- Toronto 5,1 million
- Montreal 3,6 million
- Vancouver 2,1 million
- Ottawa 1,1 million
- Calgary 1 million
Social welfare in Canada includes all government programs designed to give assistance to citizens outside of what the market provides. The Canadian social safety net covers a broad spectrums of programs, and because Canada is a federation, many are run by the provinces. Canada has a wide range of government transfer payments to individuals, which totaled $145 billion in 2006. Only social programs that direct funds to individuals are included in that cost; programs such as medicare and public education are additional costs.
All provinces in Canada provide universal, publicly funded healthcare, with their costs partially subsidized by the federal government. Services not "listed" (covered by provincial plans) can be purchased privately, however Canada is unusual in banning the purchase of private insurance or care for any services that are listed.
Mandatory primary education is provided by all provinces for a nominal cost. Private education is also available but its comparatively high costs and the relative quality of public education prevent many parents of using it as compared to the United States or Britain. Secondary education is optional and therefore more expensive, while post-secondary is yet more expensive but it still subsidized to a great extent by the federal and provincial governments. Student loans also exist to ease costs.
Canadian workers who are laid off can receive what is now known as Employment Insurance, but until 1996 it was called Unemployment Insurance. Canadian workers pay into a central fund that contributors can draw on if later unable to work. Since 1990, there is no government contribution to this fund. The amount a person receives and how long they can stay on EI varies with their previous salary, how long they were working, and the unemployment rate in their area. The EI system is managed by Service Canada, a service delivery network reporting to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada.
Most Canadian seniors are eligible for Old Age Security, a taxable monthly social security payment. In addition, most former workers can receive Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan benefits based on their contributions during their careers. As well many people have a private pension through their employer, although that is becoming less common, and many people take advantage of a government tax-shelter for investments called a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or may save money privately.
Education in Canada is provided, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into Elementary (Primary School, Public School), followed by Secondary (High School) and Post Secondary (University, College). Within the provinces under the ministry of education, there are district school boards administering the educational programs. Education is compulsory up to the age of 16 in every province in Canada, except for Ontario and New Brunswick, where the compulsory age is 18. In some provinces early leaving exemptions can be granted under certain circumstances at 14. Canada generally has 190 school days in the year, officially starting from September (after Labour Day) to the end of June (usually the last Friday of the month).
Religion in Canada encompasses a wide range of groups, and Canada has no official religion. The preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms mentions "God", and the monarch carries the title of "Defender of the Faith", but no specific beliefs are specified, and support for religious pluralism is an important part of Canada's political culture. Nonetheless, a majority of census respondents report they are Christians.
Top Religious Denominations in Canada
- Cristian - 77%
- Roman Catholic - 43,6%
- Total Protestant - 29,2%
- Christian Orthidox - 1,6%
- Muslim 2,0%
- Jewish - 1,1%
- Buddhist - 1,0%
- Hindu - 1,0%
- Sikh - 0,9%
- No Religion - 16,2%