Canada and the Organization of American States (OAS)

Having become a full member in 1990, Canada is represented at the OAS by a Permanent Mission. The role of the Permanent Mission is to advance Canadian objectives and interests through the OAS and to work with hemispheric partners through the Organization. Canada actively participates in the work of various OAS bodies, with Canadian engagement particularly strong in the areas of democracy, security and human rights.

Canada is the second largest financial contributor to the organization with an annual assessed contribution of approximately CAD$ 11.4 million in 2010. Additional Canadian voluntary contributions have supported a broad range of activities, from electoral observation missions and the special OAS missions in Haiti and Colombia, to mutual legal assistance and consultations with civil society.

Canada supports the continuous improvement of governance at the OAS, as the Organization seeks excellence in the use of its resources. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) provides funding for upgrading the tools for human resources management and the introduction of results-based management at the OAS. Canada also chairs the Working Group on the Review of OAS Programs which seeks to improve the priority setting process and help the Organization focus on better accountability and greater value-added activities in the current context of limited financial resources.

Canada works with the OAS to improve aid effectiveness in the hemisphere. Canada chairs the Working Group on Strengthening the Inter-American Committee for Integral Development, which is the development arm of the OAS. Canada also takes a proactive role in supporting OAS efforts to enhance donor coordination.

Democratic Governance

Democratic governance is a cornerstone of Canada’s re-engagement in the Americas and at the OAS. The promotion of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and accountability of public institutions form an integral part of Canada’s international relations. The adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in 2001 marked a key achievement in upholding the principles and values of representative democracy in the hemisphere. Canada is committed to working with other Member States and the Secretary General to ensure that the OAS continues to promote these values and principles. Canada also plays an important role in OAS efforts to strengthen democratic processes in the hemisphere, including supporting electoral observation missions in the member states.

Multi-Dimensional Security

The 2003 Declaration on Security in the Americas defines security threats, concerns and other challenges in the hemisphere as being diverse in nature and multi-dimensional in scope, encompassing both traditional and new threats.

Canada actively participates in key OAS security-oriented bodies and action plans, including the Committee on Hemispheric Security, the Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines Program, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism and the Inter-American Defence Board. Canada is currently the chair of the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Canada, through the the OAS Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI), is supporting enhanced programs and activities related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Americas. DFATD funding will be used towards sub-regional workshops and other activities over the coming year, with objectives including the strengthening of national and regional multi-sector dialogue, expansion of the private sector's role in addressing social and environmental issues, and improvement of technical CSR knowledge amongst a wide range of stakeholders.