipeg International at Winnipeg, and Dorval International and Mirabel International at Montréal. International air service is provided by government-owned Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. Regional service is provided by some 570 smaller carriers. Air transport is the chief medium in the northern regions for passengers and freight. Canadian airlines transported 35.884 million passengers in 2003.


The first inhabitants of what is now Canada were the ancient ancestors of the Inuit. Exactly where they originated or when they arrived is uncertain, but they probably crossed from eastern Siberia to Alaska, Canada, and Greenland between 15,000 and 10,000 bc. Their descendants, the Dorset people, who inhabited the central Canadian Arctic region from about 700 bc to ad 1300, were primarily hunters of walrus and seal. The shorter-lived Thule culture, which may have assimilated the Dorset, lasted from about 1200 to the first arrival of the Europeans. Although most Inuit lived near the coast, some followed the caribou herds to the interior and developed a culture based on hunting and inland fishing.

Although the Norse had occupied a settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland by ad 1000, the first fully documented arrival by Europeans was in 1497 by the Italian-born John Cabot, who led an English expedition to the shore of a "new found land" (Newfoundland) and claimed the area in the name of Henry VII. In 1534, the French, under Jacques Cartier, planted a cross on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula; the following year, his expedition discovered and ascended the St. Lawrence River. By 1604, Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, along with Samuel de Champlain had founded the first permanent French colony, Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia). Four years later, Champlain established the town of Québec. The great St. Lawrence waterway led Étienne Brulé and others after him to the Great Lakes and the rivers flowing south through the center of the North American continent. Missionaries and fur traders soon arrived, and an enormous French territory was established. Between 1608 and 1756, about 10,000 French settlers arrived in Canada. In the hope of protecting French settlers and the fur trade, Champlain supported the Huron Indians against their enemies, the Iroquois. When the Iroquois demolished the Hurons, the French colony was almost destroyed.

In the 17th century, England pressed its claim (by virtue of Cabot's expedition) to the rich fur-trading colony, and during the frequent skirmishing between New France and New England the English conquered Québec (1629). Restored to France in 1632, Québec, together with the rest of New France, was placed under the absolute control of a chartered commercial organization, the Company of One Hundred Associates, with the twofold purpose of exploiting the fur trade and establishing settlements. In 1663, New France became a royal province of the French crown. Thereafter, three important officialsthe royal governor, the intendant, and the bishopcompeted in exercising control of the government. Under the seigneurial system, which had been founded in 1598, large land grants were made to seigneurs, who made other grants to settlers. The actual farmers owed some quasi-feudal dues and could sell the property only by paying a large duty to the seigneur.

The movement of exploration, discovery, commercial exploitation, and missionary enterprise, which had begun with the coming of Champlain, was extended by such men as Jacques Marquette, Louis Jolliet, and Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, reaching its climax in the last three decades of the 17th century. At that time, French trade and empire stretched north to the shores of Hudson Bay, west to the head of the Great Lakes, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a British enterprise, the Hudson's Bay Company, founded in 1670, began to compete for the fur trade.

The European wars between England and France were paralleled in North America by a series of French and Indian wars. The imperial contest ended after British troops commanded by James Wolfe defeated Marquis Louis Joseph de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, bringing about the fall of Québec in 1759. The French army surrendered at Montréal in 1760, and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 established British rule over what had been New France. The Québec Act of 1774 established English criminal law but secured seigneurial tenure, a modified oath of office allowing Roman Catholics to serve in the conciliar governments, and the right of the Roman Catholic Church to collect tithes.

These concessions, which reflected the sympathy of the British ruling class for the French upper classes, instituted the separateness of French-speaking Canada that has become a distinctive feature of the country. It also secured the loyalty of the French clergy and aristocracy to the British crown during the American Revolution. Although the poorer French settlers (habitants) sympathized with the Revolutionists, efforts to take Canada by arms for the revolutionary cause failed in the Québec campaign. Some 40,000 Loyalists from the colonies in revolt fled northward to eastern Canada and did much to change the political character of their new country. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided Lower Canada (now southern Québec) from Upper Canada (now southern Ontario) and provided for elected assemblies with limited powers, the first organs of self-government in the territory.

In the 1780s, the newly organized North West Company began to challenge the Hudson's Bay Company's fur-trade monopoly. The period was one of expansion, marked by Alexander Mackenzie's journey to the Arctic Ocean in 1789 and his overland voyage to the Pacific Ocean in 1793. British mariners secured for Britain a firm hold on what is now British Columbia.

The War of 1812, in which US forces attempting to invade Canada were repulsed by Canadian and British soldiers, did not change either the general situation or the US-Canadian boundary. After amalgamating the North West Company in 1821, the Hudson's Bay Company held undisputed sway over most of the north and west. Eastern border problems with the United States were resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842; in the west, however, US expansionists sought to fix the border at 54°40n. In 1846, the border was resolved at 49°n, and since then, except for minor disputes, the long border has been a line of peace.

The continuing influx of immigrants stimulated demands for political reforms. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the reformers had some early success, but in the two Canadas it was not until groups led by Louis Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada and William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada had conducted separate futile rebellions in 183738 that the British government acted. John George Lambton, Earl of Durham, was sent to Canada as governor-general in 1838; he resigned later that year, but in 1839 submitted a report to the crown in which he recommended the granting of some forms of self-government. He also advised the immediate union of the two Canadas for the express purpose of Anglicizing the French Canadians. Union of the two provinces was approved in 1840, but responsible government was not achieved until 1849, after strenuous efforts by leaders in the various provinces. There was, however, no single unified nationonly a string of provinces in the east and the Hudson's Bay Company domain in the west and north.

The movement for Canadian confederationpolitical union of the colonieswas spurred in the 1860s by the need for common defense and the desire for a common government to sponsor railroads and other transportation. John Alexander Macdonald and George Brown, rival political leaders, agreed in 1864 to unite Upper Canada and Lower Canada under a common dominion government. Already the Maritime provinces were seeking union among themselves; their Charlottetown Conference in 1864 was broadened to admit delegates from the Canadas. After two more conferences, in 1864 and 1866, the dominion government was established under the British North America Act of 1867. The dominion was a confederation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the two provinces of Canada. There had been much opposition, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were brought to accept the union only through the efforts of Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley and by the fear and indignation roused by the invasion of Canada by Fenians (militant Irish nationalists) from the United States in 1866. Since the name Canada was chosen for the entire country, Lower Canada and Upper Canada became the provinces of Québec and Ontario, respectively.

In 1869, the Hudson's Bay Company relinquished its territorial rights to Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories. In 1870, the province of Manitoba was established and admitted to the confederation, and the Northwest Territories were transferred to the federal government. In 1871, British Columbia, on the Pacific shore, joined the confederation, largely on the promise of a transcontinental railroad. Prince Edward Island did not join until 1873. Pushing through the Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway was a main achievement of Macdonald's Conservative administration. The CP was given large grants of land in return for its promise to aid in settling these lands, a policy that is still being carried on. Objection in the west to being taken over by the east led to two métis rebellions, headed by Louis Riel, in 186970 and 1885, but the west was opened to settlement nonetheless.

Under the long administration (18961911) of the Liberal Party under Sir Wilfrid Laurier, immigration to the prairie provinces was greatly accelerated. The prairie agricultural empire bloomed. Large-scale development of mines and of hydroelectric resources helped spur the growth of industry and urbanization. Alberta and Saskatchewan were made provinces in 1905. In 1921, Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec were greatly enlarged to take in all territory west of Hudson Bay and south of 60°n and all territory east of Ungava Bay. In February 1931, Norway formally recognized the Canadian title to the Sverdrup group of Arctic islands (now the Queen Elizabeth Islands); Canada thus held sovereignty in the whole Arctic sector north of the Canadian mainland. Newfoundland remained apart from the confederation until after World War II; it became Canada's tenth province in March 1949.

Canadian contributions of manpower and resources were immensely helpful to the Allies when Canada joined the British side in World War I; more than 600,000 Canadians served in Europe, and over 60,000 were killed. The war contributions of Canada and other dominions helped bring about the declaration of equality of the members of the British Commonwealth in the Statute of Westminster of 1931. The wartime struggle over military conscription, however, deepened the cleavage between French Canadians and other Canadians. After the war, the development of air transportation and roads helped weld Canada together, and the nation had sufficient strength to withstand the depression that began in 1929 and the droughts that brought ruin to wheat fields. The farmers developed huge cooperatives, especially in Nova Scotia and the prairie provinces, and also took up radical political doctrines, notably through the Social Credit and the Socialistic Cooperative Commonwealth Federation parties.

Canada was again vitally important in World War II, under the premiership of William Lyon Mackenzie King. More than one million Canadians took part in the Allied war effort, and over 32,000 were killed. The nation emerged from the war with enhanced prestige, actively concerned with world affairs and fully committed to the Atlantic alliance.

Domestically, a far-reaching postwar development was the resurgence in the 1960s of French Canadian separatism, symbolized by a series of cultural agreements between France and Québec. In 1970, terrorist acts by the Québec Liberation Front led to the banning of that organization and to the federal government's first invocation in peacetime of emergency powers under the War Measures Act. The emergency measures, imposed on 16 October, were not lifted until 30 April 1971. Although administrative reformsincluding the establishment of French as Québec's official language in 1974helped meet the demands of cultural nationalists, separatism continued to be an important force in Canadian politics. In the 1976 provincial elections, the separatist Parti Québécois came to power in Québec, and its leader, Premier René Lévesque, proposed that Québec become politically independent from Canada, in a relationship termed sovereignty-association. In a referendum on 20 May 1980, in which 82% of those eligible voted, the proposal was defeated, 59.5% to 40.5%. Meanwhile, other provinces had their own grievances, especially over oil revenues. Alberta objected to federal control over oil pricing and to reduction of the provincial share of oil revenues as a result of the new National Energy Program announced in late 1980; the failure of Newfoundland and the federal government to agree on development and revenue sharing hindered the exploitation of the vast Hibernia offshore oil and gas field in the early 1980s.

Since 1927, when discussions first began on the question of rescinding the British North America Act, disagreements between the provinces and the federal government over constitutional amendment procedures had stood in the way of Canada's reclaiming from the United Kingdom authority over its own constitution. In 1980, Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau made "patriation" of the constitution a principal priority of his administration. Initially he faced considerable opposition from 8 of the 10 provincial premiers, but a compromise on amending procedures and a charter of rights eventually proved acceptable to all but Québec. The Constitution Act, passed in December 1981 and proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth II on 17 April 1982, thus replaced the British North America Act as the basic document of Canadian government. In 1987, Québec was to sign the new constitution, after winning the inclusion of a clause acknowledging that Québec is a "distinct society." The Meech Lake Accord of 1987, however, failed to compel Québec into signing the constitution, and Québec's status has been in limbo ever since. New Brunswick and Manitoba failed to ratify the Accord because of the perceived preferential status Québec would have received. The Charlottetown Accord also proposed recognizing Québec as a "distinct society" in addition to acknowledging aboriginals' inherent right to self-government and converting the senate into an elected and more effective legislative body. On 26 October 1992, however, the majority of Canadians chose not to support the Charlottetown Accord in a national referendum.

Canada joined with the United States and Mexico to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was built upon the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The three nations came to an agreement in August 1992 and signed the text on 17 December 1992. NAFTA created a single market of 370 million people with a combined GNP exceeding us$6 trillion and was implemented in 1994.

Like the French Canadians of Québec, Canada's native peoples have also challenged the federal government on issues of identity and autonomy. In 1992 the Inuits approved an agreement by which the country's Northwest Territories would be divided in two, with the eastern part comprising the semiautonomous Nunavut territory, which would serve as an Inuit homeland. Other native groups also advanced land claims.

On 30 October 1995, the province of Québec held a referendum on secession from Canada; the measure was defeated by the narrowest of marginsa majority of less than 1%. As the 1990s ended, the province remained deeply divided over the secession issue, and the constitutional impasse over the status of Québec persisted. In 1998, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that in order for Québec to secede from the country, it had to reach agreement with the other provinces and the federal government on issues including a common currency and payment of the national debt. In 2003, the Liberal Party defeated the Bloc Québécois in provincial elections in Québec, ending nine years of rule by the pro-independence party.

After ousting the Progressive Conservatives in the 1993 national election, the Liberal party, led by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, won a second consecutive parliamentary victory for the first time in 40 years in June 1997. However, the party's majority was significantly reduced from its previous size, and the right-wing Reform Party replaced the Bloc Québécois as the leading opposition group, a development that added to the regional fragmentation posing an increasing threat to the national unity of Canada. To overcome regional divisions within their own ranks, Canada's conservatives voted to create the new Canadian Alliance party early in 2000, in an attempt to unite the western-based Reform Party with the Progressive Conservatives. In 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives voted to disband and form the new Conservative Party of Canada.

In the late 1990s, Canada's native peoples achieved two historic milestones in their quest for autonomy. In 1998 the Nisga'a Indians ratified a treaty according them 1930 sq km (745 sq mi) of land in British Columbia. The following year, the Nunavut territoryoccupying an area larger than Western Europewas officially founded as a homeland for the Inuit in the Northwest Territories.

In March and April 2003, Toronto was the site of the largest outbreak of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus outside Asia. The World Health Organization (WHO) imposed a travel advisory to Toronto which lasted a week. Some 300 people were affected and 33 died. That August, Toronto, Ottawa, and other parts of Ontario as well as many cities in the United States were affected by the largest power outage in North American history.

On 12 December 2003, former finance minister and member of the Liberal Party Paul Martin was sworn in as prime minister, ending 10 years of leadership by Jean Chrétien. In February 2004, a financial scandal erupted over the misuse of government funds being used for advertising and sponsorship. The Liberal Party was accused of receiving kickbacks from advertising contracts awarded in Québec in the late 1990s. Paul Martin ordered an official inquiry. In June 2004, Martin was returned to power in parliamentary elections, but the Liberal Party was no longer in the majority. In February 2005, Martin and Chrétien appeared before a commission set up to investigate the financial scandal involving the misspent government funds. That May, the government won a confidence motion in parliament by only one vote.

In July 2005, Canada became the fourth nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriages. The other countries having such laws at that time were Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Canada has collaborated with the United States in its war against international terrorism. Securing the long border shared between the two countries in order to prevent possible terrorist infiltration has been a challenge, and has caused Canada and the United States to cooperate on sharing intelligence. However, Canada did not join the US-led coalition in the war in Iraq which began in 2003, prompting much domestic debate and US criticism of Jean Chrétien, who was prime minister at the time.


Canada is a federation of 10 provinces and three northern territories (including the Nunavut territory formed in 1999). Under the British North America Act of 1867, which united the four original provinces of Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into one dominion under the name of Canada, the federation was provided with a powerful central government, which, besides its areas of exclusive authority, held residual authority in matters beyond the powers of local or private concern specifically assigned to the provincial legislatures. The British North America Actwhich effectively served, together with a series of subsequent British statutes, as Canada's constitutioncould be amended only by the British Parliament. In 1982, the British North America Act was superseded by the Constitution Act (or Canada Act), the principal innovations of which are the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the provision for amendment. For passage, an amendment requires approval by the federal parliament and the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the provinces, which must hold an aggregate of at least half the population of all the provinces. However, when an amendment derogates from provincial rights, it will not apply in any province in which the legislative assembly dissented by majority vote. When such an amendment deals with education or other cultural matters, the federal government must pay compensation to any dissenting province, to make up for the funds that would have been transferred had the province accepted the amendment.

Under the Constitution Act, the British sovereign remains sovereign of Canada and head of state; for the most part, the personal participation of Queen Elizabeth II in the function of the crown for Canada is reserved to such occasions as a royal visit. The queen's personal representative in the federal government is the governor-general, appointed by the crown on the advice of the prime minister of Canada; the governor-general is usually appointed for a term of five years. Active executive authority resides in the cabinet, or ministry, headed by the prime minister.

The federal parliament is made up of the House of Commons and the Senate. A new House of Commons, with 308 members as of 2005, is elected at least once every five years by all Canadian citizens 18 years of age or older. Representation by provinces and territories is based on population, ranging from one for the Yukon Territory to 106 for Ontario.

The leader of the party that wins the largest number of seats in a newly elected House of Commons is asked to form the government. The governor-in-council (cabinet), responsible for determining all important government policies and for securing the passage of legislation, financial measures, and administrative provisions, is chosen by the prime minister.

The 105 members of the Senate, or upper house, are appointed for life, or until age 75, by the governor-general on the nomination of the prime minister, with equality of representation for regional divisions. There are roughly equal proportions of senators from the Maritime provinces, Ontario, Québec, and the western provinces. In October 1992, Canadian voters declined a constitutional amendment that would have made the Senate an elected body.


Throughout most of the 20th century and into the 21st, national unity has been the primary aim of every Canadian government: leaders of both the English-speaking majority and the French-speaking minority have cooperated to develop a united Canada with a great destiny to which differences arising from national origin were subordinate. In the 1970s, this unity was challenged by a growing demand for French Canadian autonomy. Despite cultural division, national unity has remained a basic factor in Canadian foreign policy. Two elements have contributed to the growth of Canadian nationalismdeliberate government policy and reaction against overidentification with either the United Kingdom or the United States.

Continuity of policy characterizes party relationships. The Liberal Party (LP), which held office from 1935 to 1957, from 1968 to 1984 (except for part of 1979), and since 1993, is nationwide in its representation but has its main strength in Québec. It traditionally emphasizes trade and cultural relationships with the United States. Its principal rival, the Conservative Party (formerly the Progressive Conservative Party or PC), which held power from 1957 to 1968, from May to December 1979, and from 1984 to 1993, stresses Canada's relationships with the United Kingdom. In economic policy, the Liberals generally champion free trade, while the Conservatives favor a degree of protection; but practical political considerations have modified this distinction.

The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was a farmer-labor party with its main strength in Saskatchewan. Its foreign policy was much like that of the British Labour Party, but with an admixture of traditional Canadian prairie radicalism. It merged with the Canadian Labour Congress to form the New Democratic Party (NDP) in 1961. The Social Credit Party (SCP) has headed governments in Alberta and British Columbia but has not done well nationally. In June 1962, the group collapsed into independent factions, leaving only five representatives in the Commons. In September, the Québec wing of the party united to form the Ralliement des Créditistes, which after the 1965 elections became the new focal point of French Canadian interests.

After 22 years of uninterrupted rule, the Liberals were defeated by the PC in the 1957 elections. This was widely interpreted as a vote of protest against individual Liberal ministers and high taxes, as a reflection of concern over US economic penetration, and as a demonstration of widespread feeling that it was "time for a change." In the general election on 31 March 1958, the PC was returned to power with an unprecedented majority, taking 208 of the 265 seats. The LP was reduced to 49 seats, the smallest number in its history. In the election of June 1962, the PC lost 92 seats. The following February, the PC government lost a vote of confidence, the major issue being defense policy and the refusal of the prime minister to accept nuclear weapons from the United States. In the election of April 1963, the resurgent Liberals gained an additional 29 seats for a total of 129 (four short of a parliamentary majority). With some support from the SCP, Liberal leader Lester B. Pearson formed a new government.

In April 1968, the new Liberal Party leader, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was elected prime minister in a colorful campaign emphasizing personality more than specific issues. In the June general election, which he called for almost immediately, the LP took 155 seats and the PC 72; the SCP lost all five of its seats. In the general elections of 30 October 1972, the Liberals lost their parliamentary majority, winning only 109 seats to the PC's 107. The NDP increased its representation from 22 seats to 31, and the Créditistes, who had resumed calling themselves the SCP in 1971, won 15 seats. When the NDP decided to support the continuance of Liberal rule, Prime Minister Trudeau formed a new cabinet. The Liberal-NDP alliance collapsed on 8 May 1974 when, for the first time in Canadian history, the government received a vote of no confidence on a budget bill. Elections were called, and the campaign was fought largely on the issue of inflation, with the PC calling for a system of wage and price controls. In the elections of 8 July 1974, the Liberals regained their majority.

In the general elections of 22 May 1979, the Liberals lost to the PC, taking 114 seats of the now 282-seat parliament to the PC's 136, and were unable to form a government in any province. However, on 13 December 1979, the government of Prime Minister Joe Clark was defeated by a Liberal and NDP coalition on a vote of no confidence on a budget bill that called for an increase of 18 cents a gallon in the excise tax on gasoline. Trudeau, who in November had announced his planned retirement, decided to continue as Liberal leader, and again became prime minister after elections on 18 February 1980 gave the Liberals 147 seats. Four years later, on 29 February 1984, Trudeau again announced his impending retirement, and his party chose John Turner as successor. Brian Mulroney became prime minister following a landslide PC victory in the September 1984 elections, which gave the PC 211 seats, the Liberals 40 (their lowest number ever), the NDP 30, and an independent 1. However, the Liberals regained strength over the next year and in 1985 won the Québec general election and, in a coalition with the NDP, ended 42 years of PC government in Ontario.

In 1993, the PC fell from power, primarily due to one of the worst Canadian recessions in nearly 60 years and the failure of the PC government to implement constitutional reforms. Brian Mulroney resigned and was succeeded by Kim Campbell. Liberals soundly defeated the PC in the October 1993 election, with 177 of the 295 seats (up from only 80 in 1988). The PC retained only two of their 157 seats. The Liberal party named Jean Chrétien as the new prime minister.

The Liberal Party's majority in parliament was reduced to 155 in elections called by Chrétien in June 1997. The majority of opposition seats were won by the right-wing populist Reform Party, formed in Alberta in 1988 and led by Robert Manning, which increased its representation to 60 seats, winning broad support in the western provinces. Other party totals were Bloc Québécois, 44; New Democratic, 21; Progressive Conservative, 20; and Independent, 1. In 2000, members of the Reform Party voted to create a broader conservative grouping called the Canadian Alliance, uniting the western-based, populist Reform Party with the eastern-based Progressive Conservatives in an attempt to eventually unseat the dominant Liberals. In 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives disbanded to create the Conservative Party of Canada.

On 12 December 2003, former finance minister and member of the Liberal Party Paul Martin was sworn in as prime minister, ending 10 years of leadership by Jean Chrétien. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2004. The distribution of the vote by percentage and seats was as follows: Liberal Party, 36.7%, (134 seats); Conservative Party, 29.6% (99 seats); New Democratic Party, 15.7% (19 seats); Bloc Québécois, 12.4% (54 seats); Greens, 4.3% (no seats); independents held 2 seats in the new House of Commons.


Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories. Each province has a premier and a legislature. They function like those of the central government. However, the provincial parliaments are unicameral. In each province, the sovereign is represented by a lieutenant-governor appointed by the governor-general. The provinces are empowered to regulate their own affairs and dispose of their own revenues. Civil and property rights, civil law, education, health, labor conditions, licenses, management and sale of public land, municipal government, and direct provincial taxation are within the jurisdiction of the provinces. Although the federal government still exercises considerable authority over the northern territories, they now have elected legislative bodies. In Yukon, the powers of the federal commissioner have been greatly reduced, and the newly formed Nunavut territory, an Inuit homeland, is semiautonomous.

Each province is divided into municipalities, the number and structure of which vary from province to province. In Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Québec the first order of municipalities consists of counties, which are further subdivided into cities, towns, villages, and townships, although there are minor variations. In Newfoundland and the four western provinces there are no counties; municipalities are either rural or urban, the latter being made up of cities, towns, and villages, but again with minor variations. Municipalities are usually administered by an elected council headed by a mayor, overseer, reeve, or warden. Local governments are incorporated by the provinces, and their powers and responsibilities are specifically set forth in provincial laws.


The civil law follows English common law everywhere except in Québec, where it follows the Napoleonic Code. The main body of criminal law is derived from English sources; most criminal statutes, being federal, are uniform throughout the country. Police magistrates and justices of the peace are appointed by the provincial governments. Civil and criminal courts exist on county, district, and superior levels; all judges of the superior, federal, tax, district, and county courts are appointed for life (but not beyond age 75) by the governor-in-council (the cabinet) and are paid by the federal parliament. The Supreme Court in Ottawa has appellate, civil, and criminal jurisdiction throughout Canada; its chief justice and eight associate ("puisne") justices (at least three of whom must come from Québec) are appointed by the governor-general. The Federal Court of Canada (formerly the Exchequer Court), organized into trial and appeal divisions, hears cases having to do with taxation, claims involving the federal government, copyrights, and admiralty law. Its appeal jurisdiction includes review of rulings by federal boards and commissions. The Tax Court, with seats in major cities throughout the country, rules on cases involving tax and revenue matters.

The death penalty in Canada was abolished in 1976; that decision was upheld in a vote by the House of Commons in June 1987.

The judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the 1982 revised constitution, guarantees a number of individual fundamental rights.

Criminal defendants are afforded a wide range of procedural due process protections including a presumption of innocence, a right to counsel, public trial, and appeal.

Canada accepts compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.


In 2005 the armed forces numbered 62,000 active and 36,900 reserve personnel. The army (land forces) consisted of 33,000 active and 15,500 reserve personnel. Equipment included 114 main battle tanks, 303 reconnaisance vehicles and 1,278 armored personnel carriers. The air force (air command) had a strength of 14,500 active personnel, and 2,600 reservists with 140 combat aircraft. The navy (maritime command) had 12,000 active personnel and 4,00 reservists, with 4 guided missile destroyers, 12 frigates, and 2 submarines. Major deployments of Canadian troops include Bosnia and Afghanistan. Canadian personnel are also deployed in nine other overseas peacekeeping operations. Paramilitary organizations had 9,350 members and consisted of the Canadian Coast Guard and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Defense spending in 2004 totaled c$15 billion.


A Commonwealth nation, Canada became a charter member of the UN on 9 November 1945 and participates in ECE, ECLAC, and several nonregional specialized agencies. A Canadian, Lester B. Pearson, served as president of the General Assembly in 1952/53. Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns of Canada was chief of staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East from August 1954 to November 1956, when UNEF was established, and he served as UNEF commander for the next three years. Canada has contributed to UN peacekeeping efforts in Cyprus (est. 1964), Sierra Leone (est. 1999), and the DROC (est. 1999).

The country is a member of NATO and other intergovernmental organizations, such as the Asian Development Bank, APEC, ASEAN (dialogue partner), OECD, the OSCE, the OAS, and the WTO (1995). Canada participates in G-7, G-8, the Paris Club (G-10), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the Inter-American Development Bank. The country is an observer in the Council of Europe.

Canada cooperates with the United States in North American defense through the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). A free-trade agreement with the United States signed in 1988 was extended to include Mexico with the 1992 signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), creating a free trade bloc among the three countries. The agreement was ratified by the governments of all the countries in 1993 and went into effect the following year. Canada supported joint military actions with the United States in Afghanistan throughout 200205, with plans for ongoing support as necessary. Canada is a member of the United Nations, Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, which was originally established in 1999 as the Special Commission for the Elimination of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Though Canada did not participate in the 2003 military coalition in Iraq, it has offered financial support for reconstruction efforts.

Canada is part of Nuclear Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group). In environmental cooperation, Canada is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


The Canadian economy is the eighth-largest in the world (measured in US dollars at market exchange rates), behind the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Italy. The postwar period saw a steady shift from the production of agricultural goods toward increased emphasis on manufacturing and services. The service sector employed three-fourths of the workforce in 2006, compared to only half of the workforce in 1960. Canada is a world leader in the production and export of asbestos, nickel, silver, zinc, uranium, cadmium, cobalt, magnesium, gypsum, molybdenum, potash, aluminum, gold, iron ore, copper, fluorspar, and lead. Although no longer the foremost sector of the economy, agriculture is of major importance to the economy as a whole and still is basic in many areas; Canada is the world's second-largest wheat exporter, after the United States. Canada is also the world's leading producer of newsprint and ranks among the leaders in other forestry products.

Canada in the postwar period changed from a country producing and exporting mainly primary products to one that increasingly produced and exported manufactured goods. In the 1980s, machinery and equipment joined automotive products among the country's leading exports; at the same time, the importance of natural resource products declined (partly reflecting the 1986 collapse of oil prices). However, by 2006, the engines of growth for the Canadian economyautomobiles and high-tech industriesslowed or had shrunk considerably. In their place, such perennial industries as mining had gained in importance. By that year, natural resources, construction, and business services (including work by architects and engineers) were the three fastest-growing sectors of the economy. Natural resources, and particularly energy, account for more than 60% of Canada's exports. With oil prices high in the mid-2000s, Canada's wealth increased.

Canada was hard hit by the recession of the early 1980s, with interest rates, unemployment, and inflation all running higher than in the United States. The effects of the recession on minerals and manufacturing were especially severe. By the end of 1982, all mining operations in the Yukon were closed, and throughout the country more than 70,000 of 115,000 miners were unemployed. The economy recovered during the mid-1980s, and Canada's economic growth rate was among the highest of OECD countries during 198486. However, differences in prosperity among the provinces increased during the 1980s, with the central provinces relatively robust, the western provinces suffering declines in growth because of lower prices for oil and other natural resources, and the Atlantic provinces depressed. Although the 1990s were marked by continued high rates of unemployment and restrained domestic spending, the economy posted an average growth rate in GDP of about 3%. From 200105, real GDP growth averaged 2.5%. GDP growth was forecast at 2.7% in 2006 and 2.8% in 2007.

Unemployment was rated at a peak of about 12% in 1992 but had gone down to 8% in 1999. The unemployment rate stood at 7% in 2004, but was considerably lower in rural areas and in the western provinces, where employment in the natural resource sector had increased; blue-collar work grew more rapidly than white-collar employment in urban areas after 2000. As of 2006, the unemployment rate in Alberta was half the national average.

The Canadian economy is highly integrated with the US economy, which absorbed nearly 85% of Canada's exports and was the source of 64% of its imports in 2004. Most Canadians live in a narrow strip north of the US border, which makes them vulnerable to potential US economic and cultural domination.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $1.1 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $32,800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2.3%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.2% of GDP, industry 29.1%, and services 68.7%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $50 million and accounted for approximately 4.2% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Canada totaled $407.97 billion or about $12,910 per capita based on a GDP of $856.5 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.8%. Approximately 14% of household consumption was spent on food, 10% on fuel, 4% on health care, and 21% on education. It was estimated that in 2003 about 15.9% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


In 2005, Canada's labor force numbered an estimated 17.35 million workers. In 2004, the service sector accounted for 75% of all workers, with 14% in manufacturing; 2% in agriculture, 5% in construction, and the remaining 3% in various other occupations. The rate of unemployment was estimated at 6.8% in 2005.

In 2005, about 30% of the civilian workforce was unionized. All workers have the right to strike except those in essential services.

Child labor legislation, standard work hours, and minimum wage rates vary from province to province. Most provinces prohibit employment for children under the age of 15 or 16 from working without parental consent, at night, or in hazardous conditions. However, Alberta allows minors between the ages of 12 and 14 to work work for limited periods in certain sectors of the economy, without a permit from the director of employment standards. In British Columbia minors between 12 and 14 can be employed with the written consent of the parent or guardian. The province also allows children under 12 to be employed in "exceptional circumstances," such as in the entertainment industry, with the permission of the director of employment standards.

All provinces limit the regular workweek to 40 or 48 hours, wiThat least 24 hours of rest. Minimum wage rates in 2005 ranged from c$5.90 to c$8.00 per hour. A family with only one wage earner at the minimum level would fall below the poverty line. Federal and provincial laws effectively protect the health and safety of workers.


Until the beginning of the 1900s, agriculture was the predominant occupation, and farmers and their families made up the majority of the population. Since then, however, the farm population has been shrinking both relatively and absolutely. Even in Saskatchewan, the province with the highest proportion of farm population, farm families account for no more than 25% of the total population. For Canada as a whole, agriculture engaged only 2.1% of the economically active population in 2000. Farm production continues to increase, as have the size of holdings, crop quantity, quality and variety, and cash income. Canada is still one of the major food-exporting countries of the world; agriculture engages about 362,000 people and generates about 2% of GDP. Farm cash receipts for crops totaled almost c$14.5 billion in 2004, or 40% of total farm receipts.

Of Canada's total land area, about 5% is classified as arable land; another 3% is considered as permanent pasture land. More than 90% of the cultivated area is in the three prairie provinces. The trend is toward fewer and larger farms and increased mechanization and specialization. Ontario and Saskatchewan together account for about half of all farm cash receipts. Sale of field crops provide more than 50% of farm cash income in the prairie region, but less than 10% elsewhere in Canada.

The estimated harvest of principal field crops in 2004 (in thousands of tons produced per thousand hectares) was wheat, 25,860 produced on 9,862; barley, 13,186 on 4,050; corn, 8,388 on 1,072; oats, 3,680 on 1,320; and rapeseed (canola), 7,728 on 5,564.

Formerly, Canada imported only such items as could not be grown domesticallycoffee, tea, cane sugar, spices, and citrus fruitswhile exporting large surpluses of wheat, barley, and livestock. However, food imports have risen sharply in recent years. Nevertheless, Canada remains a significant food exporter; in 2004, Canadian grain exports totaled 18,984,000 tons, fifth after the United States, France, Australia, and Argentina.

Federal and provincial departments of agriculture provide guidance and aid to farmers in almost every field of operation. Activities include research and experimentation, protection of animals and crops, irrigation and reclamation, and price stability and farm credit measures. The government can stabilize the price of any agricultural product (except wheat, for which separate provision is made) by outright purchase or by supporting the market with guarantees or deficiency payments.

The departments of agriculture apply fundamental scientific research to soil management and crop and animal production, promote agricultural production, and enact financial measures to ensure greater stability of the farm economy. Long-term and short-term mortgages are made available; other loans are granted for equipping, improving, and developing farms. Various federal acts assist the marketing of produce. Governments, working with product organizations, also set limits on the production of milk, eggs, tobacco, chicken, and turkey meat. Price supports may be given to any designated natural or processed product but are mandatory for cattle, sheep, hogs, dairy products, wheat, oats, and barley. Farmers who have suffered severe crop losses through drought may obtain compensation, and prairie farmers who cannot deliver all their grain to market are given temporary financial assistance. The rail freight rates paid by western farmers to ship their grain to eastern markets, basically unchanged since 1897, increased five-fold between 1983 and 1991. The increase, partially subsidized by the federal government, would pay for improvements in the western rail system.


Canada traditionally exports livestock products, producing more than the domestic market can use. Animal production (livestock, dairy products, and eggs) now brings in about half of total farm cash income. Stock raising is the foundation of agricultural economy in the foothills of the Rockies, across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba, on the interior plateaus of British Columbia, in the Georgian Bay district of Ontario, in Prince Edward Island, and in western Nova Scotia. One of the great ranching sections is located in the Palliser Triangle of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Livestock on farms in 2004 numbered 14,660,000 head of cattle; 14,623,000 pigs and hogs; 1,005,000 sheep; and 160 million chickens. In 2004, meat production included 1,460,000 tons of beef, 1,930,000 tons of pork, and 16,100 tons of mutton and lamb. Poultry production totaled 969,716 tons. Milk production in 2004 was 8 million tons; butter production amounted to about 88,400 tons, and cheese production to 366,355 tons. Most dairy products are consumed within Canada. In 2004, 376,560 tons of eggs were produced. Cash receipts in 2004 for cattle amounted to c$5,069 million; for dairy products, c$4,598 million; for hogs, c$4,261 million; and for poultry, c$1,845 million.

The wild fur catch, which was important in Canada's early history, is now limited to the northern parts of the provinces, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. In 2003, the value of fur production totaled c$103.6 million, with ranch-raised pelts accounting for 82% and wildlife pelts for 18%.


With a coastline of nearly 29,000 km (18,000 mi) and a lake-and-river system containing more than half the world's fresh water, Canada ranked 20th among the world's major fish producers in 2003 and was the world's fifth-leading exporter of fresh, chilled, and frozen fish by value. That year, Canada exported $3.3 billion in fishery commodities, accounting for 15.8% of agricultural exports.

Two of the world's great fishing grounds are located off Canada. One lies along the Atlantic coast of the Maritime provinces, and in this region the Grand Banks of Newfoundland constitute the largest area. More than one billion pounds of cod, haddock, halibut, pollock, and other fish are caught every year along the Atlantic in deep-sea and shore operations. Most of the cod and about a third of the total catch is dried and salted for export to Mediterranean and Latin American countries; another third is sold fresh; the rest is canned. Vast numbers of lobsters and herring are caught in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy. The other great fishing region includes the bays, inlets, river mouths, and fjords of British Columbia. Salmon, the specialty of the Pacific fisheries, is canned for export and constitutes the most valuable item of Canadian fish production. Also exported are fresh halibut and canned and processed herring. Other important export items are whitefish, lake trout, pickerel, and other freshwater fish caught in the Great Lakes and some of the larger inland lakes. Feed and fertilizer are important by-products.

Canada's total fish and seafood landings were estimated at 1,229,925 tons in 2003, of which all but 45,876 tons were from marine fishing. Pelagic species and other finfish (primarily salmon and herring) accounted for 33% of the 2003 marine catch; shellfish (mostly shrimp, oysters, and crabs), 42%; and groundfish (mostly hake and redfish), 25%. The United States imported about 58% of Canada's fish product exports by volume in 2003. Japan is the second most important market for fish exports.

Canadian aquacultural production in 2003 consisted of 151,264 tons, primarily salmon. Canada's aquaculture industry faces many federal and provincial regulatory impediments that restrict its growth, such as regulations on the introduction and transfer policy of new species and salmon tagging. However, in 2002, the British Columbia government announced that new environmental standards would allow for a managed expansion of salmon aquaculture, ending a moratorium on fish farms in effect since 1995. In 2004, gross output of aquaculture amounted to c$726.1 million, primarily from British Columbia and New Brunswick.

The government protects and develops the resources of both ocean and inland waters and helps expand the domestic market for fish. It extends loans to fishermen for the purchase of fishing craft. Canadian-US action has helped restore Pacific salmon runs and halibut stocks and the Great Lakes fisheries, but pollution represents a threat to freshwater sport fishing, especially in Ontario.


Canada's National Forestry Database (CNFD) reports total forestland area at 417.6 million hectares (1,031.9 million acres), equivalent to 42% of the total land area. Only about 6% of Canada's forests are privately owned. Of the 94% under crown (public) control, provincial governments manage 71% and the federal government manages 23%. Some 9.6 million hectares (23.7 million acres) of the public forest land are for uses other than timber production, including parks, game refuges, water conservation areas, and nature preserves. Most of the provincial crown forestland is in Québec, British Columbia, and Ontario. The crown forests are leased to private individuals or companies. Each province and territory regulates and controls the harvest rate on crown land through an allowable annual cut.

In 2003, an estimated 194.7 million cu m (6.9 billion cu ft) of roundwood was harvested. Canada ranks as the third-largest producer of coniferous wood products (after the United States and Russia), and is the leading supplier of softwood products to world markets. Chief forest products in eastern Canada are pulp and paper manufactures, especially newsprint. Canada leads the world in newsprint production, with 8,201,000 tons in 2004, accounting for 21% of the world's production. Exports of newsprint were valued at over c$4 billion, with about three-fourths going to the United States. In the west, the chief product is sawn timber. The value of Canada's forestry exports in 2003 amounted to over $24 billion, or 16% of the world's forestry exports that year. In 2003, production for leading export commodities included: sawnwood, 57.5 million cu m (2 billion cu ft); wood pulp, 26.2 million cu m (925 million cu ft); industrial roundwood, 191.7 million cu m (6.8 billion cu ft); wood-based panels, 16.7 million cu m (590 million cu ft); and paper and paperboard, 20.1 million tons. About 75% of forestry exports are sent to the United States. Exports of wood products contribute about 14% to the value of all Canadian exports.

Other well-known Canadian forestry sector products include Christmas trees and maple syrup. Québec accounts for about 35% of the annual Christmas tree production and 90% of maple syrup production.

With such a large annual forestry output, conservation and reforestation are stressed. Both government and industry promote improvements in management practices and in the use of forest products. New manufacturing methods permit the use of inferior classes of wood. The government estimated there were 5,400 forest fires in 2000, 57% due to human activities.


The world's largest exporter of minerals and metals, Canada's mining sector was considered a pillar of the economy and a way of life for Canadians. Canada was the leading producer and exporter of potash (world's largest and richest reserves), the leading supplier of uranium, the second-largest producer of asbestos (possibly the largest deposits) and sulfur (17% of world output and 38% of world trade), the third-largest in titanium, platinum-group metals (PGMs) and mine zinc, fourth in aluminum (from imported oxide), fifth in copper, lead, silver, and gold, and among the leading producers of nickel, salt, and nitrogen in ammonia. Yet, the country only recently began to fully develop many of its most important mineral resources, and resources developed earlier continued to display great growth potential. This was reaffirmed by discoveries such as the huge and rich nickel, copper, and cobalt deposit at Voisey's Bay, and the Ekati diamond minesdiamond was expected to be the most sought-after mineral in the country.

The production, by value, of minerals, metals, and coal in 2003, totaled us$14.4 billion, up 1.2% from 2002. In addition, Canada's minerals industry played an integral part in Canada's new-technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. The value of nonfuel minerals production increased to us$13.4 billion in 2003, up 2.3% from 2002.

In terms of value, the top nonfuel mineral commodities in 2003 were: gold us$1.6 billion; nickel, us$1.4 billion; diamonds us$1.2 billion; cement, coal, and potash, at us$1.1 billion each; iron ore us$1.0 billion; copper, us$929 million; sand gravel, and stone us$714 million each; and zinc, us$643 million. Exports of minerals, and mineral products (excluding crude oil and natural gas), and metals (including smelted and refined), totaled us$35.3 billion in 2003.

Mined nickel (metal content) output in 2003 was 162,756 metric tons. The world's biggest newsmaker in nickel continued to be Inco Ltd.'s nickel-copper-cobalt project at Voisey's Bay. Proved reserves at the site totaled 30 million tons (2.85% nickel and 1.68% copper); indicated resources were 54 million tons (1.53% nickel, 0.70% copper); inferred resources, 16 million tons (1.60% nickel, 0.80% copper).

Gold output in 2003 was 140,559 kg, down from 151,904 kg in 2002. Gold has lost some of its luster. Three mines opened, while 13 closed, a result of low gold prices and/or depletion. Operating mines accounted for 92.5% of Canada's output, with the remainder coming from 19 base-metal mines (gold as a by product) and a number of placers. Ontario produced 49% of Canada's gold, followed by Québec at 21%, British Columbia at 15% and Manitoba at 4%, with the remaining provinces and territories accounting for the remainder.

Mined zinc output (metal content) was 788,328 metric tons in 2003, down from 923,931 metric tons in 2002. Zinc prices remained depressed in 2003 as a result of continued poor demand in Japan, slow growth in Europe, and increased mine production worldwide. The country's proven and probable reserves totaled 10.2 million tons, 35% of which was in New Brunswick.

Mined copper output (metal content) was 534,287 metric tons in 2003, down from 584,195 metric tons in 2002. Proven and probable reserves for the country totaled 8.4 million tons, 50% of which was in Ontario, and 35% in British Columbia.

The output of iron ore and concentrate (metal content) was 32,957,000 tons in 2003, up from 30,902,000 tons in 2002. Exploration continued in Roche Bay (Northwest Territories), the Peach River area of Alberta, and Ungava Bay and Schefferville (Québec). Total proven and probable reserves in Canada were 1,261 million tons.

Mined silver output (metal content) was 1,309,274 kg, down from 1,407,558 kg in 2002. Silver, the value of whose output dropped by almost 7% in 2003 versus 2002, was mainly a by-product of base-metal and gold mining. Proven and probable reserves in Canada totaled 15,738 tons.

Lead output (metal content) was 81,268 metric tons, down from 101,330 metric tons in 2002. Proven and probable reserves amounted to 1.85 million tons; 76% were in New Brunswick. In addition, Canada mined the metals antimony, arsenic trioxide, bismuth, cadmium, magnesium, molybdenum (121,000 tons of proven and probable reserves, all in British Columbia), pyrochlore, selenium, spodumene, tantalite (from Niobec, the world's third-largest producer, and the only operating columbium mine in North America), tellurium, and titanium. Calcium may have been produced as well.

Among industrial minerals, diamonds have been attracting much attention. Total output was 11.2 million carats in 2003, up 127% from 4.937 million carats in 2002. By value, diamond production in 2003 totaled us$1.2 billion versus us$552 million in 2002. Canada's first commercial production of diamondsby BHP Diamonds Inc., in the Ekati Minebegan in 1998, when production totaled 300,006 carats; 2000 was Ekati's first full year of operation, and it has became a factor in world markets. BHP Diamonds reported that the quality of diamonds recovered from the five kimberlite pipes at its Lac de Gras property, northwest of Yellowknife, compared favorably with the best pipes in the world. De Beers, which bought 35% of Ekati's output, has discovered 220 kimberlites, several of which had the potential to become diamond mines; one, the Snap Lake project, is due to start production in 2008, and is De Beers's first mine outside of Africa. Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.'s Diavik Mine began production in January 2003. At least 90% of Diavik's output is estimated to be of gem quality. More than 500 companies have been exploring for diamonds, on an off and on basis. The First Canadian Diamond Cutting Works, in Montréal, became the country's first fully integrated cutting and polishing factory, with the aim of handling Canada's diamond production at lower cost than European competitors; artisans came from Belgium.

Potash output was 9,131,000 tons in 2003, up by 9.2% from 8,361,000 tons in 2002. However, potash output by value increased only slightly in 2003 from 2002, to around us$1.65 billion versus us$1.63 billion. The 63%-government-owned Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. was the largest publicly held potash producer in the world, with an annual capacity of 8.2 million tons, 61% of Canada's total capacity. An area extending from central Saskatchewan southeast into Manitoba was probably the largest and richest reserve of potash in the world, and could probably supply all the world's needs for 1,000 years. Known national reserves amounted to 14 billion tons.

Asbestos output in 2003 was 240,500 metric tons, down slightly from 242,241 metric tons in 2002. The world's largest deposits of asbestos (including chrysotile, crocidolite, and amosite) were believed to be in a region of eastern Québec that included the Black Lake open pit and the Bell underground mines and the town of Asbestos. The nation's proven and probable reserves of fiber asbestos totaled 35.8 million tons.

Output totals for other industrial minerals in 2003 were: salt, 12,390,000 tons, with 264 million tons of proven and probable reserves; sulfur, 8,509,000 tons, with 130 million tons of proven and probable reserves; nitrogen (content of ammonia), 3,440,000 metric tons; and sand and gravel, 235,574 tons. In addition, Canada produced amethyst, anhydrite, barite, brucite, hydraulic cement, clay and clay products, diatomite, dolomite, gypsum (482,000 tons of proven and probable reserves), jade, lime, mica (scrap and flake), nepheline syenite, pyrite, pyrophyllite, pyrrhotite, silica (quartz), soapstone, sodium carbonate (soda ash), natural sodium sulfate (81.3 million tons of proven and probable reserves), and stone (including crushed, building, ornamental, and paving). Canada also had capacities to produce graphite and limestone.

Mining has been conducted in Canada since the seventeenth century, but the remarkably rapid development of mineral exploitation dates from the end of World War I. Petroleum has been found in the Midwest; iron ore deposits in Labrador, Québec, and Ontario; and uranium in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Ontario led the provinces, producing 30.8% of nonfuel mineral commodities, followed by Québec (19.5%), Saskatchewan (11.9%), and British Columbia (11.2%).

Land use, which had not been given much attention, has become an issue, with First Nation rights receiving consideration. Canada's provincial governments regulated most aspects of exploration and mining, and the exceptions, the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, have been accumulating more independent powers. Federal agencies recently became able to review mining activity for environmental impact. Exploration for metals and petroleum has tended to move north in recent years, into the new territory Nunavut, which was created in 1999 out of the Northwest Territories; Nunavut included Baffin, Ellesmere, and the Queen Elizabeth islands, one-fifth of Canada's landmass. The Inuit have generally been receptive to mining proposals, including the new Nanisivik lead-zinc mine on Baffin Island, north of the Arctic Circle.

The Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, which was to be enacted in 2001, covered all technical public disclosure on mineral projects and was intended to preserve Canada's preeminent position in world mining, exploration, development, and financing. The mineral industry consisted of 3,000 domestic and 150 foreign companies; 10% were actively engaged in mining; the rest were engaged in exploration, in advanced stages of development, or dormant, in search of financing. More than 200 mine sites, including coal sites, were active, and 3,000 mines and quarries produced sand, gravel, and other construction materials. Total employment in mining and mineral manufacturing in 2000, including coal, was 400,000, and 55,750 were employed in coal, metal, and nonmetal mining and quarrying. Most of the mineral industry was privately owned; an exception was government participation in potash and petroleum, which were transitioning to private ownership. Mining had the prospect of diversifying and strengthening Canada's economy. Canada was well positioned in terms of its mineral-resource base and its access to markets in the United States.


Abundantly endowed with fossil fuels and hydroelectric resources, Canada was the world's seventh-leading energy producer, as of 2004. Energy production is exceeded only by manufacturing as a percent of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP).

In the late 1990s, Canada's oil industry made a strong recovery from low prices in the preceding years. Petroleum production in quantity began in 1947 with the discovery of oil 29 km (18 mi) south of Edmonton. Output of oil in 2004 was estimated at 3.1 million barrels per day (2.4 million barrels per day was crude oil). Canada's oil reserves were estimated in 2005 to total 178.8 billion barrels, of which 95% are oil sands. Petroleum is now the largest single contributor to mineral output. Heavy crude oil is produced entirely in western Canada, with 60% coming from Alberta and 40% from Saskatchewan. It is transported to eastern Canada and the United States through two major oil pipeline systems, both originating at Edmonton; one extends east to Toronto, and the other southwest to Vancouver and the state of Washington. On the east coast of Canada, oil exploration has been focused on the Jeanne d'Arc Basin off Newfoundland. Terra Nova, the second major project in the region, began production at the beginning of 2002, with a capacity of 115,000 barrels per day over six years. The White Rose oil field, in the same basin, was expected to become operational in 2004. There are potentially up to 300 billion barrels of synthetic crude oil available from western Canada's oil sands. Reserves at Athabasca in northern Alberta are among the world's two largest oil sand deposits.

Canadian natural gas reserves were estimated at 56.6 trillion cu ft as of 1 January 2005. Natural gas production was estimated in 2002 to have totaled 6.6 trillion cubic feet, and according to British Petroleum (BP), to have totaled 182.8 billion cu m in 2004. Gas production is mostly centered in Alberta, which accounts for about 80%. The 3,017 km (1,875 mi) Alliance Pipeline, which carries natural gas from western Canada to the Chicago region, is the longest pipeline in North America.

Canada ranks among the top producers of electric power in the world and first in the production of hydroelectricity. In 2002, Canada's installed capacity was estimated to have reached 111.0 million kW. In that same year, Canada generated an estimated total of 548.9 billion kWh of electricity, of which: 57% came from hydropower sources; 28% from conventional thermal; and 13% from nuclear sources, with geothermal making up the remainder. The marked trend toward the development of thermal stations, which became apparent in the 1950s, is due in part to the fact that most of the hydroelectric sites within economic transmission distance of load centers have already been developed. When the Churchill Falls project reached completion in 1974, the capacity of the plant was 5,225 MW, making it, at the time, the largest single generating plant of any type in the world. It has since been surpassed by Hydro-Québec's 5,328 MW generator, the first completed station of the massive James Bay project. Electricity consumption was estimated in 2002 to have totaled 487.3 billion kWh.

Low-cost electricity generated from waterfalls and fast-flowing rivers has been a major factor in the industrialization of Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia, most significantly in the establishment of metal-smelting industries. In other areas, hydroelectric power is not as abundant, but all provinces have turbine installations. As of 2002, Canada's hydroelectric resources still included substantial untapped potential.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is responsible for research into reactor design and the application of nuclear power in the electric power field. In 1962, commercial electric power was first generated in Canada by a nuclear reaction when the Nuclear Power Demonstration Station at Rolphton, Ontario, became operative. Canada's first full-scale nuclear power station, completed in 1956 at Douglas Point on Lake Huron, produced its first power early in 1967. Nuclear power production declined from 102.4 billion kWh at its peak in 1994 to 69.8 billion kWh in 2000. However, in 2002, Canada's output of electrical power from nuclear sources rose to 71.750 billion kWh. In 1999, Canada had 14 nuclear reactors operating at five power facilities. Spurred by a desire to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, which Canada has signed, plans were put forth in 2004 by the government to build a new nuclear power plant in Ontario. It would be the first such plant in two decades.

Coal production in 2002 is estimated to have reached 73.2 million short tons in 2002, with reserves estimated at 7.3 billion short tons, for that year. About 90% of coal consumption is for electricity generation, and most of the remainder is for steel production. The increase in total output since 1970, especially the increased output from Alberta and British Columbia, is almost entirely due to the growth of the Japanese and South Korean export markets. In eastern Canada, however, domestic coal must be augmented by US coal imports.


Industry accounted for 26.4% of GDP in 2004, with approximately 15% of the labor force employed in manufacturing and 5% in construction. The leading industrial sectors are foods and beverages, transport equipment, petroleum, natural gas, coal products, paper and paper products, primary metals, chemicals, fabricated metals, electrical products, and wood products.

Canada's automotive industry is the nation's largest manufacturing sector, accounting for 12% of manufacturing GDP and 25% of manufacturing trade. It employs more than 170,000 people in automotive assembly and component manufacturing, and nearly 335,000 people in distribution and aftermarket sales and service. Canada in 2005 manufactured approximately 2.5 million passenger and commercial vehicles. Canada currently ranks eighth in the world in motor vehicle production. Canada's automotive sector is closely integrated with that of the United States.

More than 150 communities in Canada depend on mining. Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world, producing more than 70 minerals and metals. Exports of minerals and mineral-based products are close to $50 billion a year, averaging 13% of Canada's total domestic exports.(These figures include all minerals and mineral products excluding oil and natural gas.) The production of fabricated metals is one of Canada's leading industries, with about 50 nonferrous smelters, refineries, and steel mills in operation.

Of the total manufacturing output, about half is concentrated in Ontario, which not only is the center of Canadian industry but also has the greatest industrial diversification. Some important industries operate there exclusively. Québec ranks second in manufacturing production, accounting for some 25% of the value of Canadian manufactured goods. British Columbia ranks third. Manufacturing is also the leading industry in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.


In 2000, Canada had 3,487 researchers and 1,105 technicians per million people actively engaged in scientific research and development (R&D). In 2004, Canadian R&D expenditures were provisionally set at c$24.487 billion. Of that amount, 46.2% came from business, with 35.4% from government sources. Higher education accounted for 17.8%, with foreign sources and private nonprofit organizations accounting for 7.9% and 3.2%, respectively, in that same year. In 2002, high technology exports totaled $22.662 billion, or 14% of manufactured exports.

The Ministry of State for Science and Technology, established in 1971, is the chief federal policymaking body. In 1986, the National Advisory Board for Science and Technology, chaired by the prime minister, was created, and merged with the ministry. In the following year, a National Science and Technology Policy (NSTP) was approved by ministers of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The NSTP has emphasized a strong push linking national research to national needs.

The Royal Society of Canada, founded in 1882 and headquartered in Ottawa, is the most prestigious learned society; there are 53 specialized societies in the fields of agriculture, medicine, science, and technology. The National Research Council of Canada, founded in 1916 and headquartered in Ottawa, coordinates research and development in the country; one of its major facilities is the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, established in 1918 at Victoria, British Columbia. The Geological Survey of Canada (founded in 1842) is headquartered in Ottawa.

The National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, founded in 1967, shows Canada's role in science and technology. The Ontario Science Centre, established in North York in 1965, has over 800 exhibits. In 1996, Canada had 49 universities offering courses in basic and applied science. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 16% of college and university enrollments. In 2000, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 20% were in science (natural sciences, mathematics and computers, and engineering).


Wholesalers' and manufacturers' sales branches are the most prominent wholesale and distribution agencies. Wholesaling is particularly prominent in foodstuffs, lumber and building supplies, hardware, coal, clothing, dry goods, automotive equipment, and machinery. In producer goods, however, direct relations are often maintained by resident or traveling agents.

Large-volume outlets, including department stores, large mail-order houses, and chain stores, often buy direct from the manufacturer. A wide variety of local and imported goods is available in all major towns and cities. Vast indoor shopping complexes have been developed in the larger cities, including Eaton Centre in Toronto with over 300 stores and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. A 7% goods and service tax (GST) applies to most consumer products and services.

Due to Canada's size and its regional economic differences, distribution is essentially regional. Toronto and Montréal dominate merchandising, are the headquarters of much of Canada's trade and financial apparatus, and do by far the greatest share of import business. Winnipeg is the business center for grain and agricultural implements. Vancouver is the center of the growing British Columbia market. As of 2006, about three-quarters of the labor force was employed in the service industry, which accounted for some 70% of the GDP.

There is considerable advertising overflow from the United States. Business hours are 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Shopping hours are 9:30 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday; many stores stay open to 9 pm on Thursday and Friday nights and have Sunday hours. Normal banking hours are from 10 am to 4:30 pm,

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 272,044.7 239,698.9 32,345.8
United States 233,425.4 145,403.3 88,022.1
Japan 5,823.1 9,891.0 -4,067.9
United Kingdom 4,345.2 6,481.6 -2,136.4
China 3,402.1 13,278.3 -9,876.2
Germany 2,052.0 6,176.2 -4,124.2
Mexico 1,584.1 8,710.5 -7,126.4
France-Monaco 1,561.0 3,567.6 -2,006.6
Korea, Republic of 1,383.3 3,651.7 -2,268.4
Belgium 1,314.5 831.3 483.2
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 1,234.9 3,299.8 -2,064.9
() data not available or not significant.

Monday through Thursday, and from 10 am to 5 or 6 pm on Fridays. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings.


Canada's exports are highly diversified; the principal export groups are industrial goods, forestry products, mineral resources (with crude petroleum and natural gas highly important), and agricultural commodities. Imports are heavily concentrated in the industrial sector, including machinery, transport equipment, basic manufactures, and consumer goods. Trade balances are almost invariably favorable.

In 1989, the United States and Canada signed a free trade agreement; and in 1994 the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Currently, trade between the United States and Canada is essentially unhindered. In fact, the USCanada trade relationship is the largest such economic association in history.

Cars, trucks, and automobile parts were the second-largest exports of Canada in 2004 (totaling 21.1%), behind machinery and equipment (21.3%). Wood, paper, and paper products follow Canada's vehicle exports closely. Canada's leading markets in 2004 were the United States (88.4% of all exports), Japan (2.1%), the United Kingdom (1.7%), and China (1.7%). Canada's leading suppliers in 2004 were the United States (64.5% of all imports), China (7.5%), Mexico (4.2%), and Japan (4.1%).


Canada's merchandise balances, although fluctuating, showed consistent surpluses between 1961 and 2005, except for 1975. These, however, were offset by persistent deficits from other transactions. Sources of these deficits include Canada's indebtedness to other countries, travel of Canadians abroad, payments for freight and shipping, personal remittances, migrants' transfers, official contributions, and other Canadian government expenditures abroad.

In 2000, Canada recorded a current account surplus of us$12.8 billion, the first such surplus since 1996. Merchandise trade was responsible for most of the improvement, in part due to the then-thriving US economy, which received 86% of Canada's total merchandise exports. Canada at that time received 22% of total US

Current Account 17,268.0
   Balance on goods 41,513.0
     Imports -244,281.0
     Exports 285,794.0
   Balance on services -7,727.0
   Balance on income -16,738.0
   Current transfers 221.0
Capital Account 2,386.0
Financial Account -21,592.0
   Direct investment abroad -22,240.0
   Direct investment in Canada 6,273.0
   Portfolio investment assets 9,139.0
   Portfolio investment liabilities 13,160.0
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets -20,555.0
   Other investment liabilities 10,910.0
Net Errors and Omissions -1,767.0
Reserves and Related Items 3,255.0
() data not available or not significant.

merchandise exports, making it the largest single-country export market for the United States.

Merchandise exports on a balance-of-payments basis rose by 7.2% to c$429 billion in 2004 as growth in the US economy remained strong and bilateral trade with China increased exponentially. Merchandise imports rose by 6% to c$363 billion. The merchandise trade surplus rose to c$66.1 billion in 2004 from c$57.6 billion in 2003. In 2004, the current-account balance amounted to us$28.2 billion. From 200105, the current-account balance averaged 1.9% of GDP.


The Bank of Canada, which was established in 1934, is a government-owned institution that regulates the total volume of currency and credit through changes in the cash reserves of eight domestic chartered banks and 45 foreign bank subsidiaries. The Bank of Canada also acts as the government's fiscal agent, manages the public debt, and has the sole right to issue paper money for circulation in Canada. It is empowered to buy and sell securities on the open market, to fix minimum rates at which it will make advances, and to buy and sell bullion and foreign exchange.

The Federal Business Development Bank, established as the Industrial Development Bank in 1944 as a subsidiary of the Bank of Canada, has operated as a separate entity since 1974. It does not engage in the business of deposit banking but supplements the activities of the chartered banks and other agencies by supplying medium- and long-range capital for small enterprises.

The eight domestic chartered banks are commercial and savings banks combined, and they offer a complete range of banking services. Canada's banks were reorganized in 1992 under the Banking Act. Every 10 years the banks' charters are subject to renewal and the Banking Act is revised to keep abreast of changing trends, a practice unique to Canada. The banks were reorganized into Schedule I and II banks. The Schedule I banks are banks whose ownership is public. No one shareholder in Schedule I banks controlled more than 10% of the shares until the law was revised in 2000. Schedule II banks are subsidiaries of foreign or domestic banks that are held privately or semiprivately. In 1999, foreign banks were given the right to operate branches in the full-service and lending sectors. Schedule I banks include the Bank of Montréal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperail Bank of Commerce, Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, and the Toronto-Dominion Bank of Canada.

Canada's four biggest banksRoyal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Bank of Montréal, and Bank of Nova Scotiawere all among the top 10 in North America in the 1980s. In 1997, only RBC and CIBC qualified. The Canadian banks began in mid-1996 to speak out in favor of liberalized ownership rules if they were to maintain their competitive edge. In October 1996, the Bank of Montréal chairman, Matthew Barrett, said domestic banks should have the freedom to merge, and that serious thought should be given to dropping the 10% ownership limit. In 1999, banks with equity of over c$5 billion were allowed to merge, and the ownership limit was raised to 20% on vote-taking shares, and 30% on nonvote taking shares. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to us$163.9 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas us$463.9 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.11%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 2.5%.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) was founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1878. The Standard Stock and Mining Exchange, incorporated in 1908, merged with it in 1934. Its members have branch offices in principal Canadian cities and in some US financial centers.

The Montréal Stock Exchange was incorporated in 1874. In 1974, it merged with the Canadian Stock Exchange, which was organized in 1926 as the Montréal Curb Market. Other securities exchanges were: the Winnipeg Stock Exchange, founded in 1903; the Vancouver Stock Exchange, founded in 1907; and the Alberta Stock Exchange (formerly Calgary Stock Exchange), founded in 1913.

In 1999, the TSE took over all senior equity exchanges from the Montréal market. Also in that year, the TSE and the Canadian Venture Exchange combined to create the TSX Group. The Vancouver and Alberta stock exchanges also merged to form the Canadian Equities Exchange, handling only junior exchanges. As of 2004, there were 3,597 companies listed by the TSX Group. Total market capitalization as of December 2004 stood at $1,177.518 billion. The TSX in 2004 was up 12.5% from the previous year at 9,246.7.


Of the billions of dollars worth of coverage that Canadians buy every year, most is either life and health insurance or property and casualty insurance. Canadians buy more life and health insurance on a per capita basis than any other group except the Japanese (the United States is third). Compulsory insurance for Canadians includes automobile insurance and workers' compensation, on which the government holds a monopoly. Manitoba, British Columbia, Québec, and Saskatchewan also operate a monopoly on primary automobile policies.

Since 1978, the Canadian property and insurance market has continued to experience underwriting losses. The return on equity fell to 13.1% in 1997, to 6.8% in 1998, and to 5.4% in 1999. Since the industry continues to pay more in claims and expenses than it earns in premium revenue, overall profitability is ultimately determined by revenues generated from investment earnings. A high rate of natural disasters coupled with a low rate of crime in 1999 influenced industry intake. In 2000, government restructuring of the financial sector refused to allow bank branches to distribute insurance policies, supporting the insurance industry. In 2003, direct premiums written in Canada totaled us$59.144 billion, of which us$36.303 billion was nonlife insurance and us$22.841 billion life insurance. In that same year, ING Canada was the country's top nonlife insurer, with gross written nonlife premiums of us$2,119.0 million, while Sun Life of Canada was the nations top life insurer, with gross written life insurance premiums (excluding segregated funds) of us$2,495.8 million.


By far the largest item of expenditure of the federal government is for social services, including universal pension plans, old age security, veterans benefits, unemployment insurance, family and youth allowances, and assistance to disabled, handicapped, unemployed, and other needy persons. Through the early 1970s, federal budgets remained relatively in balance, fluctuating between small surpluses and small deficits. Since then, however, the budget has been in continuous and growing deficit. The federal debt rose from 18% of GDP in 1974 to 70% of GDP in 1993, and about 65% in 1999. Government options to reduce the deficit are constrained by the high level of nondiscretionary spending in the federal budget. Sources

Revenue and Grants 240.98 100.0%
   Tax revenue 168.71 70.0%
   Social contributions 57.98 24.1%
   Grants 0.62 0.3%
   Other revenue 13.67 5.7%
Expenditures 224.4 100.0%
   General public services 67.91 30.3%
   Defense 13.11 5.8%
   Public order and safety 6.84 3.0%
   Economic affairs 13.48 6.0%
   Environmental protection 1.44 0.6%
   Housing and community amenities 2.86 1.3%
   Health 6.04 2.7%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 3.44 1.5%
   Education 4.77 2.1%
   Social protection 104.5 46.6%
() data not available or not significant.

of provincial revenue include various licenses, permits, fines, penalties, sales taxes, and royalties, augmented by federal subsidies, health grants, and other payments. Federal grants and surpluses and federal payments to the provinces under the federal-provincial tax-sharing arrangements constitute a major revenue source of the provinces. Corporation and personal income taxes provide a considerable portion of the revenue of Québec. The largest provincial expenditures are for highways, health and social welfare, education, natural resources, and primary industries. Real property taxes account for more than two-thirds of revenue for municipalities and other local authorities. Almost one-third of their expenditures go to supporting local schools.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2004 Canada's central government took in revenues of approximately us$159.6 billion and had expenditures of us$152.6 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately us$7 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 68.2% of GDP. Total external debt was us$600.7 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues in billions of Canadian dollars were 240.98 and expenditures were 224.4. The value of revenues in millions of US dollars was $172 and expenditures $159, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of 1.4011 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 30.3%; defense, 5.8%; public order and safety, 3.0%; economic affairs, 6.0%; environmental protection, 0.6%; housing and community amenities, 1.3%; health, 2.7%; recreation, culture, and religion, 1.5%; education, 2.1%; and social protection, 46.6%.


As with most industrialized democracies, Canada's tax system is complex, reflecting the impact of numerous social and economic policy goals. There are both federal and provincial taxes on corporate and individual income. Ontario, Québec, and Alberta administer their own corporate tax systems, but in the other provinces, the federal government levies both. As of 2005, Canada's federal corporate income tax rate is 21%, with a surtax adding another 1.12%. However, additional taxes by Canadian provinces/territories, can add 11.5% to 17%. Québec has a rate of 8.9% for active income. Canada is also slated to further reduce the corporate rate. Effective January 1, 2008, the corporate rate will be lowered to 20.5%, while the surtax (as of that date) will be abolished. As of January 1, 2009, the corporate rate will be cut further to 20%, and will be reduced on January 1, 2010 to 19%. Nonresidents of Canada are also subject to a 15% withholding tax for services performed in Canada. Individual income taxes are based on a progressive system, for which the top federal rate is 29%. Individual income tax rates imposed by the provinces/territories vary from 424%.


Customs duties, once the chief source of revenue, have declined in importance as a revenue source as Canada's economy has grown and developed. The tariff, however, still is an important instrument of economic policy. There is a wide range of duties, progressing from free rates on raw materials to higher duties as goods become more highly processed. Producer goods, including machinery of a kind not made in Canada, are subject to lower rates or are admitted free. Imports from the United Kingdom, most Commonwealth countries, and some crown colonies receive a tariff preference on a basis of reciprocity. Imports from nonmembers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that have not negotiated a trade agreement with Canada are subject to the general or highest duty category. A federal goods and services tax, excise tax, and provincial retail sales taxes add to the cost of importation.

In October 1987, Canada and the United States reached agreement to establish a free trade area between the two countries, which came into force in 1989 with all tariffs being eliminated within 10 years. Today, there are essentially no tariffs on US goods, although there remain a few nontariff barriers to trade. Canadian commercial policy is generally opposed to the use of quantitative restrictions except as permitted by the WTO, or for sanitary reasons, in emergencies, to allocate scarce supplies, or to meet balance-of-payments problems. Canada does not adhere to a general system of import licensing but does require permits for a limited number of products, such as electric power, petroleum, and natural gas and by-products. There are no free ports, but bonded facilities are operated at many ports. Except in grain, for which storage facilities are extremely large, customs warehousing is not extensive.

The United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in December 1992. Approved by the legislatures of all three countries in 1993, NAFTA replaced the existing free trade agreement between Canada and the United States in 1994 but retained many of its major provisions and obligations. Canada and Chile signed a free trade agreement in 1997. NAFTA members are working towards a Free Trade Area of the Americas to incorporate Central and South America.


With few exceptions, Canada offers foreign investors full national treatment within the context of a developed open market economy operating with democratic principles and institutions. However, Canada is one of the few OECD countries that still have a formal investment review process, and foreign investment is prohibited or restricted in certain sectors of the economy.

The federal corporate tax is 21%. The federal capital tax will be eliminated for all businesses by 2008. Provincial governments charge corporate taxes at rates from 10% upwards; the federal government allows a tax credit of 10% against these provincial levies.

By the beginning of 2003, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada, which has increased steadily since the early 1950s, amounted to us$349.4 billion. This was only 4.7% above the level in 2001, the lowest rate of increase since 1993. FDI inflow in 2002 was us$33.6 billion, about 20% lower than 2001. The US share in annual FDI inflow declined from 91% in 2001 to 74.7% in 2002. The second-largest source of inward FDI was the European Union. Canada's relative share of global inward FDI remained unchanged in 2001 and 2002, at about 4% of the world total. The inflow of foreign portfolio investment (foreign purchases of Canadian stocks and bonds) declined from us$30.1 billion to us$17.9 billion.

Outward FDI by Canadians has grown at an even faster average rate than inward FDI over the last 1015 years. FDI assets held by Canadians reached us$432 billion in 2002. Outward FDI flow was us$43.8 billion down about 20% from 2001. Direct investments in the United States accounted for 47% of outward FDI, down from 60% in 2001. As in 2001, Canada accounted for about 6% of the world total outward FDI in 2002. Outward portfolio investment in 2002 was us$24.7 billion, down from us$37.7 billion in 2001 in 2002, up 10.8% from 2001.

By 2006, the soaring price of oil and other commodities had prompted a surge in investment. Some us$39 billion of new investment was announced early in 2005 in Alberta's oil sector alone. Railway lines are being built, ports expanded, and oil and gas pipelines laid. From 200105, FDI inflows averaged 2% of GDP.


Basically, Canada has a free-enterprise economy. However, the government has intervened in times of economic crisis and to accomplish specific social or economic goals. For example, in October 1963, the Canadian government announced a plan, involving tariff rebates, designed to induce US automobile companies to increase the export of vehicles and parts from their plants in Canada; subsequently, US companies markedly increased the scale of their Canadian operations. To dampen speculative buying of the Canadian dollar, the government permitted the dollar to float in the foreign exchange markets as of 31 May 1970; the government's intent was also to make imports cheaper in terms of Canadian dollars, and thereby to dampen domestic inflation. Another attempt at economic intervention, the Canada Anti-Inflation Act, became effective on 16 December 1975. This legislation established an Anti-Inflation Board and an Anti-Inflation Appeal Tribunal to monitor wage and price guidelines, which are mandatory for key sectors of the economy. The act was part of a government program to limit the growth of public expenditures and public service employment, to allow the money supply to increase at a rate consistent with moderate real growth, and to establish new agencies and policies to deal with energy, food, and housing.

A recurrent problem for Canada has been the dominant position of US corporations and investors. Attempts to limit US influence have included tightened tax policies, the Foreign Investment Review Act, and, in 1980, the National Energy Program (NEP), which aimed at reducing foreign ownership of Canada's oil and gas industry, principally through assisting Canadian companies to take over foreign holdings. One beneficiary of the NEP was the government-owned Petro-Canada, created in the mid-1970s; by the end of 1985, Petro-Canada had become the country's second-largest oil company, ranked by assets. However, much of the NEP was eliminated in the mid-1980s by the Conservative government, which sought to encourage foreign investment and to privatize government-owned enterprises. Between 1984 and 1991, the government sold or dissolved over 20 federal corporations, deregulated much of the energy, transportation, and financial sectors, and removed many controls on foreign investment.

In 2000, after more than 10 years of the bilateral trade agreement with the United States, and six years under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada's economy was growing at a comfortable pace, unemployment was falling, and inflation was low; but nationals were still dissatisfied with the size of the Canadian economy as compared to US affluence. The economic downturn that began in the United States in 2001 negatively impacted the Canadian economy. In addition, the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) worldwide harmed tourism and exports in Canada, as Toronto was struck by the worst outbreak of the disease outside Asia. In addition, a cow in Alberta was diagnosed with mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalophathy) in May 2003, and the United States and four other countries placed a ban on the import of Canadian beef. (Canada is the world's third-largest exporter of beef, after Australia and the United States.) However, shipments of most Canadian beef to the United States were resumed in late 2003, and trade in live cattle under 30 months resumed in July 2005.

By 2006, federal finances were holding up well and federal debt as a share of GDP was forecast to continue on a downward trend. In the medium term, the government planned to cut taxes and increase expenditures. Immigration and internal security remain key policy issues. Canada's close bilateral relationship with the United States had been soured by a number of security and trade disputes, such as the United States' imposition of tariffs on shipments of Canadian softwood lumber and over the Unites States' approach to climate change.


Federal programs include family allowances, old age security, and earning-related disability and survivors' pensions. There is a universal pension for all residents, and an earnings related pension for most employed persons. The universal pension is funded by the government, while the employment based program is financed with employer and employee contributions. There is a family allowance for low-income families for each child under the age of eighteen. The amount of these child allowances declines as family net income increases. Benefits are provided for the disabled, and the benefit is adjusted for changes in the consumer price index.

Sickness and maternity benefits are available for all wage earners and salaried workers. Virtually the total population is covered for physician and hospital services. Workers' medical benefits include general medical and maternity care, as well as specialty and laboratory services. There are additional benefits available to residents of some provinces. There is a funeral grant that varies according to province.

The first work injury laws were enacted in 1908. Employees in industry and commerce are covered, and the employer funds the program. Unemployment is funded by both the employer and employee contributions. All wage earners and salaried workers are covered by the program. The government funds a social assistance system for all residents based on total family income.

Women participate fully in the Canadian labor force, including business and the professions, although government reports show that their average earnings are still less than those of men. There is equality in marriage and property rights. The law prohibits sexual harassment and criminal harassment. The government spends considerable funds to prevent domestic violence and to provide services to victims. Incidences of violence against women declined in 2004.

The government protects human rights, and the law and judiciary are effective in addressing incidence of abuse. There has been an increase in anti-Semitic harassment in recent years, as well as a rise in trafficking in women.


Canada adopted a national health insurance scheme in 1971. It is administered regionally; each province runs a public insurance plan with the government contributing about 40% of the cost (mostly from taxes). Government regulations ensure that private insurers can only offer particular types of health care provision. Drug prices are low. Most hospitals and doctors operate privately. Hospitals are paid by allocated budgets and doctors receive fees per treatment. The system offers considerable choice, but there is little competition and the government has used rationing measures to limit health care expenditures. Access to health care and cost containment are good, but there are strains on the budget, increased by an aging population. In 1997, the National Forum on Health, created by the government three years earlier, released a report on ways to improve Canada's health system. It recommended several initiatives, including formation of a Health Transition Fund to support provincial and territorial health programs.

Major health planning is carried on by provincial governments, most of which offer substantial free care for patients suffering from tuberculosis (7 cases reported per 100,000 people in 1999), poliomyelitis, venereal diseases, and certain types of cancer. They also assume responsibility for mental health treatment. Municipalities are responsible for sanitation; communicable disease control; child, maternal, and school health care; public health nursing; health education; and vital statistics. In some cases, they supply hospital care and medical service to the poor. The federal government provides consultant and specialist services to the provinces, assists in the financing of provincial programs, provides services to veterans and Indians, exercises control over the standard and distribution of food and drugs, maintains quarantine measures, and is responsible for carrying out certain international health obligations. The federal Department of National Health and Welfare provides financial assistance for provincial health and hospital services through the National Health Program and for provincial hospital insurance programs through the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act of 1957, under which the federal government shares the provinces' costs (since 1977, by means of tax transfers and cash payments). By 1973, this program had been established in all provinces and territories, covering more than 99% of the total population of Canada. Federal and provincial governments contribute toward construction costs of new hospitals. Total health care expenditures for 1995 were us$1,899 per capita. Public insurance pays about 80% of the Canadian population's health bills. The total expenditure on health is second only to the United States, with an estimated 9.3% of GDP going toward health as of 1999. As of 2004, there were an estimated 209 physicians, 1,010 nurses, 80 pharmacists, and 56 dentists per 100,000 people.

The Canadian death rate of 7.5 per 1,000 people in 1999, the maternal death rate (1998) of 6 per 100,000 live births, and the infant mortality rate (2005) of 5 per 1,000 live births are among the lowest in the world. In 1999, 6% of all births were low birth weight. Diseases of the heart and arteries account for nearly 40% of all deaths and cancer accounts for about 28%; the proportion of deaths from causes related to old age is rising. Tobacco consumption, which was 2.8 kg (6.2 lbs) a year per adult in 198486, was 2.3 kg (5.1 lbs) in 1995. Accidents are the leading cause of death in childhood and among young adult males and rank high for other population groups. In 2005, life expectancy at birth was estimated at 80 years. Canada had a birth rate of 11.9 per 1,000. Approximately 73% of married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraception. Children up to one year of age were immunized as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 93%; polio, 89%; and measles, 98%.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.30 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 56,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 1,500 deaths from AIDS in 2003.


According to the 2001 census, there were about 11,562,975 occupied private dwellings in Canada and 25,755 collective dwellings. The average number of persons per household is about 2.6. The most active period of housing construction of private homes was during the period 197180, when about 21% of the existing housing stock was built. In the period 19962001, there were 819,865 private dwellings built. The average value of a private home was about $162,709 in 2001. In 2003, about 57% of all households were in single, detached homes, about 30% were in apartments, and 10% were in single, attached housing. About 65% of all dwellings are owner occupied.


The age limits of compulsory school attendance are roughly from age 6 to age 16. Primary schools lasts for six to eight years and secondary or high school another six years. Each province is responsible for its own system of education. While the systems differ in some details, the general plan is the same for all provinces except Québec, which has two parallel systems: one mainly for Roman Catholics and speakers of French, the other primarily for non-Catholics and speakers of English. Québec, Newfoundland, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and, to a lesser extent, Ontario provide for public support of church-affiliated schools. Primary and secondary education is generally free, although nominal fees are charged for secondary education in some schools or provinces. Public elementary and secondary schools are administered by the provinces and Yukon Territory. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5.2% of GDP, or 12.5% of total government expenditures.

In 2001, about 64.7% of all children between the ages of four and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2000 was estimated at about 99.6% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 94% of age-eligible students. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 17:1 in 2003. The ratio for secondary school was about 17:1.

Canadian higher education began with the founding of the Collège des Jésuites in Québec City in 1635. The Séminaire de Québec, another Jesuit institution, established in 1663, became Laval University in 1852. Other early institutions on the French collegiate model were the Collège St. Boniface in Manitoba (1827), the University of Ottawa (1848), and St. Joseph's University in New Brunswick (1864). Although many French institutions survivemost notably the University of Montréal, which separated itself from Laval in 1920most university-level instruction is conducted in English on the Scottish, British, or US model. The first English-language college in Canada was King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1789). Two private universities on the Scottish model are Dalhousie University in Halifax (1818) and McGill University in Montréal (1821). The first state-supported institution, founded in 1827 on the principles of Anglicanism and loyalty to the British crown, was King's College at York in Upper Canada, which became the University of Toronto, the largest and one of the most distinguished of Canadian institutions. Universities in each of the four western provincesManitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbiafounded in the late 19th century, represent a Canadian adaptation of the US state land-grant universities.

Canada also has numerous community colleges, teachers' colleges, technical institutes, nursing schools, and art schools. Adult education is sponsored by universities, colleges, school boards, government departments, and voluntary associations, each of which has some other primary function. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the National Film Board, and many museums, art galleries, and libraries engage in adult education as part of their work. Instructors are represented by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, and students by the Canadian Federation of Students. In 2001, about 59% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 97%.


Municipal public libraries serve the large cities and many small towns and rural areas; regional units supply library service to scattered population areas. Traveling libraries, operated by provincial governments or university extension departments, also provide mail services for more isolated individuals and communities. Although public libraries are organized and financed by municipalities, in most provinces the provincial government supervises library services and makes grants to the municipal units. Special libraries of various kinds and at various levels serve limited groups.

In 2004, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was established through a government act which essentially merged the services of the National Library of Canada with the National Archives of Canada. The massive collection of the new LAC includes over 300,000 hours of film archives; over 2.5 million architectural drawings, plans, and maps; 21.3 million photographic images; 343,000 works of arts; 200,000 music recordings; the Canadian Postal Archives; and millions of books, among other materials.

Canada also has a number of major academic libraries, most notably at the University of Toronto, which itself has over 14 million volumes. In 2002, Canada had a total of 3,932 libraries, including 1,673 public libraries, 484 academic libraries, 380 government libraries, and a variety of special libraries.

There are about 2,000 museums, art galleries, and related institutions in Canada. Major museums located in Ottawa include the National Arts Center, the National Gallery of Canada (including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography), the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the National Museum of Science and Technology (including the National Aviation Museum and the Agriculture Museum). Other notable Canadian museums include the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Fine Arts Museum in Montréal. The major museums and art galleries, located in the principal cities, provide valuable educational services to adults and children; many supply traveling exhibitions for their surrounding areas or regions. The National Gallery conducts extension work throughout the country and sends many exhibitions on tour.


The 10 public and private companies in Telecom Canada provide a major share of the nation's telecommunications services, including all long-distance service, and link regional networks across Canada. In 2003, there were an estimated 629 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 417 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. Telegraph services are operated by the two transcontinental railroads and by the federal government to outlying districts. All external telecommunication services are operated by the Canadian Overseas Telecommunication Corp., a crown agency. The Post Office became a crown corporation in 1981.

The Broadcasting Act of 1968 entrusted the Canadian Radio-Television Commission with the regulation and supervision of all aspects of the broadcasting system. The publicly owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) provides the national broadcasting service in Canada. Its radio and television facilities extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and north to the Arctic Circle. The CBC has broadcasting stations in the principal cities and operates both English- and French-language national networks. Privately owned local stations form part of the networks and provide alternative programs. In 2005, there were nearly 2,000 licensed radio stations in the country. There are at least 80 television stations. Radio Canada International, the CBC's shortwave service, broadcasts in seven languages to Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, the South Pacific, and the United States.

The Canadian communication satellites play an increasingly significant role in efforts to bring radio and television services to the more remote parts of the country, particularly in the north. Beginning in late 1980, a new television network began broadcasting programs in the Inuit language via satellite, offering viewers the opportunity to "talk back" through their television sets to people in other communities. In 2003, there were an estimated 1,047 radios and 691 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 487 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 513 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were over 15,000 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

In 2004 there were over 100 major daily newspapers across the country. Although some newspapers in Montréal, Québec, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver have more than local influence, most circulate only on a regional basis and have a limited number of readers. Rural areas are served by over 2,000 monthly and weekly publications. There are many consumer magazines, but only Maclean's is truly national. Three large news-gathering organizations are the Canadian Press, a cooperatively owned and operated venture, the British United Press, and United Press International of Canada.

Canada's leading English-language newspapers (with their 2004 daily circulations) include Toronto Star (464,838), Globe and Mail (317,954), National Post (243,966), Toronto Sun (194,011), Vancouver Sun (172,486), The Province (in Vancouver, 154,590), The Gazette (in Montréal, 135,471), Ottawa Citizen (129,175), Edmonton Journal (125,848), Winnipeg Free Press (117,608), Calgary Herald (114,213), The Chronicle-Herald (in Halifax, 110,033), The Hamilton Spectator (102,574), and The London Free Press (90,043). The leading French-language dailies (with their 2002 daily circulations) include Le Journal de Montréal (265,168), La Presse (in Montréal, 188,216), Le Journal de Québec (97,805), and Le Soleil (in Québec, 76,307). The Mail Star of Halifax merged with the Chronicle-Herald on 2004. The Times Colonist in Victoria is a fairly substantial regional paper with a daily circulation of about 69,855.

In 2004, there about 765 community weekly newspapers in the country. A few of the largest include the Brampton Guardian (circulation 113,032 in 2004), The Scarborough Mirror (110,000), Etobicoke Guardian (69,500), and The Cambridge Reporter (52,000). Le Soleil du St. Laurent is a French weekly based out of Chateauguay, Québec with a circulation of 51,560. Some prominent alternative newspapers in Canada include Le Journal Voir (Montréal, 107,161 weekly in 2004), Now (Toronto, 106,296 weekly), Mirror (Montréal, 66,494 weekly), and Monday Magazine (Victoria, 40,000 weekly). Prominent ethnic weeklies with their language, city, and average circulation in 2004 were Il Cittadino Canadese (Italian, Montréal, 40,000), Corriere Italiano (Italian, Montréal, 40,000), Deutsche Press (German, Toronto, 27,500), El Expreso (Spanish, Toronto, 20,000), and Kanada Kurier (German, Winnipeg, 19,500). The Canadian Daily News of Don Mills, Ontario, has a weekly circulation of 48,700.

The law provides for freedom of expression, including speech and press, and the government supports these rights. The banning of journalists from reporting on some court cases until after a trial in concluded enjoys widespread public support, in favor of a defendant's right to a fair trial.


Cooperatives are very important in Canadian agriculture and fishing, and also provide housing, medical insurance, transportation, and other services. Trade unions and professional organizations exist for a wide array of professions. The Confederation of National Trade Unions and the Canadian National Federation of Independent Unions serve as umbrella organizations for some unions. Almost every city has a chamber of commerce, affiliated with the national Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Consumers' Association of Canada are based in Ottawa.

Among organizations active in general education are the Canadian Association for Adult Education, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Project READ Literacy Network, and the Industrial Foundation on Education, a research organization aiming to promote aid to education by business. There are numerous associations for educators in various fields. The Canada Council is the official national agency for promotion of the arts, humanities, and the social sciences. The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts is the oldest arts organization with national prestige. The Canada Arts Council, a federation of professional cultural organizations, includes the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Authors' Association, the Canadian Music Council, the Sculptors' Society of Canada, and similar societies. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society promotes the study of Canadian history and culture. There are also numerous associations for hobbyists.

Such organizations as the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and the Canadian Mental Health Association serve as both as networks for medical professionals and a resource for education and public action and awareness on health issues. There are hundreds of health and medical associations dedicated to education and research in specialized fields of medicine, such as the Canadian Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Many voluntary societies are active in the field of health.

There are numerous national, regional, and local organizations dedicated to concerns of social welfare and public affairs. These include the National Council of Women of Canada, National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canadian Human Rights Foundation, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is based in Toronto. The Canadian Red Cross Society, affiliated with the International Red Cross Society, has branches in all 10 provinces. The country has chapters of UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, CARE, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace.

Youth organizations exist for a variety of interests. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), founded in 1981, has over 400 000 individual members and 65 student association voting members. The Canadian Council on Children and Youth (CCCY), established in 1958, works to defend the rights of youth. Other youth organizations include Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Canada, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Canada World Youth, Canadian 4-H Council, YMCA/YWCA, Canadian Hostelling Association, Girl Guides of Canada, National Canadian Girls in Training Association, and the Progressive Conservative Youth Federation of Canada. Sports organizations exist for nearly every sport and leisure-time activity.


One of Canada's principal attractions for tourists is its extraordinary geographic variety: from the polar ice cap to the mountains, fjords, and rain forests of the west coast, from the lakes, forests, and ranchlands of the interior to the rugged shores and fine beaches of the east, Canada offers a remarkable range of scenic wonders. The excavation of L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, with its Norse artifacts and reconstructed dwellings, has been designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, as have Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories and Dinosaur Park in Alberta's Red Deer Badlands. Among the most spectacular parks are the Kluane National Park in the Yukon and the Banff (with Lake Louise) and Jasper national parks in the mountains of Alberta. Other attractions include the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia; the Bay of Fundy, between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; and the Laurentians and the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec.

The arts and crafts of the Dene Indians and the Inuit may be seen in cooperative workshops in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories; and of the North West Coast Indians, at the reconstructed Indian village Ksan in British Columbia. Québec City is the only walled city in North America; picturesque old fishing villages are to be found in the Atlantic provinces. Fishing and hunting attract many sportsmen to Canada, and ice hockey attracts many sports fans, particularly to the Forum in Montréal. In 1992, the Toronto major league baseball team, the Blue Jays, became the first non-American team to both play in and win the World Series. In 2004, the Montréal Expos played their final major league baseball season in Canada; the team relocated to Washington, D.C., where they opened the 2005 baseball season as the Washington Nationals.

One of the world's foremost summer theatrical events is the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Ontario. Toronto is known for its many theaters, the CN Tower, and a fine zoo; Montréal, the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris), is famous for its fine French cuisine, night life, vast underground shopping and entertainment network, and its excellent subway system.

Montréal in 1967 hosted a major world trade exhibition, EXPO 67; the Summer Olympics took place in that same city in 1976. A world's fair, EXPO 86, was held in Vancouver in 1986, and Calgary was the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics were scheduled to be held in Vancouver in 2010.

In 2003, Canada was the third most popular tourist destination in the Americas after the United States and Mexico. In that year, 17,534,298 tourists arrived from abroad, 14,232,370 of them from the United States. In 2003, tourist receipts totaled us$12.2 billion.

Citizens of the United States do not need passports but should carry documents attesting to their citizenship, such as birth certificates or voter registration cards. Alien residents should carry their green cards. Nationals of other countries must have valid passports and may require visitor visas; they should check with the nearest Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commission. In 1991, a 7% Goods and Services Tax went into effect; however, it is refundable to foreign tourists.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Vancouver at us$207 from the months of May through October. That same year, the daily cost of a visit to Toronto was estimated at us$295.


Political Figures

Because of their exploits in establishing and developing early Canada, then known as New France, a number of eminent Frenchmen are prominent in Canadian history, among them the explorers Jacques Cartier (14911557), Samuel de Champlain (1567?1635), Étienne Brulé (1592?1633), Jacques Marquette (163775), Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle (164387), and Louis Jolliet (16451700); François Xavier de Laval de Montigny (16231708), first and greatest bishop of Québec; Jean Baptiste Talon (1625?94), first and greatest intendant, who re-created the colony on a sound economic basis; and Louis de Buade, Comte de Palluau et de Frontenac (c.162298), greatest of the French royal governors. Great explorers of a later period include Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Vérendrye (16951749), Sir Alexander Mackenzie (17641820), David Thompson (17701857), Simon Fraser (17761871), Joseph E. Bernier (18521934), and Joseph Burr Tyrrell (18581957). Louis Riel (184485), of Indian and French-Irish ancestry, led the métis in rebellion in 186970 and 1885, when he was captured and hanged for treason.

Fathers of confederation and other important 19th-century political figures include Louis Joseph Papineau (17861871) and William Lyon Mackenzie (17951861); Sir John Alexander Macdonald (181591), first prime minister of the confederation; George Brown (181880), Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley (181896), and Sir Charles Tupper (18211915). The greatest political leader at the turn of the century was Sir Wilfrid Laurier (18411919), prime minister from 1896 to 1911. The outstanding national leader of the first half of the 20th century was William Lyon Mackenzie King (18741950), Liberal prime minister for over 21 years (192126, 192630, 193548), who retired with a record of the longest service as prime minister in Commonwealth history. Charles Vincent Massey (18871967), governor-general from 1952 to 1959, was the first Canadian to represent the British crown in Canada. Lester Bowles Pearson (18971972), prime minister and Canada's longtime UN representative, won the Nobel Prize for peace in 1957. Pierre Elliott Trudeau (19192000) served as prime minister from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984, when he was succeeded by Brian Mulroney (b.1939). The best-known French-Canadian separatist was René Lévesque (192287), leader of the Parti Québécois, who became premier of Québec in 1976.


Highly regarded Canadian painters include James Edward Hervey MacDonald (18731932), Thomas John ("Tom") Thomson (18771917), Frederick Horsman Varley (18811969), and Lawren Stewart Harris (18851970) of the Group of Seven; James Wilson Morrice (18641924); and Emily Carr (18711945). Paul-Emile Borduas (190560) and Jean-Paul Riopelle (19232002) both were part of the Montréal School; however, after settling abroad, they probably became better known in France and the United States than in their native country. Two other artists of distinction are James W. G. MacDonald (18971960) and Harold Barling Town (192490). The portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh (b.Armenia-in-Turkey, 19082002) was a longtime Canadian resident.


Well-known Canadian musicians include the composer Healey Willan (18801968); the conductor Sir Ernest Campbell MacMillan (18931973); the pianist Glenn Gould (193282); the singers Edward Johnson (18781959), Jon Vickers (b.1926), and Maureen Forrester (b.1931); the bandleader Guy Lombardo (190277); and, among recent popular singers and songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot (b.1938), Paul Anka (b.1941), Joni Mitchell (b.1943), Neil Young (b.1945), Celine Dion (b.1968), and Shania Twain (b.1965).


Canadian-born actors who are known for their association with Hollywood include Marie Dressler (Leila Koerber, 18691934), Walter Huston (Houghston, 18841950), Mary Pickford (Gladys Mary Smith, 18931979), Raymond Hart Massey (18961983), Walter Pidgeon (18971984), Norma Shearer (190483), Lorne Greene (191587), Raymond Burr (191793), William Shatner (b.1931), and Donald Sutherland (b.1935). Stage personalities include Beatrice Lillie (18941989), Hume Cronyn (191196), and Christopher Plummer (b.1929). Atom Egoyan (b.1960 in Egypt) is a filmmaker of Armenian descent, known for his film The Sweet Hereafter (1997).


Notable in the world of sports are ice-hockey stars Maurice ("Rocket") Richard (19212000), Gordon ("Gordie") Howe (b.1928), Robert Marvin ("Bobby") Hull, Jr. (b.1939), Robert ("Bobby") Orr (b.1948), and Wayne Gretzky (b.1961).


Thomas Chandler Haliburton (17961865), author of Sam Slick, was the first Canadian writer to attain more than a local reputation. Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts (18601943) and Bliss Carman (18611929) were widely read poets and short-story writers. Archibald Lampman (186199) wrote sensitive poems about nature. Narrative poems about the northwest frontier by Robert William Service (18741958) achieved mass popularity, as did the backwoods novels of Ralph Connor (Charles William Gordon, 18601937). The animal stories and bird drawings of Ernest Evan Thompson Seton (b.UK, 18601946) are still highly regarded. Stephen Butler Leacock (18691944), economist and essayist, is regarded as Canada's leading humorist. The Anne of Green Gables novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery (18741942) have been popular with girls of several generations. Mazo de la Roche (18851961) achieved fame for her romantic Jalna novels about an Ontario family. Well-known contemporary novelists include Morley Edward Callaghan (190390), Hugh MacLennan (190790), Farley McGill Mowat (b.1921), Alice Munro (b.1931), Margaret Lawrence (192687), Mordecai Richler (19312001), and Marian Passmore Engel (19331985). The novels and plays of Robertson Davies (191395), newspaper editor, actor, music critic, and university administrator, crackle with wit. Lorne Albert Pierce (18901961) was a prominent editor and literary critic. Herbert Marshall McLuhan (191180) was a communications theorist and cultural critic. Herman Northrop Frye (191291) was a well-known literary critic, and Margaret Atwood (b.1939) is a noted novelist and poet. Jewish-American novelist Saul Bellow (19152005), was born in what is now Montréal; he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. The British newspaper publisher William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook (18791964), was born in Canada.

The Histoire du Canada (1845) of François Xavier Garneau (180966) stimulated a great interest in French Canada's heritage. Joseph Octave Crémazie (182779) was the first notable French Canadian poet. The poems of Louis Honoré Fréchette (18391908) were crowned by the French Academy. Louis Hémon (18801913), a French journalist who came to Canada in 1910 and spent only 18 months there, wrote the classic French Canadian novel Maria Chapdelaine (1914). Authors of realistic novels dealing with social and economic problems of French Canada include Claude-Henri Grignon (18941976), author of Un Homme et son péché (1933); Jean-Charles Harvey (18921967), author of Les Démi-civilisées (1934); Ringuet (Dr. Philippe Panneton, 18951960), author of Trente Arpentes (1938); Germaine Grignon Guevremont (19001968); Roger Lemelin (191992), author of Au pied de la pente douce (1944); and Gabrielle Roy (Carbotte, 190993). Gratien Gélinas (19091999) is an actor, director, and dramatic satirist. Abbé Félix Antoine Savard (18961982) wrote a poetic novel of pioneer life, Menaud, maître-drayeur.

Scientists and Inventors

Among the famous Canadian scientists and inventors are Sir Sanford Fleming (18271915), inventor of standard time; Sir William Osler (18491919), the father of psychosomatic medicine; and Sir Charles Saunders (18671937), who developed the Marquis wheat strain, which revolutionized wheat growing in northern latitudes. The codiscoverers of insulin, Sir Frederick Grant Banting (18911941) and John James Richard Macleod (18761935), were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1923. George Brock Chisholm (18961971) was an eminent psychiatrist and former head of WHO. Gerhard Herzberg (b.Germany, 19041999) won the 1971 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his work on molecular spectroscopy. Marius Barbeau (18831969), anthropologist and folklorist, was an authority on totem poles and Canadian folk music. David Hubel (b.1926 in Windsor, Ontario) shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1981 for discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system. Henry Taube (19152005) was born in Saskatton; he won the 1983 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Canadian John C. Polanyi (b.1929) shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1986. Sidney Altman (b.1939), shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Richard E. Taylor (b.1929), shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in physics for discoveries regarding the development of the quark model in particle physics. Rudolph A. Marcus (b.1923), born in Montréal, won the 1992 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems. Michael Smith (19322000) shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry for contributions to the developments of methods within DNA-based chemistry. Bertram N. Brockhouse (19182003) shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in physics for contributions to the development of neutron scattering techniques. William Vickrey (191496) was born in Victoria, British Columbia; he shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in economics. Myron S. Scholes (b.1941) shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in economics. Robert Mundell (b.1932) won the 1999 Nobel Prize in economics for his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes.


Northwest Territories

Prior to its division with Nunavut in 1999, the Northwest Territories constituted all of Canada north of 60°n except the Yukon and the northernmost parts of Québec and Newfoundland. Total land area was 3,293,020 sq km (1,271,438 sq mi). After the 1999 division, the territory encompassed 1.17 million sq km. The division ran along the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border through the Arctic Archipelago to the North Pole. Most of the people who live in the territories are aboriginal. The population of the new Northwest Territories in 2000 was 42,083. Over half the population is spread out among 33 communities, and the other half is located in the capital of Yellowknife.

The Mackenzie River and its tributaries, the Athabasca and Slave, provide an inland transportation route of about 2,700 km (1,700 mi). There is some traffic on Lakes Athabasca, Great Bear, and Great Slave. Most of the settlements in Mackenzie are linked by scheduled air service.

The new territory is governed by a commissioner and by a 19-member elected territorial assembly. Six ministers and a premier are elected to serve as an executive council. Following the approval by voters in April 1982 of a proposal to divide the territory, the federal government scheduled the division in 1999. The Inuit of the east called their eastern jurisdiction Nunavut; Indians of the westwhere opinion on the proposal was sharply splitcalled their proposed division Deneden. Land claims of Dene Indians and the Inuit overlapped. Nunavut was created in 1999, and the name "Northwest Territories" for the other half of the area was to be used until such time as residents would be asked to vote on a new constitution, or the territorial assembly would be asked to vote on a new name.

Northwest Territories' mineral resources include rich deposits of gold, silver, lead, tungsten, and zinc. The Northwest Territories contain some of Canada's total mineral resources. It was the Yukon gold rush in 1897 that triggered a large migration of people northward. In one year 30,000 people from the lower parts of Canada were in the Northwest and Yukon Territories looking for gold.

Today, Canada leads in the production of oil, natural gas and coal. Canada's mining industry contributes US$20 billion annually to the economy and employs 145,000 people. In 1989 Canada's oil and gas industry was valued at US$19 billion with 55% of the revenue coming from oil production. Whitefish and trout are caught in Great Slave Lake; the 100,000 or more lakes of the territories provide an "angler's last frontier" in North America for sport fishermen. Fur production is a sizable industry in the Northwest Territories.


The territory of Nunavut, meaning "Our Land" in Inuktitut, was created on 1 April 1999, when the Northwest Territories divided in two. Nunavut encompasses 1,994,000 sq km in the eastern Arctic region of Canada. The islands in the Hudson and James Bays are included. The population in 1999 was approximately 27,500, of whom 20,500 were Inuit. Languages spoken are Inuktitut (many dialects), Inuinnaqtun, English, and French. Iqaluit is the capital and the largest community in Nunavut, with more than 4,200 residents in 1996. The territory is divided into three regions (Qikiqtaaluk, Kivalliq, and Kitikmeot) and 28 communities. Government departments and agencies are located in the various communities in a decentralized fashion. There are an elected legislative assembly, a cabinet, and a territorial court. As of 2003, the government of Nunavut was assuming the responsibilities formerly controlled by the government of the Northwest Territories for programs in culture, public housing, and health care to be completed by 2009. The territory has 21 km of roadways, none of them paved. A handicrafts industry supplies Inuit-made sculpture and prints to the Canadian Handicrafts Guild. Most of the richest and well-developed parts of the Northwest Territories were not included in Nunavut, which now relies largely on developing its mineral resources. Hunting, fishing, fur trapping, and sealing also contribute to the economy.

Yukon Territory

The Yukon Territory, located north of British Columbia and east of Alaska, has a land area of 478,970 sq km (184,931 sq mi) and had an estimated population in the mid-1990s of more than 30,000, of whom some one-fifth were of Indian origin. The principal town is Whitehorse, the capital. An all-weather roadway connects the territory with Alaska and British Columbia, and a railroad connects Whitehorse with ocean shipping at Skagway, Alaska. Air service is available to and from Edmonton, Vancouver, and Fairbanks, Alaska. There are local telephone services in the three chief towns. The territory was separately constituted in June 1898. Since 1978, the Yukon has had a legislative assembly, consisting of 16 elected members. In late 1982, the federal government gave its consent for the Yukon cabinet to call itself the Executive Council and officially to take over some powers hitherto reserved by the federally appointed commissioner, as representative of the governor-general-in-council, or by the minister of Indian affairs and northern development. The Yukon government has recently pressed for provincial status.

Mineral resources include rich deposits of gold, silver, lead, tungsten, and zinc. Mining and tourism are Yukon's principal industries.


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