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Canada-Costa Rica relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and Costa Rica enjoy a multi-faceted relationship with open political dialogue, a strong and evolving trade and investment relationship and important people-to-people ties. The two countries share similar views in many areas, including human rights, democracy, rule of law, security and free trade, as well as views on regional and international issues raised in multilateral institutions.

In Costa Rica, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada to Costa Rica in San Jose which opened in 1961. Costa Rica is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa, a consulate in Toronto and an Honorary Consulate in Vancouver.

Political relations

Canada and Costa Rica maintain friendly government relations, with Canadian engagement focusing on the promotion of gender equality, environmental protection, migration and governance, including respect for rule of law and democracy.

Canada supports Costa Rica’s security efforts through GAC’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). Since 2009, GAC has financially supported programming in Costa Rica through the ACCBP, with bilateral or regional projects focused on tackling illicit drugs, corruption, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, cybercrime, crime prevention, security sector reform and proceeds of crime (including money laundering). Canada and Costa Rica are currently exploring options for collaboration on women, peace and security.

Costa Rica remains a strategic partner for Canada in the region on several programs and initiatives to address irregular migration, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and forced displacement. Since 2018, Canada has collaborated with the Costa Rican Administrative Migration Tribunal (TAM) through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the TAM and the Immigration Refugee Board of Canada, establishing a protocol for information exchange and best practices related to the refugee appeal process.


Students from Costa Rica are eligible to apply to GAC’s Emerging Leaders of the Americas Program (ELAP). Established in 2009, this program funds students from Latin America and the Caribbean to complete short-term exchanges in Canadian post-secondary institutions at the college, undergraduate and graduate levels. Since its inception, ELAP has funded 76 Costa Rican students.

Trade relations

Costa Rica is Canada’s second largest trading partner in Central America. Canadian exports consist primarily of grain products, machinery, plastics, and preserved foods, while primary import products include fruits and nuts, scientific and medical instruments, rubber and electrical equipment.

The entry into force of the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) in November 2002 enabled the development of trade relations between the two countries. Parallel agreements on environment and labour cooperation were also signed at that time. One of the main objectives of the CCRFTA is to create new business opportunities for our respective countries. Canada recently completed the implementation of tariff preferences under the CCRFTA, allowing goods originating in Costa Rica’s free zones to benefit from duty free treatment.

Canada is committed to working with Costa Rica to diversify trade and reinforce global supply chains, enhance public-private partnerships and promote responsible business conduct principles.

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Development cooperation

In 2012, Costa Rica expressed its desire to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which Canada supports. Canada was supportive of their efforts, including by providing technical support in a variety of areas to help Costa Rica meet OECD standards and norms. On May 25, 2021, Costa Rica officially become the 38th member of the OECD.

Though Costa Rica is not a recipient of a bilateral assistance program, Canada is active through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), in supporting civil society and other partner organizations working on issues related to democracy, freedom of expression, migration, gender equality and climate action. Canada continues to collaborate closely on women, peace and security and has proposed technical assistance program (TAP) support to assist Costa Rica with the development of its National Action Plan on UNSCR1325.

Partnerships and organizations

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

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