Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Canada’s Economy

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Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship - Canada's Economy

Duration: 3 minutes, 13 seconds. Read by Albert Schultz.

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A Trading Nation

Canada has always been a trading nation and commerce remains the engine of economic growth. As Canadians, we could not maintain our standard of living without engaging in trade with other nations.

In 1988, Canada enacted free trade with the United States. Mexico became a partner in 1994 in the broader North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with over 444 million people and over $1 trillion in merchandise trade in 2008.

Today, Canada has one of the ten largest economies in the world and is part of the G8 group of leading industrialized countries with the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Japan and Russia.

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(From left to right)
Oil pumpjacks in southern Alberta
Atlantic lobster
Hydro-electric dam on the Saguenay River, Quebec

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Lumber truck
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Canada’s Economy Includes Three Main Types of Industries:

  • Service industries provide thousands of different jobs in areas like transportation, education, health care, construction, banking, communications, retail services, tourism and government. More than 75% of working Canadians now have jobs in service industries.
  • Manufacturing industries make products to sell in Canada and around the world. Manufactured products include paper, high technology equipment, aerospace technology, automobiles, machinery, food, clothing and many other goods. Our largest international trading partner is the United States.
  • Natural resources industries include forestry, fishing, agriculture, mining and energy. These industries have played an important part in the country’s history and development. Today, the economy of many areas of the country still depends on developing natural resources, and a large percentage of Canada’s exports are natural resources commodities.
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(From Left to Right) Car assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario; Port of Vancouver

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(From Left to Right) Research laboratory, RIM’s BlackBerry; Ice wine grapes, Niagara Region, Ontario

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The Peace Arch
Blaine, Washington
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Canada enjoys close relations with the United States and each is the other’s largest trading partner. Over three-quarters of Canadian exports are destined for the U.S.A. In fact we have the biggest bilateral trading relationship in the world. Integrated Canada-U.S.A. supply chains compete with the rest of the world. Canada exports billions of dollars worth of energy products, industrial goods, machinery, equipment, automotive, agricultural, fishing and forestry products, and consumer goods every year. Millions of Canadians and Americans cross every year and in safety what is traditionally known as “the world’s longest undefended border.”

At Blaine in the State of Washington, the Peace Arch, inscribed with the words “children of a common mother” and “brethren dwelling together in unity,” symbolizes our close ties and common interests.

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