Canada: Facts and figures

Canada: Facts and figures

Area: About 4 million square miles, compared with 3.8 million square miles for the United States.

Land boundaries: United States.

Coastline: About 126,300 miles.

Natural resources: Iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower.

Environment (current issues): Air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions affecting agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities.

Population: 32.2 million; 0.94 percent growth rate (2003 estimates).

Economic overview: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the U.S. As a result of the close cross-border relationship, the economic sluggishness in the U.S. in 2001-02 had a negative impact on the Canadian economy. Real growth averaged nearly 3 percent during 1993-2000, but declined in 2001, with moderate recovery in 2002. Unemployment is up, with contraction in the manufacturing and natural resource sectors. Nevertheless, given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant Canada enjoys solid economic prospects. Two shadows loom, the first being the continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas, which has been raising the specter of a split in the federation. Another long-term concern is the flow south to the US of professionals lured by higher pay, lower taxes, and the immense high-tech infrastructure. A key strength in the economy is the substantial trade surplus.

Labor force: 16.4 million (2001).

Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent (2002).

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

Exports: US$260.5 billion (f.o.b., 2002).

Key exports: Motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum.

Major export partners: U.S.; Japan, U.K., European Union.

Imports: US229 billion (f.o.b., 2002).

Key imports: Machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods.

Major import partners: U.S.; Japan, U.K., European Union.

Currency: Dollar.

Exchange rate: US$1 equals C$1.39.

Railways: 140,620 miles.

Highways: 564,000 miles.

Waterways: 1,875 miles, including St. Lawrence Seaway.

Ports and harbors: Becancour, Churchill, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, New Westminster, Prince Rupert, Quebec, Saint John, St. John's, Sept Isles, Sydney, Trois-Rivieres, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor.

Merchant marine: Total: 122 ships (1,000 gross registered tons or more) totaling 1.8 million GRT and 2.7 million deadweight tons. Includes some foreign-owned ships registered as a flag of convenience.

Airports: 1,389 (2002).

Source: 2002 CIA Factbook