Canada and Tunisia established diplomatic relations in 1957. The two countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations. In 2020, the Tunisian diaspora in Canada represented nearly 35,000 people residing mainly in the province of Quebec. Canada, one of the top destinations for studies abroad, attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 Tunisian students annually.
Canada strongly supports Tunisia’s progress in building a vibrant and open democracy since the Jasmine Revolution in January 2011 and the adoption of the Constitution in 2014. Canada is working with the Tunisian government, civil society and the international community to support decentralization and political, economic and social reforms in the country. In alignment with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada and Tunisia cooperate on gender equality, inclusive governance, the prevention of radicalization and the fight against terrorism.
Although Canada and Tunisia are not bound by a bilateral extradition treaty, both countries are signatories to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which allow extradition, in accordance with Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has also passed the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials (Tunisia) Regulations, which enforce written requests from the Tunisian government to freeze all assets deposited in Canadian financial institutions by senior executives of the former regime, as well as by members of their families and associates.
Trade relations between Canada and Tunisia are dynamic and diversified. Canada wants to pursue new opportunities to strengthen commercial ties between the two countries as well as increase investment in Tunisia. Tunisia has significant business opportunities for Canada in agriculture and processed foods, education and vocational training (over 50 partnerships with Canadian universities), information and communications technology (ICT), and aerospace. Canada and Tunisia have an Air Transport Agreement and a Tax Convention for the avoidance of double taxation. Negotiations for a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and a Social Security Agreement (FIPA) began in 2009 and the 33rd round of negotiations took place in April 2015.
In 2021, our two-way merchandise trade totaled CAD $280,8 million. Canadian exports to Tunisia reached nearly $109,2 million and consisted mainly of grains, textiles, vehicles, scientific instruments and aircraft and machinery. Canadian imports to Tunisia were nearly $147,18 million and consisted mainly of fats and oils, woven clothing, edible fruits and nuts, aircraft and electric machinery. The value of Canadian direct investments in Tunisia amounts to $57 million.
In 2016, during the Tunisia 2020 conference, Canada announced a $20 million integrated support plan for Tunisia over a 4-year period extending to 2021. Since this announcement, and in alignment with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, bilateral aid has hovered around $5 million per year, mainly in the areas of women’s economic empowerment, promoting a sustainable economy and inclusive governance.
The main pillars of our programming include:
- Socio-economic reinforcement of vulnerable populations, notably women and girls in disadvantaged regions, through professional training, education and entrepreneurship;
- Green and sustainable economic growth in order to create employment for youth and women;
- Inclusive and accountable governance in order to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable populations, reinforce respect for human rights, and promote women’s participation and representation in Tunisian society
Key expected results:
- Effective consolidation of the rights and empowerment of women and girls, especially the poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable;
- Strengthened state actors to plan, implement and measure policies, laws and programs that close gender equality gaps and address the rights and interests of women and girls;
- Improved access to decent work and self-employment opportunities and increased competitiveness, innovation, and sustainability of enterprises, especially those led by women;
- Increased capacity of individuals (especially the poorest and most marginalized) and non-state actors (e.g. CSOs, media) to participate equitably in national or sub-national policies or decision-making processes.
Since 2016, Canada has also allocated more than $10 million to the Canadian Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program to support Tunisia in stabilizing its borders and in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
You can visit the Project Browser to see what Canada is doing to help Tunisia's development.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Tunisia work closely in multilateral fora. This is particularly true of La Francophonie, in which Canada and Tunisia are actively involved in advancing common priorities alongside the other members of the International Organization of La Francophonie, particularly in preparation for the next Francophonie Summit in November 2022 based on the theme: “Connectivity in Diversity: the Digital Vector of Development and Solidarity in the French-speaking World”.
Collaboration also exists within other multilateral organizations, including:
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