Diplomatic relations between Canada and Barbados were established on November 30, 1966, immediately upon Barbados becoming an independent country. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service established an office in Barbados 100 years ago in 1907 . This longstanding connection explains in part why Canadian financial institutions, including The Bank of Nova Scotia, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada, have long had a prominent presence in Barbados.
Canada is represented in Barbados by the High Commission of Canada in Bridgetown, which opened in 1967.
Barbados is represented in Canada by the High Commission of Barbados in Ottawa. Barbados also has Consulates in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Regarding bilateral relations, Barbados and Canada have several agreements, including a Social Security Agreement (1986), a Double Taxation Agreement (1980), a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (1997) and a Transfer of Offenders Treaty (2003). Barbados is part of Canada's constituency at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Canada and Barbados often cooperate within multilateral institutions such as the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Canada enjoys a strong cooperative relationship with Barbados in matters of state security, narco-trafficking, and defence. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Security Agency and the Department of National Defense Canada have provided technical assistance to Barbados, and Canada continues to work in partnership with the Regional Security System (RSS). Canada is the main donor behind the creation of the Regional Security System Police Training Institute which was officially formed in October, 2011. Barbados has benefited from Canada's Directorate of Military Training (DMTC) since its inception in the 1970's. In recent years there has been a heavy focus on supporting and improving the IT capabilities of the Barbados Defence Force. The current and former Chiefs of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force are graduates of Canadian supported military staff training colleges.
Canadians companies make up approximately 75% of the international financial community in Barbados. Barbados has developed its financial regulatory structures largely to address Canadian rules and reporting standards. Canadians built the initial infrastructure for the now flourishing Barbados tourism industry. Each year, an estimated 70,000 Canadian visitors arrive via direct flight or by cruise ships.
Barbados participates in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), an organized labour mobility program, which allows for the entry of foreign workers to meet the temporary seasonal needs of Canadian agricultural producers. Barbados has participated in the SAWP since 1967. Canada’s temporary foreign workers program engages Barbados with several up-market hotels in Ontario and Staples Business Depot, and the Government of Barbados is interested in expanding this further.
Canada's program for development assistance in Barbados is managed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). CIDA scholarships opened the door for many Barbadians to higher education, developing the island's human capital. Many graduates now serve across professions, in academia, in politics and the public service.
With regards to Canada's trade relationship with Barbados, bilateral merchandise trade in 2010 dropped to $50.4 million. Merchandise exports to Barbados totalled $ 40.7 million and included meat, paper and paperboard, machinery, pharmaceutical products, wood, and plastic. Merchandise imports from Barbados totalled $9.7 million and included beverages, iron and steel, leather art and handbags, electrical and electronic equipment.
Discussions are underway between Canada and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which Barbados is a member of, aimed at achieving a mutually beneficial trade agreement that provides significant economic benefits and takes into account the region's capacity constraints and vulnerabilities.
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