While Canadians and Americans are viewed to be similar culturally by people
living outside of North America, the two countries do not exactly see eye to eye
on how things should be run or how people should live. Therefore, one could say
that a friendly rivalry exists between Americans and Canadians. Just like the
British and French, both countries can tolerate the differences even if they are
geographically adjacent to one another.
If you refer to a U.S. citizen as a Canadian, he will not be any happier than
a Canadian who is mistaken for a U.S. resident. The following information
supports the variances in lifestyle of these countries and their governments.
15) States and Provinces
If you live in the U.S., you will reside in one of the 50 states. Canadians,
however, do not live in states, but, instead, cohabitate in provinces. The
provinces that make up Canada include Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British
Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New
Brunswick, and one province that is named Newfoundland and Labrador.
Like the U.S. each of these provinces are regulated by the federal
government. However each region also has its own jurisdictional powers, all
which gives each locale more legislative control. States in the U.S. have less
control when it comes to establishing laws. That's because they can lose state
funding if they don't abide by federally established mandates or laws.
14) Average Weights of Citizens
In addition to the distinctions between states and provinces, the U.S. has
more of a problem with obesity than Canada. According to research from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data shows that 34% of Americans are
overweight compared to 25% of the Canadian adult population.
Obesity in the United States:
Studies support findings that reveal that 36% of American women are obese
compared to 24% of the females in Canada too. Statistically, men in the U.S.
have an obesity rate that is 8% higher than men living in Canada. However, all
that being said, data also reveals that Canadians have experienced a gradual
increase in obesity over the past three decades.
Canadians Culturally Go for More Walks and Get More
Physical Exercise than Americans:
While the U.S. and Canada both use dollar bills for currency, the Canadian
dollar is not used outside the country and is the seventh most traded currency
in the world.
U.S. bills, on the other hand, are used for for purchases in a number of
countries, including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Ecuador, the Bahamas,
Cambodia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Belize. So, if you are traveling and are a U.S
resident, you won't have to exchange your currency if you visit one of the
aforementioned U.S. dollar-friendly locales.
12) Law Enforcement
When it comes to law enforcement, Canadians and Americans also utilize
different authorities for keeping the peace. In Canada, police, called Mounties,
or, officially, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), are officially
sanctioned officers for the country of Canada as well as the provinces.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal in Riot Gear:
Although some large cities in Canada make use of city police, the RCMP
polices the provinces and country, except Quebec and Ontario, who have their own
police force. While the RCMP does have a presence in these two provinces, their
influence can be equated to that of the FBI in the U.S. Newfoundland also
utilizes the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary to police a portion of its area.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Wearing Dress Traditional
The U.S., on the other hand, breaks down its policing agencies to city
police, county police, state police, sheriffs, and national entities, such as
the FBI, CIA, or DEA. Nevertheless, despite their differences in this regard,
both Canada and the U.S. do cooperate with each other in "catching" the bad guy
or working on international crimes.
The police power in Canada is initiated from the Crown. Therefore, an officer
of the peace is given power over the country, although he may work in a separate
jurisdiction. As a result, he can extend his police power past his assigned base
to other parts of the country.
U.S. Capitol District of Columbia Police Cruiser:
In the U.S. any policing authority originates from the voting public. So,
residents in a specific area, such as a state, city or county can choose to
appoint or elect their police. If a policeman is assigned to work in a county
then, he only maintains his police power in that area.
Typical U.S. Highway Patrolman:
While a county policeman
might pass over his designated boundary in the event of a high-speed chase, he
is still considered powerless to investigate a crime that falls just outside his
jurisdiction. The RCMP do not have this concern in Canada.
11) Health Care
While Obamacare in the U.S. has been developed to provide affordable health
care for Americans, the public health care system in Canada has been in force
for a number of years. Public health care in Canada is supported by the
guidelines that were established by the Canadian Health Act, which became a part
of Canadian law in 1984.
American Demonstrator Using Single-Payer System as in
Therefore, each Canadian is issued a health card who enrolls in a program,
with everyone receiving the same basic care. However, some provinces may have
variations in what services are offered for free and which ones are not.
Therefore, health care costs for certain therapies may not be covered under the
For the most part though, Canadians pay for their health care coverage
through the guidelines established by the Canadian Revenue Agency. As a result,
Canadians pay for most of their care with taxes while Americans pay for coverage
through insurance plans.
Canadians may take out a policy, as stated, for certain treatments not
covered by the public insurance. Also, U.S. citizens who move to Canada to live
may have to take out insurance if they move to British Columbia, Ontario,
Brunswick, or Quebec. Public coverage can't be accessed for three months if
you've relocated from the U.S.
10) Population Density
Population density also is different in Canada and the U.S. This calculation
compares the people living in a specific area with the people living in an
entire nation. Therefore, the measurement provides an insight into the condition
of crowding. While one country's population may be larger than another
country's, one of the two countries may also have more in the way of available
Satellite Image of North America Depicting Geography of
U.S. and Canada:
The country of Canada has a population of approximately 33 million people and
a land area that includes 3,559,294 square miles. Therefore, statistically, the
country's land mass is designed to hold about 9 people for each square mile. On
the other hand, the U.S. has a population density of 76 people per square mile.
So, while the U.S. has a larger population, Canada has more land. Many
families live on farms in Canada and much of the land has not been developed
commercially. Therefore, a good portion of the geography is occupied by
mountains and snow.
9) Birth Rate
While both Canada and the U.S. have variances in birth rates, both the
countries are experiencing a surge in the aging populace. In the recent past,
birth rates have declined in the U.S. for three years straight, with a notable
drop of 4% between 2007 and 2009.
Canada did have a short increase in its birth rate in 2011. However, that
figure has now since declined. Canadian fertility research studies show that
between 2009 and 2011, the fertility index (FI) in Canada dropped from 1.67 to
1.63 in 2010. That figure took a nose dive again in 2011 to 1.61. The FI must be
at least 2.1 to balance out the number of younger and older people in an area.
Researchers attribute the decline in both countries to a poor economy.
Birth Rates Worldwide are Growing at Alarming Rates:
8) Life Expectancy
When it comes to life expectancy, Canadians, on average, live longer than
Americans. Life expectancy, itself, is a measure that is determined by a
calculation that figures the number of years a baby born today will live in his
lifetime. Such factors as lifestyle, health care, and diet all contribute to the
number of years. Evidently, the free health care offered to Canadians can be
credited for the longevity rating. Research suggests that the life expectancy
for Canadians is 81 years while the average life expectancy for Americans is 78
As a result, Canada holds sixth place in the world in terms of life
expectancy. Canada has a life expectancy rating of B while the U.S. rating is
lower, or categorized as D. During the 70s and 80s, the U.S. life expectancy
ranking was classified under the category of C. However, since the 90s, the
status has taken a noted plunge. Factors affecting life expectancy in the U.S.
include such conditions as cancer and heart disease and interrelated habits,
such as smoking, alcohol consumption and the abuse of drugs.
Between Canada and the U.S., the U.S. has a broader range of accents and
dialects. Each state seems to have its own specialized form of speech, and the
areas within a state can even show slight variances. For example, In eastern New
England, people speak with what is called a Boston accent, with the "r" being
dropped at the end of a syllable.
Coal Harbor Vancouver, Canada:
You won't find that type of difference among Canadian speakers, but dialects
certainly prevail, depending on the province or the area. Famous linguist
Charles Boberg performed an analysis of Canadian speech in 2008. From his
findings it was shown that Canada does indeed have a variety of dialects, most
of which were represented by various vowel sounds. Yet, one still can't dispute
that both Canadians and Americans speak the same language, regardless of how it
Old Montreal Quebec, Canada:
Further the Province of Quebec holds French and English to be their national
languages making Canada technically have two primary national languages. The
United States has only English and has much less French influence throughout
Neither the United States or Canada have a fixed climate, given that both
nations represent large land areas. However, because of Canada's northern
location, winters in many provinces can be described as harsh. In some areas of
the country, the average day temperature can drop as low as minus 15 degrees on
the Celsius scale. What's more, the wind chill temperature can feel like it is
minus 40 degrees. Not only that, in the non-coastal regions of Canada, snow can
be seen six months at a time.
On the east and west coasts of the country, the average high during the
summer sits usually around 20 degrees Celsius or between 25 and 30 degrees
Celsius toward the mid-section of the country.
Banff National Park and Glacier Fed Lake - Alberta, Canada
While the northern parts of the U.S. can exhibit very low temperatures during
the winter, you'll also find a temperate climate in areas such as the west coast
of California and in Florida, and the Southwest. On the other hand, summer
temperatures can be downright chilly in states such as Alaska. So, if you want
to avoid the chill of winter in the northern U.S., you can always escape to
warmer temperatures in the south.
The United States Armed Forces includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and
Coast Guard while service personnel in Canada are part of the Land Forces,
Maritime Command, Canada Command (homeland security), and the Air Command.
Canadian Military Police:
Of the two, the U.S. military is more often engaged in international
conflicts. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that armed services in the U.S.
feature a larger number troops. In fact, Canadian army personnel only number
around 20,000 while the U.S. has close to 1,370,000 troops. The U.S. Air Force
has 370,000 troops while the Air Command in Canada has around 15,000 enlistees.
Alpha Company - 3rd Battalion - Royal 22 Regiment -
Neither the U.S. nor Canada practice conscription currently - a process that
forces qualifying men and women to serve in the military. If the U.S. did
practice conscription, the number of people serving in the armed services would
be massive - approximately 9 times the number of the current count.
4) Governmental Leadership
Despite both being democratic countries, the United States and Canada are
both fundamentally different in terms of their forms of government. Both
countries are federally-based. However, the head of the government in the U.S.
is the President while the head of state for Canada is the Queen of England. The
head of the government is the Prime Minister.
In the U.S., the government is formed so that there is a separation of
powers. That means that the executive, legislature, and judiciary branches are
divided equitably. Therefore, in the U.S., the President cannot act as a member
of either of the two houses of Congress--the House of Representatives and
Senate--nor can any member of Congress sit on the President's cabinet.
Canada is ruled by a parliamentary government, which is based on a
concentration of powers. Therefore the acting Prime Minister and all other
ministers in the government must also be a participant in one of the one of the
Houses of Parliament, or find a seat within the House shortly after their
appointment. Government-sponsored bills are either introduced by the Prime
Minister or a member of another house. Both the Prime Minister and other house
members are elected for the same term. The U.S. differs in this respect as the
President's term in office may not be the same as other elected officials.
3) Crime Rates
Another difference between Canada and the U.S. is reflected in the crime
rate. Facts show that assaults occur more often in Canada. In fact, Canada ranks
5th in the world with regards to this kind of crime while the U.S. ranks down
the line, or in 11th place. Approximately 87% of Canadians believe in the
efficiency of their police while almost 90% of Americans think the police are
dependable - proof that a slight more number of Americans trust in the efforts
of law enforcement overall.
However, that all being said, Canada, statistically, has far fewer crimes. In
fact, the United States has four times more crimes than its Canadian neighbor.
Approximately 12 million crimes occur in the states each year while Canadians
tally 2.5 million crimes per year. The incarceration rate is even more
staggering and only further depicts the United States as having quite a serious
Chart Depicting Who Really is the Leading Global Jailer:
Spelling in the United States is often very different than the spelling of
Canadians. That's because Canadians spell words using the Queen's English.
Therefore, Canadian spellings of such words as behavior, caliber, canceled,
catalog and centimeter are spelled as ‘behaviour’, ‘calibre’, ‘cancelled’,
‘catalogue’ and ‘centimetre’.
1) Gun Culture and Crime
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between Canadians and Americans is
their attitude towards guns. Because of the Bill of Rights, Americans hold to
their Second Amendment right to bear firearms. Therefore, Americans may own guns
for self defense at home as well as carry a gun in public. Canada, however,
enforces gun restriction laws to protect innocent people from gun attacks.
Yet, the Criminal Code of Canada still recognizes the need for firearm
defense. As a result, some individuals may carry a restricted weapon to defend
themselves if police protection proves to be insufficient. Over the years,
Canadian legislation has become more and more restrictive, thereby making it
difficult for people to carry a weapon without a good reason for the practice.
Many U.S. citizens are traditionalists. As a result, many people go back to
the Revolutionary War period and consider their Second Amendment rights when
making a decision to own a gun. The Second Amendment to the Constitution states
that . . . "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be
infringed." That's why many gun owners in the U.S. cannot support legislation
that controls or restricts their use of firearms. One of the organizations that
enforces the right is the National Rifle Association or NRA. Their influence
extends to the right to own all kinds of weaponry, including assault rifles and
similarly designed arms.
While Canadians and Americans seem similar, their laws and preferences
reflect their social, cultural, and historical orientations. Regardless of their
histories or cultural leanings though, both countries have a cooperative
attitude when it comes to working together politically or for the greater good.