With its large land area, its vast natural resources and its relatively scarce population, Canada, until the 1950s, relied heavily on primary industries such as agriculture and forestry as well as mining. Subsequently, there has been a strong expansion in the industry, while mineral production has increased significantly, particularly the extraction of petroleum. Canada, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, has one of the world’s largest known petroleum reserves.
GDP per capita is US $ 48,400 (2017). The service sector has become the dominant part of the economy with 2 / 3 of GDP and employs 2/3 of the employees. It includes, among other things, a huge public sector. Otherwise, banking, insurance, educational institutions, transport and consultancy services are built up, all of which contribute to foreign exchange earnings.
Canada is one of the world’s largest agricultural countries, and is a major net exporter of agricultural products. Agriculture and forestry as well as fishing and catching account for about 1.5 percent of GDP (2018). Cultivation of agricultural products is partly carried out in very large interconnected areas in monoculture and often in an industrial way, with large efforts of machinery and a strong dependence on artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Organic cultivation is still on the rise. The ripple effects of agricultural processing make agriculture very important for Canada’s economy.
Two percent of the population is employed in the agricultural industry. Particularly important is grain production, which is concentrated in the three prairie provinces. Wheat (durum wheat which is particularly suitable for pasta production) is by far the most important product. Other major plant products are high (mostly in Alberta and Ontario), barley and oats (prairie provinces), vegetable oils (prairie provinces), potatoes, corn (sweet corn), vegetables, fruits and tobacco. The production of rapeseed oil has become especially important. Apples are the main fruit variety. Canada is the world’s largest producer of blueberries, while other fruits and berries grown are cranberries,strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and grapefruit.
The livestock team focuses on cattle, pigs and poultry. Large-scale business is widespread in all provinces outside Newfoundland, but mostly in Alberta. The total stock of cattle is 13.5 million (2003), of which close to 40 percent in Alberta. However, milk production is concentrated in the populous provinces of Quebec and Ontario (which together account for over 70 percent of the dairy cows). The total population of pigs is 14.4 million (2003) concentrated to the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. The stock of sheep is 975,600, half in Ontario and Quebec. Export of live livestock is an important source of revenue for Canada. About 24 million hens produce just under seven billion eggs per year. Fur husbandry is also important.
Main agricultural products
- Wheat and barley
- Fruits and vegetables
- dairy products
About 40 percent of Canada’s land is forests, and half of this is considered productive. The largest viable forests are located north of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, as well as in British Columbia. Approximately 4 / 5 of the estimated timber volume in forests are softwood. Although less than annual growth is cut, Canada is among the world’s largest producers and exporters of wood products. Many forests are destroyed by insects and forest fires. More than half of the forest is owned by the public, mostly by the provinces. The maple tree is Canada’s national symbol and reproduced in the national flag. Among other things, sugar is extracted from salaries.
Fishing and hunting
Canada is a leading exporter of fish and other marine products. The Atlantic coast usually accounts for about 80 percent (mainly Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) and the Pacific coast for about 20 percent of economic value. Traditionally, cod has been the most important fish species. In 1992, cod fishing was stopped around much of Newfoundland due to overfishing, and 25,000 fishermen were landed. Parts of the fishbanks extend beyond Canada’s 200-mile zone, and Canada has been involved in fisheries conflicts with the EU whose trawlers fish right outside Canada’s zone. Major products on the Atlantic coast are lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops, cod, herring and clams. On the Pacific coast, the most important products are skate, clams, halibut and salmon. The aquaculture industry is significant in the provinces of British Columbia and New Brunswick.
Fur breeding and hunting for wild fur animals are also important in Canada. A quarter of the fur farm (by economic value) is located in Ontario.
Canada has enormous mineral resources, and much of the country is yet to be explored geologically. Due to relatively low domestic consumption, Canada is a leading international exporter of minerals. Mining, mining, oil and gas extraction account for 8.21 percent of GDP (2017).
Canada is the world’s largest pottery producer, and among the world’s largest producers of uranium, niobium, nickel, gemstones, indium, aluminum and platinum metals. Cobalt, cadmium, graphite, sulfur, diamonds, titanium, gold and mica are also produced. For a long time Canada was also a major producer of asbestos until the last mine was put out of business in 2011.
Canada is also a major oil and gas producer and, together with Venezuela, has the world’s largest known deposits of oil sands. The country is also the world’s fifth largest producer of natural gas (2015). In 2017, Canada’s crude oil production averaged 4.21 million barrels per day; most of the production takes place in Alberta. The rest of the production is distributed across several provinces, but large oil reserves are found both in the Arctic part of Canada and off the east coast. Most of Alberta’s production is exported to the United States, and most of the oil needs of the industrialized provinces of the East are imported from outside.
Among other things, thanks to oil and gas resources, Alberta is the most important mineral producing province followed by Ontario. Nickel is produced at Sudbury, Ontario, and the town of Elliot Lake is known for its uranium deposits. Ontario is also a major producer of gold, copper, cement and zinc. Other major mineral producers are British Columbia (copper, coal, oil and gas, and gold and silver), Saskatchewan (oil, potash, natural gas and uranium), Québec (iron ore, copper, gold and zinc) and Manitoba (nickel, zinc and copper). New Brunswick has Canada’s largest production of zinc and bismuth and the second largest production of lead and silver. In Nova Scotia, coal and plaster are the most important. Nova Scotia also has oil producing fields on the continental shelf (offshore). Labrador produces about half of Canada’s iron ore. Uranium and gold are also important in Labrador. Lead, zinc, silver and gold are the major minerals in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Main mineral products
|Mineral Product||Value (USD billion 2017)|
Canada is a net energy exporter. In 2016, energy products were exported equivalent to 8.2 EJ (exa joule), while domestic consumption of primary energy was 11.7 EJ. Per capita consumption was 323 GJ.
The consumption of electrical energy is very high, and the per capita figure is the final consumption of around 15,000 kWh, which is the third largest electricity consumption in the world after Norway and Iceland.
In 2017, power generation was 655 TWh. The country usually has a large power surplus and in 2017 net exports were 62 TWh. The dominant energy source for power generation is hydropower, with a share of 59.6 percent, followed by nuclear power 14.3 percent, gas power 8.9 percent and coal power 8.7 percent. Solar and wind power account for around 5 percent.
Hydropower is mainly produced in Québec, British Columbia, Ontario and Labrador, while the vast majority of nuclear power plants are located in Ontario. Conventional thermal power is produced in the oil and gas extraction areas (Alberta) and the large industrial areas (Ontario).
Property, rental and leasing account for the largest single sector in the country, with 13.01 percent of GDP (2017). In addition, the industry is large and multifaceted. The largest industry is the service industry, which accounts for over 70 percent of GDP.
The main industrial products are the production of means of transport, food, chemical products, the paper and cellulose industry, metal production, the production of wood products, telecommunications equipment and computer equipment. The high-tech industrial sector is small but growing.
The University of Toronto is considered the “birthplace” of insulin and stem cell research, and one of the first electron microscopes was developed here. The movable lift arm of the US spacecraft was also developed in Canada, and the country has been a leader in the development of short-haul aircraft.
The industry as a whole shows a strong concentration to the most populous provinces of the East, Ontario and Quebec. There are major regional differences not only in total industrial production but also in the composition of the industry. The industrial provinces of the East (Ontario and Quebec) have a much larger proportion of finished goods production than the rest of the country, where production of raw materials and semi-finished products means more. In the provinces of the Atlantic coast, the food industry (especially the fishery industry) and wood processing dominate. In the prairie provinces, the food industry also dominates, but here the processing of agricultural products (meat, grain) is most important. In the Alberta, the petroleum industry is of great importance. In British Columbia, the forest industry is the most important. Quebec and Ontario have a very varied industry, but the workshop industry is most important, especially the means of transport in Ontario. This has close links with similar industry on the US side of the border (in Detroit). Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have little industry.
Industry is not dominated by large corporations to the same extent as in the US. There is a high degree of foreign ownership in Canada’s business. About. 40 percent of the industry has foreign ownership interests, mainly US.
Foreign trade in Canada is highly regarded per capita due to the country’s wealth of resources and low population numbers. Exports account for over 30 percent of GDP, compared with around 5 percent in the United States. Canada’s foreign trade is strongly influenced by trade with the United States.
In the post-war period, trade with the United Kingdom was significantly weakened, despite traditional customs preferences vis-à-vis the Commonwealth countries. In 1994, Canada joined the North American Free Trade Organization (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico, strengthening bilateral trade with the United States.
According to Countryaah, Canada traditionally has a foreign trade surplus. Exports have traditionally been characterized by raw materials and unprocessed industrial goods, but machines and vehicles have gradually gained a greater share of exports.
Transport and Communications
The most important ports (ship cargo by weight) are Vancouver in British Columbia (coal, wheat, sulfur), Port Cartier in Québec (iron ore, wheat), Thunder Bay at Lake Superior in Ontario (wheat) and Sept Îles in Québec (iron ore). A special feature of Canadian shipping is the St. Lawrence Seaway which, with canals and locks, provides access to the Great Lakes for seagoing vessels. Here mainly grain and iron ore are transported. Several of the ports at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River have experienced strong traffic growth as a result of the transfers from “lakers” to larger seagoing vessels, in particular Port Cartier.
Canada has a large and well-developed rail network, which today is primarily used for the transport of goods. Railway development has played an important role in the country’s history, and it is an important prerequisite for the formation of today’s Canada. The first major period in the railroad development was in the 1850s. In 1866, the first transcontinental railroad was completed from Montreal to Vancouver. This helped connect British Columbia with the rest of Canada. The transcontinental route now runs from Toronto to Vancouver. The total runway length in 1995 was approximately 71,600 km, of which the main lines covered 38,000 km.
The railway has in recent years been hit by cuts from the public, several lines have been closed and other lines have been reduced in frequency. There are two major transcontinental systems: the Canadian National Railway (CN), privatized in 1995, operates approximately 32,500 km of tracks, and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), which is a corporation and which disposes of approximately 30,000 km. Common rail networks from 2000. There are subways in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and trams in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.
The road network is by far the densest in the southern parts of the country, and the car density is high. The road network is a total of 1,021,000 km. 35 percent of the total road network is paved. Trans Canada Highway runs through all the provinces from St. John’s on Newfoundland to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. A number of car ferries link the islands on both the east and west coasts with the mainland.
The huge distances in the country have resulted in the aircraft taking over large parts of the transport over longer distances. Air Canada (privatized 1989) is the most important company. The main airports are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Main trading partners
Figures in millions of CAD, 2016:
|United States||297 260||210 915|
|EU||41 827||52 288|
|China||15 359||48 593|
|Mexico||8 879||18 901|
Main export goods
|Exportable||Billions of USD|
The Economic Complexity Observatory, 2017
Main import goods
|Import Product||Billions of USD|