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Mercantilism

Mercantilism is an economic theory and policy practised during Canada’s colonial periods. The theory of mercantilism holds that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. A nation’s wealth is thus dependent on exporting (selling to other countries) more than it imports (buying from others). European nations — including France and England (later Great Britain) — used this system to their advantage from the 16th century through the mid-19th century. The purpose was to extract as much wealth as possible from the colonies without investing much into them. The Atlantic slave trade is also inextricably linked to mercantilism. (See Black Enslavement in Canada.)

Article

Coins and Tokens

Coins are issued by governments for use as money. A quantity of coins issued at one time, or a series of coins issued under one authority, is called a coinage. Tokens are issued as a substitute for coinage, usually by private individuals or organizations such as merchants and banks. Canada’s complex political history has meant that Canadian numismatists have an astonishing variety of coins, coinages and tokens to collect and study.

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Capitalism in Canada

Capitalism is an economic system in which private owners control a country’s trade and business sector for their personal profit. It contrasts with communism, in which property effectively belongs to the state (see also Marxism). Canada has a “mixed” economy, positioned between these extremes. The three levels of government decide how to allocate much of the country’s wealth through taxing and spending.

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Statistics

Statistics is the science concerned with the collection and analysis of numerical information to answer questions wisely. The term also refers to the numerical information that has been collected. Statistics has many applications in Canada, from government censuses and surveys, to decision making in industry, to medical research and technological innovation.

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High Technology

Technology, along with labour, capital, resources and management, is one of the essential components of industrial production. Most classes of industry require some technological input, but the amount varies widely among industrial sectors.

Macleans

Martin Reports a Surplus

Finance Minister Paul Martin’s mission was clear in delivering his annual fall economic update. Douse hopes that much new spending is in the works. Dismiss the argument that Ottawa can afford a big reduction in Employment Insurance premiums.

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Canada and the G7 (Group of Seven)

The G7, or Group of Seven, is an international group comprising the governments of the world’s largest economies: Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. It was founded as the G6 in 1975 and became the G7 with the addition of Canada in 1976. The Group is an informal bloc; it has no treaty or constitution and no permanent offices, staff or secretariat. The leaders of the member states meet at annual summits to discuss issues of mutual concern and to coordinate actions to address them. The meeting location and the organization’s presidency rotates among the members. The European Union is also a non-enumerated member, though it never assumes the rotating presidency.

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International Trade

International trade is the buying and selling of goods and services between members of different countries. This exchange has been a key part of the Canadian economy since the first settlers came. Canadian settlers depended on exports of resources such as timber and grain (see Timber Trade History; Wheat). In the 20th century, Canada’s exports shifted to services, manufactured goods and commodities such as oil and metals.

Since the 1980s, Canada has signed free trade agreements with dozens of countries to increase global trade and investment.

Canada’s three biggest trading partners are the United States, the European Union and China. The United States is Canada largest trading partner by far. However, trade with China grew quickly in the 2010s, and this trend will likely continue.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Macleans

Job Security and Outsourcing

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on September 30, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

So the meeting could have gone better. There was Mark Campbell, president of his own printing company, presenting to Kraft Canada Inc., executive level, in suburban Toronto. Initially, the meeting played exactly as Campbell had hoped.

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Economic History of Central Canada

Ontario and Quebec constitute Central Canada, a region that accounts for over 58 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). The economic history of the region begins with the hunting, farming and trading societies of the Indigenous peoples. Following the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, the economy has undergone a series of seismic shifts, marked by the transcontinental fur trade, then rapid urbanization, industrialization and technological change.

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Economic History of Atlantic Canada

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland constitute the Atlantic provinces of Canada, a region that in 2016 accounted for 6 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). The economic history of what is now Atlantic Canada begins with the hunting, farming and trading societies of the Indigenous peoples. Following the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, the economy has undergone a series of seismic shifts, marked by the early Atlantic fishery, the transcontinental fur trade, then rapid urbanization, industrialization and technological change.

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Financial Bubbles in Canada

In economics, a bubble refers to a rapid rise in asset prices, to the point that they become disconnected from the fundamental value of the underlying asset. A change in investor behaviour is the most common cause of a bubble. When many investors rush to invest in a new technology or take advantage of low interest rates, for example, the increased demand for the asset can raise the price far above its real worth.

Macleans

Employment Rises

John Jacobsen has been through a lot of boom and bust cycles over the past 30 years, but he's never seen anything quite like this. As vice-president in charge of operations for Calgary contractor Precision Drilling Corp.

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Business History

Business History, defined as the written record of the activities of individuals and enterprises seeking private profit through the production of goods and services, has deep roots in Canadian history, although it has matured only recently.

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Collectivism

As the social evils of industrialization and urbanization unfolded in the later 19th century, many Canadians saw the basic problem as an excess of individualism.

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Capital in Canada

In economics, capital traditionally refers to the wealth owned or employed by an individual or a business. This wealth can exist in the form of money or property. Definitions of capital are constantly evolving, however. For example, in some contexts it is synonymous with equity. Social capital can refer to positive outcomes of interactions between people or to the effective functioning of groups. Human capital refers to people’s experience, skills and education, viewed as an economic resource.