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Canada and Panama established diplomatic relations in 1961 and have strong bilateral ties. People-to-people ties between our countries are reinforced through the nearly 5,000 Panamanians living in Canada, the estimated 8,000 Canadians living in Panama, and the 82,000 Canadian tourists who normally visit Panama on an annual basis.
Canada and Panama enjoy a positive relationship with open political dialogue, a strong and evolving trade and investment relationship and important people-to-people ties. The two countries share similar views in many areas, including human rights, democracy, rule of law, environmental protection, irregular migration, security and free trade.
Canada advances its security priorities through its support of the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), in collaboration with various international partners such as United Nations entities and the Organization of American States (OAS), non-governmental organizations, and other Canadian government departments such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to support the building of stable and secure societies in Central America and the Caribbean, which is done through the provision of training, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to beneficiary states.
Since 2015, ACCBP has disbursed approximately C$35 million towards capacity building projects in Central America to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational organized criminal activity. In total, Panama is the beneficiary of over C$5.5 million in current bilateral and regional initiatives.
Canada is represented by the embassy in Panama City (the chancery opened in 1995), and offers consular services, while visa applications are directed to the regional office in Mexico City. Panama’s embassy in Canada is supplemented by consulates in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Canada’s embassy houses 3 other offices:
- Regional Office for Emergency Management
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Canada Border Services Agency
Canada and Panama also engage on shared educational priorities through the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), which offers short-term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean to study or conduct research in Canada. Academic agreements such as ELAP help grow research relationships and student exchanges. In addition to the ELAP scholarships, Panamanian students are encouraged to apply for other Canadian awards open to all international students, including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Post-doctoral Fellowships. For a complete list of available scholarships, visit International scholarships.
The bilateral free trade agreement between Canada and Panama has been in force since 2013. Two-way trade between Canada and Panama in 2020 was valued at $144.3 million. Canadian goods exported to Panama in 2020 were valued at nearly $129 million and included aircraft, machinery, pharmaceutical products and agricultural food products. Imports from Panama in 2020 were valued at $15.35 million and were mainly made up of metals, manufacturing equipment and agricultural food products.
The stock of Canadian investment in Panama stood at C$3.4 billion in 2020.
Though Panama is not a recipient of a bilateral assistance program, Canada's embassy manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which provides financial assistance for small to medium-sized projects in Panama. Recently, Canada has supported projects focused on:
- Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, specifically focused on women’s political participation;
- Supporting inclusive development led by indigenous people and communities;
- Promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights;
- Environment and climate action focused on adaptation and mitigation;
- Growth that works for everyone;
- Providing humanitarian assistance in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic and Hurricane Eta.
Projects focused on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights include initiatives with Vital Voices Panama to prevent teen pregnancies while helping adolescent girls to redefine their life goals through comprehensive support and training. Another initiative is the creation of the transmedia platform ‘Amor Fiesta’, which promotes sex education and empowers girls, adolescents and young women to know and promote their own rights.
Canada is committed to promoting gender equality and is doing so by ensuring that a gender analysis is integrated and applied to all projects. This is in line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
In 2020, the Gender Equality Coordination Roundtable was created in collaboration with UN Women. This unique mechanism, co-led by the Government of Panama and a rotating presidency of diplomatic missions in Panama, coordinates national and international efforts and joint advocacy to advance Gender Equality. Canada’s embassy in Panama plays a central role in the Roundtable and regularly organizes related events.
Partners and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Panama work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Open Government Partnership (OGP)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Pacific Alliance
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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