Canada-Trinidad and Tobago relations
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Trinidad and Tobago and Canada enjoy a bilateral relationship built on shared values, multilateral cooperation, strong people-to-people connections and significant economic ties.
This important relationship is strengthened by over 78,000 Trinbagonian-Canadians who live in Canada, as well as 65,000 Trinbagonian immigrants, according to the 2016 census. Longstanding academic ties between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago reinforce this connection as hundreds of students choose to study in Canada every year. This vibrant bilateral relationship covers a wide spectrum of sectors including trade, security cooperation, education, governance, culture, environment, sports and health.
Canada and Trinidad and Tobago established official diplomatic relations on August 31, 1962, immediately following Trinidad and Tobago’s independence, as Canada was one of three countries that acknowledged the new status of the twin-island republic. But our bilateral trade relationship dates back even further, to 1938, when Canada first appointed a full-time Trade Commissioner to Port of Spain.
Canada is represented in Trinidad and Tobago by the High Commission of Canada in Port of Spain, and Trinidad and Tobago is represented in Canada by the High Commission in Ottawa; a Consulate general in Toronto; and Honorary Consuls in Winnipeg, Montreal and Regina.
Trinidad and Tobago is the largest of Canada’s merchandise trading partner among the Caribbean Community. In 2022, bilateral merchandise trade totalled $588.1 million. Exports were valued at $302.9 million and imports at $282.2 million.
Due to the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries Tariff (CARIBCAN) - an economic and trade development assistance program for the Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories established by Canada in 1985 – and Canada’s other Tariff preference measures, 94% of all Caribbean exports to Canada enter duty free.
Although not eligible for official development assistance, Trinidad and Tobago benefits from Canada’s regional engagements that have supported national statistics for policy making, public financial management, access to justice, private sector development, and local women’s rights organizations. Following the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, Canada announced a five-year $100 million Pledge for Caribbean Reconstruction and Economic and Climate Resilience. This pledge was fulfilled in 2022 and included strengthening natural disaster planning and response through organizations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
At the 2023 CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in The Bahamas, Canada announced $44.8 million in new initiatives to help support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis by protecting more biodiversity and improving climate resilience and disaster preparedness. Canada continues to advocate for small island and low-lying states in the Caribbean, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada redirected programming to respond to the needs of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean including to address gender-based violence, income support and essential services, training and technical assistance for health professionals, supplies and protective equipment, and investment in the Caribbean Public Health Agency lab in Trinidad and Tobago.
A principle means of support to the Caribbean is technical assistance and training to increase the capacity of governments and organizations. For instance, the Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism, which provides technical assistance to CARICOM governments, including Trinidad and Tobago, to help diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities.
Information on Canadian development initiatives is available on the Global Affairs Canada Project Browser.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the largest defence forces in the Caribbean. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force has a long history of training with the Canadian Forces and has been a member of Canada’s Military Training Assistance Program since the 1970s. Cooperation between police forces is also significant. Our countries collaborate on a number of initiatives in defence and security including through Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP) to combat illegal arms and drug trafficking. Moreover, Air Guard pilots from Trinidad and Tobago have completed their training at the Moncton Flight College. Finally, The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service and Correctional Services Canada have ongoing collaboration on policy streamlining and procedures in Trinidad and Tobago’s correctional facilities.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today's most pressing global challenges, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
- The Commonwealth
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Bank (WB)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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