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Canada-Trinidad and Tobago relations

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Bilateral relations

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 that 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 3 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 in Toronto; and Honorary Consuls in Winnipeg, Montreal and Regina.

Trade relations

Trinidad and Tobago is the largest of Canada’s merchandise trading partner among the Caribbean Community. In 2021, bilateral merchandise trade totalled $664.6 million. Exports were valued at $310.6 million and imports at $354 million.

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Development

During the COVID-19 crisis, 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.

Canada’s development program is focused on mutual priorities, such as climate and economic resilience, sustainable and inclusive governance, and the advancement of gender equality. 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. For example, Canada is the largest contributor to the International Monetary Fund’s Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), which has provided technical assistance to Trinidad and Tobago to improve their tax and customs administration and financial sector’s stability. Canada’s support to the Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice has trained judges and magistrates in gender-based adjudication and supported the adoption of new policies, practices and procedures to improve the delivery of justice.

Following the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, Canada announced the $100 million Pledge for Caribbean Reconstruction and Economic and Climate Resilience to support reconstruction, build resilience, and strengthen regional response capacities. This included strengthening natural disaster planning and response through organizations 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 Trinidad and Tobago, to help diversify and strengthen the economy, build climate resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities.

Security

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. Six Air Guard pilots from Trinidad and Tobago completed their training at the Moncton Flight College.

In addition, The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service signed a charter agreement with Correctional Services Canada in October 2017 for technical assistance to implement new management systems, including streamlining policies and procedures in Trinidad and Tobago’s correctional facilities.  The collaboration between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago in this area is ongoing.

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:

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