Money Mover Country Report - Canada

Posted on the 27th April 2017 by Dorianne Sager in Country Reports

Canada - Lake Louise, Banff


Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year and the entire nation is gearing up for a party. Lonely Planet has declared Canada as the number one destination in the world for 2017 and it is little wonder why. With 18 UNESCO world heritage sites, Canada is quite simply, breathtaking. From the Rocky Mountains in BC to the freshwater fjords in Newfoundland, the second largest country in the world is 9.984 million square kilometers of Instagram posts.

While much of Canada is covered in forest, tundra and mountains, it is still highly urbanized with most of the population living in the three largest cities: Vancouver, a scenic and laid back film industry powerhouse (Hollywood North); Toronto, a dynamic metropolis and important financial center (a polite New York); and Montreal, the second largest French speaking city in the world (a cheaper Paris). And now, with Justin Trudeau, the world’s sexiest prime minister, a government bent on legalizing marijuana, and the Royal Canadian Mounties who “always get their man”; Canada is the coolest part of North America. Literally. Even Mars is warmer than Canada in the winter.

The British North America Act was signed in 1867, officially establishing the Dominion of Canada, but the country’s history dates to the 16th century when British and French forces first invaded, each staking their claim.  Like many countries “discovered” by the early European settlers, Canada’s birth as a nation also set in motion a history of marginalization of the First Nations’ people, an issue Canada still grapples with today. Perhaps partly as a way to reconcile historic wrongs, Canada has developed a national identity that is strongly centered around the need to apologize and the values of diversity and tolerance – in fact, it is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriages. And believe it or not, Canadians’ propensity for apologizing even required the government to pass the Apology Act in 2009 to remove any confusion over “sorry” being an admission of guilt since it is so widely used in everyday interactions.

While gorgeous scenery, inclusive values and extreme politeness might describe Canada, Canada mostly defines itself by what it isn’t – America. Despite the cultural similarities and the overwhelming shadow caused by the geographical proximity to its southern neighbor (the two countries share the longest binational land border in the world), Canadians pride themselves on their differences so best not to confuse the two, although a Canadian would be much too polite to scold you for it. And would probably say sorry.

Trade and Industry

Canada is a member of the G7 and one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It survived the global financial crisis of 2008 mainly because of a strongly regulated banking industry and its economy remains healthy. Unlike most developed countries, Canada still relies heavily on its abundant natural resources as a major contributor to its economy, logging and oil are the two biggest industries. It is a world leader in the production of gold, nickel, uranium, diamonds and lead and has the world’s third largest oil reserves after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The US consumes almost 70% of Canada’s oil output. Currently, the largest contributor to Canada’s economy is the housing market, although government concerns over a housing bubble in both Vancouver and Toronto and the introduction of new regulations to curtail speculation may soon reduce its impact.

The North America Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico has recently come under fire by President Trump who has introduced new tariffs on softwood lumber and taken aim at the Canadian dairy industry. Despite the dysfunction, the Canada-US trade relationship crosses all industries and each country is one of the largest trade partners of the other. Avoiding a trade war and prolonged negotiations over NAFTA is vitally important to the economic success of both Canada and the US.


According to the OEC, in 2015 Canada exported $389B, making it the 11th largest exporter in the world. The top exports of Canada are crude petroleum, cars, refined petroleum, vehicle parts and planes, helicopters and spacecraft.


America is by far Canada’s largest importer, followed by China, Mexico, Germany and Japan. The number one import into Canada is cars and car parts, followed by petroleum.

Currency Overview

From beaver pelts in the 1600’s to today’s one dollar “loonie” coin, the development of a Canadian currency reflects the development of a nation over the past 150 years. The 1700’s and early 1800’s was a period of currency chaos when a mixture of currencies, dollars and coins were in circulation. From 1841-1858 Canada used a version of the Canadian pound, until the Canadian dollar became the accepted currency. The Bank of Canada was established in 1934 and has been printing the colourful bank notes ever since. The Canadian dollar is often referred to as the loonie, in reference to the loon on the back of the coin, a common bird found swimming in any number of Canada’s abundant lakes. Bank notes are now issued in polymer to avoid counterfeiting and a two-dollar coin was introduced in 1996 to replace the bill, called, you guessed it, the “toonie”. 

Due to Canada’s economic and political stability, the Canadian dollar is popular with central banks and is the fifth most held reserve currency in the world, accounting for approximately 2% of all global reserves, behind only the US dollar, the euro, the yen and pound sterling.

Currency Pairs

The Canadian dollar is one of the world’s major currencies. The USD/CAD currency pair is the sixth most traded pair with a daily trade volume of nearly 5% of the entire FX market.

The most common Canadian dollar minor currency pairs or major crosses are EUR/CAD, GBP/CAD, AUD/CAD, NZD/CAD, CAD/JPY and CAD/CHF.

International payments to Canada 

Canada is a low risk country and considered stable, both politically and economically. There are no known issues with making global payments to Canada.

Types of payments 

All payments are sent via SWIFT and although we can send all supported currencies to Canada, the majority of Money Mover customers send Canadian dollars.

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