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Updated: March 2009

Canada

Overview | World Vision's history in Canada | World Vision in Canada today

Overview

The world’s second-largest country in area, Canada is located in the Americas, to the north of the United States. The North Pacific Ocean borders it to the west, the North Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Southeast Canada is mainly lowlands, while plains and mountains define the rest of the country. In the northern regions, where it is cold and arctic, permafrost hinders development. In the south, the climate is milder and more temperate. Natural resources include iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, and hydropower.

Most Canadians trace their heritage to the British Isles (28 percent), France (23 percent), or other parts of Europe. Additional ethnic groups include Amerindians, Asians, Africans, and Arabs. The official language is English, spoken by 59.3 percent of the population. Another 23 percent speak French.

Originally inhabited by Inuit peoples, present-day Canada was claimed for the French in 1534 by explorer Jacques Cartier.

 
Country statistics 
Population32,577,000
Land mass3,511,003 square miles
People per square mile9.3
Life expectancy81.16 years
Under age 5 mortality rate6/1,000
Literacy rate99%
Access to safe water100%
Average annual income (GNI per capita)US$36,170
Religion
Christian70.3%
Muslim1.9%
Other11.8%
None16.0%

 

Official settlement of the area began in the early 1600s, when the first French colony was established in the land that is now Nova Scotia. In the following years, the English also began to settle the area, as they recognized the fishing and fur trade opportunities provided by the land. Eventually, disputes arose between the French and the English, culminating in the Seven Years War, which began in 1756 and ended with the Treaty of Paris (1763), giving England control of the land. Following continued settlement by emigrants from the British Isles and American colonies, Canada officially became a self-governing dominion in 1867.

Today, this federation, comprised of 10 provinces and three territories, continues to maintain ties to the British government. Canada is a member of NATO and the G-8, and it maintains a strong relationship with the United States. These two countries work together on issues including law enforcement, environmental protection, and free trade. Each day, around 300,000 people cross the border between Canada and the United States.

Canada has a strong economy, with a high standard of living. In the past several decades, Canada’s industrial sector has flourished, and the once predominantly rural economy has become increasingly urban and service-based. Canada’s relationship with the United States is also vital, as trade between the two countries provides millions of jobs. As the second-largest oil holder in the world, Canada is the top supplier of foreign energy to the United States.

Elementary and secondary education are compulsory, and the average Canadian receives 16.9 years of schooling.

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World Vision's history in Canada

In 1950, Dr. Bob Pierce, World Vision’s founder, traveled to Canada to share the life-changing events he experienced while visiting orphans in Asia. By 1957, World Vision had opened an office in Toronto, offering Canadians the opportunity to sponsor children around the world. Since then, World Vision has grown to be Canada’s largest private relief and development agency.

World Vision has a long history of partnering with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the government, churches, educational institutions, and other nonprofit organizations throughout Canada. World Vision works with these organizations to address global issues, such as landmines, child rights, hunger, and health concerns. In addition, Canadians have actively participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine program, raising funds to fight world hunger, poverty, and injustice.

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World Vision in Canada today

In 2004, roughly 480,000 Canadians donated $260.4 million (U.S.) to World Vision, including sponsorship for some 338,000 children. Additionally, Canadian business partners donated more than $60 million (U.S.) in gift-in-kind donations—top-quality surplus products used to help those living in poverty. Additionally, $10.6 million (U.S.) was raised to provide assistance to disaster survivors in countries including Iran, Iraq, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Sudan.

Today, Canadians sponsor more than 300,000 children through 300 long-term development projects around the globe.

For more information on World Vision’s programs in Canada, please contact the United States office.

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