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Marriage in Canada

Marriage remains one of the most important social institutions in Canada. It has undergone profound changes since the 1960s. The marriage rate is in decline and the traditional idea of a family is being transformed. After the turn of the millennium, the marriage rate fell to 4.7 marriages per 1,000 people (compared to 10.9 in the 1940s). Married couples are still the predominant family structure. But between 2001 and 2016, the number of common-law couples rose 51.4 per cent; more than five times the increase for married couples over the same period. The definition of what constitutes a married couple also changed in 2005 with the legalization of same-sex marriage. In 2016, 65.8 per cent of Canadian families were headed by married couples; down from 70.5 per cent in 2001. Marriage falls under federal jurisdiction, but the provinces regulate marriage ceremonies and grant marriage licences.

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Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament came into being when the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada were amalgamated in 1841 and situated in Montréal. In 1849 only 200 of the 12,000 books were saved when an angry mob protesting the Rebellion Losses Bill set fire to the Parliament Buildings.

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Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP is Canada’s national police force – providing an array of services from municipal policing, to national security intelligence gathering, to the legendary Musical Ride. Despite a series of scandals in recent decades, the RCMP remains one of Canada's most iconic national institutions.

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Robert Latimer Case

In 1993, Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer killed his severely disabled daughter Tracy. His prosecution for murder attracted national and international attention, and raised contentious issues concerning euthanasia.

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Trades and Labor Congress of Canada

Founded in 1883, the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada (TLC) was the first union central to take lasting root in Canada. Principally bringing together craft unions, the TLC was the largest workers’ organization in Canada at the turn of the 20th century. The TLC saw its membership fluctuate in the 20th century because of the fierce competition between national and international unions and the rise of industrial unionism. In 1956, the organization merged with the Canadian Congress of Labour to become the Canadian Labour Congress.

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Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was founded in Calgary in 1932. It was a political coalition of progressive, socialist and labour groups. It sought economic reform to help Canadians affected by the Great Depression. The party governed Saskatchewan under Premier Tommy Douglas, who went on to be the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). The CCF merged with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to form the NDP in 1961. Although the CCF never held power nationally, the adoption of many of its ideas by ruling parties contributed greatly to the development of the Canadian welfare state.

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Fiscal Policy

Fiscal policy is the use of government taxing and spending powers to manage the behaviour of the economy. Most fiscal policy is a balancing act between taxes, which tend to reduce economic activity, and spending, which tends to increase it — although there is debate among economists about the effectiveness of fiscal measures.

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Child Poverty in Canada

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 24, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

At times, the surroundings must seem grim. The white walls are devoid of decoration, except for a home-made Valentine addressed to "Maman" on the refrigerator, and twin beds are pushed together in the dining-room to create more space.

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Federal Government

The federal government is the national government of Canada, centred in Ottawa. The term can refer narrowly to the Canadian Cabinet, or more broadly to the Cabinet and the public service.

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Exports from Canada

Exports are goods or services that residents of one country sell to residents of another country. Since its earliest days, Canada’s economic prosperity has relied on exports to larger markets; first through its colonial ties to Britain and later due to its geographic proximity to the United States. Billions of dollars of goods and services cross Canada’s border each year. (See International Trade.) Exports make up about a third of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2019, Canadians exported $729 billion worth of goods and services. Almost 75 per cent of Canada’s total exports go to the United States. (See Canada-US Economic Relations.) Other major markets include the European Union, China and Japan.