Post Colonial Literature in English: Canada

Canada: Economy

[Source: 1998 CIA World Factbook]


As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. Canada started the 1990s in recession, and real rates of growth have averaged only 1.1% so far this decade. Because of slower growth, Canada still faces high unemployment—especially in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces—and a large public sector debt. With its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, however, Canada will enjoy better economic prospects in the future. The continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas is raising the possibility of a split in the federation, making foreign investors somewhat edgy.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$658 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$21,700 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1.8% (1997)

Labor force

Unemployment rate: 8.6% (December 1997)


Industries: processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, transportation equipment, chemicals, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

Industrial production growth rate: 1.7% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 113.645 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 532.64 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 17,448 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; commercial fisheries provide annual catch of 1.5 million metric tons, of which 75% is exported



Debt—external: $253 billion (1996)

Economic aid

Currency: 1 Canadian dollar (Can$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Canadian dollars (Can$) per US$1—1.4408 (January 1998), 1.3846 (1997), 1.3635 (1996), 1.37241 (1995), 1.3656 (1994), 1.2901 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

Postcolonial Web Canada economics