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Prohibition in Canada

Prohibition in Canada came about as a result of the temperance movement. It called for moderation or total abstinence from alcohol, based on the belief that drinking was responsible for many of society’s ills. The Canada Temperance Act (Scott Act) of 1878 gave local governments the “local option” to ban the sale of alcohol. Prohibition was first enacted on a provincial basis in Prince Edward Island in 1901. It became law in the remaining provinces, as well as in Yukon and Newfoundland, during the First World War. Liquor could be legally produced in Canada (but not sold there) and legally exported out of Canadian ports. Most provincial laws were repealed in the 1920s. PEI was the last to give up the “the noble experiment” in 1948.  

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Lobbying in Canada

Lobbying is the process through which individuals and groups articulate their interests to federal, provincial or municipal governments to influence public policy or government decision-making. Lobbyists may be paid third parties who communicate on behalf of their clients; or they may be employees of a corporation or organization seeking to influence the government. Because of the possibility for conflict of interest, lobbying is the subject of much public scrutiny. At the federal level, lobbying activities are governed by the Lobbying Act. Provinces and municipalities have their own lobbying laws and by-laws.

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Political Party Financing in Canada

The financial activities of political parties in Canada were largely unregulated until the Election Expenses Act was passed in 1974. Canada now has an extensive regime regulating federal political party financing; both during and outside of election periods. Such regulation encourages greater transparency of political party activities. It also ensures a fair electoral arena that limits the advantages of those with more money. Political parties and candidates are funded both privately and publicly. Election finance laws govern how parties and candidates are funded; as well as the ways in which they can spend money. (See also Canadian Electoral System.)

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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international trade agreement. It was signed by 23 nations, including Canada, in 1947 and came into effect on 1 January 1948. It was refined over eight rounds of negotiations, which led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It replaced the GATT on 1 January 1995. The GATT was focused on trade in goods. It aimed to liberalize trade by reducing tariffs and removing quotas among member countries. Each member of the GATT was expected to open its markets equally to other member nations, removing trade discrimination. The agreements negotiated through GATT reduced average tariffs on industrial goods from 40 per cent (1947) to less than five per cent (1993). It was an early step towards economic globalization.

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Irving Group of Companies

Companies owned by New Brunswick’s Irving family dominate the province’s natural resource industries, as well as its media, engineering and construction industries. The first Irving business was a sawmill purchased in 1881. The family now owns many companies that supply each other from different steps in the chain of production. These companies largely fall under four umbrellas: J.D. Irving Limited (whose many segments include forestry, food, construction and transportation), Brunswick News (newspapers), Irving Oil (oil refining and marketing) and Ocean Capital Holdings (real estate, radio, construction and materials). The Irving family owns Canada’s largest oil refinery, is one of the five largest landowners in North America, and employs 1 in 12 people in New Brunswick. It is one of the wealthiest families in Canada.

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Peasant Farm Policy

From 1889 to 1897, the Canadian government’s Peasant Farm Policy set limits on Indigenous agriculture on the Prairies. The policy included rules about the types of tools First Nations farmers could use on reserve lands. It also restricted how much they grew and what they could sell. The Peasant Farm Policy was built on the belief that Indigenous farmers had to gradually evolve into modern farmers. It also reduced these farmers’ ability to compete with settlers on the open market. The policy ultimately impeded the growth and development of First Nations farms. As a result, First Nations never realized their agricultural potential.

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Agriculture in Canada

Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants.

In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.

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

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Unions

Unions, see CRAFT UNIONISM; INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; LABOUR ORGANIZATION; LABOUR RELATIONS; REVOLUTIONARY INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; UNION CENTRALS, DISTRICT AND REGIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, NATIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, QUÉBEC; UNION DES

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Alcan Incorporated

Alcan Incorporated was a major Canadian aluminum mining and manufacturing corporation. From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, it was the second-largest aluminum producer in the world.The company was originally founded in 1902 as the Northern Aluminum Company Limited, located in Shawinigan, Québec. It was established as the Canadian subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), one of the founders of which invented the process for extracting aluminum from bauxite. Northern Aluminum was renamed the Aluminum Company of Canada in 1925, and in 1928, it formally detached from Alcoa. In 1966, it was again renamed, this time as Alcan Aluminum Limited (becoming Alcan Incorporated in 2001). In 2007, Alcan was purchased by the British-Australian multinational corporation Rio Tinto for $38 billion. Today, Rio Tinto continues to operate several smelters in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Québec, as well as in Kitimat, British Columbia.

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Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

The Toronto-Dominion Bank, commonly known as TD, is the second largest chartered bank in Canada. The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the result of the past mergers of three financial companies: The Bank of Toronto, The Dominion Bank, and Canada Trust. The mergers began in 1955 when The Dominion Bank merged with The Bank of Toronto. This group then acquired Canada Trust in 2000, creating a new entity called TD Canada Trust. Toronto-Dominion Bank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TD. In 2020, TD registered $43.65 billion in revenue and $11.89 billion in profit and held $1.7 trillion in assets. The bank employs approximately 90,000 people, who serve more than 26.5 million customers.

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Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was founded in 1864. Today, it is the country’s largest chartered bank and financial institution. It has five divisions: Personal and Commercial Banking, consisting of banking operations in 36 countries around the world; RBC Wealth Management, consisting of investment products and services for retail investors; RBC Capital Markets for international investment banking services; RBC Insurance for individual and group clients; and Investor and Treasury Services, providing custody services and fund administration for international clients. Royal Bank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange and SIX Swiss Exchange under the symbol RY. In 2020, RBC registered $47.2 billion in revenue and $11.4 billion in profit and held $1.62 trillion in assets. Royal Bank employs more than 86,000 people, who serve 17 million customers.

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Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

The Bank of Nova Scotia, commonly referred to as “Scotiabank,” is Canada’s third largest chartered bank. Incorporated in 1832, the bank has established itself as Canada’s most international bank through extensive operations throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America and parts of Asia. It is also known as “Canada’s gold bank” because of its dominant position in bullion trading. The bank also operates three other business lines: personal banking, commercial banking, and wealth management. Scotiabank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BNS and on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange under the symbol SBTT. In 2020, Scotiabank registered $31.3 billion in revenue and $7.0 billion in profit and held $1,136billion in assets. The bank employs more than 92,000 people, who serve more than 25 million customers around the world.

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Bank of Montreal (BMO)

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest incorporated bank. From its founding to the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935, the Bank of Montreal served as Canada’s central bank. Today, the various components of the Bank of Montreal are collectively known as BMO Financial Group. BMO is Canada’s fourth largest bank by assets, and the eighth largest in North America. It offers services in three distinct areas — personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. BMO is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BMO. In 2020, BMO registered $25.2 billion in revenue and $5.097 billion in profit and held $949.3 billion in assets. BMO employs more than 43,360 people who serve more than 8 million customers across Canada.

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, commonly known as CIBC, is the fifth largest chartered bank in Canada. It was created through the 1961 merger of two Ontario-based banks, the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada — the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canada’s history. Today, CIBC operates its business in Canada and abroad through three divisions: retail and business banking, wealth management, and capital markets. CIBC is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CM. In 2020, CIBC registered $18.7 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in profit and held $769.6 billion in assets. The bank employs approximately 43,853 people, who serve 10 million customers.

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Canadian Foreign Relations

Throughout its history, Canada has taken a series of steps to develop from a British colony into an independent nation. Both the First and Second World War were turning points; Canada’s military sacrifices gave it the strength and confidence to demand its own voice on the world stage. In the postwar era, Canada maintained its role in both Western and global alliances. (See NATO; NORAD; GATT.) However, economics have shaped Canadian diplomacy to a remarkable extent. Because of the United States’ singular importance to Canadian security and trade, relations with the US have dominated Canada’s foreign policy since Confederation.

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The Great Depression in Canada

The Great Depression of the early 1930s was a worldwide social and economic shock. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada. Millions of Canadians were left unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The decade became known as the Dirty Thirties due to a crippling drought in the Prairies, as well as Canada’s dependence on raw material and farm exports. Widespread losses of jobs and savings transformed the country. The Depression triggered the birth of social welfare and the rise of populist political movements. It also led the government to take a more activist role in the economy.

(This is the full-length entry about the Great Depression in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Great Depression in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).)

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Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd., is one of Canada’s most recognized retail chains. Founded in Toronto by brothers J.W. and A.J. Billes, the company got its start when the brothers bought the Hamilton Tire and Garage in 1922. In 1927, they incorporated the business as the Canadian Tire Corporation. Still headquartered in Toronto, the company operates a network of 1,700 stores and gas bars that extends to every province and territory except Nunavut. Canadian Tire owns Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Helly Hansen and FGL Sports, including the retail companies Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Sports Experts. It is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CTC. In 2020, Canadian Tire registered $14.9 billion in revenue and $862.6 million in net income and held $20.38 billion in assets.

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Maple Syrup Industry

Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of maple products, accounting for 75 per cent of the global market. In 2020, Canadian producers exported over 61 million kg of maple products, with a value of $515 million. The province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, representing 96.4 per cent of Canadian product exports. Maple syrup and maple sugar products are made by boiling down the sap of maple trees. World production of maple syrup and sugar is mainly limited to the Maple Belt, the hardwood forest stretching from the midwestern United States through Ontario, Quebec and New England and into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; however, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan also produce some syrup.