A mari usque ad mare Latin) "From Sea to Sea" Anthem: "
45°24′N 75°40′W / 45.400°N 75.667°W Largest city
Toronto Official languages
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Justin Trudeau Legislature
House of Commons July 1, 1867 December 11, 1931 April 17, 1982
• Total area
9,984,670 km 2 (3,855,100 sq mi) (
• Water (%)
• Total land area
9,093,507 km 2 (3,511,023 sq mi)
• 2023 Q3 estimate
 37th) 36,991,981
4.2/km 2 (10.9/sq mi) (
PPP) 2023 estimate
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2023 estimate
• Per capita
Gini (2018) 30.3
HDI (2021) 0.936
very high 15th Currency
Canadian dollar ($) (
CAD) Time zone
UTC−3.5 to −8
UTC−2.5 to −7 Date format
Driving side right
.ca Canada is a country in
North America. Its
ten provinces and three territories extend from the
Atlantic Ocean to the
Pacific Ocean and northward into the
Arctic Ocean, making it the world's
second-largest country by total area, with the
world's longest coastline.
Its border with the United States is the world's longest international land border. The country is characterized by a wide range of both
geological regions. It is
a sparsely inhabited country of 40 million people, the vast majority residing south of the
55th parallel in
urban areas. Canada's capital is
its three largest metropolitan areas are
Indigenous peoples have continuously inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years. Beginning in the 16th century,
French expeditions explored and later settled along the Atlantic coast. As a consequence of
various armed conflicts, France
ceded nearly all of
its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three
British North American colonies through
Confederation, Canada was formed as a
dominion of four provinces. This began an
accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom, highlighted by the
, and culminating in the Statute of Westminster, 1931
, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the
Canada Act 1982 Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Canada is a
parliamentary democracy and a
constitutional monarchy in the
Westminster tradition. The country's
head of government is the
prime minister, who holds office by virtue of their ability to
command the confidence of the elected
House of Commons and is "called upon" by the
governor general, representing the
monarch of Canada, the
head of state. The country is a
Commonwealth realm and is
officially bilingual (English and French) in the federal jurisdiction. It is
very highly ranked in international measurements of government transparency, quality of life, economic competitiveness, innovation, education and gender equality. It is one of the world's most
ethnically diverse and
multicultural nations, the product of
large-scale immigration. Canada's long and complex
relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on
developed country, Canada has a
high nominal per capita income globally and its advanced economy ranks among the
largest in the world, relying chiefly upon
its abundant natural resources and well-developed
international trade networks. Canada is recognized as a
middle power for its role in
international affairs, with a tendency to pursue
Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has had a significant influence on its global image. Canada is part of multiple major
international and intergovernmental institutions.
While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of
Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the
St. Lawrence Iroquoian word , meaning "village" or "settlement". kanata
In 1535, Indigenous inhabitants of the present-day
 Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer
Jacques Cartier to the village of
Cartier later used the word  Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to
Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona);
by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this small region along the
 Saint Lawrence River as Canada.
From the 16th to the early 18th century, "
Canada" referred to the part of
New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River.
In 1791, the area became two British colonies called
 Upper Canada and
Lower Canada. These two colonies were collectively named
the Canadas until their union as the British
Province of Canada in 1841.
Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the
London Conference and the word
was conferred as the country's title. dominion
By the 1950s, the term  Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "realm of the Commonwealth".
, which brought the
Canada Act 1982 Constitution of Canada fully under Canadian control, referred only to Canada. Later that year, the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to
The term  Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the
Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion.
Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the
the last being of
 mixed descent who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations people married European settlers and subsequently developed their own identity.
first inhabitants of North America are generally hypothesized to have migrated from
Siberia by way of the
Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago.
 Paleo-Indian archeological sites at
Old Crow Flats and
Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada.
 characteristics of Indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks.
Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations. 
Linguistic areas of North American Indigenous peoples at the time of European contact
Indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
and two million, 
with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's
 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
As a consequence of European colonization, the Indigenous population declined by forty to eighty percent and several First Nations, such as the
 Beothuk, disappeared.
The decline is attributed to several causes, including the
 transfer of European diseases, such as
smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity,
conflicts over the fur trade, conflicts with the colonial authorities and settlers, and the loss of Indigenous lands to settlers and the subsequent collapse of several nations' self-sufficiency. 
Although not without conflict,
European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful.
First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in the development of
 European colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting European
coureurs des bois and
voyageurs in their explorations of the continent during the
North American fur trade.
These early European interactions with First Nations would change from
 friendship and peace treaties to the dispossession of Indigenous lands through treaties.
From the late 18th century, European Canadians forced Indigenous peoples to assimilate into a western Canadian society. 
These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with
 forced integration through state-funded boarding schools,
 health-care segregation,
A period of redress began with the formation of the
 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the
Government of Canada in 2008.
This included recognition of past
 colonial injustices and
settlement agreements and betterment of racial discrimination issues, such as addressing the plight of
missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Map of territorial claims in
North America by 1750. Possessions of
British America (pink),
New France (blue), and
New Spain (orange); California, Pacific Northwest, and Great Basin not indicated.
It is believed that the first European to explore the east coast of Canada was
In approximately 1000 AD, the Norse built a small short-lived encampment that was occupied sporadically for perhaps 20 years at
 L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of
Newfoundland. No further European exploration occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer
John Cabot explored and claimed Canada's
Atlantic coast in the name of King
Henry VII of England.
In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the
 Gulf of Saint Lawrence where, on July 24, he planted a 10-metre (33 ft) cross bearing the words, "long live the King of France", and took possession of the territory New France in the name of
King Francis I.
The early 16th century saw European mariners with navigational techniques pioneered by the
 Basque and
Portuguese establish seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast.
In general, early settlements during the
 Age of Discovery appear to have been
short-lived due to a combination of the harsh climate, problems with navigating trade routes and competing outputs in Scandinavia.
In 1583, Sir
Humphrey Gilbert, by the
royal prerogative of Queen
Elizabeth I, founded
St John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American
English seasonal camp.
In 1600, the French established their first seasonal trading post at
 Tadoussac along the Saint Lawrence. French explorer
Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent year-round European settlements at
Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608).
 colonists of New France,
extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and
Canadiens Acadians settled the present-day
Maritimes, while fur traders and
Catholic missionaries explored the
Hudson Bay, and the
Mississippi watershed to
 Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade.
The English established additional settlements in
Newfoundland in 1610 along with settlements in the
Thirteen Colonies to the south.
A series of
 four wars erupted in colonial North America between 1689 and 1763; the later wars of the period constituted the North American theatre of the
Seven Years' War.
 Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1713
Treaty of Utrecht and Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War.
British North America
The Death of General Wolfe James Wolfe's death during the
Battle of the Plains of Abraham at
Royal Proclamation of 1763 established First Nation treaty rights, created the
Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed
Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia.
St John's Island (now
 Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769.
To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the
 Quebec Act 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and
More importantly, the Quebec Act afforded Quebec special autonomy and rights of self-administration at a time when the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly agitating against British rule. 
It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and
 French civil law there, staving off the growth of an independence movement in contrast to the Thirteen Colonies.
The Proclamation and the Quebec Act in turn angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, further fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the
 American Revolution.
After the successful American War of Independence, the
1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the newly formed
United States and set the terms of peace, ceding
British North American territories south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi River to the new country.
The American war of independence also caused a large out-migration of
 Loyalists, the settlers who had fought against American independence. Many moved to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada, where their arrival changed the demographic distribution of the existing territories.
New Brunswick was in turn split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes, which led to the incorporation of
Saint John, New Brunswick, as Canada's first city.
To accommodate the influx of English-speaking Loyalists in Central Canada, the
 Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province of Canada into French-speaking Lower Canada (later
Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later
Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.
War of 1812 heroine
Laura Secord warning British commander
James FitzGibbon of an
impending American attack at Beaver Dams
The Canadas were the main front in the
War of 1812 between the United States and the
United Kingdom. Peace came in 1815; no boundaries were changed.
Immigration resumed at a higher level, with over 960,000 arrivals from Britain between 1815 and 1850. 
New arrivals included refugees escaping the
 Great Irish Famine as well as
Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the
Infectious diseases killed between 25 and 33 percent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891. 
The desire for
responsible government resulted in the abortive
Rebellions of 1837.
 Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture.
 Act of Union 1840 merged the Canadas into a united Province of Canada and responsible government was established for all provinces of British North America east of Lake Superior by 1855.
The signing of the
 Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the
Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the
49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on
Vancouver Island (1849) and in
British Columbia (1858).
 Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1825) established the border along the Pacific coast, but, even after the US
Alaska Purchase of 1867, disputes continued about the exact demarcation of the Alaska–Yukon and Alaska–BC border.
Confederation and expansion
Animated map showing
the growth and change of Canada's provinces and territories since Confederation in 1867
Following three constitutional conferences, the
officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces:
British North America Act, 1867 Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
Canada assumed control of
 Rupert's Land and the
North-Western Territory to form the
Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the
Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of
Manitoba in July 1870.
British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which
 had been united in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871 on the promise of a transcontinental railway extending to Victoria in the province within 10 years,
while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. 
In 1898, during the
 Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, Parliament created the Yukon Territory.
Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.
Between 1871 and 1896, almost one quarter of the Canadian population emigrated south to the US. 
the West and encourage European immigration, the Government of Canada sponsored the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the
Canadian Pacific Railway), passed the
to regulate settlement and established the
Dominion Lands Act North-West Mounted Police to assert authority over the territory.
 period of westward expansion and
nation building resulted in the displacement of many
Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Prairies to "
clearing the way for ethnic European
 block settlements.
This caused the collapse of the
 Plains Bison in western Canada and the introduction of European
cattle farms and wheat fields dominating the land.
The Indigenous peoples saw widespread famine and disease due to the loss of the bison and their traditional hunting lands. 
The federal government did provide emergency relief, on condition of the Indigenous peoples moving to the reserves. 
During this time, Canada introduced the 
extending its control over the First Nations to education, government and legal rights. Indian Act
Early 20th century
French version of the poster roughly translates as "They serve France–Everyone can serve; Buy Victory Bonds".
The same poster in English, with subtle differences in text. "They serve France—How can I serve Canada? Buy Victory Bonds".
Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the British North America Act, 1867, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought
Canada into the First World War.
Volunteers sent to the
 Western Front later became part of the
Canadian Corps, which played a substantial role in the
Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war.
Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded. 
 Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when the
Unionist Cabinet's proposal to augment the military's dwindling number of active members with
conscription was met with vehement objections from French-speaking Quebecers.
The  Military Service Act brought in compulsory military service, though it, coupled with disputes over French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and temporarily split the Liberal Party.
In 1919, Canada joined the
 League of Nations independently of Britain,
and the  Statute of Westminster, 1931, affirmed Canada's independence.
Great Depression in Canada during the early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country.
In response to the downturn, the
 Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a
welfare state (as pioneered by
Tommy Douglas) in the 1940s and 1950s.
On the advice of Prime Minister
 William Lyon Mackenzie King,
war with Germany was declared effective September 10, 1939, by King
George VI, seven days after the United Kingdom. The delay underscored Canada's independence.
The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939. In all, over a million Canadians served in the armed forces during the
Second World War and approximately 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded.
Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1942
 Dieppe Raid, the
Allied invasion of Italy, the
Normandy landings, the
Battle of Normandy, and the
Battle of the Scheldt in 1944.
Canada provided asylum for the
 Dutch monarchy while that country was
occupied and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to
its liberation from
The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military
materiel for Canada, Britain,
China, and the
 Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.
The financial crisis of the Great Depression led the
Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1934 and become a
Crown colony ruled by a British governor.
 referendums, Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province.
Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new
Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the
maple leaf flag in 1965,
the implementation of
 official bilingualism (English and French) in 1969,
and the institution of
 official multiculturalism in 1971.
 Socially democratic programs were also instituted, such as
Canada Pension Plan, and
Canada Student Loans; though, provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions.
A copy of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the
Canada Act 1982, the
patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the
. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country under
 its own monarchy.
 Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government.
At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the
Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a secular
 Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the
October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970,
Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, organizing an
unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the
Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990.
This led to the formation of the
 Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the
Reform Party of Canada in the West.
 second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent.
In 1997, the
 Supreme Court ruled
unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional, and the
Clarity Act was passed by Parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation.
In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included the explosion of
Air India Flight 182 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history;
 École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, a
university shooting targeting female students;
 Oka Crisis of 1990,
the first of a number of violent confrontations between provincial governments and Indigenous groups. 
Canada also joined the
 Gulf War in 1990 as part of a United States–led coalition force and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, including the
UNPROFOR mission in the
 troops to Afghanistan in 2001 but declined to join the United States–led
invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the
Libyan Civil War
and also became involved in battling the
 Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in the mid-2010s.
The country celebrated
 its sesquicentennial in 2017, three years before the
COVID-19 pandemic in Canada began on January 27, 2020, with widespread social and economic disruption.
In 2021, the possible graves of
 hundreds of Indigenous people were discovered near the former sites of
Canadian Indian residential schools.
Administered by various Christian churches and funded by the Canadian government from 1828 to 1997, these
 boarding schools attempted to assimilate Indigenous children into
A topographic map of Canada, in polar projection (for 90° W), showing elevations shaded from green to brown (higher)
By total area (including its waters), Canada is the
second-largest country in the world, after
By land area alone, Canada
 ranks fourth, due to having the world's largest area of
fresh water lakes.
Stretching from the
 Atlantic Ocean in the east, along the
Arctic Ocean to the north, and to the
Pacific Ocean in the west, the country encompasses 9,984,670 km 2 (3,855,100 sq mi) of territory.
Canada also has vast maritime terrain, with the world's longest coastline of 243,042 kilometres (151,019 mi). 
In addition to sharing the
 world's largest land border with the United States—spanning 8,891 km (5,525 mi)
—Canada shares a land border with
[a] Greenland (and hence the
Kingdom of Denmark) to the northeast, on
 maritime boundary with
overseas collectivity of
Saint Pierre and Miquelon to the southeast.
Canada is also home to the world's northernmost settlement,
 Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of
Ellesmere Island—latitude 82.5°N—which lies 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.
Canada can be divided into seven physiographic regions: the
Canadian Shield, the
interior plains, the
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, the
Appalachian region, the
Hudson Bay Lowlands, and the
 Boreal forests prevail throughout the country, ice is prominent in
northern Arctic regions and through the
Rocky Mountains, and the relatively flat
Canadian Prairies in the southwest facilitate productive agriculture.
The Great Lakes feed the
 St. Lawrence River (in the southeast) where the lowlands host much of Canada's economic output.
Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 of which are larger than 100 km  2 (39 sq mi)—containing much of the world's
There are also fresh-water glaciers in the
 Canadian Rockies, the
Coast Mountains, and the
 Canada is geologically active, having
many earthquakes and
potentially active volcanoes, notably
Mount Meager massif,
Mount Cayley, and the
Mount Edziza volcanic complex.
Köppen climate classification types of Canada
Average winter and summer high
temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a
continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15
°F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe
In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F). 
Northern Canada is covered by ice and
permafrost. The future of the permafrost is uncertain because the Arctic has been warming at three times the global average as a result of
climate change in Canada.
Canada's annual average temperature over land has risen by 1.7 °C (3.1 °F), with changes ranging from 1.1 to 2.3 °C (2.0 to 4.1 °F) in various regions, since 1948. 
The rate of warming has been higher across the North and in the Prairies. 
In the southern regions of Canada,
 air pollution from both Canada and the United States—caused by metal smelting, burning coal to power utilities, and vehicle emissions—has resulted in
acid rain, which has severely impacted waterways, forest growth, and agricultural productivity in Canada.
Terrestrial ecozones and ecoprovinces of Canada. Ecozones are identified with a unique colour. Ecoprovinces are subdivisions of ecozones and are identified with a unique numeric code.
Canada is divided into
15 terrestrial and five marine ecozones.
These ecozones encompass over 80,000 classified species of
 Canadian wildlife, with an equal number yet to be formally recognized or discovered.
Although Canada has a low percentage of
 endemic species compared to other countries,
due to human activities,
 invasive species, and
environmental issues in the country, there are currently more than
800 species at risk of being lost.
About 65 percent of Canada's resident species are considered "Secure". 
Over half of Canada's landscape is intact and relatively free of human development. 
 boreal forest of Canada is considered to be the largest
intact forest on Earth, with approximately 3,000,000 km 2 (1,200,000 sq mi) undisturbed by roads, cities or industry.
Since the end of the last
 glacial period, Canada has consisted of
eight distinct forest regions,
with 42 percent of its land area covered by forests (approximately 8 percent of the world's forested land). 
Approximately 12.1 percent of the nation's landmass and freshwater are
conservation areas, including 11.4 percent designated as
Approximately 13.8 percent of its territorial waters are conserved, including 8.9 percent designated as protected areas. 
 National Park,
Banff National Park established in 1885, spans 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi)
of mountainous terrain, with many
 glaciers and
ice fields, dense
coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes.
Canada's oldest provincial park,
 Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, covers an area of 7,653.45 square kilometres (2,955.01 sq mi). It is dominated by
old-growth forest with over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers.
 Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is the world's largest freshwater protected area, spanning roughly 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of lakebed, its overlaying freshwater, and associated shoreline on 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) of islands and mainland.
Canada's largest national wildlife region is the
 Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area, which spans 11,570.65 square kilometres (4,467.45 sq mi)
and protects critical breeding and nesting habitat for over 40 percent of British Columbia's
 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves cover a total area of 235,000 square kilometres (91,000 sq mi).
Government and politics
Aerial view of
Canadian Parliament Buildings and their surroundings
Canada is described as a "
with a tradition of
 moderate political ideology.
An emphasis on
 social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture.
 Peace, order, and good government, alongside an
Implied Bill of Rights, are founding principles of the Canadian government.
At the federal level, Canada has been dominated by two relatively
centrist parties practising "brokerage politics":
[b] centre-left leaning
Liberal Party of Canada
 centre-right leaning
Conservative Party of Canada (or its
The historically predominant Liberals position themselves at the centre of the political scale. 
Five parties had representatives elected to the Parliament in the
 2021 election—the Liberals, who formed a minority government; the Conservatives, who became the
Official Opposition; the New Democratic Party (occupying the
 Bloc Québécois; and the
Green Party of Canada.
 Far-right and
far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society.
Canada has a
parliamentary system within the context of a
monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive,
 reigning monarch is also monarch of
14 other Commonwealth countries (though, all are sovereign of one another
 each of Canada's 10 provinces. To carry out most of their federal royal duties in Canada, the monarch appoints a representative, the
governor general, on the
advice of the
The monarchy is the source of
sovereignty and authority in Canada.
However, while the governor general or monarch may exercise their power without ministerial
 advice in certain rare
the use of the executive powers (or
 royal prerogative) is otherwise always directed by the
Cabinet, a committee of
ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected
House of Commons and chosen and headed by the prime minister,
 head of government. To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the individual who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a
majority of members in the House of Commons.
 Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is thus one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the aforementioned, the governor general,
lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of
Crown corporations and government agencies.
The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the
 leader of the Official Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.
House of Commons in its temporary location, the
Parliament of Canada passes all statute laws within the federal sphere. It comprises the monarch, the House of Commons, and the
Senate. While Canada inherited the British concept of
parliamentary supremacy, this was later, with the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1982, all but completely superseded by the American notion of
the supremacy of the law.
Each of the 338
members of Parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an
electoral district or riding. The
, requires that no more than five years pass between elections, although the Constitution Act, 1982
limits this to four years with a "fixed" election date in October;
Canada Elections Act general elections still must be called by the governor general and can be triggered by either the advice of the prime minister or a lost
confidence vote in the House.
The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75. 
Canadian federalism divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the 10 provinces.
Provincial legislatures are
unicameral and operate in parliamentary fashion similar to the House of Commons.
Canada's three territories also have legislatures; but, these are not sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces. 
The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts. 
Bank of Canada is the
central bank of the country.
 minister of finance and
minister of innovation, science, and industry use the
Statistics Canada agency for financial planning and economic policy development.
The Bank of Canada is the sole authority authorized to issue currency in the form of
 Canadian bank notes.
The bank does not issue
 Canadian coins; they are issued by the
Royal Canadian Mint.
Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country and consists of written text and unwritten conventions.
The  Constitution Act, 1867 (known as the
British North America Act, 1867 prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments.
The  Statute of Westminster, 1931, granted full autonomy, and the Constitution Act, 1982, ended all legislative ties to Britain, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The  Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government; though, a
notwithstanding clause allows Parliament and the provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of five years.
Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, west of Parliament Hill
Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike down acts of Parliament that violate the constitution. The
Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court, final arbiter, and has been led since December 18, 2017, by
Richard Wagner, the
Chief Justice of Canada.
The governor general appoints the court's nine members on the advice of the prime minister and
 minister of justice.
The federal Cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts in the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. 
Common law prevails everywhere, except in Quebec, where
civil law predominates.
 Criminal law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada.
Law enforcement, including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility, conducted by provincial and municipal police forces. 
In most rural and some urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal
 Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Canadian Aboriginal law provides certain
constitutionally recognized rights to land and traditional practices for Indigenous groups in Canada.
Various treaties and case laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and many Indigenous peoples. 
Most notably, a series of 11 treaties, known as the
 Numbered Treaties, were signed between the Indigenous peoples and the reigning monarch of Canada between 1871 and 1921.
These treaties are agreements between the Canadian
 Crown-in-Council, with the
duty to consult and accommodate.
The role of Aboriginal law and the rights they support were reaffirmed by
 section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
These rights may include provision of services, such as healthcare through the
 Indian Health Transfer Policy, and exemption from taxation.
Foreign relations and military
The Canadian delegation to the
United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, May 1945
Canada is recognized as a
middle power for its role in international affairs with a tendency to pursue
Canada's foreign policy based on international peacekeeping and security is carried out through coalitions, international organizations, and the work of numerous federal institutions. 
 Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has played a major role in its global image.
The strategy of the
 Canadian government's foreign aid policy reflects an emphasis to meet the
Sustainable Development Goals, while also providing assistance in response to foreign humanitarian crises.
Canada and the United States have a long, complex, and intertwined relationship;
they are close allies, co-operating regularly on military campaigns and humanitarian efforts. 
Canada also maintains historic and traditional
 ties to the United Kingdom and
along with both countries' former colonies through its membership in the
 Commonwealth of Nations and the .
Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
Canada is noted for having a positive
 relationship with the Netherlands, owing, in part, to its contribution to the
Dutch liberation during World War II.
Canada was a founding member of the United Nations and has membership in the
 World Trade Organization, the
G20, and the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Canada is also a
 member of various other international and regional organizations and forums for economic and cultural affairs.
Canada acceded to the
 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976.
The country joined the
 Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in 2000 and the
3rd Summit of the Americas in 2001.
Canada seeks to expand its ties to
 Pacific Rim economies through membership in the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).
Canada's earlier strong attachment to the British Empire and, later, the Commonwealth, led it to make significant contributions to British military efforts in the
Second Boer War (1899–1902), the First World War (1914–1918), and the Second World War (1939–1945).
Since then, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global issues in collaboration with other nations. 
 Cold War, Canada was a major contributor to UN forces in the
Korean War and founded the
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), in cooperation with the United States, to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union.
McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet in "special markings" used by the 2014
CF-18 Demonstration Team
Suez Crisis of 1956, future prime minister
Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by proposing the inception of the
United Nations Peacekeeping Force, for which he was awarded the 1957
Nobel Peace Prize.
As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept. 
Canada has since served in over 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989, 
and has since maintained forces in international missions in
 Rwanda, the former
Yugoslavia, and elsewhere. Canada has sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993
In 2001, Canada
deployed troops to Afghanistan as part of the US stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force.
In August 2007, Canada's
 territorial claims in the Arctic were challenged after a
Russian underwater expedition to the
North Pole; Canada has considered that area to be
sovereign territory since 1925.
Canadian Forces (CF) comprise the
Royal Canadian Navy,
Canadian Army, and
Royal Canadian Air Force. The nation employs a professional, volunteer force of approximately 68,000 active personnel and 27,000 reserve personnel—increasing to 71,500 and 30,000 respectively under "Strong, Secure, Engaged"
—with a sub-component of approximately 5,000
 Canadian Rangers.
In 2021, Canada's
[c] military expenditure totalled approximately $26.4 billion, or around 1.3 percent of the country's
gross domestic product (GDP).
Canada's total military expenditure is expected to reach $32.7 billion by 2027. 
Canada's military currently has over 3000 personnel
 deployed overseas in multiple operations, such as
Operation Snowgoose in
Operation Unifier supporting
Operation Caribbe in the
Caribbean Sea, and
Operation Impact, a coalition for the
military intervention against ISIL.
Provinces and territories
Political map of Canada showing its
10 provinces and 3 territories
Canada is a federation composed of 10
federated states, called provinces, and three
federal territories. In turn, these may be grouped into
four main regions:
Atlantic Canada, and
Northern Canada (
refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together). Eastern Canada
Provinces and territories have responsibility for social programs such as
as well as administration of justice (but not criminal law). Together, the provinces collect more revenue than the federal government, a rarity among other federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas such as health and child care; the provinces can opt out of these cost-share programs but rarely do so in practice.
 Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.
The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their sovereignty from the Crown
and power and authority from the  Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the
Parliament of Canada
and the commissioners represent the
 King in his federal Council,
rather than the monarch directly. The powers flowing from the  Constitution Act, 1867, are divided between the federal government and the provincial governments to exercise exclusively
and any changes to that arrangement require a
 constitutional amendment, while changes to the roles and powers of the territories may be performed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada.
Toronto financial district is the second-largest financial centre in North America, the seventh-largest globally in employment and the heart of Canada's finance industry.
Canada has a
with the world's
 ninth-largest economy as of 2023 , and a
nominal GDP of approximately
. US$2.221 trillion
It is one of the world's largest
 trading nations, with a highly
In 2021, Canadian trade in goods and services reached $2.016 trillion. 
Canada's exports totalled over $637 billion, while its imported goods were worth over $631 billion, of which approximately $391 billion originated from the United States. 
In 2018, Canada had a
 trade deficit in goods of $22 billion and a trade deficit in services of $25 billion.
 Toronto Stock Exchange is the ninth-largest stock exchange in the world by
market capitalization, listing over 1,500 companies with a combined market capitalization of over US$2 trillion.
Canada has a strong
cooperative banking sector, with the world's highest per-capita membership in
It ranks low in the
 Corruption Perceptions Index (14th in 2023)
and "is widely regarded as among the least corrupt countries of the world". 
It ranks high in the
 Global Competitiveness Report (14th in 2019)
 Global Innovation Index (15th in 2023).
Canada's economy ranks above most
 Western nations on
The Heritage Foundation's
Index of Economic Freedom
and experiences a relatively low level of
 income disparity.
The country's average household
 disposable income per capita is "well above" the OECD average.
Canada ranks among the lowest of the most developed countries for
 housing affordability
 foreign direct investment.
Since the early 20th century, the growth of
Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one.
Like many other developed countries, the Canadian economy is dominated by the
 service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce.
Among developed countries, Canada has an unusually important
 primary sector, of which the
petroleum industries are the most prominent components.
Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustained by nearby mines or sources of timber. 
Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since
World War II.
 Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada's borders to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry.
 Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include
Mexico in 1994 (later replaced by the
Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement).
As of 2023,
 Canada is a signatory to 15 free trade agreements with 51 different countries.
Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy.
 Atlantic Canada possess vast offshore deposits of natural gas,
and Alberta hosts the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world. 
 Athabasca oil sands and other oil reserves give Canada 13 percent of global oil reserves, constituting the
world's third or fourth-largest.
Canada is additionally one of the
 world's largest suppliers of agricultural products; the Canadian Prairies region is one of the most important global producers of wheat,
canola, and other grains.
 country is a leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel,
platinoids, aluminum, steel, iron ore, coking coal, lead, copper,
molybdenum, cobalt, and cadmium.
Canada has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and
 aeronautics representing particularly important industries.
 fishing industry is also a key contributor to the economy.
Science and technology
In 2020, Canada spent approximately $41.9 billion on domestic
research and development, with supplementary estimates for 2022 at $43.2 billion.
As of 2023 , the country has produced 15
 Nobel laureates in
The country ranks seventh in the worldwide share of articles published in
 scientific journals, according to the
and is home to the headquarters of a number of global technology firms. 
 has one of the highest levels of Internet access in the world, with over 33 million users, equivalent to around 94 percent of its total population.
Space Shuttle robotic arm (left), referred to as
Canadarm, transferred the
P5 truss segment over to the Canadian-built
space station robotic arm, referred to as
Canada's developments in science and technology include the creation of the modern
 discovery of insulin,
the development of the
 polio vaccine,
and discoveries about the interior structure of the
 atomic nucleus.
Other major Canadian scientific contributions include the
 artificial cardiac pacemaker, mapping the
the development of the
 electron microscope,
 plate tectonics,
multi-touch technology, and the identification of the first
Canada has a long history of discovery in genetics, which include
 stem cells,
T-cell receptor, and the identification of the genes that cause
cystic fibrosis, and
early-onset Alzheimer's disease, among numerous other diseases.
Canadian Space Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space, planetary, and aviation research and developing rockets and satellites.
Canada was the third country to design and construct a satellite after the
 Soviet Union and the United States, with the 1962
Alouette 1 launch.
Canada is a participant in the
 International Space Station (ISS), and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the
Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's
Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including
 Radarsat-1 and
Canada has also produced one of the world's most successful and widely used
 sounding rockets, the
Canada population density map (2014)
2021 Canadian census enumerated a
total population of 36,991,981, an increase of around 5.2 percent over the 2016 figure.
It is estimated that Canada's population surpassed 40,000,000 in 2023. 
The main drivers of population growth are
 immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth.
Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world, 
driven mainly by
 economic policy and also
A record 405,000 immigrants were admitted to Canada in 2021. 
Canada leads the world in
 refugee resettlement; it resettled more than 28,000 in 2018.
New immigrants settle mostly in
 major urban areas in the country, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Canada's population density, at 4.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (11/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world.
Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north and approximately 95 percent of the population is found south of the 55th parallel north. 
About 80 percent of the population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the border with the contiguous United States. 
Canada is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of the population living urban centres. 
The most densely populated part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the
 Quebec City–Windsor Corridor in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
The majority of Canadians (81.1 percent) live in family households, 12.1 percent report living alone, and those living with other relatives or unrelated persons reported at 6.8 percent.
Fifty-one percent of households are couples with or without children, 8.7 percent are single-parent households, 2.9 percent are multigenerational households, and 29.3 percent are single-person households. 
Largest metropolitan areas in Canada
Nova Scotia 465,703
British Columbia 2,642,825
British Columbia 397,237
British Columbia 222,162
According to the
2021 Canadian census, over 450 "
ethnic or cultural origins" were self-reported by Canadians.
 panethnic groups chosen were:
European ( 52.5 percent),
North American ( 22.9 percent),
Asian ( 19.3 percent),
North American Indigenous ( 6.1 percent),
African ( 3.8 percent),
Latin, Central and South American ( 2.5 percent),
Caribbean ( 2.1 percent),
Oceanian ( 0.3 percent), and other ( 6 percent).
Over 60 percent of Canadians reported a single origin, and 36 percent of Canadians reported having multiple ethnic origins, thus the overall total is greater than 100 percent. 
The top 168
ethnic or cultural origins self-reported by Canadians in the 2021 census
The country's ten largest self-reported specific ethnic or cultural origins in 2021 were Canadian
(accounting for 15.6 percent of the population), followed by
[d] English (14.7 percent),
Irish (12.1 percent),
Scottish (12.1 percent),
French (11.0 percent),
German (8.1 percent),
Chinese (4.7 percent),
Italian (4.3 percent),
Indian (3.7 percent), and
Ukrainian (3.5 percent).
Of the 36.3 million people enumerated in 2021, approximately 25.4 million reported being "
White", representing 69.8 percent of the population.
The Indigenous population representing 5 percent or 1.8 million individuals, grew by 9.4 percent compared to the non-Indigenous population, which grew by 5.3 percent from 2016 to 2021. 
One out of every four Canadians or 26.5 percent of the population belonged to a non-White and non-Indigenous
 visible minority,
the largest of which in 2021 were
[e] South Asian (2.6 million people; 7.1 percent), Chinese (1.7 million; 4.7 percent), and
Black (1.5 million; 4.3 percent).
Between 2011 and 2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent.
In 1961, about 300,000 people, less than two percent of Canada's population, were members of visible minority groups. 
The 2021 census indicated that 8.3  million people, or almost one-quarter (23.0 percent) of the population, reported themselves as being or having been a
landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada—above the
1921 census previous record of 22.3 percent.
In 2021, India, China, and the Philippines were the top three countries of origin for immigrants moving to Canada. 
Approximately 98 percent of Canadians can speak either or
both English and French:
 English – 57% English and French – 16% French – 21% Sparsely populated area ( < 0.4 persons per km 2)
A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with
official languages) being the
mother tongues of approximately 54 percent and 19 percent of Canadians, respectively.
As of the 2021 census, just over 7.8 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their
 mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include
Mandarin (679,255 first-language speakers),
Cantonese (553,380), Spanish (538,870),
Tagalog (461,150), Italian (319,505), German (272,865), and
 Canada's federal government practises official bilingualism, which is applied by the
commissioner of official languages in consonance with
section 16 of the and the federal Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French and official-
Official Languages Act language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories.
established French as the official language of
Charter of the French Language Quebec.
Although more than 82 percent of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, there are substantial
 Francophone populations in
Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec.
New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33 percent of the population. 
There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and in central and western Prince Edward Island. 
Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and for other government services, in addition to English. Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal status, but is not fully co-official.
There are 11
 Indigenous language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects.
Several Indigenous languages have official status in the Northwest Territories. 
 Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut and is one of three official languages in the territory.
Additionally, Canada is home to many
sign languages, some of which are Indigenous.
 American Sign Language (ASL) is used across the country due to the prevalence of ASL in primary and secondary schools.
 Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) is used primarily in Quebec.
Freedom of religion sculpture by Marlene Hilton Moore at the McMurtry Gardens of Justice in
Canada is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and customs.
 Constitution of Canada refers to God and the
monarch carries the
; however, Canada has no official church and the government is officially committed to
Defender of the Faith religious pluralism.
 Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference.
Rates of religious adherence have steadily decreased since the 1970s.
With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life, 
Canada has become a
Although the majority of Canadians consider
 religion to be unimportant in their daily lives,
they still believe in God. 
The practice of religion is generally considered a private matter throughout Canadian society and by the state. 
According to the 2021 census,
Christianity is the largest religion in Canada, with
Roman Catholics representing 29.9 percent of the population having the most adherents.
Christians overall representing 53.3 percent of the population,
are followed by people reporting
[f] irreligion or having no religion at 34.6 percent.
Other faiths include
 Islam (4.9 percent),
Hinduism (2.3 percent),
Sikhism (2.1 percent),
Buddhism (1.0 percent),
Judaism (0.9 percent), and
Indigenous spirituality (0.2 percent).
Canada has the
 second-largest national Sikh population, behind
Healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems of
publicly funded health care, informally called Medicare.
It is guided by the provisions of the 
of 1984 Canada Health Act
Universal access to publicly funded health services "is often considered by Canadians as a fundamental value that ensures national healthcare insurance for everyone wherever they live in the country." 
Around 30 percent of Canadians' healthcare is paid for through the private sector. 
This mostly pays for services not covered or partially covered by Medicare, such as
 prescription drugs,
Approximately 65 to 75 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary health insurance; many receive it through their employers or access secondary social service programs. 
Health expenditure and financing by country. Total health expenditure per capita in US dollars (PPP).
In common with many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing an increase in healthcare expenditures due to a
demographic shift toward an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2021, the average age in Canada was 41.9 years.
Life expectancy is 81.1 years. 
A 2016 report by the
 chief public health officer found that 88 percent of Canadians, one of the highest proportions of the population among G7 countries, indicated that they "had good or very good health".
Eighty percent of Canadian adults self-report having at least one major risk factor for chronic disease: smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating or excessive alcohol use. 
Canada has one of the highest rates of adult obesity among
 OECD countries, contributing to approximately 2.7 million cases of
Four chronic diseases—
 cancer (leading cause of death),
respiratory diseases, and diabetes—account for 65 percent of deaths in Canada.
In 2021, the
Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that healthcare spending reached $308 billion, or 12.7 percent of Canada's GDP for that year.
In 2022, Canada's per-capita spending on health expenditures ranked 12th among
 health-care systems in the OECD.
Canada has performed close to, or above the average on the majority of OECD health indicators since the early 2000s, ranking above the average on OECD indicators for wait-times and access to care, with average scores for quality of care and use of resources. 
 Commonwealth Fund's 2021 report comparing the healthcare systems of the 11 most
developed countries ranked Canada second-to-last.
Identified weaknesses were comparatively higher infant mortality rate, the prevalence of chronic conditions, long wait times, poor availability of after-hours care, and a lack of prescription drugs and dental coverage. 
An increasing problem in Canada's health system is a lack of healthcare professionals. 
University College, seen through the main gate and up King's College Road, at Canada's largest post-secondary institution, the
University of Toronto
Education in Canada is for the most part provided
publicly, funded and overseen by
Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. 
Education in Canada is generally divided into
 primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Education in both English and French is available in most places across Canada.
Canada has a large number of universities, almost all of which are publicly funded. 
Established in 1663,  is the oldest post-secondary institution in Canada.
The largest university is the
 University of Toronto with over 85,000 students.
Four universities are regularly ranked among the top 100 world-wide, namely University of Toronto,
 University of British Columbia,
McGill University, and
McMaster University, with a total of
18 universities ranked in the top 500 worldwide.
According to a 2019 report by the OECD, Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world;
the country ranks first worldwide in the percentage of adults having
 tertiary education, with over 56 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree.
Canada spends about 5.3 percent of its GDP on education. 
The country invests heavily in tertiary education (more than  US$20,000 per student).
As of 2014 , 89 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, compared to an OECD average of 75 percent. 
mandatory education age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years,
contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99 percent. 
Just over 60,000 children are
 homeschooled in the country as of 2016. The
Programme for International Student Assessment indicates Canadian students perform well above the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science, and reading,
ranking the overall knowledge and skills of Canadian 15-year-olds as the sixth-best in the world, although these scores have been declining in recent years. Canada is a well-performing OECD country in reading literacy, mathematics, and science, with the average student scoring 523.7, compared with the OECD average of 493 in 2015. 
by Francesco Pirelli, in Toronto Multiculturalism
Canada's culture draws influences from its broad range of constituent nationalities and policies that promote a "
just society" are constitutionally protected.
Since the 1960s, Canada has emphasized equality and inclusiveness for all its people. 
 The official state policy of multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada's significant accomplishments
and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity. 
In Quebec, cultural identity is strong and there is a
 French Canadian culture that is distinct from English Canadian culture.
Canada's approach to governance emphasizing multiculturalism, which is based on selective
social integration, and
suppression of far-right politics, has wide public support.
Government policies such as publicly funded health care,
 higher taxation to redistribute wealth, the
outlawing of capital punishment, strong efforts to
strict gun control, a
social liberal attitude toward
women's rights (like
pregnancy termination) and
LGBT rights, and legalized
cannabis use are indicators of Canada's political and
Canadians also identify with the country's foreign aid policies, peacekeeping roles, the
 national park system, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Historically, Canada has been influenced by
French, and Indigenous cultures and traditions. Through their language,
music, Indigenous peoples continue to influence the Canadian identity.
During the 20th century, Canadians with African, Caribbean, and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity and its culture. 
The mother beaver on the Canadian parliament's
The five flowers on the shield each represent an ethnicity—
 Tudor rose:
Fleur de lis:
Themes of nature, pioneers, trappers, and traders played an important part in the early development of Canadian symbolism.
Modern symbols emphasize the country's geography, cold climate, lifestyles, and the Canadianization of traditional European and Indigenous symbols. 
The use of the
 maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's
previous flags and on the
Arms of Canada.
Canada's official tartan, known as the "
 maple leaf tartan", has four colours that reflect the colours of the maple leaf as it changes through the seasons—green in the
spring, gold in the early
autumn, red at the first
frost, and brown after falling.
The Arms of Canada are closely modelled after
 those of the United Kingdom, with French and distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British version.
Other prominent symbols include the national motto, "
" ("From Sea to Sea"),
A mari usque ad mare
the sports of
 ice hockey and
Canadian horse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rockies,
and, more recently, the
 totem pole and
 Canadian beer,
butter tarts, and
poutine are defined as uniquely Canadian.
Canadian coins feature many of these symbols: the loon on the
 $1 coin, the Arms of Canada on the
50¢ piece, and the beaver on the
An image of the previous monarch, Queen
 Elizabeth II, appears on
$20 bank notes and the obverse of all current Canadian coins.
Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively.
The earliest Canadian narratives were of travel and exploration. 
This progressed into three major themes that can be found within historical Canadian literature: nature, frontier life, and Canada's position within the world, all three of which tie into the
 garrison mentality.
In recent decades, Canada's literature has been strongly influenced by immigrants from around the world. 
By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the world's best. 
Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards,
including novelist, poet, and literary critic
 Margaret Atwood, who received two
 Nobel laureate
Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English;
and Booker Prize recipient
 Michael Ondaatje, who wrote the novel
, which was adapted as a
The English Patient film of the same name that won the
Academy Award for Best Picture.
 L. M. Montgomery produced a series of children's novels beginning in 1908 with
. Anne of Green Gables
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) satellite truck, used for live television broadcasts
Canada's media is
diverse, and very regionalized.
declares "the system should serve to safeguard, enrich, and strengthen the cultural, political, social, and economic fabric of Canada". Broadcasting Act
Canada has a well-developed media sector, but its cultural output—particularly in
 English films,
television shows, and
magazines—is often overshadowed by imports from the United States.
As a result, the preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the
 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the
National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Canadian mass media, both
digital, and in both official languages, is largely dominated by a "
handful of corporations".
The largest of these corporations is the country's national
 public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which also plays a significant role in producing domestic cultural content, operating
its own radio and
TV networks in both English and French.
In addition to the CBC, some provincial governments offer their own public educational TV broadcast services as well, such as
 TVOntario and
Non-news media content in Canada, including film and television, is influenced both by local creators as well as by imports from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France.
In an effort to reduce the amount of foreign-made media, government interventions in television broadcasting can include both regulation of content and public financing. 
 Canadian tax laws limit foreign competition in magazine advertising.
The Jack Pine Tom Thomson. Oil on canvas, 1916, in the collection of the
National Gallery of Canada.
Art in Canada is marked by thousands of years of habitation by its Indigenous peoples,
and, in later times, artists have combined British, French, Indigenous, and American artistic traditions, at times embracing European styles while working to promote nationalism. 
The nature of Canadian art reflects these diverse origins, as artists have taken their traditions and adapted these influences to reflect the reality of their lives in Canada. 
The Canadian government has played a role in the development of Canadian culture through the department of
Canadian Heritage, by giving grants to art galleries,
as well as establishing and funding art schools and colleges across the country, and through the
 Canada Council for the Arts, the national public arts funder, helping artists, art galleries and periodicals, and thus contributing to the development of Canada's cultural works.
Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures, such as painter
Tom Thomson and the
Group of Seven.
The latter were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists—
 Lawren Harris,
A. Y. Jackson,
J. E. H. MacDonald, and
Frederick Varley—were responsible for articulating the group's ideas. They were joined briefly by
Frank Johnston and commercial artist
A. J. Casson became part of the group in 1926.
Associated with the group was another prominent Canadian artist,
 Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the
Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Original publication of "
O Canada", 1908
Canadian music reflects a
variety of regional scenes.
Canada has developed a vast music infrastructure that includes
 church halls,
performing arts centres,
radio stations, and television
music video channels.
Government support programs, such as the Canada Music Fund, assist a wide range of musicians and entrepreneurs who create, produce and market original and diverse Canadian music. 
As a result of its cultural importance, as well as government initiatives and regulations, the Canadian music industry is one of the largest in the world, 
producing internationally renowned
Music broadcasting in the country is regulated by the CRTC. 
 Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Canada's music industry awards, the
 Canadian Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian musicians for their lifetime achievements.
Patriotic music in Canada dates back over 200 years. The earliest work of patriotic music in Canada, "
The Bold Canadian", was written in 1812.
 The Maple Leaf Forever", written in 1866, was a popular patriotic song throughout
English Canada and, for many years, served as an unofficial national anthem.
 O Canada" was adopted as the official anthem in 1980.
 Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir
Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French before it was adapted into English in 1906.
Canadian men's national ice hockey team celebrates shortly after winning the gold medal final at the
2010 Winter Olympics.
roots of organized sports in Canada date back to the 1770s,
culminating in the development and popularization of the major professional games of
 ice hockey,
Canada's official national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. 
Other sports such as
bowling, and the study of
martial arts are all widely enjoyed at the youth and amateur levels.
Great achievements in Canadian sports are recognized by
 Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
There are numerous other sport "halls of fame" in Canada, such as the
 Hockey Hall of Fame.
Canada shares several
major professional sports leagues with the United States.
Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the
 National Hockey League, as well as three
Major League Soccer teams and one team in each of
Major League Baseball and the
National Basketball Association. Other popular professional competitions include the
Canadian Football League,
National Lacrosse League, the
Canadian Premier League, and the various curling tournaments sanctioned and organized by
Canada has enjoyed success both
at the Winter Olympics and
at the Summer Olympics
—though, particularly, the Winter Games as a "winter sports nation"—and has hosted several high-profile international sporting events such as the
 1976 Summer Olympics,
 1988 Winter Olympics,
 2010 Winter Olympics,
 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Most recently, Canada hosted the
 2015 Pan American Games and
2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto.
The country is scheduled to co-host the
 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico and the United States.
^ 6,416 km (3,987 mi) via the
contiguous 48 states and 2,475 km (1,538 mi) via
^ "Brokerage politics: A Canadian term for successful
big tent parties that embody a
pluralistic catch-all approach to appeal to the median Canadian voter ... adopting
centrist policies and
electoral coalitions to satisfy the short-term preferences of a majority of electors who are not located on the ideological fringe."
"The traditional  brokerage model of Canadian politics leaves little room for ideology."
Royal Canadian Navy is composed of approximately 8,400 full-time sailors and 5,100 part-time sailors. The Army is composed of approximately 22,800 full-time soldiers, 18,700 reservists, and 5,000
Canadian Rangers. The Royal Canadian Air Force is composed of approximately 13,000 Regular Force personnel and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel."
^ All citizens of Canada are classified as "Canadians" as defined by
Canada's nationality laws. "Canadian" as an ethnic group has since 1996 been added to census questionnaires for possible ancestral origin or descent. "Canadian" was included as an example on the English questionnaire and "Canadien" as an example on the French questionnaire.
"The majority of respondents to this selection are from the eastern part of the country that was first settled. Respondents generally are visibly European (Anglophones and Francophones) and no longer self-identify with their ethnic ancestral origins. This response is attributed to a multitude or generational distance from ancestral lineage." 
^ Indigenous peoples are not considered a visible minority in Statistics Canada calculations. Visible minorities are defined by Statistics Canada as "persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour".
Catholic Church (29.9%),
United Church (3.3%),
Anglican Church (3.1%),
Eastern Orthodoxy (1.7%),
Pentecostalism and other Charismatic (1.1%)
Jehovah's Witness (0.4%),
Latter Day Saints (0.2%),
Wesleyan (Holiness) (0.3%),
Presbyterian (0.8%), and
7.6  percent simply identified as "Christians".
"Royal Anthem". Government of Canada. August 11, 2017.
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Government of Canada and
Standards Council of Canada prescribe
ISO 8601 as the country's official all-numeric date format:
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(Revised ed.). Dundurn Press. p.
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. 978-1-55002-276-6 The
yy formats also remain in common use; see
Date and time notation in Canada.
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Naming Canada: Stories about Canadian Place Names University of Toronto Press. pp. 14–22.
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