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Canada-Jamaica relations

Bilateral relations

Canada and Jamaica have shared strong bilateral relations since Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Beyond a deep friendship, Canada and Jamaica benefit from a rich and diverse bilateral relationship, founded on our shared democratic heritage, common values, and strong people-to-people ties, including a large and vibrant Canadian-Jamaican diaspora community of over 300,000 people. The strength of Canada and Jamaica’s ties is also manifested in the education and tourism sectors. Jamaica is Canada’s fourth largest source of international students from Latin America and the Caribbean, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians visit Jamaica each year, representing Jamaica’s second largest source of foreign tourists. The Canadian-Jamaican bilateral relationship also encompasses trade and investment, security and defence, and development cooperation. Additionally, Canadians farms employ about 10,000 Jamaicans annually as part of Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

Canada and Jamaica are mostly like-minded partners on the international stage, as both are strongly committed to advancing progressive and democratic values, as well as a rules-based international order. Our countries work together to co-chair the Group of Friends of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Financing at the United Nations, an innovative platform to discuss and promote ideas to finance the implementation of the SDGs.

Canada is represented in Jamaica by a High Commission in Kingston and a consulate in Montego Bay. Jamaica is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Victoria.

Trade relations

Jamaica is Canada’s fourth largest merchandise trading partner within the Caribbean Community.

In 2021, two-way merchandise trade was valued at $206.2 million, with Canadian exports of $136.4 million covering a wide range of goods including meat products, pharmaceutical products, and electrical machinery and equipment. Imports from Jamaica were valued at $69.8 million and consisted mainly of aluminum oxides, prepared foodstuffs, and beverages and spirits. Areas of trade collaboration include clean technologies and the energy sector.

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Development

Canada’s development program is focused on mutual priorities, such as 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 reconstruction and climate resilience in Jamaica and the region. This included strengthening 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 new 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 Jamaica, to help diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities. Canada has also supported the Ministry of Finance in addressing climate risks through its key contribution to the International Monetary Fund’s Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center, and provided disaster risk insurance coverage for Jamaica over the 2019-2021 period.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Canada redirected programming to respond to Jamaican and Caribbean needs, including to address gender-based violence, income support and essential services, training and technical assistance for health professionals, as well as supplies and protective equipment. Canada has been particularly active in Jamaica and regionally in supporting access to justice, including the continued provision of justice services through the pandemic.

Jamaica also benefits from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and support to Canadian non-governmental organizations. Jamaica and Canada also collaborate closely in key regional and multilateral fora and institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank.

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Security

Jamaica and Canada have a long history of close cooperation in the area of defence and security, including more than 50 years of relations between the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Jamaica Defence Force. The CAF maintains an Operational Support Hub in Jamaica and in the wake of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the CAF provided air transport for the Jamaican Disaster Assistance Relief Team to provide humanitarian aid to The Bahamas. Canada is a key partner for Jamaica in its efforts to fight crime and violence. Our countries collaborate on a number of initiatives in defence and security under Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP).

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