Canada and Lebanon have strong ties. The Lebanese community is the largest ethnic Arab group in Canada, and a large number of Canadians live in Lebanon. The relationship is strengthened by close cultural ties and participation in La Francophonie and through Canada’s assistance to Lebanon in coping with the effects of the conflict in Syria.
Canada is represented in Lebanon by its embassy in Beirut. Lebanon is represented in Canada by its embassy in Ottawa.
Since 2016, Canada has contributed almost $250 million to support Lebanon’s stability and resilience as it copes with hosting the more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees that have been added to the country’s already existing refugee population, which also includes Palestinians, Iraqis and Kurds. Canada has increased its diplomatic presence in Lebanon, also in response to the crisis.
Lebanon was the single largest source for Canada’s accelerated Syrian refugee resettlement efforts in 2015 to 2017. Of the more than 60,000 Syrian refugees who were resettled since November 2015 in Canada, over 30,000 came from Lebanon, more than half the initiative’s total.
In 2018, trade between Canada and Lebanon was valued at $150 million, a 58% increase since 2013. Canada’s exports to Lebanon were worth $117 million, and imports from Lebanon totalled $33 million.
Key Canadian exports to Lebanon include vehicle parts, agri-foods (in particular wheat and legumes), pharmaceuticals and other industrial and consumer goods. Agri-foods constitute the majority of Canada’s imports from Lebanon.
Canadian companies and institutions are present in Lebanon in multiple sectors, including information communication technologies, consumer products, aerospace, agri-food, education and health. A foreign investment promotion and protection agreement between Canada and Lebanon came into force in 1999, and an air transport agreement was signed in 2000. In 2013, the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Lebanese ministry of finance signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
Trade and investment agreements
Trade and investment agreements involving Canada and Lebanon:
For more information, consult trade and investment agreements.
Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. The presence of refugees from neighbouring countries has increased Lebanon’s population of 4.7 million by 25%. The conflict in Syria alone has forced more than a million Syrians to cross into Lebanon seeking safety. Lebanon’s security and stability are vulnerable to the effects of the conflict in Syria. Canada recognizes the generosity of Lebanon and the burden it carries in hosting these refugees and takes Lebanon’s security and stability seriously. That is why Lebanon is a country of focus in Canada’s Middle East engagement strategy.
The almost $250 million in assistance Canada has committed to Lebanon has fallen under this strategy. These funds provide humanitarian assistance and support development and social stability projects, as well as initiatives to strengthen Lebanon’s security; they also provide non-lethal assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Specifically, Canada's humanitarian assistance helps supply basic needs and services, such as health care and access to education, water, food and shelter for vulnerable and at-risk populations. Our development assistance supports the development of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperatives and associations to employ or stimulate the employment of women and young people. Canada also supports the Government of Lebanon’s strategy for improving the quality of education in Lebanon. Canada contributes to the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility, which provides loans at low interest rates to Lebanon for development projects, and the Mashreq Gender Technical Assistance Facility, which is supporting Lebanon to implement a National Action Plan for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Canada’s support of Lebanon’s security and social stability includes projects that aim to reduce tensions between refugees and host communities under strain, as well as community security projects that strengthen the capacity of local police services and the Lebanese Armed Forces to prevent and respond conflict and violent acts of extremism.
In addition, Canada supports multilateral initiatives aimed at countering violent extremism, preventing the infiltration of foreign fighters and defending Lebanon’s borders. In support of Canada’s training and assistance program in Lebanon, Canada has also donated wet weather and winter gear, mountain equipment, snowmobiles and support vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces. Such efforts are in-line with broader capacity-building efforts in the region, which include similar lines of engagement in Jordan and in Iraq.
Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1757, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established at The Hague, the Netherlands, to investigate the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri and other victims. Canada has supported the STL from the outset and has made contributions valued at almost $7 million to it, including secondments of Canadian police officers. The STL’s first two prosecutors were Canadians, and Canada is the vice-chair of the STL Management Committee.
Partners and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Lebanon work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- La Francophonie
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
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