Canada-United States relations
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Canada and the United States (U.S.) enjoy a unique relationship. The Canada-U.S. partnership is forged by shared geography, similar values, common interests, strong personal connections and powerful, multi-layered economic ties. Our two countries share a deep and longstanding defence and national security partnership, providing both countries with greater security than could be achieved individually. Trade and investment between Canada and the U.S. supports millions of jobs and helps ensure the secure and flow of goods and people across the border that is vital to both countries’ economic competitiveness and prosperity. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)Footnote 1, serves to reinforce Canada’s strong economic ties with the U.S., as well as Mexico, and brings significant economic benefit to all three countries.
Canada has an embassy in Washington, D.C., consulates general in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, 3 trade offices, and 14 Honorary Consuls. The United States maintains an embassy in Ottawa and consulates general across Canada.
Roadmap, Joint statements, and other Leader-level commitments
Released in February 2021, one month after President Biden’s inauguration, the Roadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership outlines a set of commitments to generate and formalize bilateral collaboration.
In March 2023, Prime Minister Trudeau welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden to Canada for Mr. Biden’s first in-person visit since his inauguration. The two Leaders issued a Joint Statement recommitting to the Roadmap, and outlining plans for Canada and the U.S. to work together to accelerate the clean energy transition, strengthen North American critical minerals and semiconductor supply chains, protect shared waters and the Arctic, advance diversity and inclusion, and bolster global alliances against threats to the international order. Altogether, there are a hundred-plus Leader-level commitments that chart a path forward on achieving the new green economy, including through the work of a new Energy Transformation Task Force (led by the Deputy Prime Minister), and strengthening Canada-U.S. collaboration across a range of mutual interests and shared domestic, bilateral and multilateral priorities.
Canada and the United States share a land border close to 9,000 km long, which is the longest land border in the world. The two countries cooperate closely to manage the secure and efficient flow of goods and people across the border, which is vital to both countries' economic competitiveness and prosperity.
It is estimated that around 400,000 people crossed the Canada-United States border every day and that there are about 800,000 Canadian citizens living in the United States. There are many Canadian Indigenous people and U.S. Native American Tribes whose communities and cultures span the border.
To help address irregular migration, as of March 25, 2023, Canada and the U.S. extended the application of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) to the entire border, including internal waterways, ensuring fairness and more orderly migration between our two countries. The STCA is based on the premise that asylum seekers should seek protection in the first safe country in which they arrive. Canada will also welcome 15,000 migrants on a humanitarian basis from the Western Hemisphere over the course of the year, to continue expanding safe, regular pathways offered throughout the hemisphere as an alternative to irregular migration. In 2022, around 40,000 people crossed irregularly from the U.S. into Canada, the majority of whom came from countries outside North America.
Security and defence cooperation
Canada and the United States are key allies and defence partners, and we collaborate closely to address international crises and to defend shared values abroad. Our mutual objectives of strengthening continental defence and safeguarding global peace and security have led to the close cooperation of our respective defence and national security agencies.
Our bilateral defence and national security relationship spans the full spectrum of cooperation, from shared defence of the continent; commitments to collective objectives through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Five Eyes; intelligence sharing; defence materiel cooperation, and strong relationships between law enforcement agencies. Canada and the U.S. recently committed to accelerate NORAD modernization. In addition to announced investments in NORAD and the Canadian Armed Forces that support continental defence more broadly (including F-35 fighter jets and related infrastructure), Canada is collaborating with the U.S. to reduce violent extremism, child sex exploitation, cross-border smuggling, and firearms violence on both sides of the border; as well as deepen cybersecurity cooperation to improve the resiliency and protection of our critical infrastructure.
Canada and the U.S. cooperate closely on global security issues, including in Europe through NATO and by enhancing the capabilities of the Ukrainian security forces; and through the Global Coalition against Daesh in the Middle East. Canada and the U.S. also maintain a maritime presence and uphold sanctions in the Indo-Pacific region; as well as conduct illicit trafficking operations in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.
Canada and the U.S. share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, with more than $3.4 billion worth of goods and services crossing the border each day in 2022. That year, Canada-U.S. trade in goods and services was over $1.2 trillion and represented about two thirds of Canada’s total global trade. In 2022, Canada was the United States’ largest trading partner in goods and services. Canada-U.S. trade is built on long-standing binational supply chains, whereby roughly 80% of Canadian goods exports to the U.S. ‘feed’ American supply chains for final goods. Effective management of the bilateral commercial relationship is crucial to supporting investor confidence and enhancing North American competitiveness.
In the trade relationship, Canada’s efforts are currently focused on ensuring the effective implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), strengthening supply chain resiliency through the creation of a Northeast semiconductor corridor (i.e., from Quebec to New York State primarily), and resolving bilateral irritants. Canada is also seeking to establish enhanced collaboration with the U.S. to address global trade challenges, including with respect to China and the World Trade Organization.
- Trade and investment agreements
- Import / Export controls
- Doing business in the United States
- U.S.-Canada/Canada-U.S. Supply Chains Progress Report
Environment, water, and climate change
The Canada-U.S. border includes four of the five Great Lakes, many other lakes and rivers, major airsheds in which atmospheric loads of chemicals travel to reach water, and migratory routes for wildlife species. The two countries have a long history of close cooperation and negotiation on environmental issues due to their integrated economy and common ecosystems. For example, Canada and the U.S. have agreed to intensify efforts to modernize the Columbia River Treaty in a manner that creates equitable benefits for both countries with a focus on flood risk management, power generation and environmental benefits.
Canada and the U.S. have also committed to achieving ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Through the Canada-U.S. High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Ambition, launched in February 2021, the two countries are working on cooperative action to achieve our common objective of net-zero emissions by 2050, aligning policy solutions and regulatory approaches, and building resilience to climate impacts. During President Biden’s visit, Canada and the U.S. also agreed to renew our joint commitment to preserving and restoring the Great Lakes (Canada announced investments of $420 million over 10 years); strengthen collaboration in the Arctic to reduce localized emissions and prevent and mitigate environmental disasters; and undertake a joint technical review and assessment of the 1991 Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement.
The volume and value of the Canada-U.S. energy relationship is fundamental to North America’s energy transition, security and supply. Canada and the U.S. are each other’s principal source of imported energy (oil, natural gas, clean electricity, uranium). Our two-way energy trade reached $236.9 billion in 2022, with Canada enjoying a large surplus ($166.7 billion). Canada’s energy exports comprise more than one-third of all merchandise exports to the United States. Transboundary infrastructure plays a critical role, with over 100 oil and natural gas pipelines, and electricity transmission lines, moving massive amounts of energy back and forth, supporting investment, industry, jobs and consumers. The Joint Statement from the President’s March 2023 visit identified as a priority the resilience of critical infrastructure, in particular cross-border pipelines and electricity transmission lines. On May 2, 2023, Canada and the U.S. convened the first meeting of the Energy Transformation Task Force, which aims to accelerate bilateral cooperation on both clean energy and supply chains.
Promoting fair and just societies
Canada and the U.S. share a commitment to recognizing and addressing systemic racism, unconscious bias, gender-based discrimination, barriers for persons with disabilities, and all other forms of discrimination and exclusion. Through the federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, Canada has been working with the White House to advance information-sharing, best practice exchanges, and advice as the Biden administration works to deliver on presidential executive orders related to racial justice, diversity and inclusion, equity and accessibility, particularly within the federal public service. Canadian officials delivered two training sessions on Gender Based Analysis+ to U.S. public servants, including senior officials and White House Gender Policy Council staff, in support of the first-ever ‘U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.’ Canada and the U.S. also collaborate and have made meaningful joint progress towards Indigenous reconciliation. Canada, the U.S., and Mexico work together on the Trilateral Working Group (TWG) on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls to exchange knowledge, enhance cooperation, and align responses to Indigenous issues in all three countries. During President Biden’s visit to Canada, the leaders reinforced their commitment to promote equality and combat all forms of discrimination through child benefits, early learning and childcare, pay equity, and women’s entrepreneurship.
Partnerships and organizations
Global challenges require global solutions, and Canada-U.S. cooperation has never been more important to ensure that multilateral institutions address today’s realities.
Together, we are advocating for reform and modernization in important international institutions such as the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the World Trade Organization.
Canada and the United States work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- America’s Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP)
- Arctic Council
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
- United Nations (UN)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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