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Canada-Barbados relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and Barbados have enjoyed vibrant bilateral relations since 1966, when Barbados gained independence.  Our rich cooperation is built on shared values, trade and investment, and strong people-to-people ties, including tourism and educational exchanges. Approximately 38,000 Barbadian-Canadians are an integral part of Canada’s social fabric.

We are like-minded partners in regional and multilateral fora on a wide variety of important issues, from climate to economic resilience to the promotion of gender equality.

Canada is represented in Barbados by the High Commission of Canada in Barbados, which opened in 1967. Barbados is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and a consulate in Toronto.  

Trade relations

In 1907, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service established an office in Barbados, which laid the foundation for the close trade partnership that Barbados and Canada have today. In 2020, Canada’s merchandise exports to Barbados amounted to $48 million, comprising primarily animals and food products, machinery and mechanical products. Imports from Barbados were worth $15.5 million, consisting mostly of food products.

Barbados is the fourth largest recipient of Canadian direct investment. In 2020, the stock of Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA) in Barbados was $42.2 billion, whereas foreign Direct Investment in Canada was $1 billion.

As one of the largest non-borrowing contributors to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Canada supports CDB projects in Barbados related to airport upgrades, energy efficiency and water supply. Canadian and Barbadian companies work closely in banking, renewable energy and clean technology sectors. Further opportunities exist in these domains and in the financial services, information and communication technology, agri-food and infrastructure sectors.

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Development

Following the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, Canada announced a $100 million Pledge for Caribbean Reconstruction and Economic and Climate Resilience to support reconstruction and climate resilience, and strengthen response capacity in the Caribbean region. This included support to strengthen natural disaster planning and response through the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Canada’s support to CDEMA and the World Food Programme has also provided for a regional logistics hub in Barbados to facilitate the delivery of assistance to in response to emergencies, such as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, across the Eastern Caribbean.

At the CARICOM Intersessional Meeting in February 2020, Canada announced an additional $61.5 million in new commitments for resilience, technical assistance and education exchanges for the Caribbean. This includes, for example, the Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism, which provides technical assistance to CARICOM governments, including Barbados, to help diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities.

Canada’s support further extends to regional engagements to strengthen national statistics for policy making, public financial management, access to justice, private sector development, and building the capacity of local women’s rights organizations. Notably, Canada is the largest supporter of the Barbados-based Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), and funded the deployment of technical advisors to support the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Plan, launched as in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund in 2018 to restore macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth. Deployments included a Canadian expert to assist in modernizing the Barbados Customs and Excise Department.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Canada redirected programming to respond to the needs of Barbados 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.

Barbados benefits from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and Canada’s support through non-governmental organizations. Barbados and Canada collaborate closely in key regional and multilateral fora and institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank.

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Operations

Security

Canada has a fruitful partnership with Barbados in defense and security. Canada supports the Regional Security System, a regional defense system composed of Barbados and countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which provides security assistance to Member States on request. Headquartered in Barbados, the RSS mandate is to preserve peace and stability in the region.

Canada is actively engaged with regional and multilateral organizations to enhance security in Barbados and the region. For example, since 2015, Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program has provided a platform for collaboration between Barbadian and Canadian law-enforcement professionals, including in combatting drug trade, cybercrime and strengthening gender equality within Barbados’ law enforcement agencies. Barbados is also a member of Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP), and many senior military officials have received MTCP training during the course of their careers.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Barbados collaborate in a broad range of multilateral fora, such as:

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