Canada Industry

Canada’s industry has been built around the country’s rich commodity resources, cheap energy and proximity to important markets. The industry is concentrated mainly to southern Ontario and to Quebec. The automotive and steel industry has its headquarters in the major cities around Lake Ontario. In Quebec, the aerospace industry is strong.

The car industry consists primarily of subsidiaries of American car companies, such as Dodge and Ford, but since the 1990s, Asian car companies Toyota and Honda also manufacture cars in Canada. In Québec there are, among other things, several companies in aerospace and aerospace engineering with manufacturing for both civilian and military purposes. In the province there are, among other things, Bombardier which manufactures aircraft and trains as well as Bell Helicopter which manufactures helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft (which is an intermediate between a helicopter and a regular aircraft).


Manufacture of food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment are also important industries. Canada is also a major exporter of timber, newsprint and pulp.

Industry is highly dependent on foreign investment. Most of the industrial goods are exported to the US market, and therefore the industry is affected quickly when there are worse times in the USA. The automotive industry had great difficulties from 2007, but has recovered in recent years, especially the production of light trucks has increased. The low exchange rate of the Canadian dollar against the US has contributed to this. The majority of vehicle exports go to the United States. The fact that younger Americans do not buy new cars to the same extent as the older generation is expected in the next few years to create new problems for the automotive industry.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Canada. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

Between 2004 and 2008, over 300,000 industrial jobs in Canada disappeared. The manufacturing industry now employs just under a tenth of the total workforce (17 per cent if employees in the construction sector are also included). The vast majority of industrial workers are found in companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Foreign trade

Due to the relatively limited domestic market, foreign trade has always played an important role in Canada’s economy. For a long time, exports of agricultural and forestry products were dominated, but nowadays industrial products followed by oil, gas and minerals are most important. The US is by far the country’s most important trading partner, followed by China.

In 2016, the automotive industry accounted for about one fifth of goods exports. Other important industrial goods that were exported were electronic equipment, consumer goods and chemicals. In recent years, exports of oil and natural gas have decreased in importance due to falling world market prices. Agriculture and forestry’s share of exports has also declined in recent years.

A free trade agreement between Canada and the United States entered into force in 1989. This was extended five years later to include Mexico. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA) eliminated most tariffs and trade barriers between the countries until 2000. This led to exports to the US grew rapidly in the 1990s tripled exports of automobiles and other transportation equipment. In 2015, 57 percent of Canada’s exports to the United States went, and almost as much of the imports came from there.

Trade with Mexico has increased significantly since the formation of Nafta, but trade between countries is still relatively small.

In the summer of 2017, a renegotiation of the Nafta agreement was initiated on the initiative of the USA (see Foreign Policy and Defense). Prior to the talks, Canada emphasized issues such as workers’ rights and the protection of the environment. Another important issue for Canada was to find a common mechanism for the Nafta countries to settle disputes where companies believe that states have introduced measures that risk reducing their profits. This became particularly sensitive when the measures concerned environmental protection or human health. Although Canada has lost more disputes than the US, the country wants to keep the current system, while Washington wants more cases to be settled at home.

However, several conflicts have arisen regarding the trade between Canada and the United States. A dispute has involved Canadian exports of timber to the United States. In early 2018, Canada turned to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to see if the US violated trade rules, including by imposing tariff duties aimed at reducing imports of goods where prices are considered to be dumped or subsidies have distorted competition. Among other things, the United States had imposed penalties on Canadian timber and is considering doing so for stationery as well. However, there were no penalties following a ruling in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in January 2018. Disputes also exist over Canada’s export of dairy products and newsprint (US imposed new 22 percent duty on Canadian newsprint in March 2018 following a complaint from a US paper mill). When the US imposed new duties on steel and aluminum in March 2018, it was agreed that exceptions would be made for Canada and Mexico when the Nafta negotiations were in port. Later that year, however, the United States introduced tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and in July 2018, Canada responded by introducing new tariffs on over 200 US goods.

In August 2018, the US and Mexico agreed on a new free trade agreement and US President Donald Trumpo put hard pressure on Canada to quickly decide if the country should join. It became clear at the end of September of the same year and the countries agreed on the US-Mexico-Canada agreement(United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA) that would eventually replace Nafta (before it can take effect, it must be approved by the parliaments of the three countries). Exactly how the agreement looks was not clear at the beginning of October 2018, but Canada managed to get the United States to agree to retain the mechanism existing within Nafta to resolve trade disputes. Canadians also secured some protection for their automotive industry in the event of any new US tariffs. However, the United States has not announced any changes to the tariffs the country has introduced for steel and aluminum manufactured in Canada. Some (just under 4 percent) of the Canadian dairy market will also be opened for US exports.

China has become an increasingly important trading partner, especially its imports have increased rapidly. Other important exporting countries are the United Kingdom and Japan.

2017 entered into a new free trade agreement with the EU: Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta). Canada has also concluded its own free trade agreements with, for example, Chile, Colombia, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, South Korea and Ukraine.

In March 2018, new negotiations started on a free trade agreement with the Latin American cooperation organization Mercosur.

Canada and eleven other Pacific countries agreed in 2016 on a free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP). The talks had begun in 2008 but Canada joined in 2012 only after Japan had shown interest in participating. The agreement was designed so that all countries would not have to participate in all parts. Among other things, it was about lowering a number of tariffs on goods, but the agreement also applied to trade in services. The criticism of TPP increased after the Canadian election in the fall of 2015, as more details were revealed. Canadian dairy farmers worried about what would happen if the government opened the country for cheap dairy imports. Business also had objections. In 2017, however, the US withdrew, but the remaining eleven countries decided at the end of that year to renegotiate the agreement. By the beginning of 2018, this was clear and Canada, after some hesitation, decided to join. The new agreement was renamed CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement). One purpose of the cooperation is to counterbalance China’s dominance in Asia.

In recent years, Canada’s imports have been larger than exports, with the exception of 2014 when energy prices were high. However, between 2002 and 2008, the country had significant trade surpluses. From 2009 to 2016, Canada also had a current account deficit.


Merchandise exports

US $ 451,613 M (2018)


US $ 468 579 M (2018)

Current account

– US $ 45,323 million (2018)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

54 percent (2018)

Main export goods

cars and car parts, oil and gas, fish and agricultural products, machinery, metals, consumer goods

Largest trading partner

USA, China, Japan, Mexico, UK, Germany


The tourism industry is built around the magnificent nature and outdoor life. Canada’s national parks cover over 300,000 square kilometers. The largest is Wood Buffalo, in Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Most visitors are attracted to the country’s first national park in Banff at the Rocky Mountains, founded in 1885.

Several new parks have been created in recent years, including Tursujuq Park in Quebec. At the same time, drilling for shale oil and gas near Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland poses a danger to the ecosystems there. A hydropower building is considered a threat to Wood Buffalo National Park, which is on the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List.

Other major tourist destinations are the Niagara Falls and the cities of Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver. Many are attracted to the winter festival in Québec where they compete in building ice sculptures.

Most of the foreign visitors come from the United States, but also many from the United Kingdom, China, France and Germany.

Tourism revenues correspond to about 2 percent of the country’s GDP. The largest share of the state’s income from the tourism industry comes from Canadians vacationing in their home country.


Number of foreign visitors per year

19 824 000 (2016)

tourist revenue

18278 000 000 US dollars (2016)

The share of tourist income from exports

3.9 percent (2016)



No to a foreign mining company

November 3

Ottawa decides that a British-Australian mining company, BHP, may not take over the Canadian Potash Corporation on the grounds that it does not benefit Canada. BHP has offered nearly US $ 39 billion to the company. The Potash Corporation controls about a quarter of the world’s potash assets, which are used as fertilizers in agriculture.


Police are charged with assault in connection with G20 protests

G20-the rally in Toronto leads to unrest as police clash with masked protesters. Around 900 people are arrested. The police are subsequently accused of taking the assault. Criticism is also directed at the police being given the right to stop anyone who is near the security barriers and to visit them, and to arrest them if they cannot identify themselves. The majority of the 10,000 protesters are peaceful, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s civil rights organization claims that many of those arrested are protesters who have not participated in the violence. The cost of the security measures in connection with the meeting and a previous G8 meeting in Huntsville, Ontario, is reported to be around one billion Canadian dollars. At the meeting, the G 20 countries will agree to halve their budget deficits by 2013.



Parliament’s Christmas holidays are being extended, the purpose is being questioned

December 4th

At the end of the year, Prime Minister Harper decides that Parliament should not reopen after the Christmas holidays, but be closed until March 3 when the Vancouver Olympics have ended. The decision raises criticism and the Canadian parliament’s weak position is discussed in the media. It is also speculated that the government is taking action to avoid troublesome questions about how the Canadian force in Afghanistan handled prison exchanges. This after a Canadian diplomat accused his own troops of routinely handing prisoners to Afghan government forces, despite the fact that the prisoners were known to be subjected to torture and other abuses.


The government compromises in order to remain

2 September

Liberal leader Ignatieff announces that his party is withdrawing its support for the Conservative minority government. However, within the Liberal Party there is disagreement as to whether to drop the government to force a new election as early as autumn 2009. The government wins a few weeks’ respite as BQ promises to support it in a vote of confidence in the House of Commons on September 18, because the vote is about tax relief for those renovating. his home. The NDP also promises to support Harper’s ministry on the condition that it introduces a more generous labor market insurance for older workers who lose their jobs.


Stimulatory measures are announced

6th of February

The federal budget for 2009/2010 contains a stimulus package and for the first time since 1997, the state budget was expected to be minus. Several observers point out that the economy was strong after all and that the Conservative government is largely implementing the stimulus measures to ward off the threat from the opposition.

Canada Industry

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