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Basic Information

Learn all the basic facts you need to know about the Canadian economy. From its GDP growth, inflation rates, what its largest industries and markets are and even about its foreign investments and inflation rates. Discover why Canada belongs in the G7.

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Canada's Economic Structure

As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, Canada is dominated by a strong service industry and an abundance of natural resources. Canada is a country with some of the most educated minds in the world, which is why many industries have moved to the major parts of the country where skilled workers and affordable resources are.

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Canada’s economy is one of the world’s biggest and most stable. The Canadian economy closely resembles that of its neighbour to the South, the United States. Apart from having similar patterns of production and living standards, Canada also adopts a market-oriented economic system which combines private enterprise with government regulation.

Since the Second World War, Canada has experienced massive growth in its manufacturing, mining and service sectors, propelling the economy from being a largely agricultural one to becoming one of the most highly industrialised and urbanised economies in the world.

The economic growth in Canada has been so effective and consistent that today it is the 10th largest economy in the world based on GDP. Unlike most of its peers, Canada is considered unique for having an advanced economy as its primary sector, namely the logging and oil industries, is one of the most important elements of the economy. Canada’s manufacturing industry is also highly important, particularly the automobile industry, with low labour costs and a comprehensive healthcare and social security system attracting major automobile companies from the US and Japan to set up manufacturing facilities in Canada.

As a member of the G7 group of leading industrial countries, Canada enjoys a high standard of living, excellent public infrastructure, a highly educated and skilled labour force, a world-class educational system and a well-deserved reputation as a successful trading nation.

Canada prides itself on the availability of excellent social services, primarily the publicly financed healthcare system known as Medicare.

Canada is known for its tolerance, respect for human rights, and social justice. Internationally, Canada has a strong record of standing against discrimination and injustice. Respect for human rights and personal freedom is deeply held, and both are constitutionally enshrined in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

With a rich history of immigration, Canada is very welcoming with a multicultural society. Canada always needs the skills, talents and enthusiasm of newcomers to continue to grow and contribute to its economy.

Today, Canada is home to immigrants from all over the world, and it continues to attract people from all over the world who want to migrate to Canada and live there.

Immigrants are attracted to this beautiful country as it promises stability, prosperity and peace.

Canada’s Labour Force

Canada’s labour force currently stands at over 19 million people. The Canadian labour force is split among numerous industries. According to the latest available data from 2019, 1.45 percent worked in agriculture, 19.48 percent in industry and 79.07 percent  in other industries.

Despite having the 10th largest labour force participation rate in the world, Canada faces the problem of an ageing labour force. In 2019, the average age of the Canadian labour force was 40.8 years old.

By 2019, 17.9 percent of the population was above the age of sixty-five, 66.1 percent were between the ages of fifteen and sixty-four while 16 percent were aged fourteen and below, with a population growth rate of 1.4 percent from 2018 to 2019.

As such, Canada has since turned to immigration to compensate for its lack of skilled workers combined with an ageing labour force. According to the latest Statistics Canada survey, over 80 percent of Canada's population growth in the first three months of 2020 was due to immigration.

Canada’s main industries

Despite only contributing to 1.45 percent of Canada’ GDP, Canadian agricultural products are among the most widely sought of in the world. Canada is one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products – they lead the world in lentils, linseed, mustard seed and peas and among the top ten producers of barley, blueberries, cranberries, mixed grain, oats, rapeseed, pork, wheat, turkey, raspberries, rye, soybeans, beef, mushrooms, chick-peas and maize.

Although the Canadian agriculture industry has benefited from government subsidies and supports, Canada has been an advocate of reducing market subsidies from the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2011, Canada used only US$848.2 million of its US$4.3 billion subsidy allowance granted by the WTO.

Industry is an equally important part of Canada’s economy and society. After rising for several consecutive years, Canada’s industrial growth rate, which measures the annual percentage increase in the country’s manufacturing, mining and construction segments, declined by 8 percent in the year 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. However, industrial production has since recovered and in 2010, the industrial production growth rate was at 5.8 percent.

However, like all advanced countries, Canada’s economy is largely dominated by services. Retail, business, education and health have benefited from modern technology and processes to be among the most highly valued industries both domestically and globally.

Canada's major banks, for example, managed to emerge from the global financial crisis to be among the strongest in the world, thanks to the financial industry’s tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization. Canada’s finance and banking industries remain among the fastest growing in the world and have potential for even further growth.