Canada: an overview

Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada, skates against Jenny Potter, USA. Credit: Getty

Canada has the tenth largest economy in the world. It is one of the world’s wealthiest nations and is a member of the G8 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As in other developed nations, the service industry is the largest, and currently employs around three quarters of Canadians. It also has a substantial manufacturing sector, based in central Canada, principally centred around the car industry.

Canada, a highly diversified economy, is unusual among developed countries in having an important primary sector. Across its varied regions, the country has considerable natural resources of coal, copper, iron ore and gold. In British Columbia, the forestry industry is important, while the oil and gas industry are crucial in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador. A wide variety of mining is found in northern Ontario, while fishing is important in the Atlantic provinces. However, these primary industries constitute a shrinking share of the overall economy. Just 4 per cent of Canadians are employed in these fields, and they account for 6.2 per cent of GDP.

Still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Canada’s government debt burden is currently the lowest of all the G8 countries.