An Introduction to Canadian Industries

What makes Canada strong and unique?

Canada is the second largest country in the world and is divided into 10 provinces and three territories, each with a unique economy and culture. Because the Canadian landscape varies dramatically from coast to coast, the provinces and territories are often grouped together into five regions that reflect the differences in the country’s landscape.

The Atlantic provinces include Newfoundland and Labrador and the three Maritime provinces, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. These provinces are known for their fishing industry, since they all have coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to fishing, they have a variety of other industries such as agriculture, mining and offshore oil operations.

Central Canada includes the two largest provinces, Quebec and Ontario. These provinces are a hub for manufacturing, but they also have thriving agriculture, forestry and mining industries. A lot of hydro-electricity is generated in this region, with Quebec being the largest producer in the country, according to the Government of Canada. Ottawa, Ont., the capital of Canada, is in this region as well as Canada’s two largest cities: Toronto, Ont. and Montreal, Que.

The prairie provinces include Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. This region is known for its agriculture. The plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan grow a variety of crops and Alberta is a large producer of beef cattle. In addition to agriculture, this region also contains other valuable resources such as uranium and oil. Alberta’s oil sands generated over $55 billion for the GDP in 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

The province of British Columbia is known as the west coast or Pacific Canada. Located between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this region participates in Canada’s fishing industry and has a thriving forestry industry.  

The fifth region of Canada is in the north and includes Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This is Canada’s largest but least populated area. The land is rich with valuable minerals, including gold and diamonds. Hunting, fishing and trapping are also both economically and culturally important.

Because of this beautiful, diverse landscape, Canada has become a popular movie/TV series location, leading to the growth of the film industry. In addition to natural landscapes, several cities, including Vancouver and Montreal, are popular in the industry and Toronto is a common substitute for New York.

Canada has a number of successful industries that don’t directly depend on natural resources. For example, research and development and the aerospace manufacturing industry have led to several Canadian robots being installed on the International Space Station. These robots are called the Mobile Base System, Canadarm2 and Dextre, and they perform a variety of tasks including maintenance, supporting astronauts during spacewalks, and docking cargo ships.

Canadian natural resource industries also require a lot of research and development. Mining and forestry companies are constantly looking for ways to adhere to government standards, decrease their environmental impact and improve sustainability. The fishing industry also researches sustainability and struggles to keep the oceans healthy. Agriculture has seen innovations such as the development of canola oil seed that is grown on more than 20 million acres of Canadian farmland, according to Statistics Canada.

Because of the diversity of its industries, the Canadian economy is not dependent on any single sector. According to Statistics Canada, real estate (including rental and leasing) had the largest percentage of Canada’s industry-based GDP at nearly 13 per cent in 2019. Manufacturing is next, generating over $200 billion, or 10 per cent, for Canada’s GDP in 2019.  Around $8 billion of the manufacturing GDP came from aerospace manufacturing. 

While the resource-rich landscape of Canada can be challenging to navigate or settle in some areas, it plays a vital role in the country’s economy and identity. Canadians often take pride in their ability to thrive in rugged conditions and a cold winter climate.

From lush forests to innovative thinkers, Canada has a lot to offer both nationally and globally.

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