Canadian and World Issues: CGW4U (Grade 12, University Preparation)

Semester 1, Semester 2
Any university or university/college preparation course in Canadian and world studies, English or social sciences and the humanities.
Credit Value

This course draws on geographic concepts, skills, methods, and technologies to analyse significant issues facing Canadians as citizens of an interdependent world. Students will examine the challenges of creating a sustainable and equitable future through the study of a range of topics, including economic interdependence; geopolitical conflict; regional disparities in the ability to meet basic human needs; and protection of the planet’s life-support systems.


The following are the five strands into which the geography courses are organized.

Geographic Foundations: Space and Systems

When geographers study the earth’s surface, they work with spatial measurements such as elevation, distance, area, direction, and scale, as well as with complex ideas such as place, region, distribution, and pattern. Geography also includes the study of physical, economic, cultural, and political systems. By learning about the structure, evolution, and interaction of these systems, students gain insight into the interconnectedness of the physical and human worlds.

Human-Environment Interactions

People are an integral part of the natural environment. The natural environment affects people’s lives in many fundamental ways, and people in turn affect the environment through their policies and activities. A similar relationship exists between people and their urban, cultural, and economic environments. Students need to understand these relationships in order to analyse the human consequences of natural events and the effects of human decisions on the environment.

Global Connections

Geography requires that students assume a global perspective on events and processes in any part of the world. Geographers study the special characteristics of different parts of the world and the connections between them. They consider issues that affect local communities and those that affect the whole world. Since the world’s economies are becoming increasingly interconnected, and the flow of people, products, money, information, and ideas around the world is accelerating, a global perspective is particularly important for today’s students.

Understanding and Managing Change

As the world undergoes continual change, students need many different kinds of knowledge and skills to be successful. Geographers use both local and global perspectives to identify trends, analyse the factors that cause change, and forecast the effects of change in the relationships between the earth’s natural and human systems. These kinds of knowledge and skills are invaluable in problem solving and planning.

Methods of Geographic Inquiry and Communication

Geographers use a wide array of approaches and tools in their work. Some of these, such as fieldwork and computer analysis, are used in various disciplines; others are more specific to geographic studies. The latter include mapping, interpretation of aerial photographs, remote sensing, and image analysis using the global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS). The study of geography is especially relevant to contemporary students because, in addition to teaching them to view the world from both spatial and ecological perspectives, it familiarizes them with this broad range of new and traditional techniques and approaches.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1
The Future We Want
Unit 2
Working in the Computer Environment
Unit 3
Beginning to Program
Unit 4
Problem Solving with Procedures and Functions
Unit 5
Culminating Activity
Unit 6
Independent Study