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Canada-Uruguay relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and Uruguay established diplomatic relations in January 1951. In 1953, Canada appointed its first Ambassador to Uruguay, resident in Argentina. Bilateral relations have expanded considerably since that time, in particular since 1984, when Uruguay returned to democracy following 11 years of military rule.

Bilateral relations between Canada and Uruguay are built upon shared values and interests, such as human rights, the rule of law, respect for the environment, support for multilateral institutions, and the importance of open markets and inclusive trade. Our countries also are members of many hemispheric and global organizations, such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

Uruguay is a strong democracy that is successfully balancing social and economic priorities. Among Latin American countries, it traditionally leads indices, with low corruption and good democratic governance. It has a literacy rate of 98% and strong universities with a significant tradition of both French and English language education. Uruguay has a number of socially-progressive policies, having legalized abortion, same-sex marriage and the possession of cannabis for personal use. Uruguay is a full member of Mercosur, a customs union which also includes Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The location of the Parlasur (the Mercosur Parliament) and of the Permanent Secretariat of Mercosur in Montevideo reflects the prominent and strategic position of Uruguay in South American regional integration. 

Culturally, our countries both have a strong francophone culture. In 2012, Uruguay became the first South American country to obtain an observer status in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). Our common membership in the OIF underlines once again our countries’ shared values and interests in the promotion of diversity, democracy, rule of law and human rights.

In Uruguay, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Montevideo. Uruguay is represented in Canada by the Embassy of Uruguay in Ottawa, and also maintains consulates in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

People-to-people ties

Our bilateral relationship is also built on a growing network of people-to-people ties that is fostered through educational exchanges and tourism. Like Canada, Uruguay is a country with a great appreciation for higher education. The Embassy of Canada is engaged with the Uruguayan academic sector and provides information services for Uruguayan students interested in studying or conducting high level research in Canada. The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) provides short term scholarships for students from Latin America and the Caribbean to study in Canada. Since 2009, more than 125 Uruguayan students received ELAP scholarships. In April 2014, IDRC announced a grant program for Uruguayan masters and doctoral students whose research touches themes related to natural resources extraction. IDRC partnered with the Uruguayan National Agency of Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining to launch this grant.

Canadians of Uruguayan origin constitute a well-organized community that contributes to the bilateral relationship, particularly in the commercial and cultural areas. In 2016, there were roughly 5,500 Canadians who claimed to be of Uruguayan origin. In Uruguay, the Canadian expat community is estimated to number around 500. 15,000 Canadian tourists visited Uruguay in 2016.

Trade relations

In 2021, bilateral trade between Canada and Uruguay totalled $171 million. Canadian exports totalled $90 million, up 37.4% from 2020 (mainly metal ores and non metallic minerals, industrial machinery, equipment and parts, electronic and electrical equipment and parts). Canadian imports totalled $81.8 million, down 30.3% from 2020 (consumer goods and farm, fishing and intermediate food products).

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Canada’s development relationship with Uruguay has evolved from one of donor and recipient, respectively, to one of development cooperation partners. Although Canada no longer has an active bilateral development program in Uruguay, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is headquartered in Montevideo. The IDRC has funded 155 research projects worth $16.6 million in Uruguay since 1976. IDRC support in Uruguay focuses on helping Latin American countries meet their climate change obligations; improving women’s economic outlook; finding digital solutions to pressing social problems; slowing the spread of leishmaniasis in bordering regions; and increasing government transparency and improving service delivery.


Uruguay and Canada co-chaired the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network (WPS-FPN) in 2020. Uruguay also co-hosted with Canada the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial (UNPKDM) in Vancouver in November 2017. Uruguay has endorsed the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers as well as Canada’s Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations. Canada and Uruguay have also collaborated closely in the context of our deployments to MINUSTAH, the recently completed peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Uruguay work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

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