Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional inter-governmental organization comprising 10 member states. It was established by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on August 8, 1967, and was later joined by Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Burma* and Laos (1997) and Cambodia (1999). The objectives of ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development; promote regional peace and stability, and respect for justice and the rule of law; and increase collaboration across a vast range of economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative spheres. ASEAN is working toward establishing the ASEAN Community, which would comprise the ASEAN Political Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Social Cultural Community, by December 31, 2015.

In 2008, ASEAN members adopted the ASEAN Charter, which overhauled its management structure, and officially created ASEAN as a legal entity and established several institutional bodies, such as the bi-annual ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Coordinating Council and the ASEAN Community Council. The ASEAN Secretariat, located in Jakarta, Indonesia, and led by the secretary-general, coordinates the work plans, projects and meetings of ASEAN-associated bodies. The ASEAN Secretariat is also responsible for coordinating ASEAN’s relationship with external partners, such as Canada.

The ASEAN Member Countries

The links to ASEAN member countries below provide information on Canada's travel advice and advisories, basic country information, the name of Canada's representative at the relevant Canadian government office abroad, the location of relevant trade offices and information for Canadians abroad requiring assistance, and information about Canada's international development assistance in that country.

Burma*, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam

* Also known as Myanmar

Fast Facts

  • Canada-ASEAN trade rose again in 2013, to reach a record total of $17 billion.
  • The ASEAN region represented the source of over 14 percent of Canada’s permanent residents in 2012. More than 36,380 permanent residents came to Canada from ASEAN countries that year — an increase of 35 percent from five years before.
  • More than 10,270 students from ASEAN countries studied in Canada in 2012, up over 26 percent from 2010.
  • There were 52,750 foreign workers from ASEAN countries in Canada in 2012, representing almost 16 percent of all foreign workers in Canada that year.
  • In total, Canada’s direct investments in ASEAN in 2013 exceeded those in mainland China (i.e. excluding Hong Kong) and India combined.
  • 7 out of 10 ASEAN countries are identified as priority markets under Canada's Global Markets Action Plan.