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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Canada

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Canada Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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's concerns in predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.
   Geography    Canada Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
60 00 N, 95 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
North America
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 9,984,670 sq km
land: 9,093,507 sq km
water: 891,163 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
somewhat larger than the US
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 8,893 km
border countries: US 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)
Definition Field Listing
202,080 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north
Definition Field Listing
mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 4.57%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 94.78% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
7,850 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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
   People    Canada Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33,098,932 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
total: 38.9 years
male: 37.8 years
female: 39.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.88% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.78 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
5.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 80.22 years
male: 76.86 years
female: 83.74 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.61 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
56,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,500 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
Definition Field Listing
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)
Definition Field Listing
English (official) 59.3%, French (official) 23.2%, other 17.5%
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
   Government    Canada Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional monarchy that is also a parliamentary democracy and a federation
Definition Field Listing
name: Ottawa
geographic coordinates: 45 25 N, 75 40 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
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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*
Definition Field Listing
1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (independence recognized)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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: none; 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
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 102, New Democratic Party 29, Bloc Quebecois 51, other 2
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Bloc Quebecois [Gilles DUCEPPE]; Conservative Party of Canada (a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party) [Stephen HARPER]; Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]; Liberal Party [Stephane DION]; New Democratic Party [Jack LAYTON]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, AfDB, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ESA (cooperating state), FAO, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAFTA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMOVIC, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
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
telephone: [1] (613) 238-5335, 4470
FAX: [1] (613) 688-3082
consulate(s) general: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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
   Economy    Canada Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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 about 85% of Canadian exports. Canada is the US' largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.165 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$1.089 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$35,200 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 2.3%
industry: 29.2%
services: 68.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.59 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 2%, manufacturing 14%, construction 5%, services 75%, other 3% (2004)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.4% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 23.8% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
33.1 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $183.5 billion
expenditures: $181.8 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
65.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish
Definition Field Listing
transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.7% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
573 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
522.4 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
33.01 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
22.48 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.135 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.294 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.6 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
963,000 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
178.9 billion bbl
note: includes oil sands (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
183.6 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
95.85 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
104 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.86 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.603 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$20.56 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$405 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 84.2%, Japan 2.1%, UK 1.8% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$353.2 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 56.7%, China 7.8%, Mexico 3.8% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$35.79 billion (August 2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$684.7 billion (30 June 2006)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $2.6 billion (2004)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Canadian dollar (CAD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.13186 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.301 (2004), 1.4011 (2003), 1.5693 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Canada Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.276 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.6 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 245, FM 582, shortwave 6 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
80 (plus many repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,934,223 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.9 million (2005)
   Transportation    Canada Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,337 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 509
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
1,524 to 2,437 m: 151
914 to 1,523 m: 248
under 914 m: 77 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 828
1,524 to 2,437 m: 66
914 to 1,523 m: 355
under 914 m: 407 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
319 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
crude and refined oil 23,564 km; liquid petroleum gas 74,980 km (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 48,467 km
standard gauge: 48,467 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,042,300 km
paved: 415,600 km (including 17,000 km of expressways)
unpaved: 626,700 km (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 173 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,129,243 GRT/2,716,340 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 62, cargo 10, chemical tanker 9, container 2, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 63, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 8
foreign-owned: 7 (Germany 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 1, US 2)
registered in other countries: 111 (Australia 1, Bahamas 18, Barbados 8, Cambodia 6, Cyprus 2, Denmark 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 28, Liberia 2, Malta 18, Marshall Islands 6, Panama 4, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6, US 4, Vanuatu 5) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Fraser River Port, Halifax, Montreal, Port Cartier, Quebec, Saint John's (Newfoundland), Sept Isles, Vancouver
   Military    Canada Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Canadian Forces: Land Forces Command, Maritime Command, Air Command, Canada Command (homeland security) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
16 years of age for voluntary military service; women comprise approximately 11% of Canada's armed forces (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 16-49: 8,216,510
females age 16-49: 8,034,939 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 16-49: 6,740,490
females age 16-49: 6,580,868 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 223,821
females age 16-49: 212,900 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.1% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Canada Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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