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Canada ( ; ( ) listen French: [kanadɑ]) is a country located in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. The majority of the country has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southern areas are warm in summer. Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains. It is highly urbanized with 82 percent of the 35.15 million people concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century, the British and French established colonies, the first being the colony of Canada established by France in 1535. As a consequence of various armed conflicts, British North America gained and lost territory until, by the late 18th century, it controlled most of what comprises Canada today. On July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were federated to form the semi-autonomous federal Dominion named Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the Dominion to the present ten provinces and three territories forming contemporary Canada. Canada achieved independence gradually beginning with responsible government in the 1830s and culminating with the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. In 1931, Canada achieved near-total independence from the United Kingdom with the , except for the power to amend Statute of Westminster 1931 its constitution.
Canada is a
federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Canada is a
developed country and has the fifteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the tenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. Canada is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie, and part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7 (formerly G8), the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Coordinates: 60°N 95°W / 60°N 95°W
45°24′N 75°40′W / 45.400°N 75.667°W
constitutional monarchy 
House of Commons
from the United Kingdom
July 1, 1867
December 11, 1931
April 17, 1982
• Total area
2 (3,855,100 sq mi) ( 2nd)
• Water (%)
• Total land area
2 (3,511,023 sq mi)
• 2016 census
(  38th)
2 (10.2/sq mi) ( 228th)
GDP ( PPP) 2016 estimate
$1.672 trillion (  15th)
• Per capita
(  20th)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
$1.529 trillion (  10th)
• Per capita
(  15th)
Gini (2012) 31.6
· medium 20th 
· very high 10th
Canadian dollar ($) ( CAD)
( UTC−3.5 to −8)
UTC−2.5 to −7)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CA
While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of
Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement". In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day  Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier later used the word  Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but to the entire area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this small region along the  Saint Lawrence River as Canada. 
From the 16th to the early 18th century "
Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called  Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas; until their union as the British Province of Canada in 1841. Upon  Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, and the word was conferred as the country's title. Dominion The transition away from the use of Dominion was formally reflected in 1982 with the passage of the  , which refers only to Canada Act Canada. Later that year, the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day. The term  Dominion is also used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion.  History Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, the latter being a  mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers. The term "Aboriginal" as a  collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. 
first inhabitants of North America are generally hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 15,000 years ago, though increasing evidence suggests an even earlier arrival.     The  Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks.   Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.  
indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million,  with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's  Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. As a consequence of European colonization, the population of Canada's indigenous peoples declined by forty to eighty percent, and several First Nations, such as the  Beothuk, disappeared. The decline is attributed to several causes, including the  transfer of European diseases, such as influenza, measles, and smallpox to which they had no natural immunity,  conflicts over the fur trade, conflicts with the colonial authorities and settlers, and the loss of indigenous lands to settlers and the subsequent collapse of several nations' self-sufficiency.   
Although not without conflict,
European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in the development of  European colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting European coureur des bois and voyageurs in the exploration of the continent during the North American fur trade.  The Crown and indigenous peoples began interactions during the European colonization period, though the Inuit, in general, had more limited interaction with European settlers. However, from the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged indigenous peoples to assimilate into their own culture.  These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with  forced integration and relocations. A period of redress is underway, which started with the appointment of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the Government of Canada in 2008.  European colonization
The first known attempt at
European colonization began when Norsemen settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around 1000 AD. No further European exploration occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer  John Cabot explored and claimed Canada's Atlantic coast in the name of King Henry VII of England.  Then  Basque and Portuguese mariners established seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. In 1534, French explorer  Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence where, on July 24, he planted a 10-metre (33 ft) cross bearing the words "Long Live the King of France" and took possession of the territory New France in the name of King Francis I. In general the settlements appear to have been short-lived, possibly due to the similarity of outputs producible in Scandinavia and northern Canada and the problems of navigating trade routes at that time.  
In 1583, Sir
Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I, founded St. John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American English colony. French explorer  Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608). Among the  colonists of New France, extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and Canadiens Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes, while fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. The  Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade. 
The English established additional settlements in
Newfoundland, beginning in 1610 and the  Thirteen Colonies to the south were founded soon after. A series of  four wars erupted in colonial North America between 1689 and 1763; the later wars of the period constituted the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. Mainland  Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, and Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. 
Royal Proclamation of 1763 established First Nation treaty rights, created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia. St. John's Island (now  Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769. To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the  of 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Quebec Act Ohio Valley. More importantly, the Quebec Act afforded Quebec special autonomy and rights of self-administration at a time that the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly agitating against British rule. It re-established the  French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there, staving off the growth of an independence movement in contrast to the Thirteen Colonies. The Proclamation and the Quebec Act in turn angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, further fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the American Revolution. 
After the successful American War of Independence, the
1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the newly formed United State and set the terms of peace, ceding British North American territories south of the Great Lakes to the new country. The American war of independence also caused a large out-migration of  Loyalists the settlers who had fought against American independence. Many moved to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada, where their arrival changed the demographic distribution of the existing territories. New Brunswick was in turn split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate the influx of English-speaking Loyalists in Central Canada, the  of 1791 divided the province of Canada into French-speaking Constitutional Act Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.  The Canadas were the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Peace came in 1815; no boundaries were changed. Immigration resumed at a higher level, with over 960,000 arrivals from Britain between 1815–50. New arrivals included refugees escaping the  Great Irish Famine as well as Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances. Infectious diseases killed between 25 and 33 percent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891.  
The desire for
responsible government resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1837. The  Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture. The  merged the Canadas into a united Act of Union Province of Canada and responsible government was established for all provinces of British North America by 1849. The signing of the  Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858). In 1867, the same year as Canadian Confederation, Britain declined to purchase for Canada the Alaska territory that was to that point tenuously held by Russia. With  the United States purchasing Alaska instead, clearly demarcated borders for Canada, although there would continue to be some disputes about the exact demarkation of the Alaska-Yukon and Alaska-BC border for years to come.  Confederation and expansion
Following several constitutional conferences, the
officially proclaimed Constitution Act Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.  Canada assumed control of  Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which  had been united in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. 
the West to European immigration, parliament also approved sponsoring the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), opening the prairies to settlement with the , and establishing the Dominion Lands Act North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory.  In 1898, during the  Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, parliament created the Yukon Territory. Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.  Early 20th century
Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the Confederation Act, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought
Canada into World War I. Volunteers sent to the  Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps, which played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war. Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded.  The  Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when the Unionist Cabinet's proposal to augment the military's dwindling number of active members with conscription was met with vehement objections from French-speaking Quebecers. The Military Service Act brought in compulsory military service, though it, coupled with disputes over French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and temporarily split the Liberal Party.  In 1919, Canada joined the  League of Nations independently of Britain, and the  1931 Statute of Westminster affirmed Canada's independence. 
Great Depression in Canada during the early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country. In response to the downturn, the  Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) in the 1940s and 1950s. On the advice of Prime Minister  William Lyon Mackenzie King, war with Germany was declared effective September 10, 1939, by King George VI, seven days after the United Kingdom. The delay underscored Canada's independence. 
The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939. In all, over a million Canadians served in the
armed forces during World War II and approximately 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1942  Dieppe Raid, the Allied invasion of Italy, the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944. Canada provided asylum for the  Dutch monarchy while that country was occupied and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany. The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military  materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. Despite another  Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.  Contemporary era
The financial crisis of the
Great Depression had led the Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1934 and become a crown colony ruled by a British governor. After two bitter  referendums, Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province. 
Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new
Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the Maple Leaf Flag in 1965, the implementation of  official bilingualism (English and French) in 1969, and the institution of  official multiculturalism in 1971.  Socially democratic programs were also instituted, such as Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions. 
Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the
Canada Act, the patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, although the Queen retained her role as monarch of Canada.   In 1999,  Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government. 
At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the
Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a secular nationalist movement. The radical  Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970 and the  sovereignist Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, organizing an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990. This led to the formation of the  Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West.  A  second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent. In 1997, the  Supreme Court ruled that unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation. 
In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included the explosion of
Air India Flight 182 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history; the  École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students; and the  Oka Crisis of 1990, the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government and indigenous groups.  Canada also joined the  Gulf War in 1990 as part of a US-led coalition force and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, including the UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia. 
troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the  Libyan Civil War, and also became involved in battling the  Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in the mid-2010s.  Geography and climate
Canada occupies much of the continent of North America, sharing
land borders with the contiguous United States to the south, and the US state of Alaska to the northwest. Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean.  Greenland is to the northeast and to the southeast Canada shares a maritime boundary with the Republic of France's overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the last vestige of New France. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the  second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, the difference being due to it having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes. 
Canada is home to the world's northernmost settlement,
Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island – latitude 82.5°N – which lies 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole. Much of the  Canadian Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with a total length of 243,042 kilometres (151,019 mi); additionally, its border with the United States is the world's longest land border, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi).  
Since the end of the last
glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield. Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes (563 greater than 100 km  2 (39 sq mi)), more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water.  There are also fresh-water glaciers in the  Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. 
Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably
Mount Meager, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. The volcanic eruption of the  Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Canada's worst natural disasters, killing an estimated 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi)  lava flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River. 
Average winter and summer high
temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 ° C (5 ° F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In noncoastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).   Government and politics
Canada has a
parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, the monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.   The sovereign is Queen  Elizabeth II, who is also monarch of 15 other Commonwealth countries and each of Canada's 10 provinces. As such, the Queen's representative, the Governor General of Canada (at present Julie Payette), carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.  
The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited.
  In practice, their use of the executive powers is directed by  the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada (at present Justin Trudeau), the  head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though, in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice. To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a  plurality in the House of Commons. The  Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is thus one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the aforementioned, the governor general, lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and government agencies. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the  Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check. 
Each of the 338 members of parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an
electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the governor general, either on the advice of the prime minister, or if the government loses a confidence vote in the House.  Constitutionally, an election may be held no more than five years after the preceding election, although the  Canada Elections Act limits this to four years with a fixed election date in October. The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75. Five parties had representatives elected to the federal parliament in the 2015 election: the  Liberal Party of Canada who currently form the government, the Conservative Party of Canada who are the Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party of Canada.  Canada's federal structure divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the ten provinces. Provincial legislatures are unicameral and operate in parliamentary fashion similar to the House of Commons. Canada's three territories also have legislatures, but these are not sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces.  The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts.  
Bank of Canada is the central bank of the country. In addition, the Minister of Finance and Minister of Industry utilize the Statistics Canada agency for financial planning and economic policy development. The Bank of Canada is the sole authority authorized to issue currency in the form of  Canadian bank notes. The bank does not issue  Canadian coins; they are issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.  Law
Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country, and consists of written text and unwritten conventions. The Constitution Act, 1867 (known as the  British North America Act prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments. The  Statute of Westminster 1931 granted full autonomy and the Constitution Act, 1982, ended all legislative ties to the UK, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government—though a  notwithstanding clause allows the federal parliament and provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of five years. 
Indian Act, various treaties and case laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and native peoples. Most notably, a series of eleven treaties known as the  Numbered Treaties were signed between the indigenous and the reigning Monarch of Canada between 1871 and 1921. These treaties are agreements with the Canadian  Crown-in-Council, administered by Canadian Aboriginal law, and overseen by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Development. The role of the treaties and the rights they support were reaffirmed by Section Thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982. These rights may include provision of services, such as health care, and exemption from taxation.  The legal and policy framework within which Canada and First Nations operate was further formalized in 2005, through the First Nations–Federal Crown Political Accord.   Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike down Acts of Parliament that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court and final arbiter and has been led since December 18, 2017 by Chief Justice Richard Wagner. Its nine members are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice. All judges at the superior and appellate levels are appointed after consultation with nongovernmental legal bodies. The federal Cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts in the provincial and territorial jurisdictions.   Common law prevails everywhere except in Quebec, where civil law predominates. Criminal law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada. Law enforcement, including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility, conducted by provincial and municipal police forces.  However, in most rural areas and some urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal  Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Foreign relations and military
Canada is recognized as a
middle power for its role in international affairs with a tendency to pursue multilateral solutions. Canada's foreign policy based on international peacekeeping and security is carried out through coalitions and international organizations, and through the work of numerous federal institutions.   Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has played a major role in its global image. The strategy of the  Canadian government's foreign aid policy reflects an emphasis to meet the Millennium Development Goals, while also providing assistance in response to foreign humanitarian crises. 
Canada was a founding member of the United Nations and has membership in the
World Trade Organization, the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada is also a member of various other international and regional organizations and forums for economic and cultural affairs.  Canada acceded to the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976. Canada joined the  Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in 2000 and the 3rd Summit of the Americas in 2001. Canada seeks to expand its ties to  Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). 
meet in Washington, February 2017
Canada and the United States share the world's longest undefended border, co-operate on military campaigns and exercises, and are each other's largest trading partner.  Canada nevertheless has an independent foreign policy, most notably maintaining full  relations with Cuba since, and declining to officially participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Canada also maintains historic ties to the  United Kingdom and France and to other former British and French colonies through Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and the Francophonie. Canada is noted for having a positive  relationship with the Netherlands, owing, in part, to its contribution to the Dutch liberation during World War II. 
Canada's strong attachment to the British Empire and Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the
Second Boer War, World War I and World War II. Since then, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global issues in collaboration with other nations.   During the  Cold War, Canada was a major contributor to UN forces in the Korean War and founded the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in co-operation with the United States to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union. 
Suez Crisis of 1956, future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by proposing the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, for which he was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept.  Canada has since served in over 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989,  and has since maintained forces in international missions in  Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere; Canada has sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993 Somalia Affair. 
In 2001, Canada deployed troops to
Afghanistan as part of the US stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. In February 2007, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Russia announced their joint commitment to a $1.5-billion project to help develop vaccines for developing nations, and called on other countries to join them.  In August 2007, Canada's  territorial claims in the Arctic were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition to the North Pole; Canada has considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925. 
The nation employs a professional, volunteer military force of approximately 79,000 active personnel and 32,250 reserve personnel.
The unified  Canadian Forces (CF) comprise the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2013, Canada's military expenditure totalled approximately C$19 billion, or around 1% of the country's GDP.  Following the 2016 Defence Policy Review, the Canadian government announced a 70% increase to the country's defence budget over the next decade. The Canadian Forces will acquire 88 fighter planes and 15 naval surface combatants, the latter as part of the  National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Canada's total military expenditure is expected to reach C$32.7 billion by 2027.  Provinces and territories
Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three
territories. In turn, these may be grouped into four main regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada ( Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together). Provinces have more autonomy than territories, having responsibility for social programs such as health care, education, and welfare. Together, the provinces collect more revenue than the federal government, an almost unique structure among federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas, such as the  Canada Health Act; the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure that reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.  Economy
Canada is the world's
tenth-largest economy as of 2016, with a nominal GDP of approximately US$1.52 trillion. It is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Eight (G8), and is one of the world's top ten  trading nations, with a highly globalized economy.  Canada is a  mixed economy, ranking above the US and most western European nations on The Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom, and experiencing a relatively low level of  income disparity. The country's average household  disposable income per capita is over US$23,900, higher than the OECD average. Furthermore, the  Toronto Stock Exchange is the seventh-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, listing over 1,500 companies with a combined market capitalization of over US$2 trillion as of 2015. 
In 2014, Canada's exports totalled over C$528 billion, while its imported goods were worth over $524 billion, of which approximately $351 billion originated from the United States, $49 billion from the European Union, and $35 billion from China.
The country's 2014  trade surplus totalled C$5.1 billion, compared with a C$46.9 billion surplus in 2008.  
Since the early 20th century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one.
Like many other  developed countries, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce. However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of its  primary sector, in which the forestry and petroleum industries are two of the most prominent components. 
Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy.
Atlantic Canada possesses vast  offshore deposits of natural gas, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The vastness of the Athabasca oil sands and other assets results in Canada having a 13% share of global oil reserves, comprising the world's third-largest share after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Canada is additionally one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products; the Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of wheat,  canola, and other grains. Canada's  Ministry of Natural Resources provides statistics regarding its major exports; the country is a leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, aluminum, steel, iron ore, coking coal and lead. Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustainable because of nearby mines or sources of timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and  aeronautics representing particularly important industries. 
Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since
World War II. The  Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada's borders to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry. In the 1970s, concerns over energy self-sufficiency and foreign ownership in the manufacturing sectors prompted Prime Minister  Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). In the 1980s, Prime Minister  Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to Investment Canada, to encourage foreign investment. The  Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994.  Science and technology
In 2015, Canada spent approximately C$31.6 billion on domestic
research and development, of which around $7 billion was provided by the federal and provincial governments. As of 2015, the country has produced thirteen  Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, and medicine,  and was ranked fourth worldwide for scientific research quality in a major 2012 survey of international scientists.  It is furthermore home to the headquarters of a number of global technology firms.  Canada  has one of the highest levels of Internet access in the world, with over 33 million users, equivalent to around 94 percent of its total 2014 population. 
Canadian Space Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space, planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. Canada was the third country to design and construct a satellite after the  Soviet Union and the United States, with the 1962 Alouette 1 launch. Canada is a participant in the  International Space Station (ISS), and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's Space Shuttle. Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including  Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS and MOST. Canada has also produced one of the world's most successful and widely used  sounding rockets, the Black Brant; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's introduction in 1961. In 1984,  Marc Garneau became Canada's first male astronaut, followed by Canada's second and first female astronaut Roberta Bondar in 1992.  Demographics
2016 Canadian census enumerated a total population of 35,151,728, an increase of around 5.0 percent over the 2011 figure.  Between 2011 and May 2016, Canada's population grew by 1.7 million people with immigrants accounting for two-thirds of the increase.  Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth.  The main drivers of population growth are  immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. 
Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world,
driven mainly by  economic policy and, to a lesser extent, family reunification.  The Canadian public as-well as the major political parties support the current level of immigration.    In 2014, a total of 260,400 immigrants were admitted to Canada.  The Canadian government anticipated between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in the following years.  a similar number of immigrants as in recent years.  New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas such as  Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Canada also accepts large numbers of  refugees, accounting for over 10 percent of annual global  refugee resettlements. 
Canada's population density, at 3.7 inhabitants per square kilometre (9.6/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world.
Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north, and approximately 95% of the population is found south of the 55th parallel north.  About four-fifths of the population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the  contiguous United States border. The most densely populated part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the  Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, situated in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River.  An additional 30 percent live along the British Columbia  Lower Mainland, and the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor in Alberta. 
In common with many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing a
demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2006, the average age was 39.5 years; by 2011, it had risen to approximately 39.9 years.  
As of 2013, the average
life expectancy for Canadians is 81 years. The majority of Canadians (69.9%) live in family households, 26.8% report living alone, and those living with unrelated persons reported at 3.7%.  The average size of a household in 2006 was 2.5 people.  
St. Catharines– Niagara
British Columbia 2,463,431
Nova Scotia 403,390
Ontario– Quebec 1,323,783
British Columbia 367,770
Kitchener– Cambridge– Waterloo
Newfoundland and Labrador 205,955
According to a 2012 report by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world; the country ranks first worldwide in the number of adults having  tertiary education, with 51 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree. Canada spends about 5.3% of its  GDP on education. The country invests heavily in tertiary education (more than 20 000 USD per student).  As of 2014, 89 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, compared to an OECD average of 75 percent.  
Since the adoption of
section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1982, education in both English and French has been available in most places across Canada. Canadian provinces and territories are  responsible for education provision. The mandatory school age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years,  contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99 percent.  In 2002, 43 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 64 possessed a post-secondary education; for those aged 25 to 34, the rate of post-secondary education reached 51 percent.  The  Programme for International Student Assessment indicates that Canadian students perform well above the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science, and reading.   Ethnicity
Self-reported ethnic origins of Canadians based on geographic region (Census 2016)
According to the
2006 census, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian (accounting for 32% of the population), followed by English (21%), French (15.8%), Scottish (15.1%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (4.6%), Chinese (4.3%), First Nations (4.0%), Ukrainian (3.9%), and Dutch (3.3%). There are 600 recognized  First Nations governments or bands, encompassing a total of 1,172,790 people. Canada's indigenous population is growing at almost twice the national rate, and four percent of Canada's population claimed an indigenous identity in 2006. Another 16.2 percent of the population belonged to a non-indigenous  visible minority. In 2006, the largest visible minority groups were  South Asian (4.0%), Chinese (3.9%) and Black (2.5%). Between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population rose by 27.2 percent. In 1961, less than two percent of Canada's population (about 300,000 people) were members of visible minority groups.  By 2007, almost one in five (19.8%) were foreign-born, with nearly 60 percent of new immigrants coming from Asia (including the Middle East).  The leading sources of immigrants to Canada were China, the Philippines and India.  According to Statistics Canada, visible minority groups could account for a third of the Canadian population by 2031.   Religion
Canada is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and customs. Canada has no official church, and the government is officially committed to
religious pluralism.  Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. The practice of religion is now generally considered a private matter throughout society and the state.  With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life,  Canada has become a  post-Christian, secular state.    The majority of Canadians consider  religion to be unimportant in their daily lives, but still believe in God.  According to the 2011 census, 67.3% of Canadians identify as Christian; of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 38.7% of the population. Much of the remainder is made up of  Protestants, who accounted for approximately 27% in a 2011 survey.  The largest Protestant  denomination is the United Church of Canada (accounting for 6.1% of Canadians), followed by Anglicans (5.0%), and Baptists (1.9%). Secularization has been growing since the 1960s.   In 2011, 23.9% declared  no religious affiliation, compared to 16.5% in 2001. The remaining 8.8% are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest of which are  Islam (3.2%) and Hinduism (1.5%).  Languages
Approximately 98% of Canadians can speak either or both English and French:
English – 56.9%
English and French – 16.1%
French – 21.3%
Sparsely populated area ( < 0.4 persons per km 2)
A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with
English and French (the official languages) being the mother tongues of approximately 60% and 20% of Canadians, respectively. Nearly 6.8 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their mother tongue.  Some of the most common non-official first languages include  Chinese (mainly Cantonese; 1,072,555 first-language speakers), Punjabi (430,705), Spanish (410,670), German (409,200), and Italian (407,490). Canada's federal government practices  official bilingualism, which is applied by the Commissioner of Official Languages in consonance with Section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Federal Official Languages Act English and French have equal status in federal courts, parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French and official- language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories. 
Charter of the French Language established French as the official language of Quebec. Although more than 85 percent of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, there are substantial  Francophone populations in New Brunswick, Alberta, and Manitoba; Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec. New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33 percent of the population.  There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western Prince Edward Island.  
Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and for other government services, in addition to English. Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures, and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal status, but is not fully co-official.
There are 11  indigenous language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects. Of these, only the  Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibway languages have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the long term. Several indigenous languages have official status in the Northwest Territories.  Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and is one of three official languages in the territory.  
Additionally, Canada is home to many
sign languages, some of which are Indigenous.  American Sign Language (ASL) is spoken across the country due to the prevalence of ASL in primary and secondary schools. Due to its historical relation to the francophone culture,  Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) is spoken primarily in Quebec, although there are sizeable Francophone communities in New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba.  Culture
's 1980 sculpture
Raven and The First Men
; the raven is a figure common to many of Canada's indigenous mythologies
Canada's culture draws influences from its broad range of constituent nationalities, and policies that promote a "
just society" are constitutionally protected.  Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness for all its people.   Multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada's significant accomplishments, and a key distinguishing element of  Canadian identity.  In Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and many commentators speak of a  culture of Quebec that is distinct from English Canadian culture. However, as a whole, Canada is in theory a  cultural mosaic—a collection of regional ethnic subcultures. 
Canada's approach to governance emphasizing multiculturalism, which is based on selective
immigration, social integration, and suppression of far-right politics, has wide public support. Government policies such as  publicly funded health care, higher taxation to redistribute wealth, the outlawing of capital punishment, strong efforts to eliminate poverty, strict gun control, and the legalization of same-sex marriage are further social indicators of Canada's political and cultural values.  Canadians also identify with the country's health care institutions,  peacekeeping, the National park system and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  
Historically, Canada has been influenced by
British, French, and indigenous cultures and traditions. Through their language, art and music, Indigenous peoples continue to influence the Canadian identity. During the 20th century, Canadians with African, Caribbean and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity and its culture.   Canadian humour is an integral part of the Canadian identity and is reflected in its folklore, literature, music, art and media. The primary characteristics of Canadian humour are irony, parody, and satire. Many  Canadian comedians have achieved international success in the American TV and film industries and are amongst the most recognized in the world. 
Canada has a well-developed
media sector, but its cultural output; particularly in English films, television shows, and magazines, is often overshadowed by imports from the United States. As a result, the preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the  Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).  Symbols
Canada's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and indigenous sources. The use of the
maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current and previous flags, and on the Arms of Canada. The Arms of Canada is closely modelled after the  royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with French and distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British version. The  Great Seal of Canada is a governmental seal used for purposes of state, being set on letters patent, proclamations and commissions, for representatives of the Queen and for the appointment of cabinet ministers, lieutenant governors, senators, and judges.  Other prominent symbols include the  beaver, Canada goose, and common loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and more recently the  totem pole and Inuksuk.  Canadian coins feature many of these symbols: the loon on the $1 coin, the Arms of Canada on the 50¢ piece, the beaver on the nickel. The  penny, removed from circulation in 2013, featured the maple leaf. The Queen' s image appears on  $20 bank notes, and on the obverse of all current Canadian coins.  Literature
Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively.
There are four major themes that can be found within historical Canadian literature; nature, frontier life, Canada's position within the world, all three of which tie into the  garrison mentality. By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the world's best.  Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity are reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent modern writers focusing on ethnic life.  Arguably, the best-known living Canadian writer internationally (especially since the deaths of  Robertson Davies and Mordecai Richler) is Margaret Atwood, a prolific novelist, poet, and literary critic. Numerous other  Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards; including  Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English; and  Booker Prize recipient Michael Ondaatje, who is perhaps best known for the novel , which was adapted as a The English Patient film of the same name that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Visual arts
Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures such as
Tom Thomson – the country's most famous painter – and by the Group of Seven. Thomson's career painting Canadian landscapes spanned a decade up to his death in 1917 at age 39.  The Group were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists—  Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley—were responsible for articulating the Group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston, and by commercial artist Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the Group in 1926. Associated with the Group was another prominent Canadian artist,  Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Since the 1950s, works of  Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries by the Canadian government.  Music
The Canadian music industry is the sixth-largest in the world producing internationally renowned
composers, musicians and ensembles. Music broadcasting in the country is regulated by the CRTC.  The  Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which were first awarded in 1970. The  Canadian Music Hall of Fame established in 1976 honours Canadian musicians for their lifetime achievements.  Patriotic music in Canada dates back over 200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the first legal steps to independence by over 50 years. The earliest, , was written in 1812. The Bold Canadian The national anthem of Canada, "  O Canada", was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, and was officially adopted in 1980.  Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French, before it was translated to English in 1906.  Sport
roots of organized sports in Canada date back to the 1770s. Canada's official national sports are  ice hockey and lacrosse.  Golf, tennis, skiing, badminton, volleyball, cycling, swimming, bowling, rugby union, canoeing, equestrian, squash and the study of martial arts are widely enjoyed at the youth and amateur levels. 
Canada shares several
major professional sports leagues with the United States. Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the  National Hockey League, as well as three Major League Soccer teams and one team in each of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Other popular professional sports in Canada include Canadian football, which is played in the Canadian Football League, National Lacrosse League lacrosse, and curling. 
Canada has participated in almost every Olympic Games since
its Olympic debut in 1900, and has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the  1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the  1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, the  1994 Basketball World Championship, the  2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the  2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and  Whistler, British Columbia, and the  2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.  See also References
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^ . Canada Border Services Agency. 2015. Temporary Importations Using the FIFA Women?s World Cup Canada 2015 Remission Order Further reading
Careless, J. M. S. (2012). (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. Canada: A Story of Challenge ISBN 978-1-107-67581-0.
Francis, RD; Jones, Richard; Smith, Donald B (2009). . Nelson Education. Journeys: A History of Canada ISBN 978-0-17-644244-6.
Taylor, Martin Brook; Owram, Doug (1994). Canadian History. 1 & 2. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-5016-8, ISBN 978-0-8020-2801-3
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