Key Facts: Canada

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: Ottawa

Population: 33,759,742 (July 2010 est.)

Religions: 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).

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 U.S.

Government: A parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy. Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since Feb. 6, 1952); head of government: Prime Minister Stephen Joseph Harper (since Feb. 6, 2006).

Economy: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the U.S. 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) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the U.S., its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the U.S., which absorbs nearly 80% of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the U.S.’s largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium and electric power. Given its great natural resources, 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 country’s tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.

GDP per capita: $38,400 (2009 est.); inflation: 0.2% (2009 est.); unemployment 8.5% (2009 est.).

Currency: Canadian dollar (CAD); 1.024 Canadian dollars equals 1 U.S. dollar (June 18, 2010).

Exports: $298.5 billion (2009 est.): motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum.

Imports: $305.2 billion (2009 est.): machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods. Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, barley, oilseeds, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products, forest products, fish.

Agriculture: 2% of GDP and 2% of the labor force.

Internet: Code. .ca; 7.193 million (2009) hosts and 25.086 million (2008) users.

Source: CIA World Factbook