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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

About Canada !!!

Welcome to Multiculturalism and Diversity - Welcome to Canada!



With its majestic mountain ranges, vast plains, beautiful beaches, a refreshing countryside, rural havens and bustling cosmopolitan centers, Canada has the best of nature and the best of mankind's creations.

As a nation built through immigration and multiculturalism, Canada places a high emphasis on diversity and tolerance. Canada is home to immigrants from all over the world, representing a wide variety of ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups. Today, Canada is focused on attracting skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors and students to continue its strong economic growth.



As economic, security and quality of life conditions deteriorate globally, Canada stands out as a pillar of economic strength and continues to offer quality of life standards that are amongst the highest in the world. Recently, the World Economic Forum rated the Canadian Banking and Financial system as the soundest in the world. The UN Human Development Index consistently ranks Canada amongst the top 5 places to live in the world. Canada has been ranked the best place to live in the world ten times.



Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada


Along with an emphasis on economic growth, Canada seeks to enhance the quality of life of its permanent residents and citizens by providing low cost/free medical care, high standards of education, social security and retirement benefits and the freedom to practice and maintain ones religion and culture.

Canada’s constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedom guarantees its citizens and residents equality rights (right to protection against discrimination), mobility rights (right to live and work anywhere in Canada) and legal rights (right to a fair trial), along with freedom of thought, speech, religion and peaceful assembly.

Alberta, Canada - Lake Louise

Canada is the world's second largest country with a landmass of 10 million square kilometres and a population of approximately just 32 million. Canada accepts between 250,000 to 300,000 immigrants annually. For more details on Canada











Toronto, Canada

More About Canada ...

Geography

Canada is divided into the following regions: the Atlantic Region, Central Canada, the Prairie Provinces, the West Coast and the North.

Canada is comprised of 10 provinces and 3 territories which include:

Provinces:

Territories:
1. Alberta 1. Nunavut
2. British Columbia 2. The Northwest Territories
3. Manitoba 3. Yukon
4. Newfoundland
5. Nova Scotia
6. New Brunswick
7. Ontario
8. Prince Edward Island
9. Quebec
10. Saskatchewan

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are the major cosmopolitan centers while Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax are booming centers of oil and gas, trade and communications. The bilingual city of Ottawa is Canada’s capital.

Three oceans border the country: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic. There are some three million lakes in Canada, covering about 7.6 percent of the Canadian landmass. The main lakes, located in Canada (many large lakes are traversed by the Canada-U.S. border), are Huron, Great Bear, Superior, Great Slave, Winnipeg, Erie and Ontario. The largest lake situated entirely in Canada is Great Bear Lake (31 328 km2) in the Northwest Territories.

The St. Lawrence (3 058 kilometers long) is Canada's most important river, allowing inland navigation of large ships from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The longest Canadian river is the Mackenzie, which flows 4241 kilometres through the Northwest Territories. Other large watercourses include the Yukon and the Columbia (parts of which flow through U.S. territory), the Nelson, the Churchill, and the Fraser - along with major tributaries such as the Saskatchewan, the Peace, the Ottawa, the Athabasca and the Liard.


Climate
There are many climatic variations in Canada, ranging from the permanently frozen icecaps of the North to the luxuriant vegetation of British Columbia's west coast. Canada's most populous regions, which lie in the south along the U.S. border, enjoy four distinct seasons. Here, daytime summer temperatures can rise up to 35°C and higher, while lows of minus 25°C are not uncommon in winter. More moderate temperatures are the norm in spring and fall.



Parks and Historic Sites
Canada maintains 39 national parks, which cover about 2 percent of the country's landmass. Banff, located on the eastern slopes of Alberta's Rocky Mountains, is the oldest, having been in existence since 1885; Tuktut Nogait, in the Northwest Territories, was established in 1996. There are about 850 national historic sites, designated in honour of people, places and events that figure in the country's history. Canada also has over 1000 provincial parks and nearly 50 territorial parks.




Mountain Ranges
Canada's terrain incorporates a number of mountain ranges: the Torngats, Appalachians and Laurentians in the east; the Rocky, Coastal and Mackenzie ranges in the west; and Mount St. Elias and the Pelly Mountains in the north. At 5 959 metres, Mount Logan in the Yukon is Canada's tallest peak.





ime Zones

Canada has six time zones. The easternmost, in Newfoundland, is 3 hours and 30 minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The other time zones are Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Rocky Mountain and, farthest west, Pacific, which is eight hours behind GMT.

Political System

Canada is an independent constitutional monarchy and has a democratic system of government which comprises of three tiers: federal, provincial, and municipal. Canada has been founded on the basis of a multicultural liberal identity. To ensure the rights of every individual living in Canada are protected, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was promulgated & became a part of the Constitution in 1982.

The Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa, consists of the House of Commons, whose members are elected, and the Senate, whose members are appointed. On average, Members of Parliament are elected every four years. The political party with the most elected members forms the federal government and the party’s leader becomes the Prime Minister. The official opposition is the party with the second largest number of elected members and its role is to provide constructive criticism to the government and suggest better alternatives.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada's Constitution contains a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which sets out certain fundamental freedoms and rights that neither Parliament nor any provincial legislature acting alone can change. These include equality rights (right to protection against discrimination) mobility rights (right to live and work anywhere in Canada) and legal rights (right to a fair trial), together with freedom of thought, speech, religion and peaceful assembly.

National Emblem

The maple leaf has been associated with Canada for some time: in 1868, it figured in coats of arms granted to Ontario and Quebec, and in both World Wars, it appeared on regimental badges. Since the 1965 introduction of the Canadian flag, the maple leaf has become the country's most important national symbol.



The Canadian Flag
The flag is the symbol of the nation’s unity and represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief, or opinion.” Red and white are the national colors of Canada.

National Anthem

"O Canada" was composed in 1880, with music by Calixa Lavallée and lyrics by Judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier. In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir wrote the translation on which the present English lyrics are based. On July 1, 1980, "O Canada" was proclaimed the national anthem.


Population

As of July 2006 Canada’s population is 32 million.

The leading Canadian cities are Toronto (5.3 million), Montreal (3.63 million), Vancouver (2.20 million), Ottawa-Hull, the National Capital Region (1.14 million).

A large majority of Canadians, 80 percent, live in cities and towns.

Family Size

In 2001, the average family size was 3.0

Living Standard

Canada ranks sixth in the world in standard of living (measured according to gross domestic product per capita). Canada's rank among nations tends to rise even higher in assessments that consider gross domestic product per capita along with other factors such as health care system, educational attainment, housing, cultural and recreational facilities, level of public safety and tourist opportunities that contribute to the overall quality of life.

Health Care

Canada has one of the world's best health care systems. Basic health care, with the exception of dental services, is free at the point of delivery. Also, in most cases, prescription drugs are dispensed without charge to people over 65 and social aid recipients. Every citizen and permanent resident is covered by a medical insurance plan of the province in which he or she resides.

Social Services

Being a welfare state, Canada has an extensive social security network that provides social services which include:

1. Child Tax Benefit: A monthly payment remitted to the parents of the child for the child’s welfare. The amount of child tax benefit varies depending on family income.

2. Welfare: Social Assistance payments to the underprivileged to pay for basic amenities like food, shelter, clothing, prescription drugs etc.

3. Unemployment Benefits

4. Old Age Security

Aboriginal Peoples

In 1996, about 3 percent of Canadians belonged to one or more of the three Aboriginal groups recognized by the Constitution Act, 1982. By the end of 2006 the adult Aboriginal population is expected to grow from 173,000 to 244,000, a 41% increase.

Religion

According to the 2001 census, Roman Catholics account for 43.2 percent of the population and Protestants about 19 percent. Other religions include Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Some 16.2 percent have no religious affiliation at all.

Languages

Canada has two official languages: English, the mother tongue of about 59.1 percent of Canadians; and French, the first language of 22.9 percent of the population. A full 18 percent are allophones i.e. those who speak neither English nor French.

The Official Languages Act makes French and English the official languages of Canada and provides for special measures aimed at enhancing the vitality and supporting the development of English and French linguistic minority communities. Canada's federal institutions reflect the equality of its two official languages by offering bilingual services.

Multiculturalism

Canada has immigrants from practically every country in the world who are encouraged to practice and retain their unique cultures. It is an extremely tolerant and peaceful society and this is reflected in the country’s cultural mosaic

Education

Canada offers quality education that is free up to high school & post-secondary education is very well-subsidized. It is obligatory to complete high school. Canada has a literacy rate of 97% and spends an amount on education that is unparalleled among the industrialized nations.

The Justice System

Canada’s violent crime rate is the lowest in the world. Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as a citizen or a permanent resident, you have equal access to the justice system.

Main Natural Resources

The principal natural resources are natural gas, oil, gold, coal, copper, iron ore, nickel, potash, uranium and zinc, along with wood and water.

Leading Industries

These include automobile manufacturing, pulp and paper, iron and steel work, machinery and equipment manufacturing, mining, extraction of fossil fuels, forestry and agriculture.

Exports

Canada's leading exports are automobile vehicles and parts, machinery and equipment, high-technology products, oil, natural gas, metals, and forest and farm products.



Fact Sheet on Canada

  • Canada is the world's second largest nation after Russia.

  • Canada is a bilingual nation where English & French have linguistic equality

  • The Inuit in Canada have a territory of their own called Nunavut.

  • Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories.

  • Asians have been the fastest growing ethnic group in Canada in recent years.

  • Montreal is Quebec's largest city and is the center of francophone art and culture in Canada.

  • More than one of three Canadians live in Ontario, Canada's most populated province. Ontario includes Toronto and the capital city of Ottawa.



  • Manitoba is often called the "bread basket" of Canada because a great deal of the nation's wheat is grown there. Manitoba's largest city is Winnipeg.

  • Alberta is Canada's largest producer of oil and natural gas. Edmonton is Alberta's largest city.

  • Logging and forestry are the major sources of wealth in British Columbia, Canada's western- most province. Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia.

  • Forests cover more than fifty percent of Canada.

  • Most Canadians live within two hundred miles of the United States.

  • Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico in 1994 which allows free trade and relatively easy labour movement between Canada, the US and Mexico.

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