By: Ayub Nor

Getting Started!

Finding trends and patterns in our country is an essential tool that is needed to find long term patterns that our country may have. As a Canadian I feel as if finding how our country will be in 2035, the relatively near future, is an appropriate measure in finding factors that our country will need to consider for the future. Some factors that will be thoroughly evaluated will include the population, our interactions with the physical environment, the management of our resources and the different communities that everyone will be living in. With the knowledge given to us by the consideration of these many factors, we can establish whether Canada will be the greatest country to live in, come 2035.

Changing Populations

With our current population getting progressively older, it is going to leave a harsh mark on our country in multiple ways. Our country has a population of about 35,160,000 and of that population, 5,000,000 (14.1%) are ages 65+. What this means is that a very large amount of our workforce is going to be of retiring age very soon. Also considering that most of our workforce is of the ages 45-64 (42%) it is fair to say that there are far less people entering the workforce than the amount exiting it. Since in 2015 it is expected that the number of elders in Canada is going to surpass, I feel as if we will have a large shortage of work in the rather near future. Although the aging population is a very significant factor for the overview of our countries future, our attraction of workers from across the world is also very significant. As of now, Canada has the highest proportion of foreign-born population (20.6%) among g8 countries (US, France, Germany etc.). Of the countries that are continuously immigrating to Canada it is Asia that is producing the most significant amounts. Roughly 661,600 or 56.9% came from Asia (including the Middle East) from 2006-2011. Aboriginals are also a key factor in the changing of our population. As of now there are about 1,400,685 aboriginals in Canada which accounts for about 4.8% of our nation’s total population. There are three main groups of aboriginals in Canada and of these groups there are about 851,560 First Nations, 451,795 Metis and 59, 445 Inuit. With this current information it is possible to now predict how Canada's population will look in the future. In terms of our population in the future, we are expected to reach about 42 million. Due to low fertility in Canada and the generally longer lives, our population is expected to be significantly older. According to "In 2031, 8.9 to 9.4 million Canadians will be aged 65 and older, whereas the number of children is expected to be around 4.8 million to 6.6 million", thus showing that there will be far less children than seniors. This however, does not apply to our aboriginal population. Due to the high fertility rates of aboriginals they have the following median ages: Inuit= 23, First Nations= 26, Metis= 31. With these very young population i feel as if the aboriginal population is going to significantly increase.

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Interactions in the Physical Environment

Although Canada is always being associated with snow and cold weather, it truly has a very diverse climate with many different regions of vegetation, as well as many different landforms. In terms of climate it can vary depending on where exactly you are in the country. Since Canada contains seven different climate zones and each depend on conditions such as nearness to water, altitude and latitude we are able to have many different vegetation zones.

The vegetation zones in Canada are Tundra, treeline, west coast forest, cordilleran vegetation, grasslands, boreal forests and taiga, mixed wood forests and deciduous. All of these vegetation zones are crucial for our country. The Tundra is a barren and rocky biome located above the treeline with very low temperatures (-34 degrees Celsius). The Tundra’s vegetation consists of nearly 2,000 species of plants that mainly consist of small mosses, sedges, grasses and flowering plants. Our Treeline vegetation consists of both coniferous and deciduous trees and is the furthest north that trees can grow. The Boreal and Taiga forests are the largest of Canada’s vegetation zones and consists of cold harsh winters, this acts as a natural border between the tundra of the north and the deciduous trees of the south. Mixed forests consist of deciduous forests of the south and boreal forests of the north. It has a warmer climate and contains fertile soil that is ideal for growing crops. The mixed forests have significantly hot summers and warm winters and have a good amount of precipitation. Deciduous forests have hot summers, but unlike mixed forests, have mild winters. It is known for its very fertile soil and is vegetated with broad leaf trees. The Grasslands are the prairies of the interior plains with a very dry climate that is too dry for the growth of trees but is great for long grass and wheat crops. Cordilleran vegetation is located at the west coast of Canada. The treeline forms at high elevations as temperatures become cold. There is little tree growth in this region due to the leaching of the soil at higher elevations. Next, the west coast forest consists of large trees such as Douglas fir and Sitka Spruce. Due to this regions mild temperatures, it makes for great growing conditions, as well as the surface nutrients being leached into the soil.

Canada has 7 landform regions and they are the Innuitian Mountains, the Hudson Bay lowlands, the interior plains, western cordillera, Canadian Shield, great lakes-St Lawrence. Lowlands and the Appalachian mountains. These each are vital in the structure of the Canada we live in today. The Intuition Mountains are in northern Nunavut and are composed of rugged, ice covered mountains about 2600 meters high. The Hudson Bay lowlands are in Northern Ontario and Manitoba and are very sparsely populated with few trees. The Interior Plains are in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. This land was formerly a sea bed and because of that, is very fertile but also dry. The western Cordillera is found in BC, Alberta and Yukon and due to plate collisions it created the mountainous landform that we have today. The Canadian Shield is Canada’s largest landform region and runs through Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Northwest territories and Nunavut. This landform has one of the earth’s oldest rocks. The great lakes St-Lawrence lowlands is Canada's smallest landform region but is also the most populated. This landform runs through southern Ontario to Quebec. The land in this landform is fertile and has glacial deposits. The final landform region is the Appalachian Mountains and is in eastern Canada. This region provided deep harbours for early settlers and has rounded hills. In the future i feel as if climate change will affect this country in many ways such as extreme weather. With the changing of our climate, extreme weather is more likely to occur and signs have already become evident. Southern Manitoba has been getting large floods while the Northwest Territories have been getting large amounts of forest fires. With more extreme weather being an element in our future we will be forced to adapt to it in different ways.

Managing Canada's Resources & Industries

ith Canada's population growing at an accelerating rate, the management of our resources and industries are becoming harder to do. Due to Canadas importance in modern day trade, there is an ever growing need for our resources causing for risks of over extraction or "Tragedy of the Commons". What this is, is when our resources are harvested at a rate faster than they can replenish, causing it to cease to exist in that area. Due to canada's resources it is truly important to manage them to prevent overharvesting of our main exports. Some of the main exports in Canada include oil, minerals and forestry. Since Canada is home to the Alberta oil sands, the third largest crude oil reserve Oil has become one of the largest exports in Canada due to its need in many countries. Canada exports about 3 million barrels of oil per day to the US a year, the highest it has been in 15 years. Since oil is a great part of our modern day world, we will need to find ways in which we can manage this and make it sustainable. Another resource that canada exports is forestry. Forests are a major source of wealth for Canada. With the forestry industry providing 19.8 billion dollars (1.25% of GDP), i feel as if is a very valuable resource for Canada. Our third most valuable resource would be minerals. Mining is very essential and is the building block for all modern day technology such as cellphones, laptops, TVs and more. The mining of our countries minerals provides 20.4% of canada's exports.To manage these resources it is essential to only use the amount we need. The overuse of resources will not only erase that resource from our population, but can also harm our trade with other countries. Without sustainable yield management we won't be able to have the resources that are currently available to us in the future. Canada is connected to the world in many ways. Organizations such as the WTO ( world trade organization) and NAFTA (North American Free Trade) allow our country to stay connected to many nations both near and far. Transnational Corporations are also a means in which we are connected to the world. What a Transnational Corporation is, is when a company that is originally located in one country has branches in multiple other countries. What this does it create healthy competition between companies which allows for them to grow more thoroughly. With the future approaching, i feel as if canada will remain connected to other countries in the form of NAFTA, WTO and transnational organizations. Due to the high demand on oil and minerals i feel as if they will continue to be the main exports in Canada. Since oil is used to fuel many things and the ores from mining are used for modern day technology, i feel as if they will continue to thrive and be our main exports. We can use these resources sustainably by only taking what is absolutely necessary. Since these are very slow to renew, it is essential that we decrease in the usage of them unless it is necessary.
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Livable Communities

Canada is a very vast land with the second largest land in the world. Despite the large land, we all seem to be settling in the same area. Over 80% of canadians now live in urban cities, and as these cities start to grow in size we begin to face some problems. With cities now containing 80% of our population we are developing a car relient future. Since most canadians now live in largely populated cities, commute times are at an all time high making travel to work extremely long and difficult. With the longer commute times, the average worker spends 9 weeks a year commuting to work. Another problem with city life is that it is expanding into the farm lands at the edge of these large cities. Due to the spread out population of cities, it is taking up unnecessary space that is being inhabited by wildlife. All due to urban sprawl, the wildlife and farms that are located just outside of the cities are being compromised. The wildlands that are home to many species are being destroyed and paved over for further expansion of the cities. Ways in which Ontario can deal with its current urban sprawl issues include the encouragement for workers to live near work. With this we can cut commute times in half and save canadians many hours in which they can spend doing what makes them happy. With the limitation on urban sprawl it will allow people to be close to where they need to go such as:

  1. local stores
  2. entertainment
  3. work

Some ways to stop Urban sprawl would be for improved growth restrictions to be set in place, preventing Urban sprawl from reaching farm land and hindering the overall growth of the cities. Cities can become sustainable by being more convenient, causing for cars to be an unnecessary luxury. If everything was to be convenient and local in Cities, the car would become obsolete and thus causing for a decrease in commute times and the overall better lives of everyone.

Summing Things Up

After thoroughly analyzing our current trends, and extrapolating potential future trends from those, i feel as if Canada will not be the greatest country to live in, come the year 2035. Considering the overall factors that impact us such as urban sprawl, aging populations and climate change, i feel as if other countries will have an overall better way of life compared to that of Canada