Canada has been represented by an Ambassador in Ouagadougou since 1995 (previously, the Ambassador was resident in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire). Burkina Faso has an Ambassador in Ottawa and Honorary Consuls in Montreal, Toronto, Caraquet and Vancouver.
Canada and Burkina Faso, known by the name of Upper Volta until 1984, established diplomatic relations in 1962. In addition to bilateral cooperation, the two countries collaborate on a range of regional and multilateral issues. Their shared membership in la Francophonie gives further impetus to this relationship.
In the wake of the recent mining boom, which resulted in gold becoming Burkina Faso’s main export, Canada has been one of the most significant foreign private investors since 2008. This has been an opportunity for the Canadian government and Canadian companies to promote corporate social responsibility. Bilateral trade in goods has increased substantially since 2006 to $52.4 million in 2013. In 2013, Canada’s main exports to Burkina Faso were machines, electrical equipment, rubber, vehicles, tools, medical equipment and iron and steel articles, worth $52 million. Main imports to Canada from Burkina Faso were precious stones and oilseeds, worth $0.4 million.
On June 11, 2014, the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, and Patiendé Arthur Kafando, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, announced the conclusion of negotiations toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) between Canada and Burkina Faso. The announcement was made on the margins of the Conference of Montreal, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Luc Adolphe Tiao. In 2012, Canada and Burkina Faso began negotiations towards a FIPA. Canada is now the biggest foreign investor in Burkina Faso. In its Global Markets Action Plan, Canada designated Burkina Faso as an emerging market offering various opportunities to Canadian companies.
In 2011-2012, Canada contributed $37.22 million in development to Burkina Faso through its bilateral, multilateral programs and through Partnership Canada. The Canadian bilateral aid program in the country is focused on education and sustainable growth. Canada’s programs in Burkina Faso support the government's Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (2011-2015) which concentrates on four main areas: developing priorities for accelerated growth, consolidating human capital and promoting social protection, strengthening good governance and taking into account the priorities that are integrated into all the development policies and programs.
President Blaise Compaoré visited Canada in 1995 and 1998, as well as in October 2008 for la Francophonie Summit in Quebec City. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Yoda met with then Minister Cannon in April 2010 during a working visit to Canada. In November 2004, then Prime Minister Paul Martin took part in la Francophonie Summit in Ouagadougou. Then Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino visited Burkina Faso in September 2012 where he met with key Burkinabe representatives, including President Compaoré. In September 2013, then Quebec Minister of International Relations, Francophonie and International Trade Jean-François Lisée led a trade and institutional mission to Burkina Faso.