Source: CIA World Factbook
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Canada is a nation of just over 34 million people in 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 United States.

Canda is second-largest country in world (after Russia, and a little larger than the United States).

It is the World's largest country that borders only one country and has strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route.

Approximately 90% of Canda's population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border.

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 the World's longest unfortified border.

Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care, and education, social services, and economic competitiveness, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec.

Popular support for sovereignty or independence has declined in Quebec over the past decade. However, pride in that province's unique cultural and linguistic identity remains very strong and continues to be one of the central issues in the province’s politics. While most Quebec voters still aspire to constitutional reform recognizing Quebec’s distinctiveness, they generally appreciate the economic benefits of “Confederation” and aim to advance their francophone identity within the federal system. In the December 2008 provincial election, the ruling provincial Liberals garnered 42% of the vote, and Premier Jean Charest heads a narrow majority government with 65 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly. As of December 2011, the "official opposition" Parti Quebecois held 45 seats, and the third party, Action democratique du Quebec, held 4 seats. There were 11 independents. The next Quebec election will take place by December 2013.

Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.

Its major environmental issues include:

  • 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; and,

  • ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities.

Canada is susceptible to many natural hazards including:

  • 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; and,

  • volcanism: though the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada's Coast Mountains remain dormant.



Location: 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

Area: 9,984,670 sq km(land: 9,093,507 sq km;water: 891,163 sq km)

Land Boundaries: 8,893 km - all with the United States (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)

Coastline: 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

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; volcanism: the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada's Coast Mountains remain dormant

Terrain: mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast. The highest point is Mount Logan (5,959 m).

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


Topograpgy of Canda. Source: Wikipedia.


Watersheds and Rivers

Drainage Basins of Canada. Source: Wikipedia.
See also:


Ecology and Biodiversity

Ecoregions of Canda. Source: World Wildlife Fund

  1. South Avalon-Burin oceanic barrens
  2. Eastern Canadian forests
  3. Newfoundland Highland forests
  4. New England-Acadian forests
  5. Gulf of St. Lawrence lowland forests
  6. Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests
  7. Southern Great Lakes forests
  8. Eastern forest-boreal transition
  9. Eastern Canadian Shield taiga
  10. Torngat Mountain tundra
  11. Low Arctic tundra
  12. Middle Arctic tundra
  13. High Arctic tundra
  14. Davis Highlands tundra
  15. Baffin coastal tundra
  16. Southern Hudson Bay taiga
  17. Central Canadian Shield forests
  18. Western Great Lakes forests
  19. Northern tall grasslands
  20. Midwestern Canadian Shield forests
  21. Northern Canadian Shield taiga
  22. Mid-Continental Canadian forests
  23. Canadian Aspen forests and parklands
  24. Northern mixed grasslands
  25. Northern short grasslands
  1. Montana Valley and Foothill grasslands
  2. North Central Rockies forests
  3. Alberta Mountain forests
  4. Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests
  5. Okanagan dry forests
  6. Cascade Mountains leeward forests
  7. Puget lowland forests
  8. British Columbia mainland coastal forests
  9. Central Pacific coastal forests
  10. Fraser Plateau and Basin complex
  11. Central British Columbia Mountain forests
  12. Northern transitional alpine forests
  13. Pacific Coastal Mountain icefields and tundra
  14. Northern Cordillera forests
  15. Muskwa-Slave Lake forests
  16. Northwest Territories taiga
  17. Arctic Coastal tundra
  18. Arctic Foothills tundra
  19. Brooks-British Range tundra
  20. Interior Alaska-Yukon lowland taiga
  21. Ogilvie-MacKenzie alpine tundra
  22. Interior Yukon-Alaska alpine tundra
  23. Yukon Interior dry forests
  24. Alaska-St. Elias Range tundra
  25. Queen Charlotte Islands

See also Wetland regions in Canada

World Heritage Sites

Marine Ecosystems

caption A. Alberta Mountain forest; B. Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests; C. Central British Columbia mountain forests; D. Canadian Prairie; E. Mountain lake; and F. Prairie wetlands. Source: Saikat Basu, own work

People and Society

Population: 34,300,083 (July 2012 est.)

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

Age Structure:

0-14 years: 15.7% (male 2,736,737/female 2,602,342)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 11,776,611/female 11,517,972)
65 years and over: 15.9% (male 2,372,356/female 3,024,571) (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 0.784% (2012 est.)

Birthrate: 10.28 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death Rate: 8.09 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net Migration Rate: 5.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 81.48 years 

male: 78.89 years
female: 84.21 years (2012 est.)

Total Fertility Rate: 1.59 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Languages: English (official) 58.8%, French (official) 21.6%, other 19.6% (2006 Census)

Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 99% (2003 est.)

Urbanization: 81% of total population (2010) growing at an annual rate of change of 1.1% (2010-15 est.)


Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a federal system, a parliamentary government, and a democratic tradition dating from the late 18th century. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982, guarantees basic individual and group rights. Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, is the head of state. She appoints the governor general, who serves as her representative in Canada, on the advice of the prime minister, usually for a 5-year term. The prime minister is the leader of the political party in power and is the head of the cabinet. The governing party remains in office as long as it retains majority support (“confidence”) in the House of Commons.

Canada's Parliament consists of an elected House of Commons and an appointed Senate. Legislative power rests with the 308-member Commons. According to Canadian law, elections are held every fourth October, but it is possible for the governor general to dissolve Parliament early if the cabinet loses the confidence of the House of Commons. The next election is scheduled for October 19, 2015. Vacancies in the 105-member Senate, whose members serve until the age of 75, are filled by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.

Criminal law, based largely on British law, is uniform throughout the nation and is under federal jurisdiction. Civil law is also based on the common law of England, except in Quebec, which has retained its own civil code patterned after that of France. Justice is administered by federal, provincial, and municipal courts.

Each province is governed by a premier and a single, elected legislative chamber. A lieutenant-governor, appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister, represents the Queen, who is the legal head of state of each province.

Government Type: a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy

Capital: Ottawa (population: 1.17 million  est. 2009)

Other Major Cities: Toronto 5.377 million; Montreal 3.75 million; Vancouver 2.197 million; Calgary 1.16 million (2009)

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*

caption Source: Wikipedia

Independence Date: 1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK per Statute of Westminster)

Legal System: common law system except in Quebec where civil law based on the French civil code prevails. Canada accepts compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction with reservations and accepts International Criminal Court (ICCt) jurisdiction

International Environmental Agreements

Canada is party to international agreements on: 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 (although it announced in December 2011, its attention to withdraw from this treaty), Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, and Wetlands. It has signed, but not ratified agreements on Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, and Marine Life Conservation

See: Greenhouse Gas Control Policies in Canada

International Disputes

Canada has a number of transnational disputes including:

  • 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 and the United States dispute how to divide the Beaufort Sea and the status of the Northwest Passage but continue to work cooperatively to survey the Arctic continental shelf;

  • 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

United States-Canada Relations

The relationship between the United States and Canada is among the closest and most extensive in the world. It is reflected in the staggering volume of bilateral trade--the equivalent of $1.4 billion a day in goods--as well as in people-to-people contact. About 400,000 people cross the border every day by all modes of tranport.

Canada is the leading export market for 36 of the 50 U.S. states and is a larger market for U.S. goods than all 27 countries of the European Union. The United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which went into effect in 1989, was superseded by the North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Canada, and Mexico (NAFTA) in 1994. NAFTA, which embraces more than 450 million people of the three North American countries, expanded upon FTA commitments to move toward reducing trade barriers and establishing agreed upon trade rules. It has also resolved long-standing bilateral irritants and liberalized rules in several areas, including agriculture, services, energy, financial services, investment, and government procurement. Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, total two-way merchandise trade between the United States and Canada has grown by more than 216%.

U.S. defense arrangements with Canada are more extensive than with any other country. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense, established in 1940, provides policy-level consultation on bilateral defense matters and the United States and Canada share NATO mutual security commitments. In addition, U.S. and Canadian military forces have cooperated since 1958 on continental air defense within the framework of the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The military response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States both tested and strengthened military cooperation between the United States and Canada. The new NORAD Agreement that entered into force on May 12, 2006 added a maritime domain awareness component and is of indefinite duration, subject to periodic review. Since 2002, Canada has participated in diplomatic, foreign assistance, and joint military actions in Afghanistan. The Canadian Forces withdrew combat troops from Afghanistan in 2011 and now have 950 trainers deployed in a non-combat training mission for the Afghan National Army and police until 2014.

While bilateral law enforcement cooperation and coordination were excellent prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, they have since become even closer through such mechanisms as the Cross Border Crime Forum. Canada, like the United States, has strengthened its laws and realigned resources to fight terrorism. Canadian and U.S. federal and local law enforcement personnel fight cross-border crime through cooperation on joint Integrated Border Enforcement Teams. Companies on both sides of the border have joined governments in highly successful partnerships and made significant investments to secure their own facilities and internal supply chains. Crossing the border is now both more secure and faster than in 2001. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced the creation of the Beyond the Border (BTB) initiative on February 4, 2011 and unveiled the BTB Action Plan on December 7, 2011. The BTB initiative will strengthen security at the border through increased information sharing and law enforcement cooperation while streamlining the flow of goods and people between the two countries.

In fields ranging from law enforcement to environmental protection to free trade, the two countries work closely on multiple levels from federal to local. In addition to their close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral fora. Canada--a charter signatory to the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and a member of the G8 and G20--takes an active role in the United Nations, including peacekeeping operations, and participates in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Canada is active in international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990. Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). Canada also recently expressed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement currently being negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The United States and Canada also work closely to resolve trans-boundary environmental and water issues, an area of increasing importance in the bilateral relationship. A principal instrument of this cooperation is the International Joint Commission (IJC), established as part of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to resolve differences and promote international cooperation on boundary waters; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon celebrated the treaty's centenary in June 2009. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 (as amended in 1987) is another historic example of joint cooperation in controlling trans-boundary water pollution. President Barack Obama's administration has committed itself, along with Canada, to update the agreement. On June 13, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon announced the decision to enter into negotiations of an amended agreement.  Negotiations are ongoing and a final agreement is expected early 2012.

The Columbia River Treaty, ratified in 1964, established a historical precedent in bilateral management of vital water resources in the Pacific Northwest. It is known throughout the world as one of the most successful transboundary water treaties based on equitable sharing of downstream benefits. Under this Treaty, Canada and the United States (U.S.) jointly regulate and manage the Columbia River as it flows from British Columbia into the United States. The Treaty has provided substantial flood control and power generation benefits to both nations. According to the treaty, 2024 marks the end of 60 years of pre-paid flood control space from Canada. In addition, either Canada or the United States can terminate most of the provisions of the Treaty any time on or after Sep. 16, 2024, with a minimum 10 years’ written advance notice, making 2014 the latest date either side could notify and have the treaty terminate in 2024. Both Governments have initiated a Treaty review that is ongoing.

The United States and Canada signed an agreement in June 1999 that settled differences over managing shared salmon populations under the 1985 Pacific Salmon Treaty. Most of this management regime was renewed for another ten years in 2008. In 2001, the two countries reached agreement on Yukon River salmon, implementing a new abundance-based resource management regime and effectively realizing coordinated management of shared Pacific salmon populations. The United States and Canada reached agreement in 2003 on sharing another trans-boundary marine resource, Pacific hake, but have struggled to appoint individuals to implement the agreement. The two countries also have a treaty on joint fishing for albacore tuna in the Pacific, a successful 88-year bilateral treaty for Pacific halibut management, and closely cooperate on a range of bilateral fisheries issues and international high seas governance initiatives.

Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government announced in 2006, however, that Canada would not be able to meet its original Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction commitments. Subsequently the government has proposed various legislative and regulatory approaches to address domestic GHG-emissions, however, since late 2008 Canada has emphasized that it would coordinate its greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan with that of the United States.  Harmonized regulations for GHG emissions of light-duty cars and trucks have been completed; heavy-duty vehicles, locomotives and marine vessel rules and rules for non-transportation sectors will follow.   At the fifteenth conference of the parties to the UNFCCC held in Copenhagen (COP-15), Canada joined the United States and 112 other countries—including all the major economies—in associating with the Copenhagen Accord, as well as inscribing an emissions reduction pledge as part of the Accord, which mirrors the pledge made by the United States in our Accord inscription. These pledges were anchored in the official UNFCCC process a year later in Cancun.

Canada is a staunch ally of the United States in the international climate change negotiations. Canada announced in June 2011 that they would not take on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, and in December 2011 the government announced the country would officially withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol–making it the first country to formally do so.

In February 2009 President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the bilateral Clean Energy Dialogue (CED), which is charged with expanding clean energy research and development; developing and deploying clean energy technology; and building a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable energy in order to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change in both countries. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Canadian Minister of Environment Jim Prentice serve as the lead government officials for moving the Clean Energy Dialogue forward.

Canada also participates in the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which includes the world's 17 largest economies as well as the UN; the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which joins it with the United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea, China, and India in a broad effort to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies in major industrial sectors; and the International Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, which researches effective ways to capture and store carbon dioxide.

Canada is a large foreign aid donor and targets its annual assistance of C$3.5 billion toward priority sectors such as good governance; health (including HIV/AIDS); basic education; private-sector development; and environmental sustainability. Canada is a major aid donor to Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan.


Total Renewable Water Resources: 3,300 cu km (1985)

Freshwater Withdrawal: 44.72 cu km/yr (20% domestic, 69% industrial, 12% agricultural)

Per capita freshwater withdrawal: 1,386 cu m/yr (1996)


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

Irrigated Land: 8,550 sq km (2008)

See: Fisheries and aquaculture in the Newfoundland and Labrador Seas, Northeastern Canada

caption Diverse spectrum of Canadian agriculture. Source: Saikat Basu, own work


Natural Resources: iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, 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)




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 principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs about three-fourths 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, highly skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007.

Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada's major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the financial sector's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.

Canada achieved marginal growth in 2010 and 2011 and plans to balance the budget by 2015. In addition, the country's petroleum sector is rapidly becoming an even larger economic driver with Alberta's oil sands significantly boosting Canada's proven oil reserves, ranking the country third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

GDP: (Purchasing Power Parity): $1.389 trillion (2011 est.)

GDP: (Official Exchange Rate): $1.759 trillion (2011 est.)

GDP- per capita (PPP): $40,300 (2011 est.)

GDP- composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.9%
industry: 27.1%
services: 71% (2011 est.)

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

Currency: Canadian dollars (CAD)



Agency, C., Fund, W., & Department, U. (2014). Canada. Retrieved from


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