2015: A Significant Year for Canada’s Engagement in the Americas
Canada places great value in fostering lasting and meaningful relationships with countries in the Americas. 2015 is a particularly significant year for Canada’s engagement in the hemisphere, as it marks Canada’s 25th year as a member of the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, Toronto will host the XVII Pan American and V Parapan American Games in July and August.
Canada has proudly contributed to some of the OAS’ greatest collective achievements, such as the adoptions of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and Declaration on Security in the Americas. Being a member of the OAS and broader inter-American system has also allowed Canada to deepen its relations with Latin America and the Caribbean at various levels.
Canada will also host in 2015 the largest international multisport gathering ever held on its soil- the XVII Pan American Games in July and V Parapan American Games in August. These Games, which will take place in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, are another opportunity for Canada to play a key role in fostering hemispheric cooperation – through sport, culture and business development. Canada looks forward to welcoming over 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries and territories, as well as more than 250,000 visitors and business delegations from across the Americas during the Games.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, first made the Americas a foreign policy priority in 2007 with the vision of a more prosperous, secure and democratic hemisphere. Eight years on, Canada’s engagement in the hemisphere has never been stronger. Currently, over 40 Canadian federal government partners are engaged to deliver on Canada’s Strategy for Engagement in the Americas and its three goals of: (1) Increasing mutual economic opportunity; (2) Addressing insecurity and strengthening institutions; and (3) Fostering lasting relationships.
Development cooperation is a key component of Canada’s engagement in the region. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested over CAD$4.6 billion in total international assistance in the Americas. The Caribbean Development Program has committed CAD$600 million over the 2008-2020 period.
On the trade and commerce side, since 2007, bilateral trade with the Americas has increased over 40 percent, Canadian direct investment in the region has grown over 70 percent and, in 2013, 55 percent of all Canadian mining assets outside of Canada were located in the Americas.
At the recent Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10-11, 2015, Prime Minister Harper announced several new projects aimed at strengthening economic growth across the Americas. He also announced a number of new Canadian initiatives that will promote health, security, democratic governance and border management in the Americas.