In the index that the United Nations
Development Agency UNDP establishes annually over the
world standard of living, Canada tends to be in one of
the top places, but by 2018 the country had fallen to
12th place, partly due to growing income gaps. The index
takes into account such things as income, literacy, life
expectancy and child mortality. At the same time, Canada
ranked number five on the OECD's list of the countries
in which it is best to live.
Economic growth has mainly benefited the middle
class, while weaker groups have lagged behind in living
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Canada, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
According to the 2016 census, 4.6 million Canadians
were counted as poor, that is, they lived on less than
half of the national median income. Of these, 1.2
million were children.
A majority of Canadians consider themselves to be
middle class, but many of them are struggling to get the
economy together. This is not least due to the fact that
they have taken out large loans to buy their homes. High
house and apartment prices also make it difficult for
many to enter the housing market.
In recent years, homelessness has become a major
problem. In 2016, 235,000 people were estimated to be
homeless, due to lack of housing at reasonable costs,
unemployment, mental illness and more. The situation was
particularly serious in the larger cities.
The social welfare system differs between the
All Canadians are covered by health insurance,
Medicare. It is the provinces (and territories) that
will provide free health care, but all will also receive
federal funding for this. Which care you are entitled to
depends on which province you live in. In several
provinces, there is a ban on private insurance for
treatments that are available in public health care. In
Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, initiatives have
been taken to create more space for private healthcare
providers. In many places, long care queues are a
Many Canadians are proud of the general health care
system and there is a concern about getting a system
similar to the US, where those who can pay for
themselves receive better care than others.
Abortion is allowed in Canada, since the Supreme
Court in 1988 ruled that abortion prohibition violated
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The retirement age is 65, but there are plans to
raise it to 67. To be eligible for a pension, a person
must have lived in the country for at least ten years
after turning 18. In 2013, new rules were introduced
aimed at getting more people to work up to 65 years. In
addition, both employers and employees must pay more
into the pension system than before. From 2019, a new
system will come into force, which means that the upper
limit on how much you will receive in retirement will be
gradually increased (this does not include those who
have only worked in Québec) so that they receive the
equivalent of one third of their previous pension.
income against a quarter in today's system.
A new child allowance, Canada Child Benefit, was
introduced in 2015 and is paid monthly. Middle-class
families and low-income families receive more grants
than high-income earners. According to a parliamentary
study from the end of 2016, a family of children
received almost 2,000 Canadian dollars a year more than
in the old system.
Parental allowance has been paid since the end of
2017 for 18 months. This was an increase of six months,
compared to before, but those who choose to stay at home
the entire period receive less in compensation than
parents who only take 12 months off. However, Québec has
its own system, where compensation levels are generally
higher than in other parts of Canada.
Many of the indigenous peoples live in poverty and
depend on grants. Unemployment in these groups is about
twice as high as for the rest of the population and
income is just over 72 percent of the Canadian average.
The difference is even greater if you count only First
Nations (Indians) who live in the reserve, where the
housing shortage is large and many still lack
electricity and running water.
The cuts made in the welfare system during the 2010s,
as well as the economic crisis 2008/2009, have hit the
indigenous peoples particularly hard. The proportion of
alcohol and drug addicts is high. Suicides among young
people are also five, six times higher than among other
Canadians. The issue has been getting more and more
attention in recent years, not least since leaders in
the Ontario Attawapiskat reserve in 2016 announced
"state of emergency" since eleven youths attempted
suicide during one night.
Opioid abuse, especially fentanyl, is a growing
problem (see Calendar).
The life expectancy is significantly lower than for
other residents. For Inuit men, who were the most
vulnerable group, 2017 was 64 years, compared with the
national average of 79 years. For women, the difference
was slightly less 73 years for Inuit women compared to
83 years for all Canadian women.
In the 2011 election, almost 25 percent of the lower
house's 308 members were women. The indigenous peoples
are also under-represented. Seven Inuit were elected to
the lower house in 2011. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of
Health 2008-2013, was the first Inuit to get a
government post. In the 2015 elections, women increased
their representation slightly, 88 of the 338 members
were women (corresponding to 26 percent) and ten came
from the indigenous peoples. However, the Liberal
government that took office in 2015 consisted of as many
women as men.
Women are more vulnerable to violent crimes than men
and those who have roots in the indigenous peoples are
more vulnerable than other groups. In 2016, the women's
organization Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC)
estimated that up to 4,000 women had been murdered or
disappeared between 1980 and 2012. Police statistics had
previously mentioned 1,200.
In 2005, Parliament voted to introduce marriage of
people of the same gender at the federal level. The
opposition was strong within the Conservative Party, but
also several liberals voted against the law passed with
the support of the NDP and BQ (for party designations
see Political system). However, several provinces had
introduced same-sex marriage a few years earlier.
In 2017, it was forbidden to discriminate against
people for their gender identity.
Canada is about to legalize marijuana. The purpose is
to prevent criminals from making big profits from the
sale of the drug, and to protect minors. At the same
time, the penalty should be sharply increased for those
who sell marijuana to people who have not turned 18 (or
19 in some provinces). It will be the responsibility of
the provinces to decide how the drug should be
distributed and how high the price should be. The use of
marijuana for medical use is already permitted in
Canada. The new rules will take effect on October 17,
In 2016, it became legal for health care
professionals to help severely ill people die. However,
euthanasia can only be given to people who are close to
dying naturally. The Senate had wished that even people
who are not sick would be covered by the law, but the
lower house rejected this. The law gives doctors, nurses
and pharmacists the right to provide euthanasia without
risking prosecution. Two medically skilled persons must
sign the patient's request to die. A ten-day waiting
period is also prescribed before the patient can be
helped to die. Euthanasia was introduced six months
earlier in Quebec. Between June 2016 and April 2017,
1,300 people had been helped to die.
Trafficking in human beings is prohibited but occurs.
In 2014, a new law was adopted, reminiscent of the
Swedish, where there are people who buy sexual services,
not those who sell them, who commit a crime.
Canada has on several occasions been criticized by
the UN for not doing enough to promote children's
rights. When the UN Children's Fund Unicef 2017 ranked
children's conditions in 41 countries, Canada ranked
25th. Poverty, suicide among young people, poor dietary
habits and bullying problems and more contributed to the
country falling so far down the list. In 2012, the UN
Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized Canada
for its decision to tighten the penalties for young
people who committed crimes (see Political system).
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
4 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
98.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
99.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
10.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 4,458 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
27 percent (2018)
Canada has a well-developed road network. The
Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from St. John 's in
Newfoundland to Victoria in British Columbia, stretches
over 780 miles, making it the world's longest road. Most
of the country's roads are in the south towards the US
In the fall of 2017, a new stretch of road was opened
from the Tuktoyaktuk community by the sea in the
Northwest Territories, linking the northern area with
the road system in the southern part of the country. In
the past, the road has only been able to be used during
the winter when the ice lies. Road construction means
that the population of the area is no longer dependent
on expensive air travel and expensive freight flights to
and from other parts of Canada.
It is the provinces that are responsible for the
roads, with the exception of the road network in the
territories and national parks.
Like the roads, most of the railways pass through
southern Canada in an east-west direction. Two
companies, Canadian Pacific (CP) and Canadian National
Railways (CN), control about three-quarters of the
railroad tracks. There are about 10 train companies, but
most of the passenger traffic is handled by VIA Rail
In 2013, a serious accident occurred in which 47
people were killed and nearly 40 were injured after a
train loaded with crude oil derailed at the town of Lac-Mégantic
in Québec. Following the accident, the Montreal, Maine
and Atlantic Railway (MMA) train company lost its
license to operate traffic.
Train traffic was deregulated in the late 1990s,
which led to repeated criticism for lack of safety in
train traffic, not least after what happened in Québec.
The risks of accidents are considered to have increased
in recent years as more and more oil is transported by
Large parts of northern Canada can only be reached by
The busiest airports are Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal
and Calgary. Largest airlines are Air Canada, which was
privatized in 1989, WestJet and Air Transat.
A large part of freight traffic is by boat. The
largest ports are in Vancouver, Nanaimo (British
Columbia), Saint John (in New Brunswick) and Montreal
and Sept--les (in Quebec). An extensive canal system
connects the Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence River.
Thus, in-depth vessels can operate the cities around the
Ignatieff new interim leader for Liberal Party
Michael Ignatieff is temporarily appointed as the new Liberal Party leader.
He belongs to the party's right wing.
The government wardes off threats of mistrust
The opposition joins and criticizes the Conservative government for not doing
more to avert an economic crisis. Faced with the threat of a vote of no
confidence, the government is able to postpone the next session of the House of
Commons until January 2009. This leads to the opposition's plans for a vote of
no confidence falling and the government hanging out with the support of the
The Conservative Party wins new elections, but the minority board continues
Canada is up for election, but this time neither party is able to win its own
majority. The Conservative Party gets 38 percent of the vote and 143 of 308
seats. The Liberals receive just over 26 percent of the vote, which is enough
for 77 seats. BQ receives 49 seats, 2 less than before, while the NDP receives
37 seats, an increase of 8 seats. The Liberals' decline is partly due to
increased competition from other parties, but the talk of a new carbon tax does
not go home among voters at a time when economic turmoil is growing. The turnout
is low - just over 59 percent.
The government apologizes to the indigenous peoples
The government apologizes for the fact that children from the indigenous
population were previously forced to attend special boarding schools in order to
assimilate them into society.
Harper promises to respect the Kyoto agreement
The federal government is trying to get a green profile and Harper promises
that Canada will respect the Kyoto agreement. The 2008/2009 budget also contains
new money to counteract climate change. The budget can be adopted after the
Liberals cast their votes to avoid a new election.
Liberals remain in power in Quebec despite losing majority
The Liberals are returning to the provincial elections in Quebec, losing
their majority in the provincial parliament. A new party, the right-wing
populist Democratic act in Québec (ADQ) is progressing strongly. The Quebec
Party (PQ) becomes only the third largest party. ADQ calls for increased
"self-government" for Québec, but at the same time advocates that the province
remain in the federation. The Liberals continue to lead the province with a