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Canada-Haiti relations

Bilateral relations

Canada and Haiti officially established autonomous diplomatic relations in 1954 and have continued to maintain strong diplomatic ties ever since. Over the years, their relations have been strengthened by their geographical proximity, a common language (French) the growth of a substantial Haitian community in Canada (165,000) and the ongoing presence of Canadian development organizations in Haiti. In addition to its embassy in Ottawa, the Republic of Haiti also has a consulate general in Montreal, as well as an honorary consulate in Toronto. The Haitian Ambassador to Canada, Wien Weibert Arthus, presented his credence to the Governor General of Canada on November 30, 2020. 

Both members of the United Nations (UN), Canada has supported the various UN peace missions in Haiti for over 20 years to support stabilization and reconstruction efforts, both financially and through the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces, UNPOLs and correctional officers. Canada chairs the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group (ECOSOC-AHAG) on Haiti and is an influential member of the Core Group in Port-au-Prince, which has a mandate to serve as the voice of the international community to the State of Haiti. Canada also consolidates its relationship with Haiti by being a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).

Trade relations

The bilateral trade relationship between Canada and Haiti remains modest. In 2021, 2-way merchandise trade between Canada and Haiti was valued at $153.6 million. Canadian exports totalled $81.4 million in value, and imports from Haiti $72.2 million. Haitian exports are mainly found in the agri-food and textiles sectors, while Canadian exports can be found mainly in the agri-food and machinery sector. Bilateral trade in services is still modest (official statistics not available).

On the commercial front, Canada enjoys an enviable reputation in Haiti and benefits from undeniable assets, including the presence of a dynamic bilateral chamber of commerce and an active diaspora in Canada. There is potential to increase bilateral trade in infrastructure and construction, agriculture, health and education.

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Development

Since the 2010 earthquake, the Government of Canada has provided $1.87 billion worth of funding to Haiti. Canada is the second-largest bilateral donor to Haiti after the United States. In 2020-2021, Canada had an annual development assistance budget of approximately CA $98 million in Haiti (all channels combined), making Haiti the largest recipient of Canadian aid in the Americas.

The Government of Canada’s bilateral development priorities are consistent with the action areas in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. These priorities involve strengthening governance, including the rule of law and the fight against corruption; improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable, particularly women and girls, notably through support to national health, education and protection systems; and fostering growth that works for everyone and a greater resilience in the face of climate change and natural disasters.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led Canada to adjust its programming and reallocate $12.60 million to deal with the health crisis in Haiti. An additional funding of $10 million aimed at strengthening the food resilience of populations made more vulnerable due to the impact of COVID-19 through the World Food Program has been added to this amount.

Following the earthquake of August 14, 2021, Canada worked closely with the Government of Haiti and international partners to assess needs and provide assistance. In response to the crisis, Canada provided nearly $6 million in humanitarian assistance to support the communities most affected by the earthquake.

Following discussions with project implementation partners in the south, some development projects were also altered to provide food relief, first aid and assistance to agricultural producers whose crops had been damaged. These changes include:

  • Additional funding of $2M to an existing project implemented by the World Food Program to provide food assistance relief in the south of Haiti. The project will reach over 22,000 beneficiaries.
  • Additional funding of $1M to an existing project implemented by the UNFPA worth $25M ($26 overall) to help the organization better cope with the new operational difficulties and emerging needs caused by the earthquake while continuing to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and teenage girls, as well as the health of new-borns and children. The project will reach approximately 21,800 beneficiaries per year.
  • Additional funding of $4M to United Nation Development Program (UNDP) for an existing $10.15M project ($14.15M overall) to strengthen national systems in Haiti to better manage and respond to natural disasters. The project will reach approximately 470,000 beneficiaries.

Canada also participated in the “International Event for the Financing of the Reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti” on February 16, 2022, announcing a new financial commitment of $19.5 million, which will contribute to supporting earthquake victims, post-disaster rehabilitation as well as to improving security and integrated health services for women, adolescent girls and children.

In order to maintain the attention of the international community in terms of political dialogue and security in Haiti, Canada also chaired, an international Ministerial Meeting with 27 representatives of countries, regional and international organizations, and the Prime Minister of Haiti in January 2021. Reiterating its support for Haiti, Canada announced a financial commitment of $50.4 million for 9 initiatives focused on security, sexual and reproductive health and rights, inclusive economic growth and humanitarian aid.

To find out what Canada is doing to support development in Haiti, you can search in the Project Browser.

Operations

Canada is deeply concerned about the security crisis and increasing grip of gangs in Haiti. Canada is therefore continuing its long-term support for strengthening the Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH) (Haitian National Police). Canada recently funded a project to support the professionalization of the HNP that led to the establishment of the Académie nationale de police (National Police Academy) and the training of nearly 400 commissioners and inspectors, particularly in police ethics, protection of human rights and the fight against gender-based violence. In order to build the country's capacity in the security sector, a new bilateral project in support of the PNH is to be launched this fall.

Through its Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), Global Affairs Canada (GAC) also funds projects focused on reducing community violence, strengthening the rule of law, and including women in policing and political life. Due to PSOPs programming, Canada has facilitated the formation of a Haitian national border force since 2017, POLIFRONT, which is deployed along the terrestrial border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

To strengthen the security sector in developing countries, Canada often deploys both police officers and civilians. Canadian police officers are deployed through the Canadian Civilian Police Arrangement, whose partners comprise GAC, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP. Civilians are deployed through GAC’s Civilian Deployments Platform. Since the end of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti, in October 2019, to which more than 20 Canadians were deployed, Canada has been deploying police officers to the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. Currently, 2 Canadian police officers are stationed in the country.

Canada is also contributing to stability and security through diplomatic dialogue with its Haitian and international partners and through its development assistance programming, notably due to its support for the consolidation of the rule of law and democratic structures.

Partnerships and organizations

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

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