Canada is a federal state governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual and multicultural at the federal level, with a population of approximately 35 million as of 2013. Canada’s advanced economy is one of the largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed trade networks, especially with the United States, with which it has had a long and complex relationship.
Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards. The country spends more on education (as a percentage of GDP) compared to the OECD average, and is the second highest among G-8 countries.
Canada has ranked as one of the top ten places to live in the world since 1994 according to the United Nations (UN) and the Economist Intelligence Unit. In the UN survey Canada earned particularly high marks for its access to education, high life expectancy (due to universal health care system); and low crime and violence rates. In addition, Canada’s largest cities — Vancouver,
Toronto and Montreal — have been recognized as world class cities in which to live and work, for their cleanliness and safety and for their cultural activities and attractive lifestyles.