Chief industries of Canada

Canada’s economy, like most thriving modern countries, relies more heavily on its service industries than its goods-producing industries, although its goods-producing industries are of more importance than in most other developed countries. Forestry and petroleum lead the way, thanks to a strong and consistent worldwide demand.


Oil was not a major player in Canada until the large strike in Leduc, Alberta, in 1947. After that first fortuitous find, more oil was discovered across western Canada and a booming oil industry began.

Natural gas was also discovered, and between the two a small boom occurred. In more recent times, oil and natural gas have been discovered in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The Athabasca oil sands have also provided a rich source of oil beyond the oil wells, and now produce synthetic crude oil.

Along with these finds came peripheral service industries that participated in the boom. Exploration led to the need for engineers, specialised equipment and operators to run them, and refineries and treatment operations. Employment in all these areas meant housing became an important industry. Retail grew and thrived as well to meet the needs of the workers and their families.


Canada is a vast country that spans several thousand miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Much of Canada’s interior is forested, a ready resource for all timber needs. Canadian timber has been an important natural resource in Canada ever since the first inhabitants carved their canoes.

As Canada’s population has grown through the centuries, timber has been needed in both the construction industry and the pulp and paper industry. The hardwoods are taken from the eastern parts of Canada, while softwoods come from all over the country. The domestic need for construction lumber and pulpwood is a strong one, but there is also a lucrative foreign market as well.

Service industries

Canada’s primary service industry is the retail industry. Some of the larger employers include Canadian stores such as Zellers/Home Outfitters, Rona, Canadian Tire, and Shoppers Drug Mart. The business sector is a strong service industry encompassing financial services such as banking, credit card companies, insurance companies, and investment firms. Education and healthcare are also large factors in the service industry, and tourism plays a huge part in Canada’s economy.


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