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Macleans

Dollar Falls

In Quebec, they call it referendum fever. And of all those who fell into its grip last week, perhaps no one was more surprised than René Lepage, director of the community health clinic in the lower St. Lawrence River town of Matane.

Article

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.

Article

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

The Canadian dollar, also known as the loonie, for the loon on the $1 coin, is the currency of Canada. Its international currency code is CAD and its symbol $, or C$, to distinguish it from other dollar currencies. As money, it is the measure of value in which all prices in Canada are expressed and the medium of exchange for goods and services. It is divided into 100 cents (¢) and available in material form as coins circulated by the Royal Canadian Mint and banknotes circulated by the Bank of Canada.

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Debt in Canada

A debt is something that one owes to another. While debt can take many forms, the term usually refers to money owed. In a Canadian context, debts have become an increasing concern during the past three decades. According to Statistics Canada, at the end of the second quarter of 2020, Canadian non-financial businesses, governments and households owed almost $7.1 trillion in debts. That works out to roughly $186,000 per person. (See also Public Debt.)

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Money in Canada

Money consists of anything that is generally accepted for the settlement of debts or purchase of goods or services. The evolution of money as a system for regulating society’s economic transactions represented a significant advancement over earlier forms of exchange based on barter, in which goods and services are exchanged for other goods or services. Canadian money has its roots in the Indigenous wampum belts of the East, the early currencies of European settlers and the influence of the United States.

Macleans

Counterfeit Plague

SOME COUNTERFEIT MONEY is easy to spot. A veteran RCMP officer recalls once seeing a particularly lame bill photocopied in black and white, then coloured in with crayons.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the value of all final goods and services produced within a country by all factors of production, regardless of their ownership, usually during one year. Statistics Canada switched to GDP in their calculations of national production in 1986 to facilitate comparisons with other international statistics as most other countries used GDP. Despite its limitations, GDP is considered the best and most concise overall measure of economic performance. It is often used to calculate changes in a country’s standard of living. The growth of inflation-adjusted GDP (known as real GDP) is an important economic performance indicator. The tracking of GDP over time is used as evidence of business cycle performance, as traditionally two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth are referred to as a recession. As well, the distinction is often made between the growth of total real GDP (known as extensive growth) and the growth of real GDP per person (intensive growth), with intensive growth often used as an indicator of welfare per person in an economy.

Editorial

Women on Canadian Banknotes

Though Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on the $20 bill since she was eight years old, identifiable Canadian women have only appeared on a Canadian banknote once. In 2004, the statue of the Famous Five from Parliament Hill and Olympic Plaza in Calgary, and the medal for the Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award were featured on the back of the $50 note. They were the first Canadian women to appear on our currency. However, in 2011, they were replaced by an icebreaker named for a man (see Roald Amundsen). The new bill was part of a series of notes meant to highlight technical innovation and achievement, but the change sparked controversy. Other than the image of a nameless female scientist on the $100 note issued in 2011, and two female Canadian Forces officers and a young girl on the $10 bill issued in 2001, Canadian women were absent from Canadian bills.

On 8 March 2016, International Women’s Day, the Bank of Canada launched a public consultation to choose an iconic Canadian woman who would be featured on a banknote, released in the next series of bills in 2018. More than 26,000 submissions poured in. Of those, 461 names met the qualifying criteria, and the list was pared down to a long list of 12 and finally a short list of five. The final selection will be announced on 8 December 2016.

But how did we get here?

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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.