Canada is the largest country in North America and the second biggest in the world after Russia. It is administratively divided into ten provinces and three territories. Canada is one of the world's wealthiest countries and a high-tech industrial society with a very high living standard. In 2020, Canada's GDP per capita reached almost 44 thousand U.S. dollars, one of the highest globally, despite the contraction of 5.162 percent due to the covid-19 pandemic. The average inflation rate for the same year was 0.62 percent.

General Canadian market information

Canada is the largest country in North America and the second biggest in the world after Russia. It is administratively divided into ten provinces and three territories. The total population of Canada, which amounts to about 37.7 million, is very small in relation to the dimensions of the country. Most Canadians live in cities, which tend to be concentrated in the southern part of the country, along the U.S. border. As of 2019, Toronto is the largest city in Canada, with 6.2 million inhabitants, while the capital Ottawa is fifth, with 1.4 million. Canada's unemployment rate increased noticeably during the pandemic to hit an all-time maximum of 13.7% in May 2020, and it started to decrease the months after slowly to hit the mark of 8.6% at the end of 2020. Canada ranks amongst the 20 countries with the highest life expectancy in the world, with an average of 82.25 years recorded in 2017.

Canada's form of government is a federal parliamentary democracy within the context of a constitutional monarchy under the rule of Queen Elizabeth II. The state's highest position is occupied by the Queen's representative, the Governor-General of Canada, followed by the head of the government. The country is considered to have one of the most stable politics in the world, third after Norway and Denmark. Canada is a founding member of the United Nations, member of NATO, the World Trade Organization, the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Both French and English are official languages at a federal level in Canada. A number of regional languages are also recognized, such as Inuktitut, Chipewyan or Cree, which belong to First Nations. Canada is one of the world's wealthiest countries and a high-tech industrial society with a very high living standard. In 2020, Canada's GDP per capita reached almost 44 thousand U.S. dollars, one of the highest globally, despite the contraction of 5.162 percent due to the covid-19 pandemic. The average inflation rate for the same year was 0.62 percent. Some of the most essential Canadian industries are chemicals, minerals, food products, wood and paper products. Canada is also considered the country with the third most oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Canadian agriculture produces wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish and forest products, including maple syrup, a staple Canadian food. Canada's most significant import and export partner is the U.S., but Canada has been strengthening its economic relations with Europe and Asia. The goods most imported by Canada are machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals and electricity. Among the commodities most exported by Canada are motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment, chemicals, petroleum and natural gas.

Canadian government procurement

The Government of Canada is one of the largest public buyers of goods and services in Canada, purchasing approximately $22 billion worth every year on behalf of federal departments and agencies. As the government's main buyer of goods and services (including construction), Public Works and Government Services Canada ("PWGSC") plays a key role by helping federal departments and agencies define their requirements or scope of work, and obtain what they need at the best value.​

PWGSC procurement activities are principally carried out pursuant to the following legal framework:

  • statutes and regulations;
  • agreements;
  • policies, directives, procedures and guidelines; and
  • challenge process.​

When a federal department or agency sends a requisition to PWGSC, depending on the requirements, the requisition may be handled by a contracting officer at headquarters or in a regional office. In keeping with the Government Contracts Regulations, procurement is done by means of: a competitive procurement process whenever possible; or a non-competitive procurement process (only used in certain special circumstances).

Canada Trade Agreements

Nicknamed the Great White North, Canada exported a total US$446.5 billion worth of products around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 9.2% increase since 2015 but a -0.9% dip from 2018 to 2019.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Canadian dollar has depreciated by -3.8% against the US dollar since 2015 and retreated by -2.4% from 2018 to 2019. Canada’s weaker local currency make Canadian exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.

The latest available country-specific data shows that 91.6% of products exported from Canada were bought by importers in: United States (75.4% of the global total), China (3.9%), United Kingdom (3.3%), Japan (2.1%), Mexico (1.2%), Germany (1.1%), South Korea (0.9%), Netherlands (0.9%), India (0.8%), Hong Kong (0.7%), France (0.6%) and Italy (0.5%).

From a continental perspective, 76.7% of Canada exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 11.7% were sold to Asian importers. Canada shipped another 8.9% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.3%), Africa (0.9%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.5%).

Given Canada’s population of 37.5 million people, its total $446.5 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $11,900 for every resident.​

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Canada’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Canada.

  1. Vehicles: US$74.4 billion (16.4%);

  2. Machinery including computers: $69.2 billion (15.3%);

  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $44.2 billion (9.7%);

  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $33.2 billion (7.3%);

  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $16.4 billion (3.6%);

  6. Pharmaceuticals: $13.9 billion (3.1%);

  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $12.6 billion (2.8%);

  8. Gems, precious metals: $10.3 billion (2.3%);

  9. Articles of iron or steel: $10.3 billion (2.3%);

  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $9.2 billion (2%);

Canada’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.8%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Canadian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Canada.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$98.4 billion (22% of total exports)

  2. Vehicles: $61.4 billion (13.8%)

  3. Machinery including computers: $34.8 billion (7.8%)

  4. Gems, precious metals: $21.3 billion (4.8%)

  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: $13.5 billion (3%)

  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $12.7 billion (2.8%)

  7. Wood: $11.7 billion (2.6%)

  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: $11.3 billion (2.5%)

  9. Ores, slag, ash: $8.9 billion (2%)

  10. Pharmaceuticals: $8.4 billion (1.9%)

Canada’s top 10 exports approach two-thirds (63.2%) of the overall value of Canadian global shipments.

Led by gold the gems and precious metals category represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories thanks to its 16.2% increase since 2018. In second place for improving export sales was ores, slag and ash gained 12.7% led by iron ores and concentrates. Canada’s shipments of pharmaceuticals posted the third-fastest gain in value via its 7.4% improvement.

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