Economy - overview: As a high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada 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. In addition, the country's petroleum sector is rapidly expanding, because Alberta's oil sands significantly boosted Canada's proven oil reserves. Canada now ranks third in the world in proved oil reserves behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia and is the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.
The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs about three-fourths of Canadian merchandise exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, and electric power, and a top source of US uranium imports.
Given its abundant natural resources, highly skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007. Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada's major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the early intervention by the Bank of Canada and the financial sector's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization. Canada achieved marginal growth in 2010-15, despite the recent drop in oil prices.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on October 8, 2016