Canada and Lebanon have strong ties. The Lebanese community in Canada includes more than 200,000 people and an estimated 50,000 Canadians live in Lebanon. The relationship is strengthened by close cultural ties and common participation in La Francophonie.
Canada is represented in Lebanon by its embassy in Beirut and increased its diplomatic presence there in response to the crisis in Syria. Lebanon is represented in Canada by its embassy in Ottawa.
Since 2016, Canada has contributed over $400 million to support Lebanon’s stability and resilience as it copes with the effects of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Lebanon now hosts more than an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees that have been added to the country’s already existing refugee population, which also includes Palestinians, Iraqis and Kurds.
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 in Canada, over 30,000 – more than half - came from Lebanon.
On March 19, 2019, Canada confirmed its commitment to renew its Middle East engagement Strategy. A further investment of $1.39 billion will be made over two years (2019-21), with a greater focus on building stability, governance and long-term resilience in the region, including Lebanon.
In the immediate aftermath of the August 4, 2020 explosion of the Port of Beirut, Canada provided up to $5 million in humanitarian assistance. Canada later announced an additional $25 million, for a total of $30 million. This funding will help trusted partners address immediate humanitarian needs and support efforts for early recovery.
Despite Lebanon’s economic challenges, Canada's bilateral trade has increased in recent years. In 2019, trade between Canada and Lebanon was valued at $157 million.
Key sectors for Canada include agriculture/agri-foods products, and life sciences.
Key sectors for Lebanon include tourism, education, agriculture, agri-food, and life sciences.
Canada’s top merchandise 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;
- Agri-food and;
- Education and health.
As of December 2019, there were 1,035 study permits issued to Lebanese students to study in Canada.
Trade and investment agreements
Trade and investment agreements involving Canada and Lebanon:
For more information, consult trade and investment agreements.
Under Canada’s Middle East Engagement Strategy, Canada is supporting Lebanon to help the country withstand the strain Lebanese institutions and communities are facing due to hosting one million refugees, in a context of political instability, where the deepening socio-economic impact from an ongoing financial crisis is amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s development assistance supports Lebanon in coping with the cumulative impacts of these crises by promoting gender equality and increasing the socio-economic well-being of the most vulnerable, in particular women and girls, crisis affected host communities and Syrian refugees. For more information, see Canada’s Middle East Engagement Strategy.
Canada’s support of Lebanon’s security and social stability includes projects that aim to reduce tensions between refugees and host communities under pressures, as well as community security projects that strengthen the capacity of local police services and the Lebanese Armed Forces to prevent and respond to conflict and violent acts of extremism.
In addition, Canada supports multilateral initiatives that aim to counter violent extremism, to prevent the infiltration of foreign fighters and to defend Lebanon’s borders. In support of Canada’s training and assistance program in Lebanon, Canada has also donated non-lethal equipment and support vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces to enhance their capacity to secure and monitor border regions. Such efforts are in-line with broader capacity-building efforts in the region, which include similar lines of engagement in Jordan and in Iraq.
The neighboring Syrian conflict presents a continuous threat to Lebanon’s security and stability. Through Operation IMPACT and the Counter-Terrorism and Capacity Building Programme, Canada is assisting Lebanon in securing its border with Syria. Since 2019, Lebanon has participated in Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Programme.
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 over $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: