Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Journey to Planet Earth
Join us on:  You Tube  Facebook  Twitter
Plan B: Mobilizing to Save CivilizationState of the Planet's OceansState of the Ocean's AnimalsState of the Planet's WildlifeState of the PlanetFuture ConditionalHot ZonesSeas of GrassOn the BrinkLand of Plenty, Land of WantUrban ExplosionRivers of Destiny
   The Programs
   Stories of Hope
   Ecosystems

   Country Profiles

Back to Map

   Educational Resources
Country Profiles: Canada


Flag, map and facts courtesy of CIA World Factbook 2004

Background 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. 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 on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US

Map of Canada

 

Area total: 9,984,670 sq km
land: 9,093,507 sq km
water: 891,163 sq km
Area - comparative somewhat larger than the US
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: 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: 4.96%
permanent crops: 0.02%
other: 95.02% (1998 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 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
Population 32,507,874 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure 0-14 years: 18.2% (male 3,038,800; female 2,890,579); 15-64 years: 68.7% (male 11,225,686; female 11,111,941); 65 years and over: 13% (male 1,807,472; female 2,433,396) (2004 est.)
Population growth rate 0.92% (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate 4.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 5.28 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth total population: 79.96 years
female: 83.5 years (2002 est.)
male: 76.59 years
Ethnic groups British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
Religions Roman Catholic 46%, Protestant 36%, other 18%. note: based on the 1991 census
Languages English 59.3% (official), French 23.2% (official), other 17.5%
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97% (1986 est.)
male: NA
female: NA
Government type confederation with parliamentary democracy
Capital Ottawa
Independence 1 July 1867 (from UK)
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
Flag description 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

Flag of Canada
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. 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. As a result of the close cross-border relationship, the economic sluggishness in the United States in 2001-02 had a negative impact on the Canadian economy. Real growth averaged nearly 3% during 1993-2000, but declined in 2001, with moderate recovery in 2002-03. Unemployment is up, with contraction in the manufacturing and natural resource sectors. Nevertheless, given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital
plant Canada enjoys solid economic prospects. Two shadows loom, the first being the continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas, which has been raising the specter of a split in the federation. Another long-term concern is the flow south to the US of professionals lured by higher pay, lower taxes, and the immense high-tech infrastructure. A key strength in the economy is the substantial trade surplus. Roughly 90% of the population lives within 160 kilometers of the US border.
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $29,800 (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line NA
Labor force 17.04 million (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 7.8% (2003 est.)
Industries transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products; wood and paper products; fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Agriculture - products wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish
Exports - commodities motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods

Back to Top

 

Site Credits | Contact | Pledge
Purchase | Newsletter Signup


Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization | State of the Planet's Oceans | State of the Ocean's Animals
State of the Planet's Wildlife | The State of the Planet | Future Conditional | On the Brink | Hot Zones
Seas of Grass | Land of Plenty, Land of Want | Urban Explosion | Rivers of Destiny


PBS Privacy Policy    © 2014 Screenscope, Inc.     All rights reserved