The Canadian economy is comprised of both private and public enterprises. Private enterprises are businesses run by individuals, not controlled by the government. Public enterprises, also known as Crown corporations, are businesses controlled by the Canadian government, either directly or indirectly through directors appointed by government officials. Public enterprises exist at the federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal level. The majority of Canadian jobs are in the private sector. However, employment in public enterprises has increased more than employment in private enterprises in recent years. Public sector employment includes work in transportation, hospitals, schools, utilities, and museums, among others.
Compared to other G20 countries Canada fared average in regards to unemployment rate at 5.9% in 2017. According to Statistics Canada, however, this rate is the lowest unemployment rate in Canada since February 2008, so unemployment in Canada is on the decline.
In Canada, the service sector makes up two-thirds of the economy. Real estate, manufacturing, and natural resources are all also major sectors of the economy.
According to the government of Canada’s Natural Resource department, Canada is among the largest energy producers and consumers in the world. Natural resources include natural gas, of which Canada is the fourth largest producer and fourth largest exporter, crude oil, of which Canada is the world’s third largest exporter, and uranium, of which Canada is the world’s second largest producer and exporter. Natural resources in Canada are found primarily in Alberta with large deposits of coal, oil, and gas and Saskatchewan with the biggest area of agricultural land in Canada.
Canada, especially areas such as Toronto and Vancouver, has become increasingly competitive in regards to technology. Residents from the US tech hub Silicon Valley are even making their way to Canada through Canada’s Start-Up Visa program. More than two-thirds of Canada’s information and communications technology (ICT) is composed of software and computer services and more than two-thirds of ICT products are exported. With high demand for software and computer services, employment and wages in this sector have grown rapidly.
Canada is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products. In fact, the agricultural industry is responsible for about one in eight jobs in Canada. Each province and territory is known for its distinct production of agricultural products and services. The prairie province of Saskatchewan boasts the largest area of crop growth, namely wheat, while Quebec produces more than 75% of the world supply of maple syrup!
In 2016, Canada’s top four exports were motor vehicles, energy products, metals and minerals, and consumer goods. So, where are these exports going? Canada’s largest customer is the US. But Canada is also a signatory of some major international free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
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