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Natural Gas in Canada

Natural gas ranks among the fastest-growing energy sources in Canada and is seen by many in the energy industry as a game-changer, a comparatively clean, low-cost and versatile fuel. It can directly generate power and heat and can be chemically altered to produce a wide range of useful commodity chemicals. It burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fossil fuels, releasing significantly fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Natural gas is colorless, odourless, shapeless, lighter than air and contains a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, which are organic compounds consisting of some combination of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The primary consumers of natural gas are the industrial (54.1 per cent), residential (26.6 per cent) and commercial sectors (19.3 per cent). Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer after the United States, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Currently, all of Canada’s natural gas exports go to the United States through a network of pipelines, making Canada the largest foreign source of US natural gas imports. At the end of 2016, Canada had 76.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and had produced 152 billion cubic metres of natural gas that year. It is forecasted that global natural gas consumption will double by 2035.

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TC Energy (formerly TransCanada)

TC Energy Corporation (formerly TransCanada Corporation) is a natural gas, oil and power-generation company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. TC Energy owns more than 92,600 km of natural gas pipeline in North America and transports more than 25 per cent of the gas consumed on the continent. It also operates power plants and gas storage facilities. A public company, it trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TRP. In 2018, TC Energy registered $13.7 billion in revenue and $3.5 billion in profit and held $98.9 billion in assets. The company employs about 7,300 people, more than half of them in Canada.

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Aluminum in Canada

Aluminum is a lightweight, strong and flexible metal that resists corrosion and is 100 per cent recyclable. It is a common material in vehicles, buildings, consumer goods, packaging, power transmission and electronics. Canada’s aluminum industry began at the turn of the 20th century and grew quickly during both World Wars. Today, Canada is the world’s fourth largest producer and second largest exporter of aluminum. The country nevertheless accounts for less than 5 per cent of global production. Aside from one smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia, all Canadian plants are in the province of Quebec.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Canada and the Digital Economy

The digital economy is the economic activity conducted through digital technologies such as the Internet. It is also called the Internet economy, the new economy or the web economy. Many scholars see the digital economy as the fourth industrial revolution. As of 2013, it consumed approximately 10 per cent of the world’s electricity. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate in the digital economy. A growing number of Canadians depend on it for their livelihood. In 2017, nearly 5 per cent of all jobs in Canada were in the digital economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) connected to it represented 5.5 per cent of Canada’s total economy — a bigger percentage than mining or oil and gas extraction. However, the often-hidden infrastructure of the digital economy brings new threats to the environment. The rise of cryptocurrencies could also dramatically change how people buy and sell things.

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Robotics in Canada

Robotics is the branch of engineering that concerns robots: reprogrammable, multifunction manipulators designed to move objects and complete tasks through a variety of programmed motions. The field includes the conception, design, manufacture and operation of such machines. Robotics overlaps with a variety of other electronic and engineering disciplines including artificial intelligence (AI), bioengineering, computer science, mechatronics (the engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems) and nanotechnology. In the late 20th century, Canada distinguished itself in the field with the development of the Canadarm for space missions. Despite the challenges of competing in the international market, Canadian companies, institutes and researchers are now world leaders in the development of AI applications for robotics.