Read about the economic history of Canada and find out more about its investment potential today.
Learn more about some of the most significant countries investing in Canada.

Economic History in Brief

Located in the northern part of North America, Canada consists of three territories and ten provinces. It is the second largest country in the world by area and covers 9.98 million square kilometers. With a highly urbanized population, Canada is sporadically populated with only around 35.15 million people living in medium and large cities which are surrounded by dense forests and tundra. 

Canada’s economy is mixed and highly developed. It has the 10th biggest nominal GDP and 17th biggest PPP GDP in the world. The country’s economic history started with hunting, farming, and trading by its indigenous inhabitants. After Europeans arrived in the 16th century, the Canadian economy underwent massive shifts that included the early Atlantic fishery and the global fur trade. While a great variety of industries came and went, the Canadian economy continues to rely on natural resources like fur, timber, oil, and minerals. These commodities are exported to the United States and continue to support the economy. 

Investment Opportunities

While the Canadian economy is now largely dominated by the service industry, it is also considered an energy superpower because of its massive concentration of natural resources in comparison to its relatively small population. It is the fourth largest petroleum exporter and the fourth largest natural gas exporter in the world. In addition to its status in the energy sector, Canada has a significant manufacturing sector, with aircraft and automobile manufacturing being particularly important. The country also has one of the biggest seafood and commercial fishing industries, is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural products in the world, and is an international leader in the entertainment software sector. 

Service Industry – Around 75% of Canadians are employed in the service industry which accounts for around 70% of the country’s GDP. Of this industry, around 12% is concentrated on retail with a range of chain stores concentrated in shopping malls. 

Energy – With oil and gas being the two most important energy exports, Canada is one of the few energy exporters that are developed nations. 

Manufacturing – Although it was adversely affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, Canada continues to host major American and Japanese automobile manufacturing plants and factories like Linamar Corporation and Magna International. 

Agriculture – Mainly exporting wheat and other grains to the US and Asia, Canada has free trade agreements in force with several countries around the world. 

Companies Investing in the United States

With airlines, mining and resources, transportation, and aerospace being some of the main industries that investment is focused on in Canada, here are some of the top investment companies in the country. 

Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada and the flag carrier of the country. Despite it running at a loss for several years, Air Canada has been profitable since 2012. The company has several subsidiaries including Air Canada Cargo, the freight carrying division that offers over 150 shipping destinations, Air Canada Vacations, a tour operator that offers travel packages that include tours, cruises, excursions, and car rentals, Air Canada Express, a regional feeder service operated by independent carriers like Sky Regional Airlines, Jazz Aviation, Exploits, Valley Air Services, and Sky Regional Airlines. Through the years, many investments into Air Canada have been made, including an investment of US$650 million by Trinity Time Investments.

Rio Tinto Alcan is an aluminum mining and production company known as one of the foremost companies of its kind in the world. The company was founded in 1902 as a subsidiary of Alcoa and has since risen to produce revenue estimated as being in excess of US$23.6 billion. Rio Tinto Alcan produces aluminum sheet, rod and remelt ingot, cable, packaging, alloys, and extrusion billet. 

Teck Resources is a mining and metals company, and the largest diversified resources company in Canada. The main products produced by Teck Resources are gold, silver, lead, germanium, cadmium, and indium. As in 2016, the company’s revenue was estimated at US$7.1 billion. A stake of 17% in Teck was bought by China Investment Corporation in 2009. 

Bombardier Inc. is a multinational transportation and aerospace company. In the early 1940s Bombardier Inc. was started as a snowmobile manufacturer, but it has since grown to become a large-scale manufacturer of airliners, business jets, and mass transportation equipment. The initial funding was done by a mechanic called Joseph-Armand Bombardier, and the company now has a net income of US$553 million. 

Investors with Interests in the United States

CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., Prem Watsa, CEO of Telus Corp., Darren Entwistle, and Chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, Murray Edwards, are known as some of Canada’s most significant names in business and investors. Despite his strong stance taken on dwindling BlackBerry stock, Prem Watsa is known for his investor influence in Canada and for his stakes in Prime Restaurants (holding company of Casey’s and East Side Mario’s), Thomas Cook India and William Ashley. Darren Entwistle of Telus is not only known for his role as CEO of Canada’s telecommunication company with the biggest voice, he was also featured in the media for taking the government to court with the goal of achieving clarity on the country’s wireless policies. Murray Edwards of Canadian Natural Resources is highly influential in the shaping of the quickly drafted foreign ownership rules for natural resources companies, in response to a US$15 million bid for Nexen in 2012.


Because of its strength geographically and in sectoral clusters like automotive, agriculture, and aerospace, Canada is an ideal investment destination. Canada has one of the most stable and well-developed banking systems in the world and is home to a population of diverse, creative, and confident people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses can also enjoy low statutory and marginal effective tax rates. Several attractive incentive measures and funding programs are available to companies interested in investing in Canada where vibrant industry clusters are ideal to help companies thrive. 

More Countries from the Americas

Mexican flag


Find out more about Mexico’s economic history, learn about some of the most significant investors in the country and discover where the country’s investment potential lies. Mexico

Read More
Argentina Flag


Discover more about Argentina’s investment potential and find out why it has such potential for growth after years of economic strife.

Read More


Read about the economic history of Brazil and discover the massive investment potential it has and is developing.

Read More

United States

Discover more about investments in the United States – the economic capital of the world. Read about some of the most pertinent companies and individuals making investments in the country.

Read More