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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. Approximately 31,440 Barbadian-Canadians are an integral part of Canada’s social fabric and Canada welcomed 138 temporary workers from Barbados during the 2021–2022 season.

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.

Barbados and Canada collaborate closely in key regional and multilateral forums and institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank. Canada also represents Barbados on the Board of Governors at the World Bank and at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Canada is represented in Barbados by the High Commission of Canada, which opened in 1967. Barbados is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and a Consulate general 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 2022, Canada’s merchandise exports to Barbados amounted to $47.3 million, comprising primarily animals and food products, machinery and mechanical products. Imports from Barbados were worth $23.1 million, consisting mostly of food products.

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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While Barbados is ineligible for Official Development Assistance, it benefits from Canada’s support through regional initiatives that have strengthened national statistics for policy making, public financial management, access to justice and private sector development.

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 to support Barbados and the region. The pledge was fulfilled in 2022 and 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 in response to emergencies, such as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, across the Eastern Caribbean.

At the 2023 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.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. In 2021, Canada donated 30,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Barbados through a bilateral agreement.

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 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.

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

Regional security

Canada and Barbados partner on security and defence. Canada supports the Regional Security System (RSS), a regional organization based in Barbados, comprised of both military and police personnel that provides a collective response to security threats on request. Member States include Barbados, countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and Guyana (joined in 2022). The mission of the RSS is to contribute to peace and stability in the region.

Canada’s current commitment to Barbados through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP) is $2M (2022). Barbados has been a member of Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) since 1973. To date, almost 400 officers from Barbados have participated in MTCP training and activities. Training has focused on areas like army operations, peace support operations, language, IT security, and cyber and forensics.

Partnerships and organizations

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

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