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Canada-Bahamas relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and The Bahamas enjoy friendly diplomatic relations founded on common traditions, values and interests, and our strong people-to-people ties. The Bahamas is an important partner for Canada in the Caribbean region, with whom we share like-minded views and a strong commitment to a rules-based order. Our countries cooperate in regional and global fora across a wide range of issues, including promoting democracy and protecting human rights.

Canada established diplomatic relations with The Bahamas in 1973 after it achieved independence. The Bahamas is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa, and Canada is represented in The Bahamas by the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica. Canadians in The Bahamas can also access consular services at the Canadian Honorary Consulate located in Nassau.

Trade relations

The Bahamas is Canada’s third largest merchandise trading partner within the Caribbean Community. Total bilateral merchandise trade stood at $270M in 2022, with exports valued at $257.7M and imports valued at $12.2 million. Canadian direct investment, primarily by Canadian banks, constitutes the pillar of our commercial relations and amounted to $27 billion in 2022. Canada’s expertise in renewable energy, clean technology and infrastructure can provide effective solutions to the reconstruction needs of The Bahamas.

Due to the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries Tariff (CARIBCAN) - an economic and trade development assistance program for the Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories established by Canada in 1985 – and Canada’s other Tariff preference measures, 94% of all Caribbean exports to Canada enter duty free.

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Development

Canada is a long-standing friend and partner of The Bahamas and remains committed to continued collaboration

Although not eligible for official development assistance, The Bahamas benefits from Canada’s support to the Caribbean region in areas of mutual interest, such as climate and economic resilience, sustainable and inclusive governance, and the advancement of gender equality.

Following the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, Canada announced a 5-year $100 million Pledge for Caribbean Reconstruction and Economic and Climate Resilience. The pledge was fulfilled in 2022 and included support to organizations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which played an active role in response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, to which Canada also responded with humanitarian assistance.

At the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in The Bahamas, Canada announced $44.8 million in new initiatives to help support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis by protecting more biodiversity, and improving climate resilience and disaster preparedness. Canada continues to advocate for small island and low-lying states in the Caribbean, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

A principle means of support to the Caribbean is technical assistance and training to increase the capacity of governments and organizations. For instance, the Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism, which provides technical assistance to CARICOM governments, including The Bahamas, to diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce inequality.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Canada redirected programming to respond to the need of The Bahamas and the Caribbean including to address gender-based violence, income support and essential services, training and technical assistance for health professionals, as well as supplies and protective equipment.

The Bahamas and Canada also collaborate closely in key regional and multilateral fora and institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank. Canada represents The Bahamas and other Caribbean nations on the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Information on Canadian development initiatives is available on the Global Affairs Canada Project Browser.

Security

Canada and The Bahamas enjoy a strong and cooperative relationship in the area of security and defence, primarily under Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). Security initiatives include training opportunities for Bahamian law enforcement personnel, crime prevention in tourist destinations, and projects to counter money-laundering.

The ACCBP supports Op ACKEE, a Special Operations Forces (SOF) training program that has been ongoing since 2009 to mentor, enable, and create opportunities for the Jamaica Defence Force to grow as a Special Operations Forces leader and more effectively combat trans-regional threats in the Caribbean Basin. Other regional partners include Belize, The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and the Bahamas work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

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