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  Introduction Back To Top

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

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 44.72 cu km/yr (20%/69%/12%)
per capita: 1,386 cu m/yr (1996)

Total renewable water resources:
3,300 cu km (1985)

Land boundaries:
total: 8,893 km
border countries: US 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)

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

varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north

Map references:
North America

Geographic coordinates:
60 00 N, 95 00 W

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

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

mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast

Geography - note:
second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border

total: 9,984,670 sq km
land: 9,093,507 sq km
water: 891,163 sq km

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

202,080 km

Area - comparative:
somewhat larger than the US

Irrigated land:
7,850 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:
continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains

Land use:
arable land: 4.57%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 94.78% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.57 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
56,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.16 years
male: 78.65 years
female: 83.81 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
5.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%

Median age:
total: 40.1 years
male: 39 years
female: 41.2 years (2008 est.)

33,212,696 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.2% of GDP (2002)

Population growth rate:
0.83% (2008 est.)

English (official) 59.3%, French (official) 23.2%, other 17.5%

Death rate:
7.61 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.08 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,500 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.3% (male 2,780,491/female 2,644,276)
15-64 years: 68.8% (male 11,547,354/female 11,300,639)
65 years and over: 14.9% (male 2,150,991/female 2,788,945) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
10.29 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (including United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16% (2001 census)

noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador David H. WILKINS
embassy: 490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
mailing address: P. O. Box 5000, Ogdensburgh, NY 13669-0430; P.O. Box 866, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
telephone: [1] (613) 688-5335
FAX: [1] (613) 688-3082
consulate(s) general: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

National holiday:
Canada Day, 1 July (1867)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional monarchy that is also a parliamentary democracy and a federation

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

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael WILSON
chancery: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone: [1] (202) 682-1740
FAX: [1] (202) 682-7701
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson
consulate(s): Anchorage, Houston, Philadelphia, Princeton (New Jersey), Raleigh, San Jose (California)

International organization participation:
ACCT, ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ESA (cooperating state), FAO, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAFTA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (105 seats; members appointed by the governor general with the advice of the prime minister and serve until reaching 75 years of age) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a maximum of five-year terms starting in 2009 elections)
elections: House of Commons - last held 14 October 2008 (next to be held no later than 19 October 2012)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative Party 37.6%, Liberal Party 26.2%, New Democratic Party 18.2%, Bloc Quebecois 10%, Greens 6.8%, other 1%; seats by party - Conservative Party 143, Liberal Party 77, New Democratic Party 37, Bloc Quebecois 49, other 2

Legal system:
based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

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

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

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada

Political parties and leaders:
Bloc Quebecois [Gilles DUCEPPE]; Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER] (a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party); Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]; Liberal Party [Michael IGNATIEFF]; New Democratic Party [Jack LAYTON]

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

made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982, which transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Michaelle JEAN (since 27 September 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Stephen HARPER (since 6 February 2006)
cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among the members of his own party sitting in Parliament
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons is automatically designated prime minister by the governor general

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Canada (judges are appointed by the prime minister through the governor general); Federal Court of Canada; Federal Court of Appeal; Provincial Courts (these are named variously Court of Appeal, Court of Queens Bench, Superior Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Justice)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 78.9%, UK 2.8%, China 2.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
530 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
4.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
19.66 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$12.82 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$758.6 billion (30 June 2007)

Unemployment rate:
6.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
2.225 million bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$40,200 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
22.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$2.382 trillion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.336 trillion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.564 trillion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
32.1 (2005)

Exchange rates:
Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar - 1.0364 (2008 est.), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.301 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
0.7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$391.6 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
18.18 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 54.1%, China 9.4%, Mexico 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 28.4%
services: 69.6% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
1.229 million bbl/day (2005)

$461.8 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
92.9 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Canadian dollar (CAD)

Economy - overview:
As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principle trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs nearly 80% of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada has enjoyed solid economic growth, and prudent fiscal management has produced consecutive balanced budgets from 1997 to 2007. In 2008, growth slowed sharply as a result of the global economic downturn, US housing slump, plunging US car sales, and drop in world commodity prices. Public finances, too, are set to deteriorate for the first time in a decade. Tight global credit conditions have further restrained business and housing investment, despite the conservative lending practices and strong capitalization that made Canada's major banks among the stongest in the world.

Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $3.9 billion (2007)

Natural gas - exports:
107.3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
50.12 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
10.8%; note - this figure is the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), a calculation that results in higher figures than found in many comparable economies; Canada does not have an official poverty line (2005)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.1% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$1.381 trillion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
612.6 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$436.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
178.6 billion bbl
note: includes oil sands (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 2%, manufacturing 13%, construction 6%, services 76%, other 3% (2006)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.648 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$41.08 billion (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption:
2.371 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$547.2 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
62.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$586.6 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.187 trillion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

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

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

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 28%
hydro: 57.9%
nuclear: 12.9%
other: 1.3% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
13.2 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
187 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $608.3 billion
expenditures: $606 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
3.425 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
28 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
21 million (2006)

21.5 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 245, FM 582, shortwave 6 (2004)

32.3 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
18.749 million (2006)

Television broadcast stations:
80 (plus many repeaters) (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent service provided by modern technology
domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
international: country code - 1; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean, and 2 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
760 (2000 est.)

Internet hosts:
5.119 million (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

636 km
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States (2008)

crude and refined oil 23,564 km; liquid petroleum gas 74,980 km (2006)

total: 48,068 km
standard gauge: 48,068 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Fraser River Port, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec City, Saint John (New Brunswick), Sept-Isles, Vancouver

11 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 175
by type: bulk carrier 60, cargo 13, carrier 1, chemical tanker 10, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 64, petroleum tanker 12, roll on/roll off 6
foreign-owned: 17 (Germany 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 3, US 10)
registered in other countries: 206 (Australia 9, Bahamas 84, Barbados 9, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 2, Denmark 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 44, Liberia 7, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 6, Norway 7, Norway 3, Panama 18, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Spain 1, Spain 3, Taiwan 2, Vanuatu 5) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 509
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 149
914 to 1,523 m: 248
under 914 m: 78 (2007)

total: 1,042,300 km
paved: 415,600 km (includes 17,000 km of expressways)
unpaved: 626,700 km (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 834
1,524 to 2,437 m: 68
914 to 1,523 m: 356
under 914 m: 410 (2007)

1,343 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (with parental consent); 16 years of age for reserve and military college applicants; Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status required; maximum 34 years of age; service obligation 3-9 years (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 8,072,010
females age 16-49: 7,813,462 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 6,646,281
females age 16-49: 6,417,924 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Canadian Forces: Land Forces Command (LFC), Maritime Command (MARCOM), Air Command (AIRCOM), Canada Command (homeland security) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 227,435
female: 215,556 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
managed maritime boundary disputes with the US at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Gulf of Maine including the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; Canada, the US, and other countries dispute the status of the Northwest Passage; US works closely with Canada to intensify security measures for monitoring and controlling legal and illegal movement of people, transport, and commodities across the international border; sovereignty dispute with Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland; commencing the collection of technical evidence for submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in support of claims for continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its declared baselines in the Arctic, as stipulated in Article 76, paragraph 8, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Illicit drugs:
illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market and export to US; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; increasing ecstasy production, some of which is destined for the US; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering because of its mature financial services sector

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