Mahal Resources on Education in Canada

General Information about Canada


 Transnational Issues 
A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, from 1867 on Canada has enjoyed de facto independence while retaining, even to the present day, certain formal 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. Its paramount political problem continues to be the relationship of the province of Quebec, with its French-speaking residents and unique culture, to the remainder of the country.


Location:Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and North Pacific Ocean, north of the conterminous US

Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 95 00 W

Map references: North America

total: 9,976,140 sq km
land: 9,220,970 sq km
water: 755,170 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than the US

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

Coastline: 243,791 km

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

Climate: varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north

Terrain: mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Logan 5,950 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 54%
other: 38% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 7,100 sq km (1993 est.)

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

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

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

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


Population: 31,006,347 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 20% (male 3,105,944; female 2,960,171)
15-64 years: 68% (male 10,587,553; female 10,461,455)
65 years and over: 12% (male 1,652,044; female 2,239,180) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.06% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 11.86 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 7.26 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 5.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.47 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.37 years
male: 76.12 years
female: 82.79 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.65 children born/woman (1999 est.)

noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian

Ethnic groups: British Isles origin 40%, French origin 27%, other European 20%, Amerindian 1.5%, other, mostly Asian 11.5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 45%, United Church 12%, Anglican 8%, other 35% (1991)

Languages: English (official), French (official)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97% (1986 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada

Data code: CA

Government type: federation with parliamentary democracy

Capital: Ottawa

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

Independence: 1 July 1867 (from UK)

National holiday: Canada Day, 1 July (1867)

Constitution: 17 April 1982 (Constitution Act); originally, the machinery of the government was set up in the British North America Act of 1867; charter of rights and unwritten customs

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Romeo Le BLANC (since 8 February 1995)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean CHRETIEN (since 4 November 1993)
cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister from among the members of his own party sitting in Parliament
elections: none; the monarch 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 in the House of Commons is automatically designated by the governor general to become prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (a body whose members are appointed to serve until reaching 75 years of age by the governor general and selected on the advice of the prime minister; its normal limit is 104 senators) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (301 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Commons—last held 2 June 1997 (next to be held by NA June 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party—Liberal Party 38%, Reform Party 19%, Tories 19%, Bloc Quebecois 11%, New Democratic Party 11%, other 2%; seats by party—Liberal Party 155, Reform Party 60, Bloc Quebecois 44, New Democratic Party 21, Progressive Conservative Party 20, independents 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the prime minister through the governor general

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party [Jean CHRETIEN]; Bloc Quebecois [Gilles DUCEPPE]; Reform Party [Preston MANNING]; New Democratic Party [Alexa MCDONOUGH]; Progressive Conservative Party [Joe CLARK]

International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, ESA (cooperating state), FAO, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURCA, MIPONUH, MTCR, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Raymond A. J. CHRETIEN
chancery: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone: [1] (202) 682-1740
FAX: [1] (202) 682-7726
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle
consulate(s): Miami, Princeton, San Francisco, and San Jose

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gordon D. GIFFIN
embassy: 100 Wellington Street, K1P 5T1, Ottawa
mailing address: P. O. Box 5000, Ogdensburg, NY 13669-0430
telephone: [1] (613) 238-5335, 4470
FAX: [1] (613) 238-5720
consulate(s) general: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, and Vancouver

Flag description: (colloquially known as The Maple Leaf Flag) three vertical bands of red (hoist side), white (double width, square), and red with a single red stylized eleven-point maple leaf centred in the white band


Economy—overview: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high 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. Real rates of growth have averaged nearly 3.0% since 1993. Unemployment is falling and government budget surpluses are being partially devoted to reducing the large public sector debt. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which included Mexico) have touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US. With its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant Canada can anticipate solid economic prospects in the future. The continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas is raising the possibility of a split in the federation, making foreign investors somewhat edgy.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$688.3 billion (1998 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1998 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,400 (1998 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 31%
services: 66% (1998)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 23.8% (1994)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (1998)

Labor force: 15.8 million (1998)

Labor force—by occupation: services 75%, manufacturing 16%, construction 5%, agriculture 3%, other 1% (1997)

Unemployment rate: 7.8% (December 1998)

revenues: $121.3 billion
expenditures: $112.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.7 billion (1998)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 0.8% (1998 est.)

Electricity—production: 549.162 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—production by source:
fossil fuel: 20.34%
hydro: 63.59%
nuclear: 16.05%
other: 0.02% (1996)

Electricity—consumption: 511.586 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—exports: 45.28 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—imports: 7.705 billion kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish

Exports: $210.7 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports—commodities: motor vehicles and parts, newsprint, wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, machinery, natural gas, aluminum, telecommunications equipment

Exports—partners: US 81%, Japan 4%, UK, Germany, South Korea, Netherlands, China (1997)

Imports: $202.7 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

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

Imports—partners: US 76%, Japan 3%, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea (1997)

Debt—external: $253 billion (1996)

Economic aid—donor: ODA, $2.1 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 Canadian dollar (Can$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Canadian dollars (Can$) per US$1—1.5192 (January 1999), 1.4835 (1998), 1.3846 (1997), 1.3635 (1996), 1.3724 (1995), 1.3656 (1994)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


Telephones: 15.3 million (1990)

Telephone system: excellent service provided by modern technology
domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
international: 5 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations—5 Intelsat (4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean) and 2 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 334, FM 35, shortwave 7 (one of the shortwave stations, Radio Canada International, has six transmitters, 48 frequencies, and broadcasts in seven languages; the transmissions are relayed by repeaters in Europe and Asia) (1998)

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 80 (in addition, there are many repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 11.53 million (1983 est.)


total: 67,773 km; note—there are two major transcontinental freight railway systems: Canadian National (privatized November 1995) and Canadian Pacific Railway; passenger service provided by government-operated firm VIA, which has no trackage of its own
standard gauge: 67,773 km 1.435-m gauge (183 km electrified) (1996)

total: 912,200 km
paved: 246,400 km (including 16,600 km of expressways)
unpaved: 665,800 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 3,000 km, including Saint Lawrence Seaway

Pipelines: crude and refined oil 23,564 km; natural gas 74,980 km

Ports and harbors: Becancour (Quebec), Churchill, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, New Westminster, Prince Rupert, Quebec, Saint John (New Brunswick), St. John's (Newfoundland), Sept Isles, Sydney, Trois-Rivieres, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor

Merchant marine:
total: 109 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,489,110 GRT/2,205,274 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 56, cargo 11, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 2, oil tanker 16, passenger 3, passenger-cargo 1, railcar carrier 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, short-sea passenger 4, specialized tanker 1
note: does not include ships used exclusively in the Great Lakes (1998 est.)

Airports: 1,395 (1998 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 515
over 3,047 m: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 154
914 to 1,523 m: 238
under 914 m: 91 (1998 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 880
1,524 to 2,437 m: 73
914 to 1,523 m: 353
under 914 m: 454 (1998 est.)

Heliports: 16 (1998 est.)


Military branches: Canadian Armed Forces (includes Land Forces Command or LC, Maritime Command or MC, Air Command or AC, Communications Command or CC, Training Command or TC), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Military manpower—military age: 17 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 8,243,859 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 7,061,937 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 210,884 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $7.1 billion (FY97/98)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 1.2% (FY97/98)

Transnational Issues

Disputes—international: maritime boundary disputes with the US (Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Machias Seal Island)

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; growing role as a transit point for heroin and cocaine entering the US market



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