At 10 million square kilometres, Canada is the second largest country in the world according to landmass. The population, however, is significantly smaller at approximately 30 million people, which is about one-tenth of the population of the United States.
Canada is bordered by three oceans: the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Pacific. The country is divided into geographical regions according to climate, industry, and landscape: Atlantic, Central Canada, Prairies, West Coast, and North.
There are three levels of government in Canada: federal (nation), provincial (provinces), and municipal (cities). Canada is grouped into 10 provinces and 3 territories, each with its own capital city. The national capital of Canada is Ottawa, Ontario.
Canada is the one of the leading G-7 Nations. The economic and social structures of the country are highly developed with excellent working conditions, a respected education system, and a high standard of living. The Canadian health care system is ranked one of the best in the world.
The Canadian population includes immigrants from virtually every country in the world. Every year Canadians welcome more than 200 000 new immigrants into the country. The contributions made by immigrants to businesses and communities are significant and important to Canada's continued economic and social growth. The federal and provincial governments promote multiculturalism and encourage the continuous development of Canada's cultural mosaic. Canadians come from many diverse backgrounds and cultures, and these heritages are celebrated both for their similarities and differences.
Once receiving landed immigrant (permanent resident) status, new Canadians receive full citizen rights. These rights are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In order to apply for a Canadian passport and be eligible to vote, you must become a Canadian citizen. You may apply for citizenship after residing in Canada for three years.
Most Canadians were born in Canada and came from the original founding peoples. But over the past 200 years, many newcomers have helped to build and defend this country’s way of life. Today, many ethnic and religious groups live and work in peace as proud Canadians. Until the 1970s, most immigrants came from European countries. Since then, the majority have come from Asian countries.
About 20 per cent of Canadians were born outside Canada. In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, this number is over 45 per cent. Immigrants like you are a valued part of Canada’s multicultural society.