Located in North America, Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. It is the world's second largest country in geographic size, yet its population is over 32,805,000 - slightly less than that of California. In terms of its natural
resources, Canada is the world's second richest country on a per-capita basis, behind Australia.
Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country, and over 75 percent live in metropolitan areas. Among the largest cities are: Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull, Québec;
and Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada's indigenous population is referred to as the Indians or First Nations. In fact, Canada is an Iroquis word for "community." French and English are the country's official languages, reflecting the Canada's early colonial history. Since
the second half of the 18th century when the British ousted France from Canada, the country's main political and ethnic ties have been with the United Kingdom. Increased immigration from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries boosted Canada's
ethnic diversity, and since the 1970s, most immigrants have come from Asia.
Canada gained full independence in 1931, although it is still a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Canada's official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom,
although its citizens directly elect legislatures at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.
Manufacturing and resource-related industries are the foundation of Canada's economy. Transportation equipment is the leading manufacturing industry. However, most Canadians work in service occupations.
Canada's educational system, along with the language of instruction - English or French - varies according to each province. There is no centralized education ministry. Instead, provincial governments administer education, although church-run schools
exist throughout the provinces.
Geographically, the eastern Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador are connected, but they are actually two distinct areas. Newfoundland is the island located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in the Atlantic Ocean, and Labrador is
part of the mainland peninsula.
A colony of Great Britain throughout the nineteenth century, Newfoundland achieved Dominion status in 1907, continuing in that capacity until after World War II. In 1949 Newfoundland officially joined Canada as the tenth province. In December
2001, the province changed its name formally to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As with the other provinces of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador's education system is provincially funded.
The education system follows a kindergarten through twelfth grade year pattern with opportunities for students to continue their post-secondary education through a university, a community college network of campuses, private training institutions or distance
education programs. Their education system has not remained static; their secondary and tertiary academic and vocational and training programs are continually updated to stay current with other education systems in the world.
The education system also meets the needs of its widely dispersed population who want to attain vocational and occupational training through training centers and distance education. The system has utilized the latest in electronic technology and telecommunications
networking to reach different areas of the island and province.
Memorial University (the “only” university) meets academic needs awarding bachelor's to advanced degrees, while at the same time supporting distance learning and expanding an “affiliate” with the Fisheries and Marine Institute
that provides apprenticeship and diploma programs for students to work alongside with businesses in the area.
Although considered non-university and postsecondary studies at the technical/vocational level, the public (community) college does offer transfer credit for an academic program to the university.
Newfoundland and Labrador participate in an online Transfer Guide which provides current information for ease of transfer not only at the university level, but at all levels from secondary programs, non-traditional programs and community college.
At the same time, their education system is receptive to study for international students and many study abroad exchange opportunities.