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Guyana and Canada enjoy a close relationship built on more than 50 years of deep people-to-people ties, important trading connections, a longstanding development program and our security partnership. Canada first opened the High Commission of Canada to Guyana, in Georgetown, in March 1964, and established full diplomatic relations after Guyana’s independence in May 1966.
There is a vibrant diaspora with close to 100,000 Canadian-Guyanese citizens who call Canada home. The academic ties between Canada and Guyana reinforce this relationship as hundreds of students choose to study in Canada every year. Canada continues to support Guyana’s capacity building efforts with Canadian experts assisting various institutions.
Guyana is represented in Canada by the High Commission of Guyana in Ottawa and a Consulate in Toronto.
Guyana is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, due to the ongoing development of its oil and gas sector with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stating it grew by 62% in 2022 and is expected to add another 37% this year. Guyana is one of Canada’s largest merchandise trading partners among the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In 2022, merchandise trade totaled $294.1 million. Exports for 2022 were valued at $52.7 million, imports were valued at $241.4 million. Canadian mining companies are actively exploring in Guyana while Canadian companies are seeking joint ventures in Guyana’s oil and gas market. A Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce was launched in Georgetown in December 2020 and an Air Transport Agreement is being finalized between both countries.
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.
Canada’s development program is focused on mutual priorities, including climate and economic resilience, sustainable and inclusive governance, health and advancing gender equality.
Following the 2017 hurricane season that devastated 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 strengthening natural disaster planning and response through organizations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
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.
Canada is extending its support to Guyana through innovative programs, encompassing essential Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health services for Indigenous communities and remote hinterland populations lacking access to quality healthcare.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Canada redirected programming to respond to Guyana and Caribbean needs, including to address gender-based violence, income support and essential services, training and technical assistance for health professionals, as well as medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
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 Guyana, to help diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities.
Another collaborative initiative is bringing Canadian and Guyanese colleges together for technical and vocational training in the renewable energy space.
Guyana also benefits from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and Canada’s support through non-governmental and multilateral organizations, such as the Caribbean Development Bank.
Information on Canadian development initiatives is available on Project Browser.
Canada has provided important security programming to Guyana since 2015, through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, to assist in tackling transnational organized crime, strengthening cybersecurity; preventing migrant smuggling and human trafficking; delivering training on addressing illicit trafficking through containerized cargo and strengthening the gender accountability of legal frameworks pertaining to small arms. Additionally, since 2009 the Program has supported Op ACKEE with the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command 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.
Guyana is a member of Canada’s Military Cooperation Training Program. Canada has previously helped Guyana Police Force and Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit to strengthen their narcotics and serious crime investigation abilities.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today's most pressing global challenges, Canada and Guyana work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
- The Commonwealth
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Bank (WB)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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