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 over 85,000 Canadian-Guyanese citizens who call Canada home and play an integral part of Canadian society. 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, including within the oil and gas sector.
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 sectors following a major discovery by Exxon in 2015. Guyana is the third largest of Canada’s merchandise trading partners among the Caribbean Community. In 2021, merchandise trade totalled $238.2 million. Exports for 2021 are valued at $28.6 million, imports are valued at $199.6 million. Canadian mining companies are actively invested in Guyana. In addition, Canadian companies are interested in Guyana’s oil and gas market there have been a number of joint ventures and partnerships between Canadian and Guyanese companies in this area. In October 2018, Guyana and Newfoundland/Labrador (NL) signed a three-year MOU for NL to provide public sector expertise and training to Guyana’s Department of Energy. A Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce was launched in Georgetown in December 2020 and an Air Transport Agreement is also being finalized between both countries.
Canada’s development program is focused on mutual priorities, including climate and economic resilience, sustainable and inclusive governance, and advancing of gender equality.
Following the 2017 hurricane season that devastated the Caribbean, Canada announced the $100 million Pledge for Caribbean Reconstruction and Economic and Climate Resilience to support Guyana and the region in reconstruction and climate resilience. This included climate change adaptation and strengthened natural disaster planning and response through organisations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
At the CARICOM Intersessional Meeting in February 2020, Canada announced an additional $61.5 million in 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 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. Canada is also helping Guyana diversify its economy through support to agriculture and eco-tourism in Indigenous communities, and promotes gender equality through local and regional initiatives.
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 protective equipment.
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.
Canada has provided important security programming to Guyana since 2015, through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program to assist in tackling transnational organized crime. Guyana is a member of Canada’s Military Cooperation Training Program, and we have previously supported the 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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