Canada is known around the world for its natural beauty and its natural resources. Bounded by three oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic – Canada is comprised of 10 provinces and two territories, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The provinces in order of location from east to west, are: Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland (including Labrador); Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Quebec; Ontario; Manitoba; Saskatchewan; Alberta; and British Columbia. English and French are both official languages in Canada. Provincial governments are all parliamentary democracies. The federal government is also a parliamentary democracy. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada, head of the Progressive Conservative Party government and Chair of Cabinet.
The service sector represents the largest share of Canada’s business activity, at more than 60% of the economy.
Rapid technological progress has played a dominant role in the service sector’s development. According to Statistics Canada, the manufacturing, construction and utility sectors follow, banking for a combined 30% share. The largest manufacturing industries are: food and beverages; transportation equipment; pulp and paper; primary metals; metal fabrication; wood products; chemicals; and mineral fuels. Canada’s manufacturing companies use advanced state-of-the-art technology in electronics, robotics, computers and communications. Canada is also a leader in the development and application of fiber optics.
Canada actively participates in international trading. The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner followed by Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany. The signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, and more recently, the Free Trade Agreement in 1989, has helped encourage the evolving trade relationship, between Canada and the U.S. Then, by including Mexico in the 1992 signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada has become an integral component of the largest free trade area in the world, with over 360 million consumers. Canada takes part in a number of international trade, financial and economic organizations, such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Financial Task Force on Money Laundering and others. Canada also takes part in the G-7 and the G-20.