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 still is 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.
The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is responsible for education in the Northwest Territories.
Primary and Secondary Education
Primary education in the Northwest Territories lasts from grade 1 through 6, ages 6-12. Division 1 of primary education is grades 1-3 and Division 2 is grades 4-6. Junior secondary school comprises grades 7 through 9, ages 12-15, and senior secondary
school is made up of grades 10 through 12, ages 15-18, and is patterned after the educational system in Alberta. Upon graduation from secondary school, students receive a High School Graduation Diploma issued by the Department of Education and
a School Leaving Certificate issued by the school.
Post-secondary education in the Northwest Territories is offered through Aurora College, a publicly funded institution with three campuses--Ft. Smith, Yellowknife and Inuvik--as well as a network of community learning centers through the territory. Aurora
College offers university- level transfer programs, certificate and diploma programs, adult education, literacy education, skills development programs, trades training, educational assessment and counseling. Aurora College was formerly known as Arctic
College, which split into Aurora College and Nunavut Arctic College in the new territory of Nunavut, created in 1999.
Programs at Aurora College vary in length from eight weeks (apprenticeship programs) to one, two, or three years. Certificate and university transfer programs are usually one year and diploma programs are usually two years in length. A teacher
education diploma requires three years and in 2004 the college began the delivery of a four-year Bachelor of Education program under the University of Saskatchewan. A four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is offered through British
Columbia's Collaborative Nursing Project.
Aurora College has transfer agreements with the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, the University of Regina, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, Lakehead University, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University
of Saskatchewan. Aurora College is also participating in the development of the University of the Arctic.