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Canada: Facts and Figures

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 21 Aug 2017 |
Canada Country Facts Figures Education

Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia, yet it has a comparatively small population of 33 million people. The vast unoccupied areas of the country include snow capped peaks, endless lakes and sprawling forests, making Canada a particularly idyllic part of the world to emigrate to. Boasting hot summers and cold winters, it is no wonder Britons wish to emigrate here every year, making up part of the 250,000 new Canadian residents every year.


Canada's four largest cities are Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. They each offer something completely different to Canada's diverse population. Toronto is often compared to New York because it is a large cosmopolitan scene while Calgary is the centre of the booming Canadian oil industry and is therefore successful economically. Montreal is European in its styling, and in keeping with its French heritage the bilingual city is full of culture. Finally, Vancouver has acquired its name "city of glass" due to its dazzling glass structure and picturesque, more naturalistic setting. The majority of Canadians live in the major cities, within about 200km of the American border where climates are more bearable.


Canada’s terrain is extremely varied from sunny beaches to frozen mountain tops. Central Canada has a rocky face and is bursting with lakes and rivers. Southern Canada, the areas of Ontario and Quebec, are littered with gently sloping hills, fruitful farmland and hundreds of towns and cities. The East coast displays windswept beaches and rugged Atlantic shore coastlines, which is a very attractive feature. The West coast is largely covered in old-growth rainforest and is mountainous in nature. The further north you travel, the more ice and snow you will encounter, and even the odd polar bear might roam!


Canada’s constitution is very similar to the UK. Political participation is widely encouraged. Canada has a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the official head of state. The Queen is, however, only a figurehead and the actual powers are extremely limited. Recently the Canadian relationship with the royal family has been boosted by the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The government is also comparative to that of the UK, with a Westminster parliamentary model. This is where the Prime Minister acts as head of the country. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons.


There is a North American Free Trade Agreement, between Canada, the US and Mexico, which has proven extremely beneficial for Canada. America does heavily impact on Canadian exports, in the form of taxes and increased support for US farmers has created tension. Canada, however, benefits from large quantities of natural resources including natural gas, oil and timber.Being a neighbour to the largest economy in the world has its benefit, and being close to American border makes cross-border trade easy and efficient. Although not obviously apparent, the majority of Canadian trade occurs between itself and the United States, last recorded at 75% in 2008.


Canada's natural exports have performed well in global trade in recent years and the relative stability of natural resource value has meant that Canada has surfaced well from the world economic crisis.

Canada’s currency has continued to strengthen recently, pushing average wages above that of the US, UK and many countries in continental Europe. 

One of the most attractive things about living in Canada is that, in most locations, it's possible to buy a large house on a standard income. The low population density means that land is relatively inexpensive and readily available materials makes costs lower for building.

Canada has not been immune to the general economic downturn, however, and unemployment rates in Toronto and Vancouver hover (early 2011) at about 8 percent whilst the rate in Calgary and Edmonton is about 6 to 7 percent.  Finding work can be troublesome, particularly for low skilled workers, and it would be unwise to emigrate before ensuring any type of employment. It's also important to remember that your current skills might not be transferable to the Canadian system, so take time to discover how qualified you are from a Canadian standpoint.

If you have specialist qualifications, the chances of finding a job are certainly more likely, given the small population of Canada.


The Canadian dollar (C$) is the country’s official currency, trading well in world markets. 100 cents make a dollar, and one American dollar will buy you 1.1 Canadian dollars. Like the American dollar, denominations are available in both coin and banknote forms.


French and English both enjoy official status throughout, and the country's federal government services can be received in either language. With a long history of European occupations, areas of Canada have developed as both English and French, and to reflect this, the country affords both languages the same status. However, even though these are the official languages, almost every language and culture can be found in Canada.

Religion and Culture

Canada is a diverse and respectful society in terms of religious beliefs. The vast majority of the country follows Christianity, with nearly 45% following Catholicism.


If you are bringing children to Canada, it's likely their education will be important to you. The OECD compared the performance of school students in 65 countries in mathematics, reading and science. Canadian students performed better than students from any other English speaking country.


Healthcare in Canada is a tax funded system,similar to that of the UK, being free at the point of service. It is important to investigate the process of joining the healthcare system before emigrating to ensure treatment is available before you arrive.

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Both I and my 26-year-old daughter are British citizens. We would like to know how can we emigrate to CANADA?
SOPHIA - 21-Aug-17 @ 2:26 PM
I live in the UK and am a British Citizen. I want to emigrate to Canada (British Colombia) and retire to be near my son. He has Permanent Residency in Canada. Do I apply from the UK or does he apply to sponsor me from Canada? If my son buys a property in Canada can I live in it while waiting for residency? What is the procedure?
Jan - 21-Jun-17 @ 4:20 PM
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