Coordinates: 60°N 110°W / 60°N 110°W / 60; -110
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60°N 110°W / 60°N 110°W / 60; -110
A projection of North America with Canada highlighted in green
45°24′N 75°40′W / 45.400°N 75.667°W / 45.400; -75.667
Largest cityToronto
Official languages
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Charles III
Mary Simon
Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
July 1, 1867
December 11, 1931
April 17, 1982
• Total area
9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi) (2nd)
• Water (%)
11.76 (2015)[2]
• Total land area
9,093,507 km2 (3,511,023 sq mi)
• 2023 Q1 estimate
Neutral increase 39,566,248[3] (37th)
• 2021 census
• Density
4.2/km2 (10.9/sq mi) (236th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $2.385 trillion[5] (15th)
• Per capita
Increase $60,177[5] (28th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Decrease $2.090 trillion[5] (9th)
• Per capita
Decrease $52,722[5] (18th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 30.3[6]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.936[7]
very high · 15th
CurrencyCanadian dollar ($) (CAD)
Time zoneUTC−3.5 to −8
• Summer (DST)
UTC−2.5 to −7
Date formatyyyy-mm-dd (AD)[8]
Driving sideright
Calling code+1

Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, making it the world's second-largest country by total area, with the world's longest coastline. Its border with the United States is the world's longest international land border. The country is characterized by a wide range of both meteorologic and geological regions. It is sparsely inhabited, with the vast majority residing south of the 55th parallel in urban areas. Canada's capital is Ottawa and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Indigenous peoples have continuously inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years. Beginning in the 16th century, British and French expeditions explored and later settled along the Atlantic coast. As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom, highlighted by the Statute of Westminster, 1931, and culminating in the Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Canada is a parliamentary liberal democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition. The country's head of government is the prime minister, who holds office by virtue of their ability to command the confidence of the elected House of Commons and is "called upon" by the governor general, representing the monarch of Canada, the ceremonial head of state. The country is a Commonwealth realm and is officially bilingual (English and French) in the federal jurisdiction. It is very highly ranked in international measurements of government transparency, quality of life, economic competitiveness, innovation and education. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its history, economy, and culture.


Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has had a significant influence on its global image. Canada is part of multiple major international and intergovernmental institutions


While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the

Saint Lawrence River as Canada.[10]

From the 16th to the early 18th century, "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River.[11] In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada. These two colonies were collectively named the Canadas until their union as the British Province of Canada in 1841.[12]


Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth".[14] The government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using Dominion in the statutes of Canada in 1951.[15][16][17]

The Canada Act 1982, which brought the constitution of Canada fully under Canadian control, referred only to Canada. Later that year, the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.[18] The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion.[19]


Indigenous peoples

Métis,[20] the last being of mixed descent who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations people married European settlers and subsequently developed their own identity.[20]


Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada.[23] The characteristics of Indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks.[24][25] Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.[26]


Indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000[27] and two million,[28] with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.[29] As a consequence of European colonization, the Indigenous population declined by forty to eighty percent and several First Nations, such as the Beothuk, disappeared.[30] The decline is attributed to several causes, including the transfer of European diseases, such as influenza, measles, and smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity,[27][31] conflicts over the fur trade, conflicts with the colonial authorities and settlers, and the loss of Indigenous lands to settlers and the subsequent collapse of several nations' self-sufficiency.[32][33]

Although not without conflict,

European colonization

Map of territorial claims in North America by 1750, before the French and Indian War, which was part of the greater worldwide conflict known as the Seven Years' War (1756 to 1763). Possessions of Britain (pink), New France
(blue), and Spain (orange; California, Pacific Northwest, and Great Basin not indicated)

It is believed that the first European to explore the east coast of Canada was

Portuguese establish seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast.[50] In general, early settlements during the Age of Discovery appear to have been short-lived due to a combination of the harsh climate, problems with navigating trade routes and competing outputs in Scandinavia.[51][52]

In 1583, Sir

Mississippi watershed to Louisiana.[55] The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade.[56]

The English established additional settlements in

Treaty of Utrecht and Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War.[60]

British North America

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 established First Nation treaty rights, created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia.[18] St John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769.[61] To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.[62] More importantly, the Quebec Act afforded Quebec special autonomy and rights of self-administration at a time when the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly agitating against British rule.[63] It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there, staving off the growth of an independence movement in contrast to the Thirteen Colonies.[64] The Proclamation and the Quebec Act in turn angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, further fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the American Revolution.[18]

After the successful American War of Independence, the

Loyalists, the settlers who had fought against American independence. Many moved to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada, where their arrival changed the demographic distribution of the existing territories. New Brunswick was in turn split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes, which led to the incorporation of Saint John, New Brunswick, as Canada's first city.[66] To accommodate the influx of English-speaking Loyalists in Central Canada, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province of Canada into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.[67]

The Canadas were the main front in the

Great Irish Famine as well as Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances.[70] Infectious diseases killed between 25 and 33 percent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891.[27]

The desire for

Rebellions of 1837.[71] The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture.[18] The Act of Union 1840 merged the Canadas into a united Province of Canada and responsible government was established for all provinces of British North America east of Lake Superior by 1855.[72] The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858).[73] The Anglo-Russian Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1825) established the border along the Pacific coast, but, even after the US Alaska Purchase of 1867, disputes continued about the exact demarcation of the Alaska–Yukon and Alaska–BC border.[74]

Confederation and expansion

Following three constitutional conferences, the British North America Act, 1867 officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.[75][76] Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870.[77] British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871 on the promise of a transcontinental railway extending to Victoria in the province within 10 years,[78] while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.[79] In 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, Parliament created the Yukon Territory. Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.[79] Between 1871 and 1896, almost one quarter of the Canadian population emigrated south to the US.[80]

To open the West and encourage European immigration, the Government of Canada sponsored the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), passed the Dominion Lands Act to regulate settlement and established the North-West Mounted Police to assert authority over the territory.[81][82] This period of westward expansion and nation building resulted in the displacement of many Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Prairies to "Indian reserves",[83] clearing the way for ethnic European block settlements.[84] This caused the collapse of the Plains Bison in western Canada and the introduction of European cattle farms and wheat fields dominating the land.[85] The Indigenous peoples saw widespread famine and disease due to the loss of the bison and their traditional hunting lands.[86] The federal government did provide emergency relief, on condition of the Indigenous peoples moving to the reserves.[87] During this time, Canada introduced the Indian Act extending its control over the First Nations to education, government and legal rights.[88]

Early 20th century

The same poster in English, with subtle differences in text. "They serve France—How can I serve Canada? Buy Victory Bonds".

Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the British North America Act, 1867, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into the First World War.[89] Volunteers sent to the Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps, which played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war.[90] Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded.[91] The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when the Unionist Cabinet's proposal to augment the military's dwindling number of active members with conscription was met with vehement objections from French-speaking Quebecers.[92] The Military Service Act brought in compulsory military service, though it, coupled with disputes over French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and temporarily split the Liberal Party.[92] In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain,[90] and the Statute of Westminster, 1931, affirmed Canada's independence.[93]

The Great Depression in Canada during the early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country.[94] In response to the downturn, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) in the 1940s and 1950s.[95] On the advice of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, war with Germany was declared effective September 10, 1939, by King George VI, seven days after the United Kingdom. The delay underscored Canada's independence.[90]

The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939. In all, over a million Canadians served in the armed forces during the

Dutch monarchy while that country was occupied and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany.[97]

The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union.[90] Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.[98]

Contemporary era

The financial crisis of the Great Depression led the Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1934 and become a Crown colony ruled by a British governor.[99] After two referendums, Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province.[100]

Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new

Canada Student Loans; though, provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions.[104]

Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the Canada Act 1982, the patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[105][106][107] Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country under its own monarchy.[108][109] In 1999, Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government.[110]

At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a secular nationalist movement.[111] The radical Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970,[112] and the sovereignist Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, organizing an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990.[113] This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West.[114][115] A second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent.[116] In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional, and the Clarity Act was passed by Parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation.[113]

In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included the explosion of

UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia.[121] Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001 but declined to join the United States–led invasion of Iraq in 2003.[122]

In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the

Canadian Indian residential schools.[126] Administered by various Christian churches and funded by the Canadian government from 1828 to 1997, these boarding schools attempted to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture.[39]


By total area (including its waters), Canada is the

Kingdom of Denmark) to the northeast, on Hans Island,[132] and a maritime boundary with France's overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon to the southeast.[133] Canada is also home to the world's northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island—latitude 82.5°N—which lies 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.[134]

Canada can be divided into seven physiographic regions: the

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Appalachian region, the Western Cordillera, Hudson Bay Lowlands, and the Arctic Archipelago.[135] Boreal forests prevail throughout the country, ice is prominent in northern Arctic regions and through the Rocky Mountains, and the relatively flat Canadian Prairies in the southwest facilitate productive agriculture.[129] The Great Lakes feed the St. Lawrence River (in the southeast) where the lowlands host much of Canada's economic output.[129] Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 of which are larger than 100 km2 (39 sq mi)—containing much of the world's fresh water.[136][137] There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains, and the Arctic Cordillera.[138] Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager massif, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex.[139]


Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills.[140] In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).[141]

Much of Northern Canada is covered by ice and permafrost. The future of the permafrost is uncertain because the Arctic has been warming at three times the global average as a result of climate change in Canada.[142] Canada's annual average temperature over land has risen by 1.7 °C (3.1 °F), with changes ranging from 1.1 to 2.3 °C (2.0 to 4.1 °F) in various regions, since 1948.[129] The rate of warming has been higher across the North and in the Prairies.[143] In the southern regions of Canada, air pollution from both Canada and the United States—caused by metal smelting, burning coal to power utilities, and vehicle emissions—has resulted in acid rain, which has severely impacted waterways, forest growth, and agricultural productivity in Canada.[144]


Canada is divided into 15 terrestrial and five marine ecozones.[145] These ecozones encompass over 80,000 classified species of Canadian wildlife, with an equal number yet to be formally recognized or discovered.[146] Although Canada has a low percentage of endemic species compared to other countries,[147] due to human activities, invasive species, and environmental issues in the country, there are currently more than 800 species at risk of being lost.[148] About 65 percent of Canada's resident species are considered "Secure".[149] Over half of Canada's landscape is intact and relatively free of human development.[150] The boreal forest of Canada is considered to be the largest intact forest on Earth, with approximately 3,000,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi) undisturbed by roads, cities or industry.[151] Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions,[152] with 42 percent of its land area covered by forests (approximately 8 percent of the world's forested land).[153]

Approximately 12.1 percent of the nation's landmass and freshwater are

seabirds.[160] Canada's 18 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves cover a total area of 235,000 square kilometres (91,000 sq mi).[161]

Government and politics

Canada is described as a "

full democracy",[162] with a tradition of liberalism,[163] and an egalitarian,[164] moderate political ideology.[165] An emphasis on social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture.[166][167] Peace, order, and good government, alongside an Implied Bill of Rights, are founding principles of the Canadian government.[168][169]

At the federal level, Canada has been dominated by two relatively

far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society.[182][183][184]

Canada has a

judicial branches.[185][186][187][188] The reigning monarch is also monarch of 14 other Commonwealth countries (though, all are sovereign of one another[189]) and each of Canada's 10 provinces. To carry out most of their federal royal duties in Canada, the monarch appoints a representative, the governor general, on the advice of the prime minister.[190][191]

The monarchy is the source of sovereignty and authority in Canada.[188][192][193] However, while the governor general or monarch may exercise their power without ministerial advice in certain rare crisis situations,[192] the use of the executive powers (or royal prerogative) is otherwise always directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the prime minister,[194] the head of government. To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the individual who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a majority of members in the House of Commons.[195] The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is thus one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the aforementioned, the governor general, lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and government agencies.[192] The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the leader of the Official Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.[196]

The House of Commons chamber
The House of Commons in its temporary location, the West Block


parliamentary supremacy, this was later, with the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1982, all but completely superseded by the American notion of the supremacy of the law.[197]

Each of the 338

confidence vote in the House.[198][199] The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75.[200]

unicameral and operate in parliamentary fashion similar to the House of Commons.[193] Canada's three territories also have legislatures; but, these are not sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces.[201] The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts.[202]

The Bank of Canada is the central bank of the country.[203] The minister of finance and minister of innovation, science, and industry use the Statistics Canada agency for financial planning and economic policy development.[204] The Bank of Canada is the sole authority authorized to issue currency in the form of Canadian bank notes.[205] The bank does not issue Canadian coins; they are issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.[206]


The constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country and consists of written text and unwritten conventions.[207] The Constitution Act, 1867 (known as the British North America Act, 1867 prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments.[208] The Statute of Westminster, 1931, granted full autonomy, and the Constitution Act, 1982, ended all legislative ties to Britain, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[209] The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government; though, a notwithstanding clause allows Parliament and the provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of five years.[210]

Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike down acts of Parliament that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court, final arbiter, and has been led since December 18, 2017, by Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of Canada.[211] The governor general appoints the court's nine members on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice.[212] All judges at the superior and appellate levels are appointed after consultation with non-governmental legal bodies. The federal Cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts in the provincial and territorial jurisdictions.[213]

Common law prevails everywhere, except in Quebec, where civil law predominates.[214] Criminal law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada.[215] Law enforcement, including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility, conducted by provincial and municipal police forces.[216] In most rural and some urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police.[217]

Canadian Aboriginal law provides certain constitutionally recognized rights to land and traditional practices for Indigenous groups in Canada.[218] Various treaties and case laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and many Indigenous peoples.[219] Most notably, a series of 11 treaties, known as the Numbered Treaties, were signed between the Indigenous peoples and the reigning monarch of Canada between 1871 and 1921.[220] These treaties are agreements between the Canadian Crown-in-Council, with the duty to consult and accommodate.[221] The role of Aboriginal law and the rights they support were reaffirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.[219] These rights may include provision of services, such as healthcare through the Indian Health Transfer Policy, and exemption from taxation.[222]

Foreign relations and military

Canada is recognized as a

Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has played a major role in its global image.[226][227] The strategy of the Canadian government's foreign aid policy reflects an emphasis to meet the Millennium Development Goals, while also providing assistance in response to foreign humanitarian crises.[228]

Canada was a founding member of the United Nations and has membership in the

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).[223] Canada is also a member of various other international and regional organizations and forums for economic and cultural affairs.[229] Canada acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976.[230] Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in 2000 and the 3rd Summit of the Americas in 2001.[231] Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).[232]

Canada and the United States share the world's longest undefended border, co-operate on military campaigns and exercises, and are each other's largest trading partner.[233][234] Canada nevertheless has an independent foreign policy.[235] For example, it maintains full relations with Cuba and declined to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[236]

Canada maintains historic ties to the

Dutch liberation during World War II.[97]

Canada's earlier strong attachment to the British Empire and, later, the Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), in cooperation with the United States, to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union.[241]

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, future prime minister Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by proposing the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, for which he was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize.[242] As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept.[243] Canada has since served in over 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989,[90] and has since maintained forces in international missions in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere; Canada has sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993 Somalia affair.[244]

In 2001, Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan as part of the US stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.[245] In August 2007, Canada's territorial claims in the Arctic were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition to the North Pole; Canada has considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925.[246]

The unified

military intervention against ISIL.[252]

Provinces and territories

Labelled map of Canada detailing its provinces and territories
Political map of Canada showing its 10 provinces and 3 territories

Canada is a federation composed of 10

federal territories. In turn, these may be grouped into four main regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together).[253] Provinces and territories have responsibility for social programs such as healthcare, education, and welfare,[254] as well as administration of justice (but not criminal law). Together, the provinces collect more revenue than the federal government, a rarity among other federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas such as health and child care; the provinces can opt out of these cost-share programs but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.[255]

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their sovereignty from the Crown[256] and power and authority from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the Parliament of Canada[257] and the commissioners represent the King in his federal Council,[258] rather than the monarch directly. The powers flowing from the Constitution Act, 1867, are divided between the federal government and the provincial governments to exercise exclusively[259] and any changes to that arrangement require a constitutional amendment, while changes to the roles and powers of the territories may be performed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada.[260]


The Toronto financial district is the second-largest financial centre in North America, the seventh-largest globally in employment and the heart of Canada's finance industry.[261]

Canada has a

trade deficit in goods of $22 billion and a trade deficit in services of $25 billion.[266] The Toronto Stock Exchange is the ninth-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, listing over 1,500 companies with a combined market capitalization of over US$2 trillion.[267]

Canada has a strong

disposable income per capita is "well above" the OECD average.[275] Canada ranks among the lowest of the most developed countries for housing affordability[276][277] and foreign direct investment.[278][277]

Since the early 20th century, the growth of

Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one.[279] Like many other developed countries, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce.[280] Among developed countries, Canada has an unusually important primary sector, of which the forestry and petroleum industries are the most prominent components.[281] Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustained by nearby mines or sources of timber.[282]


Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since

Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994 (later replaced by the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement).[287] As of 2023, Canada is a signatory to 15 free trade agreements with 51 different countries.[288]

Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy.

canola, and other grains.[293] The country is a leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, platinoids, aluminum, steel, iron ore, coking coal, lead, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, and cadmium.[294][295] Canada has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries.[296] The fishing industry is also a key contributor to the economy.[297]

Science and technology

In 2020, Canada spent approximately $41.9 billion on domestic

scientific journals, according to the Nature Index,[300] and is home to the headquarters of a number of global technology firms.[301] Canada has one of the highest levels of Internet access in the world, with over 33 million users, equivalent to around 94 percent of its total population.[302]


Canada's developments in science and technology include the creation of the modern alkaline battery,[303] the discovery of insulin,[304] the development of the polio vaccine,[305] and discoveries about the interior structure of the atomic nucleus.[306] Other major Canadian scientific contributions include the artificial cardiac pacemaker, mapping the visual cortex,[307][308] the development of the electron microscope,[309][310] plate tectonics, deep learning, multi-touch technology, and the identification of the first black hole, Cygnus X-1.[311] Canada has a long history of discovery in genetics, which include stem cells, site-directed mutagenesis, T-cell receptor, and the identification of the genes that cause Fanconi anemia, cystic fibrosis, and early-onset Alzheimer's disease, among numerous other diseases.[308][312]


Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's Space Shuttle.[315] Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS, and MOST.[316] Canada has also produced one of the world's most successful and widely used sounding rockets, the Black Brant; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's introduction in 1961.[317]


Two-colour map of Windsor area with towns along the St. Lawrence river
The Quebec City–Windsor Corridor is the most densely populated and heavily industrialized region of Canada and spans 1,200 km (750 mi).[318]


family reunification.[322][323] A record number of 405,000 immigrants were admitted to Canada in 2021.[324] New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas in the country, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.[325] Canada also accepts large numbers of refugees, accounting for over 10 percent of annual global refugee resettlements; it resettled more than 28,000 in 2018.[326][327]

Canada's population density, at 4.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (11/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world.[319] Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north and approximately 95 percent of the population is found south of the 55th parallel north.[328] About 80 percent of the population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the border with the contiguous United States.[329] The most densely populated part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.[318][328]

The majority of Canadians (81.1 percent) live in family households, 12.1 percent report living alone, and those living with other relatives or unrelated persons reported at 6.8 percent.[330] Fifty-one percent of households are couples with or without children, 8.7 percent are single-parent households, 2.9 percent are multigenerational households, and 29.3 percent are single-person households.[330]

Largest metropolitan areas in Canada
1 Toronto Ontario 6,202,225 11 London Ontario 543,551
2 Montreal Quebec 4,291,732 12 Halifax Nova Scotia 465,703
3 Vancouver British Columbia 2,642,825 13 St. Catharines–Niagara Ontario 433,604
4 Ottawa–Gatineau Ontario–Quebec 1,488,307 14 Windsor Ontario 422,630
5 Calgary Alberta 1,481,806 15 Oshawa Ontario 415,311
6 Edmonton Alberta 1,418,118 16 Victoria British Columbia 397,237
7 Quebec City Quebec 839,311 17 Saskatoon Saskatchewan 317,480
8 Winnipeg Manitoba 834,678 18 Regina Saskatchewan 249,217
9 Hamilton Ontario 785,184 19 Sherbrooke Quebec 227,398
10 Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo Ontario 575,847 20 Kelowna British Columbia 222,162


Healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems of publicly funded health care, informally called Medicare.[331][332] It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984[333] and is universal.[334] Universal access to publicly funded health services "is often considered by Canadians as a fundamental value that ensures national healthcare insurance for everyone wherever they live in the country."[335] Around 30 percent of Canadians' healthcare is paid for through the private sector.[336] This mostly pays for services not covered or partially covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs, dentistry and optometry.[336] Approximately 65 to 75 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary health insurance related to the aforementioned reasons; many receive it through their employers or access secondary social service programs related to extended coverage for families receiving social assistance or vulnerable demographics, such as seniors, minors, and those with disabilities.[337][336]

In common with many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing an increase in healthcare expenditures due to a

respiratory diseases, and diabetes—account for 65 percent of deaths in Canada.[343][344]

In 2021, the

developed countries ranked Canada second-to-last.[349] Identified weaknesses were comparatively higher infant mortality rate, the prevalence of chronic conditions, long wait times, poor availability of after-hours care, and a lack of prescription drugs and dental coverage.[349] An increasing problem in Canada's health system is a lack of healthcare professionals.[350]


The University of Toronto campus
University College, seen through the main gate and up King's College Road, at Canada's largest post-secondary institution, the University of Toronto

Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments.[351] Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province.[352][353] Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Education in both English and French is available in most places across Canada.[354] Canada has a large number of universities, almost all of which are publicly funded.[355] Established in 1663, Université Laval is the oldest post-secondary institution in Canada.[356] The largest university is the University of Toronto with over 85,000 students.[357] Four universities are regularly ranked among the top 100 world-wide, namely University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, and McMaster University, with a total of 18 universities ranked in the top 500 worldwide.[358]

According to a 2019 report by the OECD, Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world;[359] the country ranks first worldwide in the percentage of adults having tertiary education, with over 56 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree.[359] Canada spends about 5.3 percent of its GDP on education.[360] The country invests heavily in tertiary education (more than US$20,000 per student).[361] As of 2014, 89 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, compared to an OECD average of 75 percent.[362]

The mandatory education age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years,[363] contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99 percent.[339] Just over 60,000 children are homeschooled in the country as of 2016. The Programme for International Student Assessment indicates Canadian students perform well above the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science, and reading,[364][365] ranking the overall knowledge and skills of Canadian 15-year-olds as the sixth-best in the world, although these scores have been declining in recent years. Canada is a well-performing OECD country in reading literacy, mathematics, and science, with the average student scoring 523.7, compared with the OECD average of 493 in 2015.[366][367]


A map showing the largest ethnic or cultural origins in Canada by census division in 2021:

According to the

Oceanian (0.3 percent), and other (6 percent).[368][369] Over 60 percent of Canadians reported a single origin, and 36 percent of Canadians reported having multiple ethnic origins, thus the overall total is greater than 100 percent.[368]

The country's ten largest self-reported specific ethnic or cultural origins in 2021 were Canadian[d] (accounting for 15.6 percent of the population), followed by English (14.7 percent), Irish (12.1 percent), Scottish (12.1 percent), French (11.0 percent), German (8.1 percent), Chinese (4.7 percent), Italian (4.3 percent), Indian (3.7 percent), and Ukrainian (3.5 percent).[373]

Of the 36.3 million people enumerated in 2021, approximately 25.4 million reported being "White", representing 69.8 percent of the population.[374] The Indigenous population representing 5 percent or 1.8 million individuals, grew by 9.4 percent compared to the non-Indigenous population, which grew by 5.3 percent from 2016 to 2021.[374] One out of every four Canadians or 26.5 percent of the population belonged to a non-White and non-Indigenous visible minority,[375][e] the largest of which in 2021 were South Asian (2.6 million people; 7.1 percent), Chinese (1.7 million; 4.7 percent), and Black (1.5 million; 4.3 percent).[377]

Between 2011 and 2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent.[378] In 1961, about 300,000 people, less than two percent of Canada's population, were members of visible minority groups.[379] The 2021 census indicated that 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23.0 percent) of the population, reported themselves as being or having been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada—above the 1921 census previous record of 22.3 percent.[380] In 2021, India, China, and the Philippines were the top three countries of origin for immigrants moving to Canada.[381]


A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with

mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Mandarin (679,255 first-language speakers), Punjabi (666,585), Cantonese (553,380), Spanish (538,870), Arabic (508,410), Tagalog (461,150), Italian (319,505), and German (272,865).[383] Canada's federal government practises official bilingualism, which is applied by the commissioner of official languages in consonance with section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the federal Official Languages Act. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French and official-language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories.[384]

The 1977

Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec.[386] New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33 percent of the population.[387] There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western Prince Edward Island.[388]

Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and for other government services, in addition to English. Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal status, but is not fully co-official.[389] There are 11 Indigenous language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects.[390] Several Indigenous languages have official status in the Northwest Territories.[391] Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut and is one of three official languages in the territory.[392]

Additionally, Canada is home to many sign languages, some of which are Indigenous.[393] American Sign Language (ASL) is used across the country due to the prevalence of ASL in primary and secondary schools.[394] Due to its historical relation to the francophone culture, Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) is used primarily in Quebec, although there are sizeable Francophone communities in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Manitoba.[395]


Religion in Canada (2021 census)[396]


Canada is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and customs.

Defender of the Faith, Canada has no official church and the government is officially committed to religious pluralism.[399] Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference.[400]

The "

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association

The practice of religion is generally considered a private matter throughout society and the state.[402] Rates of religious adherence have steadily decreased from the 1970s to the 2020s.[398] With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life,[403] Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state.[404][405][406][407] The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant in their daily lives,[398][408] but still believe in God.[409]

According to the 2021 census,

Indigenous spirituality (0.2 percent).[411] Canada has the second-largest national Sikh population, behind India.[412][413]


Monument to Multiculturalism by Francesco Pirelli, in Toronto

Canada's culture draws influences from its broad range of constituent nationalities and policies that promote a "just society" are constitutionally protected.[414][415][416] Since the 1960s, Canada has emphasized equality and inclusiveness for all its people.[417][418][419] The official state policy of multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada's significant accomplishments[420] and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity.[421][422] In Quebec, cultural identity is strong and there is a French Canadian culture that is distinct from English Canadian culture.[423] As a whole, Canada is in theory a cultural mosaic of regional ethnic subcultures.[424][425]

Canada's approach to governance emphasizing multiculturalism, which is based on selective

National park system, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[430][431]

Historically, Canada has been influenced by

music, Indigenous peoples continue to influence the Canadian identity.[432] During the 20th century, Canadians with African, Caribbean, and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity and its culture.[433] Canadian humour is an integral part of the Canadian identity and is reflected in its folklore, literature, music, art, and media. The primary characteristics of Canadian humour are irony, parody, and satire.[434]


Fleur de lis: French; thistle: Scottish; shamrock: Irish; and leek: Welsh

Themes of nature, pioneers, trappers, and traders played an important part in the early development of Canadian symbolism.

those of the Untied Kingdom, with French and distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British version.[440]

Other prominent symbols include the national motto, "

50¢ piece, and the beaver on the nickel.[444] The penny, removed from circulation in 2013, featured the maple leaf.[445] An image of the previous monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, appears on $20 bank notes and the obverse of all current Canadian coins.[444]


Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively.[446] The earliest Canadian narratives were of travel and exploration.[447] This progressed into three major themes that can be found within historical Canadian literature: nature, frontier life, and Canada's position within the world, all three of which tie into the garrison mentality.[448] In recent decades, Canada's literature has been strongly influenced by immigrants from around the world.[449] Since the 1980s, Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity has been openly reflected in its literature.[450] By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the world's best.[450]


L. M. Montgomery produced a series of children's novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables.[455]


Canada's media is

Broadcasting Act declares "the system should serve to safeguard, enrich, and strengthen the cultural, political, social, and economic fabric of Canada".[458] Canada has a well-developed media sector, but its cultural output—particularly in English films, television shows, and magazines—is often overshadowed by imports from the United States.[459] As a result, the preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).[460]

Non-news media content in Canada, including film and television, is influenced both by local creators as well as by imports from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France.[464] In an effort to reduce the amount of foreign-made media, government interventions in television broadcasting can include both regulation of content and public financing.[465] Canadian tax laws limit foreign competition in magazine advertising.[466]

Visual arts

Oil on canvas painting of a tree dominating its rocky landscape during a sunset
The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson. Oil on canvas, 1916, in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada

Art in Canada is marked by thousands of years of habitation by its indigenous peoples.[467] Historically, the Catholic Church was the primary patron of art in New France and early Canada, especially Quebec,[468] and, in later times, artists have combined British, French, Indigenous, and American artistic traditions, at times embracing European styles while working to promote nationalism.[469] The nature of Canadian art reflects these diverse origins, as artists have taken their traditions and adapted these influences to reflect the reality of their lives in Canada.[470]

The Canadian government has played a role in the development of Canadian culture through the department of

Canada Council for the Arts (established in 1957), the national public arts funder, helping artists, art galleries and periodicals, and thus contributing to the development of Canada's cultural works.[472] Since the 1950s, works of Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries by the Canadian government.[473]

Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures, such as painter Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.[474] The latter were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists—Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley—were responsible for articulating the group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston and commercial artist Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the group in 1926.[475] Associated with the group was another prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.[476]


Original publication of "O Canada
", 1908

Canadian music reflects a

Juno Awards, which were first awarded in 1970.[483] The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, established in 1976, honours Canadian musicians for their lifetime achievements.[484]

St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony and was officially adopted in 1980.[487] Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French before it was adapted into English in 1906.[488]


Canadian men's national ice hockey team celebrates shortly after winning the gold medal final at the 2010 Winter Olympics


Lou Marsh Trophy is awarded annually to Canada's top athlete by a panel of journalists.[494] There are numerous other sport "halls of fame" in Canada, such as the Hockey Hall of Fame.[493]

Canada shares several major professional sports leagues with the United States.[495] Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the National Hockey League, as well as three Major League Soccer teams and one team in each of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Other popular professional competitions include the Canadian Football League, National Lacrosse League, the Canadian Premier League, and the various curling tournaments sanctioned and organized by Curling Canada.[496]

Canada has enjoyed success both

2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico and the United States.[504]

See also


  1. contiguous 48 states and 2,475 km (1,538 mi) via Alaska.[131]
  2. ^ "Brokerage politics: A Canadian term for successful big tent parties that embody a pluralistic catch-all approach to appeal to the median Canadian voter ... adopting centrist policies and electoral coalitions to satisfy the short-term preferences of a majority of electors who are not located on the ideological fringe."[170][171] "The traditional brokerage model of Canadian politics leaves little room for ideology"[172][173][174][175]
  3. ^ "The Royal Canadian Navy is composed of approximately 8,400 full-time sailors and 5,100 part-time sailors. The Army is composed of approximately 22,800 full-time soldiers, 18,700 reservists, and 5,000 Canadian Rangers. The Royal Canadian Air Force is composed of approximately 13,000 Regular Force personnel and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel."[249]
  4. ^ a b All citizens of Canada are classified as "Canadians" as defined by Canada's nationality laws. "Canadian" as an ethnic group has since 1996 been added to census questionnaires for possible ancestral origin or descent. "Canadian" was included as an example on the English questionnaire and "Canadien" as an example on the French questionnaire.[370] "The majority of respondents to this selection are from the eastern part of the country that was first settled. Respondents generally are visibly European (Anglophones and Francophones) and no longer self-identify with their ethnic ancestral origins. This response is attributed to a multitude or generational distance from ancestral lineage."[371][372]
  5. ^ Indigenous peoples are not considered a visible minority in Statistics Canada calculations. Visible minorities are defined by Statistics Canada as "persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour".[376]
  6. ^
    Catholic Church (29.9%), United Church (3.3%), Anglican Church (3.1%), Eastern Orthodoxy (1.7%), Baptistism (1.2%), Pentecostalism and other Charismatic (1.1%) Anabaptist (0.4), Jehovah's Witness (0.4), Latter Day Saints (0.2), Lutheran (0.9), Methodist and Wesleyan (Holiness) (0.3), Presbyterian (0.8), Reformed (0.2)[397]


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