Language: English, French
Currency: Dollar (CAD)
Calling Code: +1
Canada is a sovereign country of North America,
whose form of government is the federal parliamentary monarchy. Its
territory is organized in ten provinces and three territories. Its
capital is the city of Ottawa and the most populated city is
Toronto. Located at the northern end of the North American
subcontinent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the
Pacific Ocean to the west, and northward to the Arctic Ocean. It
shares border with the United States to the south, and to the
northwest with its federated state Alaska. It is the second largest
country in the world after Russia, and also the northernmost. It
occupies about half of the territory of North America.
The territory occupied by Canada was inhabited by various groups of its aboriginal population for millennia. Since the end of the 15th century, numerous British and French expeditions explored along the Atlantic coast, where they later settled. France ceded almost all of its North American colonies in 1763 after the Franco-Indian War.
In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through the Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal domain of four provinces, which led to an accumulation of provinces and territories, and a process of autonomy from the United Kingdom. This growing autonomy was highlighted in the Westminster Statute of 1931 and culminated in the 1982 Constitution Act of Canada, which broke the vestiges of legal dependence in the British parliament, governed as a parliamentary democracy and monarchy. constitutional with Isabel II as head of state. It is a bilingual nation with English and French as official languages at the federal level.
Canada is an industrial and technologically pioneering and advanced nation, largely self-sufficient in energy thanks to its relatively large deposits of fossil fuels and the extensive generation of nuclear energy and hydroelectric energy. Being one of the most developed countries, it has a diversified economy, which makes it independent for its large deposits and abundant natural resources as well as for trade, particularly with the United States and Mexico. He is currently a member of the OAS, the G-8, the G-20, NATO, the OECD, the WTO, the UKUSA, APEC, the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie and the United Nations Organization. It is considered one of the countries with the best quality of life.
Banff National Park is situated 110 kilometers (70 mi) West of Calgary in the Alberta province of Canada. It protects 2,580 sq. mi (6,680 sq. km) of picturesque mountains and lakes in Alberta province.
Jasper National Park is located in Alberta territory of Canada. This national reserve covers an area of 10,878 sq km (4,200 sq mi).
Waterton Lakes National Park is located in Alberta province in Canada. This natural reserve covers an area of 505 km².
Barkerville Ghost Town is situated in a province of British Columbia in Canada. It was originally found in 1862.
Kootenay National Park covers an area of British Columbia in Western Canada. National park covers an area of 1,406 sq km.
Nahanni National Park is situated in Northwest Territories of Canada. This national park covers an area of 30,000 sq km.
Gros Morne National Park was designed an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its beautiful views, diverse ecosystem and unique biosphere.
Torngat Mountains National Park is one of the newest addition to Labrador and Newfoundland province of Canada. It covers 9,600 km2 (3,707 sq mi) of pristine lakes, mountains and glaciers.
Quttinirpaaq National Park in Nunavut province of Canada is famous for its spectacular glaciers and rich biosphere.
Sirmilik National Park is located in Nunavut province in Canada. This national park covers an area of 22,200 sq km (8,571 sq mi).
Prince Albert National Park is located in Saskatchewan province in Canada. The national park covers an area of 1496 sq mi.
Ivvavik National Park Yukon province of Canada is isolated stretch of wilderness rich with wild life.
Kluane National Park in Yukon province of Canada has one of the largest and diverse biospheres in the country.
The name Canada comes from the word kanata, meaning "settlement",
"village" and "land", "land" in the language of the Laurentian Iroquois,
who wintered in the village of Stadacona (in the vicinity of modern
Quebec), the first Indians whom Jacques Cartier met on Gaspe in the
summer of 1534 at their summer camp (cf. Mingo kanötayë' "village, city"
and Onond. ganatáje "city" from other Iroquoian languages). In 1535, the
people of what is now Quebec City used the word to refer him to the
village of Stadacona. Soon after Cartier's expedition, the Laurentian
tribe disappeared without a trace. There are several hypotheses about
the reasons for this, including European introduced diseases and
conquest by the Hurons or the Iroquois Confederacy, but none of them has
been reliably confirmed.
Cartier later used the word "Canada" to refer not only to this village, but to the entire area under the control of the local chief Donnacona. In 1547, on the first map of the world, which included the regions surveyed by Cartier during his second voyage, the word "Canada" denoted the lands north of the river and the bay, which later received the name of St. from the river. Subsequently, this name, used in a broad sense, became synonymous with the concept of "New France", and then moved to most of the neighboring territories in North America, ruled by the British Empire. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, when New France came under British control, the Constitutional Act of 1791 consolidated the division of the province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada, giving the name "Canada" official status for the first time. In 1841, these provinces were again united under the common name of Canada, and in accordance with the Constitution Act of 1867, it was inherited by a new dominion, in addition to the province of the same name (divided into Ontario and Quebec), which included the Atlantic colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Canada occupies most of northern North America. It is the second largest country in the world. Its total area is 9,984,670 km², of which 9,053,507 km² are land. The territory of the country includes more than 52 thousand islands, the area of the largest of which, Baffin Island, exceeds 0.5 million km². Over 27% of the country's total area is located north of the forest line. Canada owns the northernmost permanent human settlement in the world - Alert (Nunavut), the base of the Canadian Armed Forces on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, 817 km from the North Pole.
Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean (with the Baffin and Labrador Seas) in the east to the Pacific in the west and to the Arctic Ocean with the Beaufort Sea in the north of the country. The greatest length of the country's territory from east to west is 5514 km between Cape Spire on the island of Newfoundland and the Yukon border with Alaska, and from north to south - 4634 km between Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island and Middle Island on Lake Erie (Ontario). The length of the coastline, including the coastline of the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, exceeds 202 thousand km - the highest in the world. Until June 2022, Canada shared a land border with only one country (the United States of America). The total length of the land border between Canada and the United States is 8891 km (including 2475 km with Alaska). In June 2022, Canada and Denmark divided the Arctic island of Hans in the Artik, and thus Denmark became the second country to have a land border with Canada (about 1 km long). By sea, Canada shares a border with France (Saint Pierre and Miquelon).
Relief and bowels
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the territory of Canada is divided into 6 physical and geographical zones: the Canadian Shield, the interior plains, the lowlands of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, the Appalachians, the Western Cordillera and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
The relief of Canada can be schematically represented as a vast depression with a diameter of more than 5.2 thousand km, which captures part of the territory of the United States. It is bounded by the Cordillera to the west, the Appalachians to the southeast, the mountains of Northern Labrador and Baffin Island to the northeast, and the Innuit Mountains to the north. The low part of the depression is formed by the Canadian Shield with heights of no more than 600 m above sea level; Hudson Bay is located in its deepest central part. The edges of the resulting "cauldron" are higher in the west than in the east, and in the extreme northwest and south are absent for a significant extent of the contour of the depression.
The Canadian Shield covers about half of the country's total area. This is a rocky region formed by ancient Precambrian rocks and lost its fertile soil layer during the last ice age. Around the Canadian Shield are lowlands composed of sedimentary rocks. Notable among these are the Canadian Prairies to the west, stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the US border in the south and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the west. The lowest part of the prairies, not more than 300 m above sea level, is located in the province of Manitoba, the Saskatchewan plains have an altitude of 450 to 650 m above sea level, and the Alberta plains adjacent to the Rocky Mountains are more than 750 m. To the east of the Canadian Shield are lowlands adjacent to the Great Lakes and stretching along the channel of the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. These lowlands, relatively small in area, are densely populated and fertile, and are characterized by well-developed industry and agriculture.
The Canadian Appalachians are low, time-smoothed mountains left over from a zone of ancient folding. They stretch from the city of Quebec in the south of the St. Lawrence Valley northeast to the Gaspé Peninsula, the Maritime Provinces, and the island of Newfoundland. The maximum heights of this region, cut by valleys and turning into a plateau in the east, reach 1200 m in its southern part. The Western Cordillera is a system of ridges with a total width of up to 800 km, stretching along the Pacific coast from the border with the United States to the south of the Yukon territory. The steep slopes and great heights testify to the geological youth of these mountains. So, in the Rocky Mountains there are more than 30 peaks above 3000 m (3954 m at Mount Robson), in some places there are snow caps. The highest of the ranges of the Western Cordillera is the Coast Range. It includes several peaks above 4,500 m, including Canada's highest peak, Logan in the St. Elias Mountains in the Yukon Territory.
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is made up of thousands of islands north of the Canadian mainland. The southeastern part of the archipelago is a continuation of the Canadian Shield, and the rest of the Encyclopedia Britannica divides into two groups: low-lying islands in the south and mountainous islands of the Innuit group (also known as the Queen Elizabeth Islands) in the north. The Innuit mountains are a young formation, similar to the Cordillera, and among them peaks above 3000 m are not uncommon. Most of the islands of this group are covered with ice and snow, and bare peaks are only occasionally visible from under the snow cover. The straits between the islands of the archipelago are part of the Northwest Sea Route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
Canada has large reserves of minerals. Ores are primarily rich in the territory of the Canadian Shield, in some places in the Western Cordillera and the Appalachians, while the main reserves of fossil fuels have been explored in the plains of Western Canada. Among the fossil fuel deposits, the Pembina and Redwater oil fields and the Zama oil and gas field stand out; oil-rich areas of tar sands in Alberta - Athabasca, Cold Lake, Peace River. Significant reserves of oil and natural gas have been explored in the north of the country (in the Mackenzie River delta and on the shelf of the Beaufort Sea), as well as on the Atlantic shelf near Newfoundland (Hybernia, Terra Nova). Canada's main coal deposits are located in the Northern Appalachians and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Of the ore minerals, Canada has large reserves of zinc, tungsten (2nd in the world), uranium (3rd), lead (4th), molybdenum, cobalt, titanium, iron, nickel, copper, gold and platinum metals. The subsoil of Canada (Saskatchewan potash basin) contains more than half of the world's proven reserves of potash salts, its diamond reserves are also one of the largest in the world.
The territory of Canada is divided between the arctic, subarctic and
temperate climatic zones. Seasonality is pronounced, cyclonic activity
is developed, which is expressed in a sharp change in weather. In the
northern part of the country, the climate is reminiscent of Scandinavia,
with its cold winters and short, cool summers. In the central steppe
regions, very cold winters are combined with hot summers and low
rainfall. Southern Ontario and Quebec have cold, snowy winters and hot,
humid summers. The climate in the coastal regions to the east and west
is moderated by warm currents - the Gulf Stream and Alaska,
respectively, and off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the
Gulf Stream meets the cold Labrador Current, the result is lower
temperatures and frequent fogs. Hudson Bay, which extends deeply into
the land, leads to the penetration of Arctic air masses into the eastern
regions and, on average, lower temperatures than in the west.
The temperature difference between the northern and southern regions of the country is especially large in winter. Thus, the average January temperature in Alert in the north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago is -28.6 °C, and in Windsor in southern Ontario it is only -0.4 °C. The mean July temperature varies less, with Alerta at 6.1°C and Windsor at 29°C. The lowest temperature on record in Canada was recorded in 1947 in the Yukon Territory at -63 ° C, and the record high, 49.6 ° C, was recorded in June 2021 in Lytton (British Columbia).
On the Pacific coast, the prevailing westerly winds carry a large amount of moisture, which leads to heavy precipitation (up to 2500 mm per year or more). In the Atlantic regions, from 1000 to 1500 mm of precipitation falls annually, and in the interior of the country the amount of precipitation varies from 500 mm in the south to 150 or less on the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Snow cover is observed throughout the country, reaching a maximum thickness (610 cm) in the Rocky Mountains and on the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The smallest thickness, less than 25 cm per year, is characteristic of the Pacific coast, where it often snows with rain.
Annually renewable water resources of the country reach 2902 km³, or more than 90 thousand m³ per year for each inhabitant. On the territory of Canada there is about 1/7 of the world's fresh water reserves, which are mostly concentrated in lakes and swamps, covering about 20% of the country's territory. Canada contains 62% of the world's lakes with a surface area of more than 0.1 km². The Great Lakes, along which part of the border between Canada and the United States runs, are the world's largest source of fresh water by area. In addition, Canada has the Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes in the Northwest Territories and Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba in the province of Manitoba. The Great Slave Lake is the deepest in Canada (depths up to 614 m). At the same time, the largest total surface of freshwater bodies in Canada falls on the province of Quebec (176,928 km²).
About 3/4 of the territory of Canada belongs to the Arctic Ocean basin (including Hudson Bay and James Bay). Canada's longest river, the Mackenzie, flows into the Arctic Ocean and collects water from an area of 1.8 million km². Of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, the largest is the St. Lawrence River, whose basin includes the Great Lakes system. The Yukon and Columbia Rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean, originating in Canada; of the rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean, completely flowing through the country, the largest is the Fraser.
The vegetation of Canada, represented by deciduous forest in southern
Ontario, is replaced by mixed forests and steppe zones (prairies) at
higher latitudes near the coasts and inland. Further north, it passes
into the taiga, and in the subpolar and polar regions into the tundra,
which in turn is replaced by arctic deserts and semi-deserts of the Far
In the polar tundra, in conditions of cool summers, low rainfall and a short growing season, vegetation cover is sparse. North of 74°N sh. at altitudes of 100 m or more above sea level, vegetation is usually absent, the rocky surface forms a full-fledged Arctic desert. Lowlands are characterized by areas of sedge-moss tundra. In the northern tundra, cushion-shaped plants are most frequent, lichens and mosses are abundant, and less often, undersized creeping shrubs (arctic willow, eight-petal dryad). Further south, in the subpolar tundra, herbaceous plants are more diverse, and woody shrubs (willow, alder, and ferruginous birch) are more common, reaching a height of 2–3 meters along the banks of water bodies and on steep slopes. The dominant soils are cryozems and gleyozems.
The Canadian taiga, which occupies vast expanses south of the tundra, is the second largest area of undisturbed forests in the world, second only to the Russian taiga. In the north, cryozems lie under the taiga forests, and in the south, alpha-humus, podzolic, and marsh soils. The species diversity of Canadian taiga trees is low. The most common are black spruce, gray spruce and paper birch, balsam fir and American larch are common. Significant territories (about 1.3 million km²) on the border of taiga and tundra are occupied by the so-called taiga shield - a strip on which tundra vegetation and northern coniferous forest mix.
On the border of taiga and steppes in the region of the central plains, an aspen forest-steppe stretches, characterized mainly by steppe vegetation with groups of aspens and poplars in moist lowlands and along river channels. To the east of the border between Ontario and Manitoba, the taiga turns into mixed forests, reaching the Great Lakes and Appalachian regions. In this region, weymouth pine, resinous pine, western thuja and Canadian hemlock are added to the usual taiga species, and hardwoods include sugar maple, red maple, beech, red oak and American ash. The main soils are podzolized brown soils.
The Canadian Prairies are vast steppes in the south of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as in the flat part of inland British Columbia. This region is divided into 4 zones depending on the soil. In the semi-desert areas of British Columbia, the most common wheatgrass is the most common. The largest area in the dry regions of southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta is occupied by mixed prairie, where drought-resistant medium and low grasses coexist. Closer to the border of the taiga, on the chernozems of Alberta and western Saskatchewan, there is a prairie dominated by fescue, and to the east - tall grass, or real, prairie, where the dominant species are Gerard's bearded vulture and porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea).
In the Rocky Mountains, heights from 1200 m to the forest line cover subalpine forests dominated by blue-grass spruce, Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine. The ridges that cross the arid interior plateau are characterized by an open forest of aspens and Geoffrey pines, with frequent patches of meadows at lower altitudes, and Menzies pseudo-hemlock and lodgepole pine at higher altitudes. Above the forest line lies the alpine tundra, where the soil is covered with a dense layer of mosses and lichens and dwarf shrubs are often found. The western slopes of the Rocky Mountains trap moisture from the Pacific Ocean and grow the finest timber in the country in rain shadow conditions. The main species in this region are Menzies pseudo-hemlock, western hemlock and thuja folded; of the deciduous trees, the most common are alder, poplar, and maples. The northern boundary of the range of the Mentzis strawberry tree, the only native evergreen deciduous tree in Canada, also passes here.
The only piece of deciduous forest in Canada is located in the extreme south of the country - on the southeastern peninsula, which juts out into the Great Lakes system. It represents the northern tip of the Caroline Forest zone, mostly found in the United States. In addition to deciduous trees included in mixed forests, there are trees characteristic of much lower latitudes - tulip tree, velvety oak, white oak, several types of hickory.
The diversity of Canada's climatic and physical-geographical zones
affects the species composition of its animal world, which includes more
than 200 species of mammals, more than 470 species of birds and about 40
species of reptiles. On the Arctic coast there are seals and polar bears
hunting them. Other typical animals of the Canadian Arctic are the musk
ox, reindeer, hare, lemmings, and predators include the polar wolf,
arctic fox, polar weasel. White partridges and snowy owls are permanent
residents of high latitudes, this region becomes a summer nesting place
for snow goose and Canada goose.
In the taiga there are moose, North American porcupine, Canadian beaver, Canadian lynx, wolf, baribal bear, numerous species of corvids. White-tailed deer are widespread on the border of taiga and forest-steppe and in recent clearings. Small mammals of coniferous and mixed forests include common squirrels, minks, striped raccoons, muskrats, skunks, American rabbits, woodchucks, various types of hares, mice and moles. In southern Ontario, the wild turkey was reintroduced in the 1980s, and the range of the coyote spread far south, reaching the outskirts of Toronto.
Rodents are common on the prairie, including ground squirrels, gophers, and prairie dogs. The previously wide ranges of black-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope are shrinking due to agricultural development of the prairies. In the western mountains in the highlands, the bighorn sheep and bighorn goat are found, and in remote areas the cougar and Canadian grizzly have survived.
State of the environment and environmental ratings
By the beginning of the 21st century, about a quarter of Canada's territory had undergone anthropogenic transformation. In Southern Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley, home to half the country's population and home to major cities and farmland, natural flora and fauna have largely disappeared and lake waters are being polluted. Large areas on the prairies are occupied by agricultural land and mining enterprises, active human activity can lead to soil erosion. A difficult ecological situation is developing around large cities and industrial zones in other regions of the country (Sudbury, Thompson, Shefferville). Mining enterprises pollute the environment with emissions of harmful substances into the air and wastewater; in particular, the oil and gas industry produces a quarter of the country's greenhouse gases.
A total of 11.7% of Canada (including inland waters) and 8.9% of its territorial waters are protected areas; in British Columbia, almost 20% of the province's total area is devoted to protected natural areas. More than 3% of the country's area - 340 thousand km² - is occupied by national parks and reserves. In almost all national parks, mining, logging and the construction of hydroelectric facilities are prohibited. A number of national parks in Canada or sites in their territory received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In the 180-country Environmental Performance Index, Canada ranked 25th in 2020 (including 12th out of 33 OECD countries). However, in the same year, its place in the list of countries on the Human Development Index deteriorated significantly (from 16th to 56th) after the calculation of the index included an estimate of "planetary loads".
The beginning of the settlement of North America by man is traditionally associated with the last ice age - as a rule, the arrival of man dates back about 12 thousand years ago, but some theories push it back to the past by 60 thousand years. Archaeological studies have confirmed human presence in northern Yukon from about 26,000 to 27,000 years ago and in southern Ontario from 9,500 years ago. The oldest monuments of the Paleo-Indian culture in Canada are the archaeological sites of Old Crow Flats and Bluefish.
The cultures of North America in the period before the arrival of Europeans on the continent can be judged both from the oral history of indigenous peoples and from archaeological finds. The peoples of pre-Columbian Canada were characterized by cultural diversity. Thus, the peoples of the Woodland culture (Hurons, Iroquois, Algonquins and others) led a semi-sedentary way of life, combining hunting with agriculture and trade. Some of these peoples were distinguished by a high level of political organization, which is evidenced by the formation of political and religious alliances. As part of the Woodland culture, at the turn of the new era, the production of ceramics began, corn, beans, and pumpkins were cultivated. The cultures of the Pacific coast were based on fishing, hunting and gathering. Within these cultures, like the Woodland culture, complex political, social, and cultural institutions have developed. On the contrary, the peoples of the Far North did not form large political communities.
The number of the indigenous population of Canada at the time of the first mass contacts with Europeans, according to various estimates, ranged from 200,000 to slightly more than 2,000,000 people. The Canadian Royal Commission on Indigenous Health adopted a figure of 500,000. majority of the indigenous population. By 1867, only 100,000 to 125,000 remained alive, including the Inuit and Mestizos, whose culture arose when Indians and Inuit mixed with European settlers.
The first visits by Europeans and the beginning of colonization
The first Europeans arrived in North America around 1000 AD. BC, when the Vikings founded settlements on the island of Newfoundland, now known from the archaeological site of L'Anse aux Meadows. Apparently, initially they were at enmity with the local population, which is known as the Skrelings, but later regular trade relations began. Soon, however, the Vikings left Greenland and Newfoundland. The next known European visit to the North American continent dates back to 1497, when John Cabot, looking for a Northwest Passage for England, explored the coasts of Labrador, Newfoundland, and possibly Nova Scotia. During the first decades of the 16th century, various Portuguese sailors continued to explore the east coast of Canada and probably established a permanent settlement.
In 1524, the expedition of Giovanni Verrazano, a Florentine navigator in the French service, visited the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. 10 years later, Jacques Cartier landed on the Gaspe Peninsula, declaring open lands the property of the French crown. Having risen along the St. Lawrence River, the French in 1541 founded Fort Charlesbourg-Royal near the Indian village of Stadacon, but then the French colonization of new lands ceased until the end of the century. Only in 1598 was a settlement founded on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, in 1600 Tadusac in what is now Quebec, and in 1605 Port Royal in Nova Scotia. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded the fortress of Quebec on the Saint Lawrence River, which was to control the river and serve as a center for the fur trade with the local peoples. This fortress later became the center of the New France colony.
Within five years of first contact with foreigners, half of the Hurons of the Great Lakes region died from diseases brought by European settlers. Epidemics then continued to spread to the north and west of the continent.
Initially, the development of New France was entrusted to private companies, but it was too slow. By 1663, the European population of the colony was slightly more than 3,000 people, of which almost half were people born already in America. The close trading relationship with the Hurons established by the French settlers did not include the sale of firearms; as a result, by the end of the 1840s, the Iroquois, armed by the Dutch, inflicted a series of heavy defeats on the Hurons, reducing their influence in the region to zero.
In 1663, King Louis XIV equated New France in status with the
European provinces of France. Troops were sent to America to force the
hostile Iroquois tribes to peace, the construction of fortifications was
launched, the authorities began to encourage young girls to move to the
New World, which in the first 20 years led to a serious increase in the
population. By 1670, Acadia, a French colony on the territory of modern
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, joined New France. The advance of French
explorers and merchants, known as voyageurs, deep into the continent
resumed. Many of them settled in new places and married local women,
which subsequently led to the formation of a new ethnic community -
Simultaneously with the French colonization of North America was the English. Already in 1583, Humphrey Gilbert claimed the rights of the English crown on the coast of Newfoundland in the area of the modern city of St. John's, considering it as a base for fishing. In 1629, David Kirk and his brothers captured the fortress of Quebec, which returned to French control only three years later. In 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company was established, taking ownership of the lands around the bay, and New France was sandwiched between the possessions of rival powers in the south and in the north.
Competition for the fur market soon escalated into open warfare. A new attempt by the British to capture Quebec in 1690 failed, and by 1700 Louis de Frontenac almost completely drove them out of the vicinity of Hudson Bay. However, these successes were short-lived: as part of the concessions following the War of the Spanish Succession (known in North America as the Queen Anne's War), France renounced claims to Hudson Bay, lost Acadia and positions in Newfoundland. The conflict subsequently re-emerged as part of the War of the Austrian Succession and then the Seven Years' War, the North American theater of which is known in English literature as the French and Indian War. At the first stage of this war, in 1757, success was accompanied by the French, who had more combat-ready forces, but in the future, a huge numerical superiority (a million settlers in North America against 70 thousand French and several thousand of their Indian allies) and competent actions of the commanders of the English side tipped the scale weights towards her. In 1760, General Amherst laid siege to Montreal, forcing New France to capitulate.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, all French possessions north of the Mississippi, with the exception of the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, came under the rule of the British. Those converted the new territorial acquisitions into the province of Quebec. Passed 11 years later, the Quebec Act secured a number of privileges for the Catholic Church and landowners-seniors in the territory of the colony, gave Catholics the right to hold public office and officially recognized the use of the French language and French civil law.
English Period: Upper and Lower Canada
In the mid-1770s, the American Revolution began. Already at the beginning of active hostilities, revolutionary troops invaded the Quebec colony, occupying Montreal and attacking the city of Quebec and ports on the Atlantic. By the summer of 1776 they were driven back to New York, but the success of the rebels in other regions forced over 40,000 British Loyalists to emigrate to Nova Scotia and Quebec. Their desire to live under the rule of the English crown was in conflict with the terms of the Quebec Act, which granted the colonies their own laws. As a result, in 1791, Quebec was divided by the Constitutional Act into two provinces with different laws, but a common British constitution and a system of administrative control that combined the supreme power of the governor-general appointed by the metropolis with the presence of representative legislative bodies. The new provinces were named Upper Canada (with an English-speaking majority) and Lower Canada (with a French-speaking one). Prior to that, in 1784, a new province of New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia, the population of which was made up of loyalist settlers.
On the border between the United States and the British provinces in North America, the main events of the Anglo-American War of 1812-1814 then unfolded. This war contributed to the formation of national consciousness among the population of Canada, who fought against the enemy invasion. Following the end of the war, a series of agreements led to a long peace between Canada and the United States. In 1815, mass immigration to Canada from the British Isles began, lasting 40 years.
In 1837-1838, the lack of representative bodies of real power, in Lower Canada, aggravated by interethnic tension and the general impoverishment of the peasant part of the population, led to uprisings in Lower and Upper Canada. The uprisings were crushed, some of their participants were executed or sent to hard labor, and their leaders Louis-Joseph Papineau and William Lyon Mackenzie fled to the United States (both were later pardoned and returned to Canada).
Province of Canada
After the suppression of the rebellions of 1837-1838, on the recommendation of the Governor General Lord Durham, the British colonial government decided to reunite Upper and Lower Canada. This was to create conditions for the assimilation of the French-speaking population by strengthening the influence of English culture. The Durham Report also recommended that responsible government be given to the colonies, but these recommendations were initially disregarded, and only the proposal of union was implemented in the Act of Union of 1840. In the legislature of the united province of Upper and Lower (now Western and Eastern) Canada received equal representation, regardless of the number of inhabitants. Plans to assimilate Eastern Canada, however, ended in failure. A few years later, in a united parliament, French-speaking reformist politicians led by Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine formed an alliance with the reformists of Western Canada and achieved responsible government in Canada. From that moment on, the creation of a government cabinet in Canada became impossible without the support of deputies from Eastern Canada, who thus received the opportunity to influence the policy of the entire province.
In 1846, the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the boundary separating the United States and western British North America. In the 1840s and 1850s, Great Britain founded new colonies on the Pacific coast of North America - Vancouver on the island of the same name and British Columbia.
Meanwhile, support for the ideas of free trade and the reform of the colonial empire grew in the mother country. By 1846, the protectionist Corn Laws, which protected goods from the colonies from duties, were repealed. Having lost the British market, Canada signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 1854, and the growth in trade led to an economic boom in the united province. However, the treaty ended a decade later, during the American Civil War. Developments south of the border also posed a military threat to the British colonies in North America. The desire to secure their borders and the need to look for new ways to support economic growth led Canadian politicians to decide on the need to unite all North American colonies.
At the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences of 1864 and the London conference of 1866, conditions were worked out for the unification of the three colonies - Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick - into a new state. The British North America Act, which came into force on July 1, 1867, created a dominion called Canada, divided into four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. However, the territory of the new country continued to expand to include other lands. Soon the government bought the rights to the vast Rupert's Land - the territory around Hudson's Bay - from the Hudson's Bay Company and annexed it to Canada as the Northwest Territory. In the early 1870s, dominion treaties were signed with British Columbia (which included the former Vancouver colony since 1866) and Prince Edward Island.
The accession to Canada of Rupert's Land ran into resistance from the French-speaking mestizos who lived in the Red River community in the south of this territory. Their leader Louis Riel organized armed resistance to the Canadian authorities. As a result, in 1870, the small province of Manitoba was separated from the Northwest Territory, in which the French language and Catholic schools received special status. In addition, in order to ensure the settlement of the central part of the country, the government of Canada since 1871 began signing agreements with local Indian tribes, under which they gave up their traditional lands for a fee and certain privileges. In the future, many promises made under these agreements remained unfulfilled, and the government set a course for the assimilation of indigenous peoples.
To strengthen ties between the east and west of the federation, the Canadian government organized the construction of the Pacific Railway and began to take measures to encourage the settlement of the prairies in the center of the country. These plans faced resistance from the indigenous peoples. A new Métis rebellion broke out on the Saskatchewan River, led by Riel; at the same time, some prairie Indian tribes opposed the federal government, which were threatened with starvation due to the destruction of buffalo herds. The uprisings, however, were crushed by the government of J. A. Macdonald, and Riel was executed.
The prairie development program bore fruit by the beginning of the
20th century. The population of the Northwest Territory and Manitoba
(which was expanded to the west and north in 1881) exceeded 400,000 in
1901 and 1.3 million a decade later. The population of the Northwest
Territory, dissatisfied with the status of the province, demanded the
introduction of responsible government, and in 1905 two new provinces
were created between Manitoba and the Rocky Mountains - Saskatchewan and
Alberta, stretching from the border with the United States to 60 ° N.
sh. In 1880, Great Britain officially transferred to Canada the rights
to all its remaining possessions in the American Arctic. In 1898, when
the population of Yukon County, which was part of the Northwest
Territory, increased dramatically due to the Klondike Gold Rush, the
federal government decided to grant it the status of a separate
The Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier, which came to power in the 1890s, headed for the transition from the status of a dominion (“senior” colony) to full sovereignty, refusing to participate in the project of “imperial federation”. Despite this, at the beginning of the 20th century, about 7,000 Canadian soldiers took part in the Anglo-Boer War in Africa on the side of Great Britain, and Canada entered the First World War automatically at the same time as Great Britain. The first Canadian troops sent to the European front were mostly volunteers. Based on these forces, the 1st Canadian Division was formed, which first saw action during the Battle of Ypres in 1915. The Canadian Expeditionary Force, which was created later, became famous at the Battle of Vimy in 1917. However, in the same year, heavy losses in the front-line units forced the Canadian government, despite the resistance of the Quebecers, to introduce universal conscription.
In total, 625,000 Canadian troops participated in the war, of which 60,000 were killed and 173,000 were injured. The successes of the Canadian troops at the front and the important role played by the country in organizing military supplies brought it from a number of colonies to the number of victorious states. Prime Minister Borden signed the Versailles Treaty of 1919, and Canada was admitted to the League of Nations as a full member, independent of Great Britain. In 1931, the Statute of Westminster formally removed Canada and other dominions from the jurisdiction of the British Parliament, securing their status as sovereign states united only by a common monarch.
In domestic politics, in the post-war years, workers' and farmers' movements intensified, which in 1919 resulted in a 6-week general strike. In 1929, the Great Depression particularly hit Canada, whose economy was largely dependent on the primary industries. The crisis was exacerbated by severe drought in the central provinces. Among the unemployed, revolutionary sentiment intensified, participants in left-wing demonstrations got into fights with the police. Steps to improve the economy and society in the mid-1930s included sweeping social reforms and the signing of a new free trade agreement with the United States.
Since 1936, the government of Canada has supported the course of Great Britain and France to appease Nazi Germany. Dependent on Quebec's support, Prime Minister Mackenzie King avoided taking a clear stance on a potential military conflict with Germany. On September 10, 1939, the Canadian Parliament voted almost unanimously to enter the war, but the government initially promised to abstain from the general draft. The situation changed in 1940 after the surrender of France and the expulsion of British troops from continental Europe. Royal Canadian Navy ships guarded transatlantic sea convoys, and Canadian airmen fought in the Battle of Britain. A limited contingent of Canadian soldiers took part in the defense of Hong Kong in 1941, and in a national plebiscite in 1942, 2/3 of the Canadian population approved the introduction of universal conscription. Shortly thereafter, the Canadians formed the bulk of the troops involved in the unsuccessful landing at Dieppe. From July 1943, Canadian troops fought in Sicily and Italy, and in June 1944 they played an important role in the Normandy landings. By the autumn of 1944, heavy losses forced the Canadian government to reinforce the ground forces in Europe with conscripts, which almost led to the fall of M. King's cabinet. In total, more than a million Canadians took part in the fighting, of which 42,000 were killed and 54,000 were injured.
During the war years, the expansion of state programs of social
support continued. In particular, in 1940, the program of federal
unemployment benefits was adopted, and in 1944, benefits for large
families were introduced. The authority of Canada, as a country that
made a significant contribution to the victory of the anti-Hitler
coalition, grew again in the international arena, and she took an active
part in the creation of the UN.
After World War II, the development of the institutions of Canadian statehood continued. Canadian citizenship was introduced in 1947, and in 1949 the Supreme Court of Canada officially became its highest court. In the same year, the Dominion of Newfoundland entered the confederation following the results of national referendums. For the first time, a native of the country, Vincent Massey, became Governor General of Canada. The period from 1945 to 1960 is considered the "golden age of Canadian diplomacy": although in 1949 the country became one of the founders of the NATO military bloc, it played the role of an intermediary state in the international arena, helping to ease international tensions. As chairman of the UN General Assembly, Canadian diplomat Lester Pearson helped bring the Korean War to an end and later played a key role in organizing the UN peacekeeping force, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Canadian economy flourished in the early post-war decades. There was a diversification of production, in which new, high-tech industries were added to traditional industries, the discovery of mineral deposits in Newfoundland and Labrador contributed to the development of the mining industry. American capital was actively invested in the Canadian economy, and Canadian goods found a reliable market in the United States. The ethnic composition and social structure of Canadian society changed as a result of mass immigration, primarily from the countries of Southern Europe, which reached its peak (282 thousand people) in 1957. After L. Pearson became prime minister in the 1960s, the policy of social reform was continued, within which the National Health Care Program and the Canadian Pension Program, the national institution of social insurance, were established.
Post-war governments took steps to improve the lot of indigenous peoples, among whom poverty and disease were common. The inhabitants of the reservations were provided with better medical care and education, in 1960 they received voting rights. In 1969, French was given equal official status in Canada with English. At the same time, separatist sentiment in Quebec intensified, coinciding with a period of social and economic reform in the province known as the Quiet Revolution. During the October Crisis of 1970, the radical Quebec Liberation Front kidnapped British diplomat and provincial labor minister P. Laporte, who was later killed. The federal government had to impose martial law, about 500 activists were arrested, although there were relatively few convictions. The 1980 Quebec independence referendum ended in defeat for the separatists.
In 1982, the patriation of the Canadian constitution took place, after which the British authorities lost jurisdiction over relations between the federal center and the provinces of Canada. The first part of the new constitution was the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The federal government tried to reach long-term agreements with the provincials, especially in Quebec, but attempts to sign constitutional documents at the conferences at Lake Meech (1987) and Charlottetown (1992) were not successful. In 1995, in the second Quebec independence referendum, anti-secessionists won by only a narrow margin. Later, however, economic prosperity and further concessions from the federal authorities weakened the position of Quebec separatism. At the same time, the government managed to agree on granting self-government to the Inuit of Northeastern Canada, and in 1999 the territory of Nunavut was formed.
In 1992, the government of B. Mulroney signed an agreement on the creation of the North American Free Trade Area. At the beginning of the 21st century, the Canadian economy, in particular due to rising energy prices, again experienced a period of growth, as a result of which the Canadian dollar in 2007 equaled the US dollar for the first time in more than 30 years. Subsequently, growth slowed down due to the global economic crisis. The liberalization of society continued: in 2005 Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first outside Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, and in 2018 the recreational use of marijuana was legalized.
As of the 2021 Census, there were 36,991,981 people living in Canada,
up 5.2% from 2016. In terms of population, Canada ranks 38th in the
world, and its population density (about 4.2 people per 1 km²) is one of
the lowest in the world.
Despite its large area, approximately 80% of Canada's population lives within 150 km of the US border. In total, more than half of the country's population falls on two provinces - Ontario (about a third) and Quebec (about a quarter). Canada is highly urbanized: almost ¾ of the inhabitants are concentrated in 41 census urban areas (settlements with a population of more than 100 thousand people). Most of the population growth is also in cities. The largest cities in Canada are Toronto (2.73 million inhabitants in 2016 and about 6 million inhabitants in the urban agglomeration), Montreal (1.7 million), Calgary (1.24 million inhabitants) and the capital city of Ottawa (0.93 million inhabitants).
The population growth rate in Canada (from 0.8% to 1.2% per year) is the highest among the G7 countries and one of the highest among developed countries. Although Canada's birth rate is only 1.53 children per woman, below the replacement rate (traditionally taken as 2.1 children per woman), this is offset by high rates of immigration. Net immigration is 6,375 people per 1,000 inhabitants - this figure is in the top ten in the world. In terms of the share of immigrants in the population, Canada is also in the top ten among all countries of the world and ranks first among the G7 countries: according to the 2016 census, 21.9% of Canadians were born in other countries. Since the 1960s and 1970s, as a result of anti-discriminatory reforms in immigration policy, the share of Europeans among immigrants has been constantly decreasing, and in the period from 2011 to 2016, the largest number of new Canadians arrived in the country from the Philippines (15.6%), from India (12 .1%) and China (10.6%). In 2016, representatives of more than 250 ethnic groups lived in the country (respondents could identify themselves with more than one group). The most common ethnic self-identification was "Canadian" (almost 1/3 of the respondents); 18% identified themselves as British, 14% each as Scots and French, 10% as German and 5% as Chinese. 4% of census participants reported being Canadian Indigenous (a total of 2.1 million respondents). In addition to representatives of indigenous peoples, 22.3% of respondents considered themselves to be visible minorities, that is, they had an appearance atypical for Caucasians and skin color different from the white majority. Of this number, more than 60% were African Canadians and Chinese and their descendants.
Life expectancy in Canada increased by 24.7 years between 1921 and 2014, when it stood at 81.8 years (83.9 for women and 79.7 for men). In terms of life expectancy, Canada consistently outperforms the United States and is comparable to many European countries. The country has achieved one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world (4.7 per thousand live births in 2014). At the same time, due to the growing survival rate at the age of 60 years and older, the proportion of older people in the population of Canada continues to grow. In 2019, there were over 10,000 people aged 100 and over in the country, a 200% increase from 2001. The aging of the population, as well as the decrease in the rate of natural increase, is offset by an increase in the rate of immigration. At the same time, not only the influx of in-demand professions known as economic immigrants has a positive effect, but also the arrival of new residents in the country under family reunification programs, as well as refugees, since population growth means consumption growth, which in turn contributes to the growth of production and the labor market .
Internal migration in Canada is directed primarily towards a higher demand for labor - from rural areas to small towns, and from there to large cities; remains consistently high and the exchange of population between Canadian metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver). Rapidly developing regions are also attractive for internal migrants - at the beginning of the 21st century, the tar sands mining region in Alberta met these conditions. In general, Alberta and British Columbia are the most attractive provinces for internal migrants, while the balance of internal migration of the Atlantic provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the first decades of the 21st century was mostly negative.
Canada — officially a bilingual country. According to the Official
Language Act of 1969, English and French languages have equal status,
although they differ in degree of prevalence. Английский — the main
language of communication in the greater part of the country, New
Brunswick — the only official bilingual province of Canada, and in
Quebec, where French is native to 80% of the population, it acts as the
only official language. In the 2021 population census, 55% of
respondents named English as their native language, and 20% — French.
97% of the population speak at least one of the two official languages
(76% prefer English, 21% — French), including 18% — bilingual, equally
proficient in both. The highest proportion of bilinguals — in Quebec
(46.4%), in New Brunswick bilinguals make up 34% of the population,
while in each of the four provinces of Western Canada, in Newfoundland
and Labrador and in the territory of Nunavut less than 10% of the
population are bilingual.
In addition to English and French, other languages in Canada are divided into two categories: the languages of indigenous peoples (Indians, Inuit and Métis), which are not protected by federal laws, and the so-called immigrant languages, which do not have any legal status, but often widely используютные в качественном общении. In total, there are about 70 indigenous languages in Canada, belonging to 12 families. In total, in 2016, 260 thousand Canadians spoke one of these languages, including 176 thousand in Algonquian languages, 96.5 thousand in Cree languages, and 28 thousand in Ojibway. At the same time, in 40 languages out of 70, there were only 500 or less speakers. In the same year, 7.12 million Canadians were native to one of the immigrant languages, including more than a million — Northern Chinese language and Cantonese dialect. For half a million Canadians, Punjabi was their native language, more than 400 thousand said Spanish, Arabic or Tagalog was their native language, and more than 350 thousand said German and Italian.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, headed by the British monarch.
The monarch is represented in Canada by the governor-general (not
necessarily of Canadian origin), who is appointed by the monarch on the
advice of the government of Canada. The Governor General performs a
predominantly ceremonial function, performing most of his actions as a
government official "on the advice" of the Government of Canada. Canada
is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
In practice, Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy independent of Great Britain. The 1982 Constitution Act excluded the participation of the British Parliament in Canada's constitutional process. The seat of the government of the country is the capital of Canada, Ottawa. Federal legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Canada, which consists of the British monarch (or the Governor General as his plenipotentiary), the House of Commons and the Senate. Although formally both Houses of Parliament have legislative powers, bills relating to taxation and the expenditure of public funds are introduced only in the House of Commons.
The supreme bearer of executive power is the monarch of Great Britain, but in practice it is exercised by the cabinet of ministers headed by the prime minister. The post of Prime Minister is usually held by the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, whose power is guaranteed by the confidence of Parliament. Cabinet ministers are usually also members of the House of Commons from the largest party, but the law does not exclude senators or other unelected persons from entering the cabinet.
Parliament and parties
the existence of two houses of parliament was originally due to the large differences in population and influence of the provinces that made up the Canadian confederation; in view of this circumstance, the provinces receive different quotas in each chamber. As of the beginning of the 2020s, the lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, has 338 deputies, and the upper house, the Senate, has 105 members. Senators are appointed by the Governor General on a regional basis on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada, after which they remain in office until they reach the age of 75. The House of Commons is elected at a general majoritarian election, which, according to a law passed in 2007, must be held no later than the third Monday in October of the fourth year after the previous election. At the same time, elections to the House of Commons may be held more frequently, since the Cabinet of Ministers of Canada, by law, retains its powers only with the consent of more than half of the deputies. Thus, if none of the parties receives a majority of seats in the House of Commons, a minority government is formed, but it must seek compromises with deputies from other parties, and if it fails to do this, elections are called ahead of schedule.
Elections to the House of Commons are held on a party basis. Canada is a multi-party democracy with over 20 registered political parties with at least 250 members by 2015. However, only a few federal parties dominate the political life of the country. In the first half century of confederation, there was actually a two-party system similar to that that existed in Great Britain: the Liberal and Conservative parties fought for power. The third party first gained significant influence in the early 1920s when the Progressive Party of Canada became the official opposition party. Since the early 1960s, the third federal party has been the New Democratic Party (NDP), which has taken political positions to the left of center and advocated the evolution of Canada into a welfare state. Since 1993, the Quebec Bloc has been permanently present in the federal parliament, participating in elections only in the province of Quebec and having received in its history from 4 federal mandates in 2011 to 54 mandates (and official opposition seats) in 1993.
Candidates for provincial and Yukon legislative assemblies are also nominated by political parties. At the provincial level, local branches of the NDP or provincial-level parties that do not have federal representation may play leading roles alongside conservatives and liberals. In the remaining two territories, as well as at the municipal level, candidates participate in elections on a personal basis, and not as party representatives.
Lobbying is part of the Canadian political system. As in the United States, Canadian lobbyists are required to undergo registration, which involves the disclosure and publication of a significant amount of information. Lobbyists are federally regulated by the Lobbying Act of 1989 and the Lobbyist Code of Conduct. The number of lobbyists in Canada is quite large. As of March 2014, there were 5,178 registered lobbyists active at the federal level. At the regional level, there are registered lobbyists, whose activities are regulated by the legal acts of the provinces. Thus, in Ontario, by March 2014, 1,663 lobbyists were registered.
By the beginning of the 21st century, Canada is divided into 10
provinces and 3 territories.
Regions with multiple provinces or territories have their own names. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador are known as Atlantic Canada, and the first three are also known as the Maritime Provinces. Ontario and Quebec are often considered separately, but sometimes they are combined into Central Canada. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia are known as Western Canada, but when British Columbia is considered separately, the other three are called the Canadian Prairies provinces. Finally, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are collectively defined as the Canadian North.
The fundamental difference between a province and a territory is enshrined in the country's constitution. The provinces have their own constitutional powers, while the Canadian Parliament delegates powers to the territories. For a long time, the territories were actually governed by federal officials, but since the 1980s, federal laws have established their own legislative assemblies and executive bodies in each territory, to which the government of Canada is gradually transferring powers comparable to those of the provinces. As a result, decision-making at the local level began to play a greater role, and the authorities of the territories became more under the control of voters.
All provinces have elected unicameral legislative assemblies, from among the deputies of which the prime minister and government cabinet are then selected. In each province, the sovereign is represented by a lieutenant governor, appointed after consultation by the governor general, usually for a 5-year term. The functions of a lieutenant governor at the provincial level roughly correspond to those of a governor general at the federal level.
Provincial jurisdiction extends to local and private matters, including property and civil rights, civil law, municipal government, education and health (including hospitals), provincial company charters, licensing, administration and sale of public land, and direct provincial taxation. . In addition, provincial premiers regularly meet with each other or with the Prime Minister of Canada to discuss the boundaries of the jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments on specific issues. The purpose of the meetings is to preserve the structural integrity of the country while taking into account the interests and aspirations of the provinces as much as possible.
Historically, five provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec) have had a county as their main structural unit. The counties in these provinces were once created on the model of the counties of England and performed the same administrative, legal and other functions. However, in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, most of the functions eventually passed either to the provinces themselves or to the municipal authorities, and the counties retain their significance only as objects of land law. In Ontario, most of the counties retained their functions, and in Nova Scotia, mainly rural counties. In the northern part of Ontario, a division into districts (English districts) has been introduced; in addition, counties and parishes coexist in Alberta, and in Quebec, following an administrative reorganization, the 71 former counties are divided among 95 new municipal regional counties, 3 urban communities and 1 regional administration.
The next level of local government in Canada is represented by over 4,500 legally recognized municipalities and local councils. The powers of local authorities include resolving issues related to the daily life of members of municipal communities, their well-being and protection. Local councils, in particular, regulate the activities of schools, libraries and municipal services.
Quebec is the only province of modern Canada in which the
French-speaking population is the majority, which has formed a distinct
culture from the rest of Canada. Historically, this particularity of
Quebec was taken into account to one degree or another by legislators at
first in Great Britain and then sovereign Canada, however, a significant
part of Quebec residents support its full political independence, which
they see as a guarantee of the survival of Quebecers as an ethnic
community. Separatist tendencies in Quebec played a key role in Canadian
domestic politics in the last decades of the 20th century. Their level
of support is constantly fluctuating. So, in 1976, the Quebec Party won
the provincial elections, putting forward the slogan of "sovereign
association" - political separation while maintaining close economic
ties. Just four years later, only 40% of the province's voters voted for
secession in a referendum on Quebec's independence, but in 1995, in a
second referendum on the same topic, secessionists won by only one
percent. At the same time, 60% of the French-speaking residents of the
province supported the idea of independence, and 9 out of every 10
English-speaking Quebecers voted against. In 2000, based on an agreement
between the federal and provincial governments, the Clarity of
Referendum Act was passed, according to which any future referendum on
the independence of this province must contain a clearly formulated
question and a clearly defined majority criterion and be approved by the
House of Commons of Canada.
The Canadian authorities have been trying for a long time to come to an agreement with Quebec, within the framework of which a political balance will be achieved between the federal center and the provincial authorities. Reaching such an agreement would allow Quebec to become the last province to ratify Canada's constitution. One step in this direction was the Meech Lake Conference, which discussed the official recognition of Quebec as a separate society and the return of the veto to the provinces. These plans, however, did not receive support from the other two provinces, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. A few years later, the Charlottetown Agreement was put to a national referendum, under which it was proposed to grant greater autonomy to both Quebec and Canada's indigenous communities; this proposal was rejected by voters both in Quebec itself and in the western provinces. On November 27, 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a resolution recognizing that "Quebecs constitute a separate nation within a united Canada". In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada cited the existence of Quebec's "special legal traditions and community values" in a constitutional law ruling.
Throughout Canada, with the exception of Quebec, the common law
inherited from Great Britain applies. Quebec has a hybrid legal system
that combines elements of common and Romano-Germanic law with the
Napoleonic Code. In particular, Quebec public law is based on European
civil law, while private law is based on common law principles. Criminal
law in Canada is entirely under the jurisdiction of the federal
government and is uniform throughout the country, but the provinces are
authorized to independently implement its provisions on their territory,
for which there is a multi-level system of criminal courts. In most
provinces and all territories, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
performs the function of enforcing federal criminal laws with the
exception of Ontario and Quebec, which have their own police. However,
the law obliges large cities and other settlements with sufficient
population density to maintain a police force sufficient to maintain law
and order in their territory. Most major cities have their own police
departments, and other localities have policing contracts with RCMP or
provincial police officers.
The Constitution of Canada is the basic law of the country, setting the framework for the rest of the legislation and taking precedence over other laws. The Canadian constitution is not a single document, but a set of laws of British and Canadian origin proper, in addition to them, including uncodified elements known as constitutional customs.
The formation of the Canadian constitution took place in several stages, starting with the Constitution Act of 1867, also known as the British North America Act, which declared the creation of the Dominion of Canada. The Statute of Westminster of 1931 proclaimed all the countries of the British Commonwealth independent and equal with Great Britain, giving them full legal independence, with the exception of those areas that they themselves consider it necessary to leave in the jurisdiction of the former mother country. In particular, in the case of Canada, the UK remained in charge of the relationship between the federal authorities and the provinces. This provision was only abolished by the 1982 Constitutional Act. At the same time, this law included the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the country's constitution and guaranteed the rights of indigenous peoples, without specifying which rights they were talking about.
The elements of the Canadian constitution, in addition to the constitutional acts, are the statutes of the Parliaments of Great Britain and Canada concerning the succession to the throne, the appointment and powers of the Governor General, the Senate, the House of Commons and the conduct of elections, as well as the statutes of the provincial legislatures concerning the functioning of these bodies. Further changes to the Canadian constitution can only be made with the support of a majority in both houses of Parliament and at least seven provinces with a total population of at least half the national population.
The courts in Canada are an independent branch of government. Beginning with the Constitution Act of 1867, the British-derived doctrine of the rule of law has been incorporated into the Canadian constitution. According to it, the actions of the government and the police forces must be determined by laws, which prevents the arbitrary exercise of power. Another important aspect of this doctrine is the rejection of the retroactive application of laws.
Each province in Canada has a tiered system of courts, including police, appellate, district, and superior courts. Since 1949, the federal Supreme Court of Canada has been the last step in the process of appealing judgments. The lower instances at the national level are:
the Federal Court of Canada, dealing with claims relating to the federal government and federal taxes, copyright and patent law;
Military Court of Appeal;
Tax Court of Canada.
Since common law prevails in Canada in most cases, case law is an important source of legality. Decisions of higher courts are binding on lower courts, and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada are binding on all instances except itself. In Quebec, for private law judges, the code of laws proper is the highest legal authority; although previous decisions, in particular those issued by higher instances, are widely used in making new ones, they are not binding.
Judges of all instances, with the exception of Probate Judges and Police Judges of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are appointed by the Governor General of Canada, and their salaries and pensions are determined by the Parliament of Canada. Upon reaching the age of 75, a judge must retire.
Between the end of World War II and the early 1980s, Canada experienced what is often referred to as the "civil rights revolution" and which largely culminated in the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Within its framework, steps were taken to provide equal civil rights to women, the disabled, representatives of sexual and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. Laws were passed at the federal and local levels that prohibited discrimination based on race or ethnicity, religious and political beliefs, and sexual orientation. The process continues after 1982, but the realization of civil rights is difficult for some categories of the population - primarily representatives of indigenous peoples. Among the issues receiving significant public outcry is the federal government's lack of efforts to protect the lives and dignity of indigenous women (an independent national commission that reviewed 4,000 murders and kidnappings over 30 years assessed the scale of these phenomena as genocide in 2019). A number of indigenous communities do not have access to quality drinking water; the federal government, which planned to provide such access to all communities in Canada by April 2021, has failed to meet this commitment. The number of complaints about discrimination and aggression against ethnic minorities by the police is growing. From a human rights standpoint, the government of Quebec adopted a 2019 ban on the wearing of symbols of religious affiliation by public servants that has been widely criticized.
The functions of the Canadian Armed Forces are to protect security,
interests and values, and to participate in the maintenance of
international security and peace. The armed forces include the Canadian
Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy, which
have their own commands. In addition, military formations of all
branches of the armed forces may be subordinate to the Joint Operations
Command, the Special Operations Forces Command, or the North American
Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The official Commander-in-Chief of
the Canadian Armed Forces is the British Monarch, represented by the
Governor General, but the actual leadership is exercised by the Minister
of National Defence, a civilian appointed by the Prime Minister.
Management is carried out with the help of the National Defense
Headquarters and the Council of the Armed Forces.
The armed forces are recruited (for a period of 3 to 9 years in the age range from 17 to 34 years), command cadres are trained in national military colleges and officer reserve schools in Canada, as well as in command and staff colleges in the UK and the USA. The percentage of the population employed in the Canadian Armed Forces and defense spending relative to the total economy is lower than in other NATO countries. According to the CIA World Factbook, defense spending was 1.4% of Canada's GDP in 2020; in absolute terms, in the second half of the 2010s, $25.7-27.6 billion was spent on defense annually. The same source estimates the number of regular servicemen of the Canadian Armed Forces in 2021 at 70 thousand people (of which 23 thousand in the ground forces, 12 in the air force and 12 in the navy). Another 19 thousand people are in the volunteer irregular troops of the reserve; this number includes 5.5 thousand Canadian Rangers.
The Canadian Armed Forces are equipped with both domestic and foreign-made weapons and military equipment. The United States is the leading supplier of weapons to Canada, but deliveries are also made from European countries, Australia and Israel. The Canadian Ground Forces are armed with, in particular, the Leopard 2 main tanks (Germany), towed 155-mm howitzers M777 and 105-mm C3 close combat support guns of American production, as well as more than 500 domestically developed LAV III light infantry fighting vehicles. The 1st Canadian Aviation Division has 11 wings, which are armed with various combat, transport, search and rescue and training aircraft. The main combat aircraft of the Canadian Air Force is the CF-188 Hornet fighter-bomber. Naval aviation includes CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft and CH-148 Cyclone helicopters. Tactical aviation is represented by CH-146 Griffon helicopters. Canada's Atlantic and Pacific Flotillas are armed with patrol frigates, coastal defense ships and medium-range patrol submarines.
Over the years of its existence, Canada has taken part in a number of armed conflicts, including on the side of the Entente in World War I and on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition in World War II. In the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, Canadian military personnel participated in dozens of peacekeeping operations in different regions of the world. In 1956, during the days of the Suez Crisis, Canadian politician Lester Pearson initiated the creation of the UN Peacekeeping Force, and Canadian General I. L. M. Burns led their first contingent in the Sinai Peninsula. In addition, Canadian military personnel have participated in peacekeeping missions not directly sanctioned by the UN, but carried out by various international coalitions, including NATO operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Up to 14% of the total strength of the Canadian Armed Forces served abroad - the second highest among all NATO countries, except for the United States. The Disaster Assistance Response Team participated in rescue operations after Hurricane Mitch in Honduras (1998), the tsunami in Southeast Asia (2004), the earthquakes in Haiti (2010) and Nepal (2015) and others disasters. In the Global Peace Index, Canada was ranked 6th out of 163 countries in 2020.
After the independence of the Dominion of Canada, it was initially
represented in international relations by British diplomats, as it was
assumed that it could not have its own foreign policy. Canada gradually
sought for itself an independent role in foreign relations with the
United States (in particular, in the preparation of the Washington
Treaty of 1871, in the dispute over the border of Alaska and a series of
negotiations on the resumption of free trade), and then with the former
mother country. In 1880, A. T. Galt was appointed Canada's first High
Commissioner to Great Britain (a position equivalent to an embassy). In
1909, the Canadian Department of External Affairs (later the Department
of Foreign Affairs) was established.
After the First World War, Canada, along with other British dominions, was among the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles, and then became a full member of the League of Nations. In 1927, Vincent Massey became Canada's first official envoy to Washington; in the next two years, Canadian diplomatic missions were opened in France and Japan, and in 1939 in Belgium and the Netherlands.
After World War II, Canada began to play a more prominent role in international politics. She became one of the founding countries of the NATO bloc, her military formations participated in the Korean War and represented NATO in European countries. Lester Pearson, who represented Canada, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for peace initiatives that contributed to the end of the 1956 Suez Crisis. Canada's highest achievements in the field of diplomacy are associated with its position as a mediating state in this and other international conflicts.
Although the level of Canadian involvement in NATO declined by the 1970s, it continues to actively cooperate in the military sphere with the United States. In the late 1950s, she joined the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is dominated by the United States.
In 1990, at the end of the Cold War, Canada became a member of the Organization of American States. It is a member of the Big Seven, an informal organization whose members are seven of the countries with the most developed economies in the world, and in 1999 became one of the founding countries of the expanded interstate forum - the Big Twenty. Other major international organizations of which Canada is a member are the OSCE, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Francophonie. Canada hosts the offices of two global cooperation organizations, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The national currency is the Canadian dollar. Throughout history, its
rate has changed from fixed to floating and vice versa. The Canadian
dollar has been floating since 1970; during this time, the minimum
exchange rate was $0.62 (in 2002) and the maximum was $1.07 (in 2007).
The Canadian economy is one of the most developed in the world. As of 2020, Canada's real GDP was estimated at $1.742 trillion, ranking it 15th in the world. Real per capita income in 2020 was $45.9 thousand, the 34th highest in the world. Estimated budget revenues in 2017 were $649.6 billion and expenditures were $665.7 billion. The budget deficit in 2017 is about 1% of GDP, the public debt is 89.7% of GDP. Canada's external debt in 2019 was $2,125 billion.
The structure of the economy has undergone significant changes over the years of the country's existence. If in 1870 the most significant sector of the economy was agriculture (37%, with 36% in the service sector, 22% in industry and 4% in the extraction of natural resources), then by 1997 Canada's economy had acquired distinct post-industrial features. 2/3 of the total national product and almost 3/4 of its labor force was in the service sector; industry accounted for 18% of the national product and 15.5% of workers, while agriculture and the extraction of natural resources accounted for less than 15% of the national product and slightly more than 5% of workers. In 2010, in Canada, 39% of the total population was employed in the service sector, 10% in manufacturing, and 1% in agriculture. Due to the growth in the number of working women in the first half century after World War II, the labor force participation rate increased from 55% to 64.8% (among women - from 24.7% to 57.4%). The national unemployment rate, which reached 9.9% in the first half of the 1980s, has since declined and is estimated at 5.67% in 2019. The Gini coefficient - an index of income inequality between the richest and poorest segments of the population - in Canada, as in other countries with developed economies, is gradually increasing. However, by the early 2020s, it remained the lowest of the G7 countries in Canada, and among OECD countries it ranked 9th before the government redistribution of income and a place closer to the middle of the list after this redistribution.
Most of the Canadian economy belongs to the private sector. A number of national companies were privatized in the 1990s, although some transport and electrical companies, as well as postal services, remain state-owned. By the end of the 1960s, the share of foreign capital in Canadian industry was approaching 60%, and in the field of oil and gas production it exceeded 80%. By the mid-1980s, thanks to the introduction of state control over foreign investment, this share was reduced to 44% and 39%, respectively. According to the Heritage Foundation index, economic freedom in Canada as of 2022 is higher than in the United States, Japan and most Western European countries. Canadian governments have long pursued a policy of protectionism aimed at supporting the competitiveness of domestic enterprises. The phasing out of this position began in the 1980s, and the signing of the NAFTA agreement with Mexico in 1994 forced Canada to speed up the process. However, Canadian agriculture continues to receive significant subsidies to compete with similarly subsidized agricultural commodities from the US and EU.
The basis of Canada's agriculture is made up of farms, of which by 2006 there were approximately 230,000 with an average area of about 300 hectares each. Only 1/12 of the total area of Canada is suitable for growing crops. These lands are mostly located on the prairies, but the largest variety of crops and the highest yields are found in southwestern British Columbia and southern Ontario, where vegetables and fruits are grown. On the prairies, grains and oilseeds (primarily wheat and rapeseed) are mainly grown, large areas are set aside for pastures for livestock. Southwestern Ontario produces corn, soybeans, and white beans. Canada accounts for about 80% of the world's maple syrup production (30 million liters in 2006). Animal husbandry occupies an important place in the structure of agriculture: in 2007, there were 15.9 million heads of cattle (including 1.5 million dairy herds), 14.5 million heads of pigs and approximately 660 million heads of poultry in the country. Fur farming is developed, mainly specializing in growing minks. Canada is one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products: according to the World Bank, in 2012 the country ranked 4th in the world in wheat exports - 16.3 million tons worth $5.7 billion. It also occupies one of the first places in the world in the export of frozen fish.
Since colonial times, the raw material sector has played a large role in the Canadian economy. In the country, more than half of whose area is occupied by forests, the timber industry is developed. The best products come from the forests of the West Coast, where the climate favors the growth of large trees with quality wood. At the beginning of the 21st century, about 190,000 m³ of industrial wood and more than 30,000 m³ of wood for processing into pulp were produced in Canada per year. Canada is the world's leading exporter of pulp and paper products, with forestry products accounting for more of the nation's exports than farm products, fish and minerals combined.
Canada ranks 3rd in the world (after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia) in terms of explored oil fields and 7th in the world in terms of oil production. In the first half of the 1980s, it was among the top five countries in the world in the production of potash and asbestos (more than 20% of world volumes), the extraction of nickel, molybdenum, sulfur and uranium (more than 15%), as well as copper, lead, gold, silver and aluminum (more than 5%). By the beginning of the 21st century, Canada produced the largest volume of uranium ore in the world (12.6 thousand tons per year in terms of uranium), the country is among the leaders in the extraction of zinc, cadmium and titanium. The mining industry plays a key role in the development of the Canadian North: although there are not as many workers directly engaged in mining as in the past, a significant number of people are employed in the iron and steel industry and in transportation.
The engineering and food industries accounted for about 40% of the total value of Canadian industrial production in 2017. Canadian iron and steel industry has advanced technologies. The metalworking industry produces parts for automobile engines, mining machinery, and household electrical appliances. After the conclusion of the Canadian-American Automobile Treaty, branches of American automobile firms began to appear in Canada, and in the 1980s, factories of Japanese companies joined them. With an annual turnover of $11.5 billion in 2005, Bombardier, Canada's largest transportation engineering company, ranked 4th among companies in this sector in North America and was one of the world's leading aerospace manufacturers. The shipbuilding and ship repair industry is well developed.
Steel plants with a production volume of 2 to 4.5 million tons per year each are located in Hamilton, Nanticoke, Sault Ste. Marie. Canada is one of the world's leading producers of mineral fertilizers; enterprises of this industry are mainly concentrated in Alberta, more than half of the products are exported. In the last decades of the 20th century, high-tech enterprises and the electronics industry developed rapidly. More than 3/4 of Canadian industrial enterprises are concentrated in the region between Quebec City and Windsor in Ontario, on the border with the center of the American automobile industry, Detroit. More than half of all Canadian industrial products are exported.
Canada is one of the top 10 countries in the world in terms of electricity generation (644 billion kWh in 2020). Canadian geography offers great opportunities for hydropower. From this point of view, most promising rivers have built powerful hydroelectric power plants that produce about 60% of Canadian electricity (including a cascade of hydroelectric power plants with a capacity of 16,000 MW in the La Grande river basin). Another 12% of electricity is produced at nuclear power plants.
In conditions when the country's hydropower potential has already been largely exhausted, and nuclear energy is not being developed further due to concerns about its safety, the share of electricity produced at thermal power plants, primarily using coal, is growing. Canada is able to provide its own needs for oil and oil products and has surpluses of natural gas and electricity that are exported. Alternative energy is relatively underdeveloped: Canada accounts for 3% of global wind energy, which is 4% of the total electricity generated in the country, but solar energy produces only 0.5% of energy, and biofuels and geothermal stations - a total of 2% .
In the first decade of the 21st century, about a quarter of Canada's GDP came from the financial and business services sector (including the banking and credit sector, insurance and stock exchange activities). To operate in Canada, a commercial bank must obtain a license from the federal government. Commercial banking is overseen by a number of federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Bank of Canada, the Canadian Financial Consumption Agency, and the Office of the Banking and Investment Ombudsman. By 2014, there were more than 30 Canadian banks and more than 50 subsidiaries and branches of foreign banks. Canadian laws allow an unlimited number of branches for each bank, which has led to a small group of leading companies in the country that control most of the banking sector. The Big Five are Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Among other things, banks provide mortgage services, but the law prohibits them from selling insurance policies. The largest companies in the Canadian insurance market are Manulife Financial and Fairfax Financial; among the leading corporations providing various financial services are also Sun Life Financial, Power Corporation of Canada and Brookfield Asset Management.
Stock exchanges in Canada operate in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. The Alberta and Vancouver stock exchanges merged in 1999 to form the Canadian Venture Exchange.
Tourism and recreational business
An important role in the Canadian economy is played by the tourism and recreational services industry, including the hotel and restaurant business. By 1990, 5% of Canadian workers were employed in the tourism business, and in 2005, tourism revenues amounted to $14 billion. The country was visited by 36 million tourists this year, including 14 million from the US; attracts Canada and tourists from China. The main tourist centers are large cities (Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver). Popular natural sites are Niagara Falls, the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains, national parks and lakes.
In the vast outback areas of Canada, transport links are not
developed, but regions with a significant population are covered by a
dense network of roads. The longest road in Canada - the Trans-Canada
Highway - connects all ten provinces and stretches for 7821 km from St.
John's in Newfoundland to Victoria (British Columbia). The total length
of roads at the beginning of the 21st century exceeded 1.4 million km.
Canadians have at their disposal numerous private vehicles (on average,
1 car is for less than 2 residents of the country).
The length of railroad tracks per capita in Canada is one of the highest in the world. The railways are mainly concentrated in the south of the country, but some regional branches reach Churchill on the Hudson Bay in the north, Musoni on the James Bay and Shefferville in the central part of the Labrador Peninsula. Most railroads are used by transcontinental transport companies - Canadian National Railway (privatized in 1995) and Canadian Pacific Railway (joint stock company). Rail transport is occupied mostly by freight traffic, while the volume of passenger rail traffic is declining. They are mainly dealt with by the crown corporation VIA Rail, established in 1977; in addition, there are regional passenger rail systems in the major metropolitan areas of Toronto (GO Transit, since 1967), Montreal (1984) and Vancouver (1995).
Inland water transportation is carried out primarily along the St. Lawrence Sea Route - a 3,769 km long system of natural reservoirs and canals connecting St. Lawrence Bay with the upper reaches of Lake Superior. Ferry communication is developed in coastal areas. By sea, the supply of remote settlements of the Canadian Arctic is mainly carried out. Air Canada and its affiliated local companies operate the majority of air freight and passenger traffic within the country. A number of smaller companies serve local airlines, including flights to remote regions inaccessible to other vehicles. The country's largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, handles ⅓ of Canada's air passenger traffic and ⅔ of air cargo. Two more major airports (Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport and cargo and charter Mirabell) operate in Montreal.
About 40% of Canada's cargo turnover is accounted for by pipeline transport, including more than a quarter - by gas pipelines. At the beginning of the 21st century, the total length of pipelines in Canada exceeded 360,000 km (of which 27% were main lines). The pipeline network is managed by the state.
Canada has one of the highest per capita numbers of phones in the world. Almost every household in the country has at least one telephone. Canada also has one of the highest percentages of Internet users in the world. These circumstances contribute to the development of the high-tech sector in the country, mainly concentrated in the Ottawa Valley; Canada is the world leader in fiber optic communications. The telecommunications market, originally controlled by three large private companies, has become more competitive since the 1980s. Competition in the satellite communications market began in 2000, when the monopoly of Telesat Corporation was eliminated.
In 2020, Canada ranked 12th in the world in terms of exports and 11th
in terms of imports. At the end of 2021 and early 2022, the total
monthly value of Canadian imports fluctuated between $54.1 and 61.1
billion, exports between $57 and 63.6 billion, the country's total trade
surplus was $2.5 billion in the 4th quarter 2021 and $9 billion in the
1st quarter of 2022.
Canada is one of the few industrialized countries that are net energy exporters. Crude oil in 2020 was the main component of Canadian exports (about 13% of the total value). Significant shares of exports were finished cars, automotive parts, gold and lumber. Canada is the world's leading exporter of lumber, aluminium, potash, rapeseed and dried legumes. The first places in imports were also occupied by cars (including trucks) and car parts, broadcasting equipment and gold.
The United States is Canada's main trading partner. After a series of unsuccessful negotiations with that country to create a free trade area, progress was made in 1965 when the Canadian-American Automobile Treaty eliminated import duties on automotive products. Thanks to this, Canada began to produce a large number of cars for sale in the United States. In 1987, the Canadian-American Free Trade Agreement was signed, in 1993 it was transformed into a trilateral (with Mexico) agreement on the North American Free Trade Area. As of 2017, the US-Canadian trade relationship was the most comprehensive in the world, with a combined value of $680 billion a year in goods and services, and $800 billion in bilateral securities investment. More than 3/4 of all goods exported from Canada are sent to the USA.
Another important partner of Canada has historically been Great Britain. The former colony supplied more goods to the British Isles than it received. The decline in the volume of trade in this direction came after the Second World War, and by the end of the 20th century, Japan became Canada's second largest trade partner, and by the end of the second decade of the next century, China. The UK also remains in Canada's top five trading partners along with the European Union and Mexico. Since 1947, Canada has been an active participant in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which helped ease barriers to free trade among the nations of the world.
Society and culture
Canada traditionally scores highly in the comprehensive assessment of community development known as the Human Development Index. The country's overall score rose from 0.85 out of 1 in 1990 to 0.929 in 2019. In the world ranking for this indicator in 2019, Canada ranked 16th (and during the 2010s it repeatedly entered the top ten). This estimate may be lower if social and gender inequalities are taken into account, as well as an estimate of "planetary loads".
Since the founding of Canada in 1867, the provinces and territories have made their own education policies. The provinces fund schooling and partially higher education, while the federal government provides funds for territorial education and special education programs (including within the military and correctional institutions) and participates in the funding of provincial higher education.
Secondary education in Canada includes 12 years of school (of which the first 8 are considered primary education) and, depending on the province, 1 or 2 years of kindergarten. 92% of Canadians aged 25-64 have completed high school or equivalent, well above the OECD average of 79%. The relative equality of opportunities for secondary education provides an average high level of Canadian students, according to the results of international PISA tests in the 2010s, showing some of the best results in the world in reading, mathematics and science.
Higher education in Canada has traditionally been provided by universities, the first of which were founded in the 17th-18th centuries. Over time, however, Canadians have the opportunity to continue their education after graduation and in other types of educational institutions - colleges and institutes. In total, there are over 70 educational institutions in Canada, the completion of which is accompanied by an academic degree; the largest in terms of student numbers are the University of Quebec, which has a network of city branches, and the University of Toronto. In addition to these, there are over 200 community colleges providing vocational education. In some of these colleges, more than 50 thousand students study at the same time, and research institutes operate on their basis. The coverage of the higher education system in Canada is one of the highest in the world: already at the end of the 20th century, about a million full-time students and 250,000 part-time students studied at universities and colleges in Canada every year. In 2018, Canada ranked 1st among OECD countries in terms of percentage of population with post-secondary education, with 56% of people aged 25-64 holding an academic degree or completing a professional course from a post-secondary institution. In the Shanghai World University Rankings 2021, 4 Canadian universities (Toront, British Columbia, McGill and McMaster) were in the top 100 in the world, and 20 were in the top 500.
The oldest scientific societies in Canada originated in Lower Canada in the 1820s, and the country's first scientific journal, the Canadian Naturalist and Geologist, began publication in 1856. The Royal Society of Canada is an organization that brings together the country's leading scientists, regardless of the field of knowledge, was founded in 1882. Since the 1920s, associations of professional researchers have been formed, the first and most influential of which was the Canadian Institute of Chemistry.
Among the most developed fields of knowledge in Canada are earth sciences, chemistry, forestry and agronomy. All of them have a pronounced practical orientation, although there are achievements in theoretical science (an example is the contribution of J. T. Wilson to the theory of plate tectonics). Notable successes have been achieved by Canadian doctors who were at the origins of the creation of insulin, the polio vaccine and the pacemaker. Canadian chemists have made significant contributions to the development of new drugs, biomedicine and genetic research, work on metals and alloys within national and international research institutions. Canadian agronomists are known for their success in breeding triticale and expanding the use of canola (rapeseed), as well as the development of pest control methods for agriculture.
Canada has a national health insurance system. Its task is to provide
every inhabitant of the country with access to medical (including
hospital) services. The cost of this service is paid from general taxes
or special mandatory contributions to health insurance programs. The
National Health System has covered hospital costs since 1957 and
physicians since 1966. Although the program itself is federal, the
nuances of its implementation remain the responsibility of individual
provinces (for example, dental services are included in the paid health
care basket only in some provinces and not for all categories of the
population), and the costs of its maintenance are divided between the
provinces and the federal government.
Since government-funded health services are available by default to all residents of the country, the growth and aging of the population lead to an increase in the share of health care spending in the budget. The provinces are forced to compensate for this process either by reducing the basket of services, or by increasing mandatory contributions to insurance programs. Thus, in the 1990s, some hospitals closed, and the share of patients' own participation in paying for medicines increased. The Canadian Medical Association says government funding for healthcare is insufficient and that this is leading to overcrowded hospitals and long waiting lists for non-urgent surgeries. Many citizens supplement the state-paid package of medical services with the help of private health insurance. In addition, physician services are not equally available in different regions: in rural areas and remote geographical areas, access to medical care is often problematic. Total healthcare spending in Canada in the second decade of the 21st century fluctuated between 10.2% and 11% of GDP.
The most common cause of death in Canada is cancer. Coronary heart disease (2.3 million patients in 2011/12), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (2 million) and strokes (700,000 Canadians were living with the consequences of a stroke in 2011/12) are widespread. Canada has one of the highest percentages of obese people in the OECD. Lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet and smoking contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
As of the early 2010s, more than 3/4 of Canada's population claimed
to belong to an organized religious community. The most common were
Catholicism (about 40% of the population as a whole in the country,
about 80% in Quebec and more than 50% in New Brunswick) and
Protestantism (about 20%). Among the various Protestant denominations,
the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada and
Lutheranism were in the lead in terms of the number of parishioners. The
ethnic diversity of Canada, as a country with a large number of
immigrants and their descendants, is also reflected in religious
diversity: at the end of the 20th century, the proportion of Muslims,
Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in the population increased sharply. In the
early 2010s, there were more than a million Muslims in the country (3.2%
of the population), of which the majority are Sunnis. Two-thirds of
Canadian Muslims live in three major cities - Toronto, Montreal and
Due to its proximity to the United States, Canadian culture is heavily influenced by American culture. In the late 1950s, the Royal Commission on the National Development of the Arts, Literature and Science (known as the Massey Commission) warned that Canadian culture was becoming "invisible" and indistinguishable from US culture as a result of years of "American intrusion into film, radio and the press." In the wake of the commission's report, the Government of Canada has made recommendations for the media to promote the "Canadian information product", including books, television programs and magazines. Efforts to promote the Canadian cultural product made it possible to preserve a distinct, distinct cultural life from the American one.
Canada has numerous councils, advisory groups and foundations at the federal and provincial levels that support the arts. In particular, in 1957, the Arts Council of Canada was created, partly receiving funding from the federal government, and partly in the form of donations. Federal cultural policy agencies include Heritage Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the National Film Board. Founded in 1953, the National Library of Canada holds copies of every book ever published in the country.
There are over 2,000 museums and historical parks in Canada. The most important art museum is the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as the University of Toronto have large public collections. Toronto is home to Canada's largest general museum, the Royal Ontario Museum. Thematic museums include the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, the archaeological and ethnographic museums of Newfoundland and Labrador, Montreal and Winnipeg, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic[en] in Halifax. The largest historical monument in Canada is the reconstructed Louisbourg Fortress on Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia).
Representatives of numerous ethnic groups and speakers of different languages live in Canada. Throughout its history, the influence of British, French and American cultures has been dominant, but elements of other cultures also penetrated the general cultural background. In the 1960s, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended a series of measures to support the French language and culture, but concluded that Canadian culture was not truly dichotomous. In 1971, the government of P. Trudeau officially proclaimed the doctrine of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the recognition of the cultural characteristics of all population groups and their contribution to the general cultural background of the country.
At first, the policy of multiculturalism was in the nature of supporting the cultural identity of ethnic minorities and preserving their national traditions. Later, however, it became part of the process of protecting the rights of minorities, especially the indigenous peoples of Canada, and overcoming discrimination. The very concept of multiculturalism has both supporters and critics. In particular, writer Neil Bissundath argues that this doctrine damages an authentic Canadian identity based on the interplay of English and French cultures, while encouraging the display of ethnic differences breeds a "psychology of separation" and prevents immigrants from adapting to mainstream culture.
Nevertheless, the contribution of various ethnic communities to the cultural background of Canada is evident. This includes the revival of traditional Canadian Indigenous arts, the thriving South Asian cuisine in Toronto and Italian cuisine in Montreal, and Chinese theatrical traditions rooted in Vancouver. The Chinese communities of Vancouver and Toronto, the Inuit village, Little Jamaica in Toronto became the setting for contemporary Canadian books and films. The prestigious national Polaris Music Prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year, has been repeatedly won by representatives of ethnic music genres.
Literature and art
In accordance with the colonial history of Canada, English and French-speaking traditions can be distinguished in local literature. The first French-language works created on the territory of modern Canada date back to the beginning of the 17th century, but in Canada itself, the first books in French were published only from the 1830s. In the same years, Canadian English literature began with the publication of the works of Thomas Haliberton. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of works were created that became Canadian literary classics - "The Golden Dog" by William Kirby, "Trail of 1908" by Robert Service, "The Imperialist" by Sarah Duncan, humorous works by Stephen Leacock and novels by Mazo de la Roche about the estate " Jalna". A new generation of Canadian writers emerged in the 1940s and 1950s, and by the end of the 20th century, Canadian literature began to gain international prominence. In 1979, the Acadian writer Antonine Mailha was awarded the Prix Goncourt for Pelagie the Cart, Margaret Atwood twice (in 2000 and 2019) won the Booker Prize, and in 2013 Alice Munro became the Nobel laureate in literature.
Canadian painters of the 19th century were influenced by the European
school, but the themes of their canvases were often chosen by the nature
and life of their own country. So, Paul Kane, an Irish immigrant, in his
contemporary European style captured the landscapes of Canada and the
life of its indigenous population, voyagers and missionaries in his
works. At the beginning of the 20th century, the development of Canadian
visual arts centered around two Toronto groups of artists - the Canadian
Art Club and the so-called Group of Seven, the most famous member of
which was the landscape painter A. Y. Jackson. In the 1940s, the
Montreal Society of Automatists occupied a central place in the Canadian
visual arts, whose work followed the traditions of surrealism (leading
representatives - Jean-Paul Riopelle and Fernand Leduc), and by the
1960s, adherents of pop art and conceptual art came to the forefront.
art. In the 1960s, Canadian sculptors also moved away from traditional
forms, adopting such international styles as land art and minimalism.
At the turn of the century, video art and performance began to compete with the traditional genres of fine art in Canada. New trends in Canadian art are dedicated to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto. During the 20th century, the art of the indigenous peoples of Canada, especially Inuit stone sculpture and graphics, attracted attention. In the 2nd half of the 20th century, the works of Canadian architects Arthur Erickson (creator of the Canadian pavilion of the World Exhibition in 1967), Douglas Cardinal and Eberhard Zeidler received worldwide recognition.
Canadian music combines Native American and European (English and French) musical traditions. An important role in the development of Canadian national music was played by the composers of the 1st half of the 20th century, Healy Willan, Claude Champagne and John Weinzweig, in whose works classical genres acquired a national flavor. Of the composers of the 2nd half of the 20th century, Claude Vivier, known for his experimental approach, stands out. However, performers brought particular fame to Canadian music. They include both vocalists (Teresa Stratas, Nancy Argenta, Maureen Forrester, Lois Marshall, John Vickers) and instrumentalists (pianists Glenn Gould, Anton Curty, Oscar Peterson, guitarist Lyona Boyd, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson) and musical groups (baroque Ensemble "Tafelmuzik"). In the world of pop and rock music, Canadians also occupy a prominent place. Some of Canada's best-known rock musicians include Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, The Band, The Guess Who and Barenaked Ladies. In pop, the Cowboy Junkies, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Katherine Don Lang, Celine Dion, Sarah MacLachlan, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain and Justin Bieber stand out.
The performing arts in Canada have flourished since the 2nd half of the 20th century. In 1953, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival was founded, which is very popular among both Canadians and tourists, especially from the United States. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Shaw Festival, the Blythe Theater Festival, which specializes in plays by Canadian authors, and the Charlottetown Musical Festival, also staging only Canadian works, are popular. The most famous musical staged within its framework was Anne of Green Gables based on the work of the same name by Lucy Maud Montgomery, which subsequently successfully ran in London and on Broadway. An important role in the development of Canadian avant-garde theater at the turn of the century was played by Quebec directors Gilles Mayeux and Robert Lepage. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have regular opera seasons, and a permanent opera house has been built in Toronto. There are 3 international ballet companies in the country, including the National Ballet of Canada, which often tours abroad, as well as the Jazz Ballet of Montreal, which combines ballet technique with jazz music in its productions. Cirque du Soleil has gained international fame, whose productions, which include choreographic, circus and theatrical elements, are distinguished by a through plot and a special aesthetic. In the 21st century, the troupe includes more than 500 artists.
Since 1939, the development of cinema in the country has been carried out by the National Film Administration, to which the Canadian Film Development Corporation has been added since 1967. International film festivals have been held in Toronto since 1976 and in Montreal since 1977. The relative cheapness of the Canadian dollar attracts foreign film and television companies to the country, filming in the studios of Toronto and Vancouver and on the streets of these cities, "playing" the role of other settlements. Canadian documentary cinema enjoys a high reputation, having received awards at international film festivals. However, the main successes of Canadian filmmakers are in Hollywood. Thanks to American cinema, Canadians such as Mac Sennett, Norman Jewison, Ted Kotcheff, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Denis Arkan, Michael J. Fox, Keanu Reeves, Dan Aykroyd and William Shatner have gained worldwide fame. Arcana's film "Jesus of Montreal" won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989, and his work "Invasion of the Barbarians" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003.
In the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Canada ranked 14th out of 180 in 2021. Canada's premier news outlet, Canadian Press, was founded in 1917. It was founded and co-owned by leading Canadian newspapers. In Canada, the daily national newspapers Globe and Mail and National Post are published; the Toronto Star, despite its name, also circulates throughout the country. The most popular weekly national publication is Maclean's, the weekly magazine Hockey News has a large readership, but magazines published in the USA are mainly distributed. In addition, there are a number of provincial publications, including Quebec's Le Devoir, Le Journal de Montréal and La Presse, published in French, and each major locality publishes local daily or weekly newspapers and magazines.
The Canadian public broadcasting system is one of the most complex in the world due to its large territory, combination of Canadian and American players, private and public ownership of stations and networks, and two national languages. The largest component of this system is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which by the early 1990s included 860 television channels and 673 radio stations broadcasting in English and French, and together with affiliated partners, more than 1,100 television channels and more than 750 radio stations. The second national television broadcasting system after CBC is the private CTV. All Canadians have access to radio, and almost everyone has access to two national television channels.
Sports play an important role in the life of Canadians. In 1994, the
National Sports of Canada Act formalized this status for ice hockey
(winter) and lacrosse (summer). Founded in 1943, the international
Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto. All National Hockey League
(NHL) teams originally represented Canada, and by the 2020s, this
country is represented in the league by clubs from seven cities -
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Even at the beginning of the 21st century, about 50% of all NHL players
come from Canada. The Canadian men's team, made up of amateur hockey
players, won the World Championship 15 times between 1920 and 1952. The
Canadian team won 6 more titles before the end of the century and 5 in
the first 20 years of the 21st century. In addition, Canadians have won
9 Olympic hockey tournaments. Significant success in international
competitions was achieved by the women's and youth teams of the country.
Curling, figure skating, skiing, canoeing and Canadian football, similar to the American version, are massively popular in Canada. For the Gray Cup - the main trophy in this sport - the clubs of the Canadian Football League compete. Canadian professional clubs play in the major American professional leagues in basketball, baseball and European football (Toronto Blue Jays - MLB champions in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, Toronto FC - 2017 MLS champion, Toronto Raptors - NBA champions in the season 2018/2019).
The Canadian Olympic Association was founded in 1904 and recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1907. Canadian athletes have competed in every Olympic Games since 1904, with the exception of the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Canada is the world leader in Olympic medals won in ice hockey, freestyle and curling. Canadian cities have repeatedly become the venue for the Olympic Games. So, the 1976 Summer Olympics were hosted by Montreal, the 1988 Winter Games were held in Calgary, and the 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver (at these Games, for the first time in history, Canadians took first place in the unofficial medal count). A number of Canadian cities have hosted the Commonwealth Games, starting with the very first, held in Hamilton, Ontario as the British Empire Games in 1930.
Among the popular recreational events in Canada is the Calgary Stampede, which has been held regularly since 1912. It is one of the largest rodeos in the world with a total prize pool of over $2 million. Since 1967, the Canadian Grand Prix has been a permanent stage of the world championships in Formula 1 racing, since 1978 it has been held at the circuit named after. Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal)
Canada recognizes and celebrates the following national holidays
(some provinces may have minor differences):
New Year's Day — 1 January
Family Day — 3rd Monday in February (not observed in all provinces, known as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Islander Day in PEI)
Good Friday — Friday before Easter (a few institutions also close on Easter Monday)
Easter Sunday — late March or early April, first Sunday after first full moon after the spring equinox
Victoria Day—Last Monday in May before 25 May (known as Fêtes des Patriotes in Québec; always one week before the US Memorial Day)
St. Jean Baptiste Day (Québec) — 24 June (also known as Fête Nationale)
Canada Day— 1 July
Civic Holiday — first Monday in August (only applies in some provinces, under different names; not in Québec)
Labour Day — first Monday in September
Thanksgiving—Second Monday in October (the same day as the US holiday of Columbus Day)
Remembrance Day —11 November (bank holiday only; the same day as the US Veterans Day)
Christmas Day — 25 December
Boxing Day—26 December
Canada's Labour Day is not celebrated on 1 May, as in much of the world, but on the first Monday in September (the same day as the US celebrates its Labor Day).
The famous symbol of Canada is the maple leaf. It is
first mentioned as a symbol of the French Canadians in 1806 as opposed
to the prickly English rose. During the uprisings of 1837, the maple
leaf was the emblem of the rebels, not only in the French-speaking
Lower, but also in Upper Canada. In 1859, it was first officially
recognized as a symbol of Canada when it was included in the design of
the standard of the 100th Regiment of Foot (Royal Canadians). Since
1868, the maple leaf has become part of the coats of arms of Ontario and
Quebec, and in 1921 - the coat of arms of Canada. In 1996, maple was
also officially recognized as a tree - a symbol of Canada.
When Canada gained independence in 1867, the country's coat of arms was not created. Instead, in 1868, each of the four provinces that formed the dominion received its own coat of arms; at the same time, the Great Seal of Canada was created, the design of which included all four coats of arms. Subsequently, the coat of arms of Canada began to be considered a heraldic shield that united these four coats of arms, to which the coats of arms of new provinces that joined the confederation were gradually added. In 1921, a fundamentally new coat of arms was established by royal declaration, on which, on a white field under the coats of arms of England, Scotland, Ireland and France, there is an escape with three maple leaves. These leaves, originally green, turned red in 1957. Elements of the coat of arms of Great Britain are taken as the basis for the shield holders and heraldic figures around the shield. The motto A mari usque ad mare (from Latin - "From sea to sea") goes back to the text of Psalm 72 (in the Orthodox tradition, Psalm 72:8); in 1994, a ribbon with the motto of the Order of Canada - Desiderantes meliorem patriam (from Latin - "Striving for a better homeland") was added to the design of the coat of arms.
After gaining independence, Canada continued to use the British "Union Jack" as the national flag, but since the 1870s, the commercial flag of Great Britain (the so-called "Red Standard") was unofficially used, on the red field of which the coat of arms of Canada was added. Up until the early 1960s, the only changes to this flag were to the Canadian coat of arms. However, after World War II, public support for the idea of adopting their own flag increased in Canada. This new flag was approved by royal decree on February 15, 1965. The modern flag of Canada is a horizontally elongated rectangular panel (the ratio of the lengths of the horizontal and vertical sides is 2: 1) of red color. The entire central part of the flag is occupied by a white square, in the center of which is an 11-pointed stylized red maple leaf.
Since 1980, the official anthem of Canada has been the song "O Canada", written 100 years earlier by Calix Lavalle to the French text of Adolphe-Basile Routier. A number of different English lyrics were created to the music of Lavalle, but the words written in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir became official. Long before its official status, around the time of World War I, "O Canada" was the de facto anthem of Canada, although in its English-speaking regions it was often sung without words in the absence of an officially approved text in this language.
An animal - a symbol of Canada for a long time is a beaver, whose skins originally formed the basis of its development and well-being. Already in 1678, figures of four beavers adorned the emblem of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the governor of New France, Louis de Frontenac, proposed including this animal in the Quebec city emblem. The beaver is featured on the first Canadian postage stamp, issued in 1851. In 1975, this animal was legally declared a symbol of Canadian independence. In 2002, the Canadian horse was included in the country's symbols.
The official national colors of Canada since 1921 are red and white, the traditional national colors of England and France. In 2011, the red-green-brown-gold maple leaf tartan, created in 1964 by David Weiser, was included in the national symbols.