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flag Canada Canada: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

After having contracted during the global recession, the growth of Canada's GDP rebounded. However, due to a weak US demand, the crisis of the Euro-zone and the high level of household debts, the economic growth of Canada experienced a slowdown and it was around 1.5% in 2013. This year, Canada profited from a rebound in the gas and oil sectors. The growth pace was irregular with a remarkable decrease in June 2013. The very weak level of inflation contributed to hide the problem of household debts. Private investments were also irregular in 2013. The Canadian government is trying to sign an agreement for transporting oil sands through a pipeline into the US refineries, without any results yet.

In 2013, the Canadian government's goals were to create jobs, to keep a low tax rate and to maintain a tight control on public expenses. The objective of bringing the budget back to balance by 2015 was considered realistic in October 2013 when the deficit had been reduced by 25%. Priority is given to growth and long-term prosperity. The budget reform plan of 2012-2013 included a series of budget cuts in public services, health-care, environment, public development aid, defense and investments in research and development. In mid-term, Canada should improve its business environment in order to make up for its decline in its competitiveness. Another worrisome subject is the aging of its population, which increases the cost of medical care and the domestic household debts. In 2013, these debts were reduced thanks to the tightening of rules for real estate loans, before they started to increase again. The central bank has kept a very low key interest rate (1%) due to a gloomy economic situation. Canada's performance highly depends on the economic revival of the United States and the Euro-zone. In 2013, a reform of employment insurance was established, covering most of all the seasonal workers of the eastern side of the country. A freeze on employment insurance premiums for three years, starting in 2014, has also been announced. The signing of a free-trade agreement with the European Union is also being negotiated, which could help to sustain the economy.

Canada is a rich country which enjoys a very good living standard. Unemployment had increased after the recession, but it has become stable in 2013 (about 7%). However, the country must face an increase in income inequality and a rise in the number of conflicts in the workplace. Lastly, the exploitation of oil sands has a terrible environmental impact which could thwart the goals of reducing greenhouse gases.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 1,778.631,821.451,826.771,793.80e1,873.33
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.51.72.02.32.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 51,85052,4895250,577e52,287
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -2.9-2.4-2.2-2.0e-1.7
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 85.988.188.888.186.8
Inflation Rate (%) 2.91.51.01.9e2.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 7.47.37.17.06.9
Current Account (billions USD) -48.98-62.27-58.54-47.91e-47.53
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.8-3.4-3.2e-2.7-2.5

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The services sector account for almost two-thirds of the country's GDP and it dominates the Canadian economy. The most dynamic sectors are: telecommunications, tourism, Internet (the majority of households use the Internet on a regular basis) and the aeronautical industry.

The agricultural sector represents nearly 2% of the GDP and employs 2.4% of the population. However, the agricultural system and the food-processing industry employ almost two million persons and contribute to 8% of the national wealth. Canada is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in the world, wheat in particular. It produces 10% of the world's GMO harvests. Fishing is an important sector. Canada is one of the main producers of minerals, mainly nickel, zinc and uranium. The country also has large reserves of oil (3rd largest reserve in the world) and natural gas.

Canada has 6 strong sectors of primary industry: renewable energies (mainly wind), forestry sector, hydrogen and fuel cells, mines, metals and minerals, fishing, oil and gas. The manufacturing sector represents approximately one-third of the GDP.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.4 21.5 76.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.5 27.7 70.8

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Canadian dollar (CAD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 1.141.030.991.001.03

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Canada on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
80.2/100
Position:
Free
World Rank:
6/178
Regional Rank:
1/3

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
8.30
World Rank:
4/82

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Canada is a country open to foreign trade which represents more than 60 % of its GDP.

The United States receives about 80% of Canadian exports. As a fact, Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the United States, including oil, gas, uranium and electric power. Its other main trading partners are the European Union, Japan, China and Mexico. It is important to note that in 2013 Canada began negotiations with the European Union in order to sign a free-trade agreement.

As an effect of the global economic crisis, the Canadian trade balance turned negative, since exports were falling faster than imports and they began to recover at a slower pace. This negative balance has remained in 2012 due to a cautious revival from the United States and the difficulties of the Euro-zone. The situation was similar in 2013, but the trade deficit is much smaller. Imports and exports increased in 2013, but exports progressed at a faster rate.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 329,905402,690463,410474,910474,350
Exports of Goods (million USD) 316,724387,481452,131454,794458,139
Imports of Services (million USD) 77,57995,159104,359105,151104,922
Exports of Services (million USD) 57,47671,95678,21777,53177,789
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -12.413.65.73.11.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -13.16.94.71.52.2
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 29.931.032.032.031.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.429.130.730.030.1
Trade Balance (million USD) -6,158-9,367585-12,028-7,028
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -20,152-30,624-22,302-36,236-30,808
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 58.460.062.762.161.9

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2014
United States 76.8%
China 3.7%
United Kingdom 2.9%
Japan 2.1%
Mexico 1.0%
See More Countries 13.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2014
United States 54.3%
China 11.5%
Mexico 5.6%
Germany 3.1%
Japan 2.6%
See More Countries 22.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2014
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 18.6%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 9.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 3.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.2%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 3.2%
See More Products 61.9%
- bn USD of products imported in 2014
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.7%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 4.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.8%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 2.8%
See More Products 78.4%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
51.17%
44.00%
4.83%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
56.69%
41.11%
2.20%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Treasury Board of Canada
Department of Finance Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Industry Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAC)
Statistical Office
Statistics Canada
Central Bank
Bank of Canada
Stock Exchange
Montreal Stock Exchange
Canadian Stock Market Research
TSX Group - Toronto Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Altavista Canada
Yahoo! Canada
AOL Canada
Canada 411
CAN Links
Francité
La Page Montréal
La Toile du Québec
Maple Square
Sympatico (Lycos)
The Canadianeh
Trouvez
Economic Portals
Quebec social economy
Canadian Aboriginals Portal
Canoe - Portal for information on news and entertainment

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Political Outline

Executive Power
Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State. She appoints the Governor General of the country for 5 years. The Governor General appoints the Prime Minister as well as the Ministry (however, this is chosen by the Prime Minister). The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He holds the executive power. The leader of the majority party or coalition in the House of Commons is automatically chosen to be Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and his Ministry stay in power as long as they have the support of the majority in the House of Commons.
Legislative Power
The legislative power in Canada is composed of a two-chamber federal parliament made up of: the Senate (upper house) whose members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister; the House of Commons (lower house), whose members are elected by universal suffrage. The Governor General calls a general election when the Prime Minister advises him to do so. Most legislative practices are derived from the British Parliament.
Main Political Parties
The four main parties in Canada are: the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), the New Democratic Party (NDP), and the Bloc Québécois.
Current Political Leaders
Governor General: David Johnston (since October 2010)
Prime Minister: Stephen HARPER (since February 2006) – Conservative Party
Next Election Dates
House of Commons: October 2015
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
18/180
Evolution:
2 places up compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014