Canada: Country and Foreign Investment
This page was last updated on 5 June 2019.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by a governor-general, currently Julie Payette (since 2017). The governor-general is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; the role is almost completely ceremonial.
Real executive power lies in the hands of the prime minister, currently Justin Trudeau (since 2015). The prime minister chooses who sits in the Federal Ministry (cabinet), usually from members of his party sitting in Parliament.
Canada’s legislature is known as the Parliament and is bicameral, consisting of a lower house, the House of Commons, and an upper house, the Senate. The House of Commons has 338 seats, members of which are elected by popular vote to serve a maximum of five years. The Senate has 105 seats; its members are appointed by the governor-general under the advice of the serving prime minister.
The most recent elections in the House of Commons were on 19 October 2015. The leader of the majority party in the House of Commons is automatically designated as the country’s prime minister, who then has authority over Federal Ministry appointments. The current Prime Minister is Stephen Harper after his party, the Conservatives, won a 39.6% majority. He has been serving as Prime Minister since February 2006.
The legal system is based on civil law. The court system consists of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, and individual Provincial Courts.