Canadian Government Offices Abroad

The government of Canada has more than 260 offices in about 150 countries around the world. This page provides information on:

Office Types, Locations and Services

Canadian government offices abroad provide a variety of services, including consular services. However, not all offices provide every service. The Directory of Canadian government offices abroad provides office addresses and contact information by country.

This table lists the eight types of Canadian government offices abroad and gives a description and an example of each:

Listing of the types of canadian government offices abroad
Office TypeLocation, ServicesExample
Embassy

Located in the capital city of another country.

Provides a full range of services, including consular services.

Washington, U.S.A.
High commission

Located in the capital city of a Commonwealth country.

Provides a full range of services, including consular services.

London, U.K.
Permanent mission

Located in a city where a major international organization is headquartered.

Only the Canadian permanent mission in Geneva provides consular services.

Complete list of permanent missions
Consulate General

Located in a major city that is not a capital city.

Most consulates general provide a full range of services, including consular services.

São Paulo, Brazil
Consulate

Similar to a consulate general but not all consulates offer a full range of consular services.

Munich, Germany
Consular Agency

Located in a non-capital city.

All agencies provide limited consular services.

Acapulco, Mexico
Consulate headed by an honorary consul

Located in either a capital or non-capital city.

Most provide consular services, however there are some exceptions—notably in the United States.

Asunción, Paraguay
Office

Located in either a capital or a non-capital city.

Offices provide limited consular services and are designated as either an "Office of the Canadian Embassy" or an "Office of the High Commission," depending on the nature of the supervising mission. Generally, offices are established for specific work in support of Canada's foreign aid program.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Diplomatic and Consular Staff

Except for consulates headed by honorary consuls, all offices have Canadian and locally engaged staff.

Canada follows normal international practice in the designations given to Canada-based staff serving in offices in other countries. The international rules for such appointments are found in the two treaties that govern the establishment of foreign government offices abroad.

Designations for Staff and other Representatives of Canada working in Consulates General, Consulates and Consular Agencies:

Consul general

Highest-ranking officer

Consul

Senior officer

Vice-consul

Middle-ranking officer

Consular agent

Highest-ranking officer in a consular agency

Honorary consul

Special representative (non-staff appointment)

Designations for Staff Working in Embassies, high Commissions and Permanent Missions:

Ambassador, high commissioner

The senior diplomat at an embassy, high commission or permanent mission. Occasionally, the designation "ambassador" is used for special purposes, such as the Ambassador for the Environment. These special ambassadors are located in Ottawa and travel extensively to fulfil their responsibilities.

Minister

Number two in a large embassy, high commission or permanent mission, such as Washington or Tokyo.

Minister-counsellor

Number three in a large embassy, high commission or permanent mission; but number two in missions without a minister.

Counsellor

The fourth rank in Canadian embassies, high commissions or permanent missions; but number two or three in missions without a minister or minister-counsellor.

First and second secretaries

The middle ranks of Canadian diplomatic designations.

Attaché

This designation is used for persons who perform specialized functions in support of an embassy, high commission or permanent mission. For example, military liaison or technical worker.

Consul general, consul, vice-consul

In embassies or permanent missions, these designations are functional—denoting staff who provide consular services—and are only used in conjunction with the designations above.

Treaties under which Offices Operate

Canadian government offices abroad are established in accordance with the following two international treaties:


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