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Canada - Overview

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises


Capital:: Ottawa
Area:: 9.985 km2
Total Population:: 33.740
Annual growth rate:: 1.00%
Density:: 4.00/km2
Urban population:: 81%
Population of Toronto (5.650), Montreal (3.750), Vancouver (2.350), Ottawa (1.180), Calgary (1.180), Edmonton (1.110)
Official language: There are 2 official languages, English and French.
Other languages spoken: Chinese is the third most widely spoken language in Canada. More than 100 different languages were declared when an inventory was made of mother tongues. The list includes: German, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Polish, Asian and Middle Eastern languages.
Business language: English is used most. All government departments must be bilingual in English and French.
Ethnic Origins:: Originally British and French. Nevertheless, the successive waves of immigrants from many different countries have considerably diversified the ethnic make up of Canada. The distribution of immigrants in Canada is: United States 2.6%, other parts of the Americas 9.1%, Europe 16.4%, Africa 10.5%, Asia 60.5%, Oceania 0.8%.
Beliefs: Catholics 43.2%, Protestants 29.2%, Orthodox Christians 3.2%, Atheists 16.2%, Muslims 2%, Jews 1.1%, Budhists 1%, Hindus 1%, Sikhs 0.9%.
Telephone codes:
To make a call from: 11
To make a call to: 1
Internet suffix:: .ca
Type of State::
Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy and federation.
Type of economy::
High-income economy, OECD member, G8 member
The second largest country in the world; the leading producer of zinc and uranium; a major importer of agricultural products.

Economic overview

After declining due to global recession, Canada's GDP has rebounded with growth estimated at over 3% in 2010 due to the stimulus package, the recovery of foreign trade and the newfound confidence of Canadian households. The growth rate should slow down in 2011, reflecting among others the end of the stimulus measures and a lower household consumption, which are facing increased levels of debt.

After the beginnings of a recovery, the emphasis is now on structural reforms. The government's priority is to consolidate its budgetary position, which in some provinces the crisis has worsened to alarming proportions. Plans to cut spending have been developed. Health reform also figures at the forefront, as well as a reform of the system of unemployment benefits.

In fact, even though Canada is a rich country with a very good living standard, it now has to deal with a worrying growth of its unemployment rate, which was estimated at 8 % in 2010. 

Main industries

Accounting for almost two thirds of the GDP, the service sector dominates the Canadian economy. Its most dynamic areas are: telecommunications, tourism, Internet (almost 65% of Canadian households regularly use the Internet) and the aeronautical industry.

The agricultural sector represents a little more than 2% of the GDP and employs less than 2% of the population. Canada is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in the world, wheat in particular. It produces 10% of the world's GMO harvests. Fishing is an important sector. Canada is one of the main producers of minerals, namely nickel, zinc and uranium. The country also has large reserves of oil and natural gas.

Canada has 6 strong sectors of primary industry: renewable energies (mainly wind), forestry sector, hydrogen and fuel cells, mines, metals and minerals, fishing, oil and gas. The manufacturing sector represents approximately a third of the GDP.

Foreign trade overview

Canada is a country open to outside and trade represents more than 60 % of its GDP.

The United States takes about 80% of Canadian exports. Canada is the United States' biggest foreign energy supplier, including the supply of oil, gas, uranium and electric power. Its other main trading partners are the European Union, Japan, China and Mexico.

As an effect of the global economic crisis, the Canadian trade balance has turned negative, as exports were falling quickly and imports began to recover much less rapidly. Exports have been stagnating in 2010, while imports have risen, thus creating a trade deficit.


Since the economic recovery, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada, which during the previous decade had grown by 9% per year on average, has been slow and more concentrated. This trend should continue in 2011.

Canada’s main attractions are its highly-skilled population, its abundant natural resources, its commercial dynamism and fiscal incentives, its competitiveness in key sectors (communications, transit, financial services), as well as its geographic proximity to the world’s number one economy, the United States.

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