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Glossary for lesson plans

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The following definitions will help you understand the terms as they are used in the context of the lesson plans.

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Acre — Area of land (0.4047 hectares).

Acreage — Number of acres planted with a particular crop.

Agriculture — Science of raising crops and rearing animals (farming).

Annual Average Index Numbers — Uses a scale relating the level of employment (or another variable) at a particular time to its level at a date taken as a base.

Appropriation — The process by which the government collects and spends money for specific purposes, such as fighting a war.


Base year — The base year is the year whose prices serve as a base for comparing prices in other years—e.g., production can be measured for the years 2002 to 2006 and valued at 2001 prices, allowing for comparisons that exclude inflation. This is also called the 'constant dollar' value of production.

Bonds — Interest-bearing financial certificates by which governments promise to pay back borrowed money.

Bookbindery — Manufacturing plant where books are assembled.

Broadcasting  — Transmitting programs or information by radio or television.

Bushel — A unit for measuring the volume of dry goods (in Canada, a bushel is approximately 36.4 litres).

Budget — Money management process in which one lists total income and total expenditure, with the goal of keeping income greater than expenditure.


Canadian Expeditionary Army — Name of Canadian army in the First World War.

Capital — Goods or money available to be invested to increase production and wealth.

Capital gain (or loss) — The difference between the purchase price and the price received when an item such as real estate or stock is sold.

Capital goods — Physical goods used in the production of capital-e.g., the plant facilities and robots used in producing and assembling cars.

Capital investment — Amount of money or goods available to a business for everyday activity or expansion.

Casualties — Serious injuries or deaths.

Character — a person depicted in a novel, a play or tableaux.

Commodity — Anything that is bought or sold.

Communication — The exchange of thoughts, messages or information.

Communication systems — The organized use of telephone, telegraph, radio, television, mail, newspapers, the Internet, etc. to overcome the distances between people. Examples are the Canadian Pacific Railway, finished in the 1880s, connecting Atlantic Canada with British Columbia, and the Post Office, which provides mail service between Canadians all across the country.

Compensation — Money received in place of another source (e.g., workers' compensation is paid to an injured worker replacing some of the money not earned by working at a job).

Composition — The number or share of factors (things or people) that make up a total.

Conjugal condition — marital status.

Convoy — Ships travelling under escort.

Consumer Price Index — A measure of change in the price of a fixed basket of goods and services from month to month. A base year is used as a frame of reference.

Cost of Living Index — Statistics Canada historically used an index with bases of 100 set in 1913, revised in 1929 and revised again in 1940 (the one students use for this lesson). Reflects the cost of items for a typical wage-earning family, not a minimum standard of living. The Cost of Living Index measures changes in the retail price of a selected package of goods and services over a period of time, including housing, food and clothing.

Culture — Values, norms and artefacts. Values include beliefs about important things in life and form the basis for the rest of the culture. Norms are expectations about how people will behave in various situations. Artefacts are the things that people in a culture use.

Cultural mosaic — Term that describes a country or other area in which different cultural groups within the society are allowed to retain and celebrate their cultures.


Democracy — Government by the people, through fair elections of representatives.

Dense — Crowded.

Demographic change — change in a population with respect to patterns of births, deaths, age, gender, marital status, urban and rural residency, country of origin, mother tongue, etc.

Disparity — Inequality or difference.

Distribution of income — The degree to which the total income of a country is shared among the total population.

Domestic — Of or within the country (not foreign or international).

Dramatic tableaux — A drama consisting of a series of 'frozen' pictures represented by a person or group, with no dialogue, put together in sequence to tell a story. The actors in the tableaux arrange themselves in poses to represent people and ideas. They hold their poses for a few seconds before moving to the next frozen picture.

Dwelling — a set of living quarters in which a person or a group of people resides.

Drought — Extreme lack of precipitation (rainfall, snowfall, etc.) over a period of months or seasons.


Emigration — Leaving one country or region to settle in another.

Employment — Work for wages or salary.

Eskimo — A member of the First Nations people inhabiting Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Eastern Siberia. In Canada, this word has been replaced by 'Inuit.' The term 'Eskimo' is used in early Statistics Canada datasets.

Establishments — Businesses.

Ethnic group — A group of people with a shared sense of identity based on a common language, religion and customs.

Ethnocultural group — A group of people with a shared sense of identity based on their common heritage, history, language, religious beliefs and values. This is different from some other kinds of cultural groups, such as people who identify themselves as belonging to a religious culture, a sport culture or a teen culture.

Expenditure(s) — Money spent.

Export — Sell to people in another country.

Export market — A place or group that provides a demand for an export.


Family — People living in the same dwelling and related by blood or marriage.

Fatal — Deadly, causing death.

Fatal casualties  — Deaths.


Generalization — Inference or general conclusion.

Great Depression — A serious economic crisis affecting most Canadians during the 1930s. Many people lost their jobs, some were unable to care for their families and many single men could not find work.

Gross domestic product — A method by which a government measures the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given year, excluding price changes. It is calculated using prices from a base year.


Household — Any number of people living within the same dwelling. They do not need to be related to one another.

Heartland — Most important, central part of a country.

Human resources officers — Individuals within a company that deal with hiring, firing, training and other personnel issues.


Immigration — Entering a country or region to settle in it.

Incidental — Having a minor role in relation to other items or events.

Income tax — Progressive tax introduced as a temporary measure in the First World War.

Index — A scale used to compare variables with one another or with some reference number.

Indian — A member of the First Nation peoples of North (and South) America. This word is largely replaced today by the term 'First Nation' or 'Aboriginal.'

Industrial — Relating to manufacturing or business, apart from agriculture and commerce.

Infant — A child under 1 year of age.

Infant mortality rate — Number of infants dying before their first birthday per 1,000 live births.

Infant survival rate — Number of infants living past their first birthday per 1,000 live births.

Interest — Percentage return on capital from loans, bonds and investments in general.

Interrelationship — How two or more things are related or connected to one another.


Job counsellors — People who give advice to and assist individuals or groups to make wise career decisions and find work.


Knot — Short form for 'nautical miles per hour' a measure of speed used in air and sea navigation as well as for submarine cables. A nautical mile is 6,080 feet.



Manufacturing — Making goods using workers and machinery, usually in a factory—e.g., bicycles, t-shirts, chocolates.

Matériel — Supplies and equipment for military use.

Maturity of bond — Reaching face value at the end of the term, e.g., at the end of the fifth year on a five-year bond.

Melting pot — A place where races and ethnic groups are mixed together.

Migration — The movement of people from one country or region to another for the purpose of settlement.

Milestone — A significant event or stage in the history of an industry, project or life.

Militia — A military force that is not part of the regular military but on call for emergencies.

Minimum — Smallest amount.

Money order — Safe registered means by which to send money by mail, usually a postal money order.

Morse code — A way of communicating letters through a series of dots and dashes that can be transmitted over telegraph wires and translated by telegraph operators.

Mortality — Death.

Mother's allowance — Money paid to mothers by a government to help support children.

Mother tongue — First language learned by a child.

Multiculturalism  — The presence of distinct cultural identities within a larger cultural group.


National debt — Total debt owed by the federal government. Each year's surplus or deficit is applied to the previous year's national debt to give the current amount.

National deficit — The excess of government spending over government revenues in a given year.

Negro — A member of the dark-skinned group of humans of African origin. Negro means 'black' in Spanish and Portuguese. This term is now usually considered offensive and has been replaced by 'Black' The term 'negro' is used in early Statistics Canada datasets.

Net value of products — The amount of income a business realizes after all expenses are paid.

Non-fatal casualties — Serious injuries.



Percentage of infant mortality — Number of infants that died before reaching 1 year of age per 100 live births.

Pay slip — A document providing details about a person's pay, hours worked, deductions, etc.

Payroll — The list of employees in a business.

Pension — Money people receive from governments or other institutions after they retire. People pay into pensions during their working years.

Per capita — For each person. For example, 'income per capita' is the average income per person in a given population.

Percentage of infant mortality — Number of infants dying before their first birthday per 100 live births.

Percentage of infant survival — Number of infants living past their first birthday per 100 live births.

Plot — Outline of the main events in a play, a film or tableaux.

Price of bond — Price at which a bond is bought, which may be lower than the face value.

Primary industry — Industry that harvests raw materials or natural resources; also known as a resource industry. Includes fishing, forestry and mining.

Productivity — The quantity of output (production) per unit of productive input, including units of land, labour and capital—e.g., output per worker, machine or hectare of land.

Profit or loss — Positive or negative amount left over after all costs have been met.

Progressive tax — A tax that is charged at a higher rate for higher incomes.



Radio telephone — Wireless telephone first used by ships. Messages went from ship to ship and from ship to shore.

Real income  — Income earned with inflation or price changes removed. An increase in real income represents an increase in purchasing power of the income.

Regional disparities — Differences seen in different sections of the country in gross domestic product, per capita income and per capita productivity levels.

Religious affiliation — Connection to a particular religion, e.g., Hinduism; or to a particular religious group, e.g., Roman Catholic Christian or Sunni Muslim.

Retail trade — the sale of goods to the public.

Rural — Related to country life.


Salary — Employment income earned at a flat rate for a longer period of time (an amount per week, month or year).

Secondary industry — Industry that converts raw materials into finished industrial products; also known as a manufacturing or construction industry. Includes food processing and steel manufacturing companies.

Servicing the debt — Payments applied to the principal and interest on the debt.

Social — Relating to society or its organization.

Social safety net — A way to protect members of a society against difficulty or loss.

Standard of living — The quality and quantity of goods and services available and the way these services and goods are distributed within a population.

Survival — Living, staying alive.


Technological change — Change resulting from the application of inventions, innovations and more efficient organization of production.

Telegraph — A system that uses electrical signals for transmitting messages to a distant place or via wire using Morse code.

Telephone — Device for transmitting sound, especially speech, over a wire network.

Tertiary industry — Industry that provides services rather than products; also known as a service industry. Includes restaurants, schools and financial institutions.

Trans-Atlantic cable — An encased group of insulated wires for carrying Morse code messages across the Atlantic ocean.

Trend — A general tendency or pattern.


Urban — Related to life in cities or towns.

Urbanization — Process in which there is an increase in the percentage of people living and working in urban places.


Visible minority — A population group whose members are recognizably distinct from those of the population group that is in the majority.


Wages — The amount of money paid for work, usually calculated by the hour or week.

Wireless — Means of communicating through airwaves rather than wire.

Work week — Standard number of hours devoted to work.



Yield — Amount of a particular crop obtained from a hectare or acre of land.

Yield — Return on investment.