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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 neighbour to the south across an unfortified border. Canada's paramount political problem is meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services after a decade of budget cuts. Canada also faces questions about integrity in government following revelations regarding a corruption scandal in the federal government that has helped revive the fortunes of separatists in predominantly francophone Quebec.


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

Geographic coordinates:

60 00 N, 95 00 W


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

Land boundaries:

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


202,080 km

Maritime claims:

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


varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north


mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast

Elevation extremes:

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

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

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

Irrigated land:

7,850 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

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

Environment - current issues:

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

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


33,098,932 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 17.6% (male 2,992,811/female 2,848,388)
15-64 years: 69% (male 11,482,452/female 11,368,286)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 1,883,008/female 2,523,987) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.9 years
male: 37.8 years
female: 39.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.88% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

10.78 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

5.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.69 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 80.22 years
male: 76.86 years
female: 83.74 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.61 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.3% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

56,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

1,500 (2003 est.)


noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian

Ethnic groups:

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


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


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


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

Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada

Government type:

a constitutional monarchy that is also a parliamentary democracy and a federation



Administrative divisions:

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


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

National holiday:

Canada Day, 1 July (1867)


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

Legal system:

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


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (members appointed by the governor general with the advice of the prime minister and serve until reaching 75 years of age; its normal limit is 105 senators) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve for up to five-year terms)
elections: House of Commons - last held 23 January 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative Party 36.3%, Liberal Party 30.2%, New Democratic Party 17.5%, Bloc Quebecois 10.5%, Greens 4.5%, other 1%; seats by party - Conservative Party 124, Liberal Party 103, New Democratic Party 29, Bloc Quebecois 51, other 1

Judicial branch:

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

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. Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoys solid economic prospects. Top-notch fiscal management has produced consecutive balanced budgets since 1997, although public debate continues over how to manage the rising cost of the publicly funded healthcare system. Exports account for roughly a third of GDP. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with its principal trading partner, the US, which absorbs more than 85% of Canadian exports. Canada is the US' largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.08 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$1.023 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.9% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$32,900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2.2%
industry: 29.1%
services: 68.7% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

16.3 million (December 2005)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture 2%, manufacturing 14%, construction 5%, services 75%, other 3% (2004)

Unemployment rate:

6.8% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

15.9%; 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 (2003)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 23.8% (1994)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33.1 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.2% (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):

20.2% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $159.6 billion
expenditures: $152.6 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2004)

Public debt:

38.7% of GDP (2004-2005)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

2.9% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

566.3 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

520.9 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

22 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity - imports:

33 billion kWh (2004)

Oil - production:

2.4 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil - consumption:

2.3 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil - exports:

1.6 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil - imports:

963,000 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - proved reserves:

178.9 billion bbl
note: includes oil sands (2004 est.)

Natural gas - production:

165.8 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

90.95 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

91.52 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

8.73 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.673 trillion cu m (2004)

Current account balance:

$16.89 billion (2005 est.)


$364.8 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

US 85.1%, Japan 2.1%, UK 1.6% (2004)


$317.7 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods

Imports - partners:

US 58.9%, China 6.8%, Mexico 3.8% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$33 billion (31 December 2005)

Debt - external:

$439.8 billion (30 November 2005)

Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $2.6 billion (2004)

Currency (code):

Canadian dollar (CAD)

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March

Telephones - main lines in use:

20.61 million (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

14,984,400 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: excellent service provided by modern technology
domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
international: country code - 1-xxx; 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 245, FM 582, shortwave 6 (2004)

Television broadcast stations:

80 (plus many repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

3,525,392 (2005)

Internet users:

20.9 million (2005)


1,331 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 508
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
1,524 to 2,437 m: 151
914 to 1,523 m: 247
under 914 m: 77 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 823
1,524 to 2,437 m: 66
914 to 1,523 m: 351
under 914 m: 406 (2005)


319 (2005)


crude and refined oil 23,564 km; liquid petroleum gas 74,980 km (2003)


total: 48,683 km
standard gauge: 48,683 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)


total: 1,408,900 km
paved: 497,342 km (including 16,906 km of expressways)
unpaved: 911,558 km (2002)


631 km
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States (2003)

Merchant marine:

total: 175 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,184,681 GRT/2,809,249 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 58, cargo 13, chemical tanker 9, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 65, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 9 (France 1, Germany 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 1, UK 1, US 2)
registered in other countries: 126 (Australia 1, The Bahamas 14, Barbados 8, Bermuda 21, Cambodia 6, Comoros 1, Cyprus 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 23, Liberia 4, Malta 10, Marshall Islands 6, Panama 3, Philippines 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, UK 12, US 6, Vanuatu 5, unknown 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Fraser River Port, Goderich, Halifax, Montreal, Port Cartier, Quebec, Saint John's (Newfoundland), Sept Isles, Vancouver

Military branches:

Canadian Forces: Land Forces Command, Maritime Command, Air Command, Canada Command (homeland security) (2006)

Disputes - international:

managed maritime boundary disputes with the US at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; working toward greater cooperation with US in monitoring people and commodities crossing the border; uncontested sovereignty dispute with Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland

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; transit point for ecstasy entering the US market; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering because of its mature financial services sector