Learn more about specific causes in Canada that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentCanada possesses more fresh water resources than any other nation, and almost 9 percent of the country is water.1 Canada also has over 2 million lakes, and some estimates say 3 million, exceeding the number of lakes in all other nations combined.2 Canada is home to a wide variety of wildlife like the Atlantic puffin, pine marten, bison, eider duck, polar bear, spotted salamander, thick-billed murray, moose, the common loon, harp seal, caribou, northern gannet, cougar, the northern hawk owl, bighorn sheep and river otter.3 The nation is party to a number of international environmental agreements, including acts on air pollution, climate change, Antarctic marine resources, timber, marine dumping and hazardous waste.4 The Canadian government presents air pollution as the nation’s most prominent environmental Read More concern as a result of a growing housing and transportation system.5 Show Less
FamilyCanada experienced a baby-boom period similar to that of the United States from the mid 1940s to 1960s, with couples marrying at a young age and starting a family shortly thereafter.1The nation has experienced an increase in common-law unions, as well as a rise in single-parents families.2 Household, or family, sizes have dropped.3
Human RightsCanada holds an international reputation for staunchly defending human rights. Despite this, the government still faces a number of human rights issues.1 Several of these issues lie in the treatment of and provisions for Canada’s indigenous populations.2 Though statistics report that 99.8 percent of the population has access to an improved drinking water source, the Human Rights Watch reports that two indigenous communities in Ontario face mercury poisoning stemming from a recently shuttered chemical plant on a river, upstream, from Dryden. Groundwater samples recently taken from the area still show high levels of mercury. The Ontario government allocated CAN$85 million to resolving the contaminated water issue in 2017.3 Additionally, indigenous women face higher rates of homicide, and go missing, more often than their non-indigenous fellow Read More citizens; only 4.3 percent of the Canadian population are indigenous females, 16 percent of female murders are indigenous women, and 11.3 percent of missing women are from First Nations populations.4 Canada accounts for half the world’s mining companies, and has heavy investment in mining abroad. However, there is no formal legal structure in place that provides accountability for the nation’s mining industry.5 Show Less
EducationElementary and secondary education is compulsory for residents, with the secondary education providing students with the option to choose an academic, vocational or technical track.1 In each Canadian province and territory there is a ministry or department of education that has jurisdiction over the organization and development of the region’s education system.2 There are variations from system to system across the provinces and territories, particularly in curriculum and assessments, that take into account the unique needs of the region based on its geography, language and history.3 Canada is a bilingual nation, with both French and English as its official languages, as established by the 1969 Official Languages Act.4 The Canadian government is additionally responsible for the education of indigenous populations. Canada offers postsecondary financial support Read More for 23,000 students’ education expenses.5 Show Less
PovertyAlthough Canada is categorized as a developed country and has a robust economy, poverty still remains an issue in parts of the country.1 9.4 percent of Canadians live below the Low Income Line. This is not a poverty line, as Canada does not have an official poverty line. The Canadian poverty line is set based on the distribution of wealth in the nation.2 Poverty rates, from an international standard, are over twice as high for visible minority groups compared to white groups; the overall 3 In Vancouver, 58 percent of the impoverished population is part of a racial minority group.4
ReligionCanada has a religiously diverse population; 9 percent of the population is Catholic, while 20.3 percent is Protestant (United Church, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, other Protestant), 1.6 percent Orthodox, 6.3 percent other Christian, 3.2 Muslim, 1.5 percent Hindu, 1.4 percent Sikh, 1.1 percent Buddhist, 1 percent Jewish, 0.6 percent other and 23.9 percent claim none.1 In 2018, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Trinity Western University could not ban sexual activity outside of marriage.2 Trinity Western University is a Christian university.3 The case was considered to be a landmark for future religious freedom court decisions.4
Clean WaterCanada possesses more fresh water resources than any other nation, and almost 9 percent of the country is water.1 Canada also has over 2 million lakes, and some estimates say 3 million, exceeding the number of lakes in all other nations combined.2 Virtually the entire population has access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities.3 Though statistics report that 99.8 percent of the population has access to an improved drinking water source, the Human Rights Watch reports that two indigenous communities in Ontario face mercury poisoning stemming from a recently shuttered chemical plant on a river, upstream, from Dryden. Groundwater samples recently taken from the area still show high levels of mercury. The Ontario government allocated CAN$85 million to resolving the contaminated water issue in Read More 2017.4 Show Less
EconomyCanada has a western, market-centered economic system similar to that of the United States. As a highly technical country, it maintains relatively good economic stability, and is the third largest nation in proven oil reserves, with Venezuela and Saudi Arabia taking the lead.1 Canada is the United States’ largest supplier of energy in oil, natural gas and uranium.2 Canada has a $1.764 trillion GDP in purchasing power, ranking it in the top 20 countries in the world for GDP. Its GDP per capita is $48,100.3 The primary Canadian industries include transportation equipment, chemicals and minerals, food products, wood and paper, natural gas, petroleum and fish products.4 Exports include timber, plastics and aluminum. Canada’s unemployment rate is 6.5 percent.5 Canada’s economy grew steadily from 1993 to Read More 2007, but still felt the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis. However, Canada’s banking system left the crisis as one of the strongest in the world. The country continues to report steady economic growth, posting a growth rate of 3 percent for the year 2017.6 Show Less
GovernmentCanada is a democratic constitutional monarchy that follows the British pattern of parliamentary democracy.1 The UK monarch serves as the head of state, and is represented by a Canadian governor general, with Canada’s prime minister.2 The Canadian government has maintained relative stability, and works closely with the United States, as it shares a border and close trade relations with the country.3 The country maintains its historic relations with the United Kingdom, though it became self-governing in 1867 and then repatriated its constitution in 1982.4 Canada is ranked the 8th best nation in the world for transparency and the low national perception of corruption.5
HealthCanada’s healthcare system provides “universal coverage for medically necessary health care services.”1 However, Canadians are reported to have to wait longer in order to reach a care provider, with 33 percent of Canadians waiting six days or longer to see a physician, while only 19 percent of Americans have to wait six or more days. 10 percent of Canadians have to wait eight hours or more in an ER.2 The infant mortality rate is 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, and healthcare expenditures account for 10.4 percent of the GDP, placing Canada in the top 20 nations for healthcare expenditures in the world.3 Heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are the leading causes of death.4
ChildrenCanada is party to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, an agreement sponsored by UNICEF that affirms a child’s rights to protection, provision and participation in society, as well as special protections for vulnerable child populations.1 The nation is performing a review of the implementation of Rights of the Child from 2018 through 2020.2 In addition to Rights of the Child, Canada signed two agreements, one preventing children from becoming participants in armed conflict, the other protecting children from being victims of child prostitution or pornography.3 Canada operates under a provincial health care system. As a result, virtually every Canadian child has access to healthcare.4
AnimalsCanada expresses support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, among other legislation, against inciting the suffering or persecution of animals, as well as the protection of domestic companion animals.1 However, the laws regarding animal welfare have not been markedly updated since 1982, according to the Animal Protection Index.2 At-risk animal populations are preserved by the Species at Risk Act. Most Canadian legislation regarding animal protection does not apply to hunting.3 Canada is home to a variety of species such as the Atlantic puffin, pine marten, bison, eider duck, polar bear, spotted salamander, thick-billed murray, moose, the common loon, harp seal, caribou, northern gannet, cougar, the northern hawk owl, bighorn sheep and river otter.4
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