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Bilateral Relations

Fact Sheet  | PDF Version * (140 KB)

Pierre Trudeau and Mao Zedong

The Canada-China relationship is a vast and dynamic web of cooperative linkages and undertakings, dating from well before the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970 and growing continuously every year. Canada’s long-standing and comprehensive relationship with the People’s Republic of China operates at many levels and in many areas, including in trade, governance and values, health, education and culture. Bilateral cooperation is strong – many Government of Canada departments have productive cooperation programs and memoranda of understanding with their Chinese counterparts, and hold regular exchanges at various levels. Both countries enjoy active working relationships in international fora, such as the G20, UN, APEC and WTO.

Strong people-to-people ties exist between the two countries: over 1.3 million Canadian residents are of Chinese origin and over 140,000 Chinese students were enrolled at Canadian educational institutions during 2017. Chinese dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese, are Canada’s most-spoken languages after English and French, and immigrants born in China (including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) form one of the largest groups within Canada’s immigrant population. Those ties are reflected in the numerous twinning partnerships at the provincial and municipal levels.

The Canada-China relationship has five priority areas: governance and values (human rights, rule of law), trade and investment, energy, environment, health and education. A few examples of Canada-China collaboration include:

  • The establishment of the Canada-China Foreign Affairs Ministers Dialogue
  • The Strategic Working Group, a Deputy Minister-level bilateral mechanism focused on multilateral cooperation; natural resources and energy; and trade and investment
  • The promotion of trade and investment, in particular through the Joint Economic and Trade Committee, a bilateral consultation mechanism enabling senior officials to review and seek opportunities to advance two-way trade
  • The fostering of people-to-people links, notably through education, cultural exchanges and tourism
  • The enhancement of judicial and law-enforcement cooperation.

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