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Canada-Uruguay relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and Uruguay established diplomatic relations in 1951.  Bilateral relations between Canada and Uruguay are built upon shared values and interests, such as democracy, human rights, gender equality, the rule of law, respect for the environment, support for multilateral institutions, and the importance of open and inclusive trade.

Canadians of Uruguayan origin (approximately 5,500) form an integral part of Canada’s social fabric, and contribute to a positive bilateral relationship, including through culture and commerce.

Uruguay is a strong and stable democracy, that successfully balances social and economic priorities, with a low corruption rate and good democratic governance. The country’s literacy rate of 98% underscores its focus on education and inclusion, including with a national program ensuring “one laptop per child” since 2012. Like Canada, Uruguay has progressive legislation. It legalized abortion (2012), same-sex marriage (2012) and the possession of cannabis for personal use (2013).

Canada and Uruguay share a dynamic francophone culture. In 2012, Uruguay became the first South American country to obtain an observer status in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

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 Consulates in Toronto and Montreal.

People to-people ties

Canada and Uruguay’s bilateral relationship is built on a growing network of people to-people ties, amplified through educational exchanges and tourism. Canada and Uruguay share a great appreciation for higher education. The Embassy of Canada is engaged with the Uruguayan academic sector with a focus on 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 180 Uruguayan students have received ELAP scholarships.

Trade relations

Canada has moderate bilateral trade and investment with Uruguay. In 2022, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Uruguay totaled $256.2 million. Canadian exports totaled $174.5 million, while Canadian imports totaled $81.7 million. The top merchandise exports were fertilizer (63%), machinery, and mechanical appliances (17%) while top merchandise imports were meat (78.8%), wood (6%), as well as nuts and fruit (4.5%).

Uruguay is a full member of Mercosur, a customs union which also includes Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

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Canada’s development relationship with Uruguay has evolved from one of donor and recipient to one of collaboration among equals. Although Canada no longer has an active bilateral development program in Uruguay, the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IRDC) is headquartered in Montevideo.

The IDRC has funded 176 research projects worth $27.6 million in Uruguay since 1976. IDRC support in Uruguay focuses on helping LAC countries:


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.

In 2021, Canada and Uruguay further deepened their defence relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Dallaire Institute and Ministry of Defence – National Peace Operations Training Institute of Uruguay. One outcome of the MOU has been the establishment of the Latin American Centre of Excellence for Children, Peace and Security.

Previously, Canada and Uruguay have collaborated closely within the context of our deployments to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which is now completed.

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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