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Canada and Estonia enjoy strong bilateral relations, owing in part to the fact that Canada did not recognize the Soviet occupation of Estonia after the Second World War and was one of the first countries to recognize Estonia’s restored de facto independence in 1991. Canada accepted thousands of Estonian refugees in the post-1945 period, and there are now approximately 24,000 Canadians of Estonian origin, representing one of the largest Estonian diasporas. Canada is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Riga, Latvia, where Canada’s ambassador is accredited to all three Baltic states. Canada also maintains an embassy office in Tallinn, Estonia, with locally engaged staff. Estonia has an embassy and ambassador in Ottawa and seven honorary consuls in five provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Nova Scotia.
Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Estonia totalled $248.1 million in 2018. In the same year, Canadian merchandise exports to Estonia amounted to more than $25.6 million, which included: electrical machinery and equipment, machinery, base metals (mostly titanium), fish and seafood, and wood and wood products.
Canadian imports from Estonia reached $222.5 million in 2017, which included: electrical machinery and equipment, furniture and bedding, edible preparations (yeasts), machinery, and mineral fuels and oils.
Canada was one of the first countries to ratify Estonia’s accession to NATO in 2004, and Canada and Estonia enjoy positive and constructive defence relations mainly through the NATO framework. Canada has provided Estonian military officers with English and/or French language training, peacekeeping skills and other types of professional development support. Canada has been sending officers to attend the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia, and has been providing that institution with lecturers and course development assistance since 2001.
Canada’s engagement in the Baltic region has been increasing, in line with NATO’s strengthened assurance and deterrence measures in the region. The most visible element of this defence posture is NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Central and Eastern Europe, made up of multinational NATO battle groups deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Canada has taken a leading role as an eFP Framework Nation in Latvia and has deployed Canadian troops into the battle group under Operation REASSURANCE. Canada also contributes Canadian Armed Forces personnel to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Estonia. In 2014, Canada contributed $1 million to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, based in Tallinn, to purchase new hardware for cyber defence exercises.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Estonia work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- European Union
- La Francophonie
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- Open Government Partnership (OGP)
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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